(Sunday, 3 September 2006) For several years I have wanted
to try a near-field listening system. A couple of years ago, I tried small
speakers in the near-field in parallel with larger far-field speakers, but it
didn't work. Recently I tried again, but this time using only near-field
speakers (two to three feet from my listening position) for the double center
channel, and the results were extremely good. I then got a pair of true
near-field speakers, and the results were even better.
Pretty soon I realized that the left and right speakers should really be made near-field, too. But where to put the center-channel speakers, which were occupying positions that would then be taken by the near-field left and right? Eventually I came up with a really different plan. I would use three center-channel speakers, not two, and would put them and the L-R is a near-semicircle with me at the center. Left to right, the five speakers would be center channel, left channel, center channel, right channel, and center channel. The "center" center channel, at position three, would serve to anchor the sound from the other center-channel speakers. (These five speakers are complemented by four surround speakers on the side walls and a subwoofer in the left rear corner. That makes ten speakers in all, and every one is essential.)
I tried it yesterday and refined it a bit today, and the results are spectacular. I call it "Sunshine Stereo" because it looks like the sun and shines the acoustical light of day on everything on a CD or a DVD.
Here are some pictures of the preliminary setup as it looked this afternoon in my listening room. I should add that after I took these photos, I opened up the second, third, and fourth speakers, with an even-better result. The five speakers are now between four and five feet from me when I am leaning comfortably back against the sofa. It may look strange, but it works!
Here are the five speakers in position. The speakers in the rear are disconnected.
The opposite view.
This is roughly the way it feels to sit in the middle of the semicircle.
The speaker on the right is one of the new ones. Note the two ports at the bottom.
The electronics, including an amplifier on the floor that powers the "center" center-channel speaker. The maze of wires makes the floor look like a recording studio.
For watching DVDs, the picture is projected on the wall, roughly between the two Chinese hanging paintings. It is five meters corner to corner.
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