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Can physical speaker location affect the net volume/loudness coming out of a speaker?

492 Views 9 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  cssorkinman
Hi guys,

TLDR: Would having a monitor speaker in a corner of a room make it sound louder/fuller than its partner which would NOT be in a corner?

Long version for those that like stories:
Sooo, I've ran into a bit of a weird one, for me at least. I'm pretty noobish when it comes to audio, guess you could say I'm just getting started on my journey. As such, I've recently purchased a set of PreSonus Eris 3.5s to compliment a retro PC build I am working on.

The Setup:
Because I am actually working on 2 retro PCs and want to use the same speakers on both, I have hooked up the speakers through a small Alto ZMX52 mixer. I am also using unbalanced cables all throughout.

Now, here's the weird part. I tested these speakers out when they arrived. This initial test was great and happened on my main desk which happens to be centered in my office. I've since moved them to their designated permanent location on my Retro PC desk and suddenly I noticed a change in audio, specifically, the left channel speaker suddenly sounded louder than the right. This was very peculiar so I proceed to troubleshoot. I've tried different cables, different channels on the mixer, differnt audio sources, flipping channels on both the mixer and the speaker inputs and of course flipping the speakers around into eachothers physical location. No matter the change, the speaker located on my left was always the louder one which made me conclude that it is not in fact due to the speakers nor the cables nor the mixer. I have personally concluded it must be the space, but I wanted to pass this by you guys who will hopefully either confirm this or tell me why I'm wrong.

Here's the key, the Retro PC desk, is a in a corner. Namely, the left speaker is placed on the corner of the desk which is nestled in the corner of the room. The right speaker is NOT in a corner. So to reference my point above, I'm guessing that being in a corner somehow amplifies the loudness/volume of the left speaker? Am I correct in this assesment, or am I completely full of something?

Would appreciate some comments from people that know/understand acoustics better then I do. :) Thanks!

P.S. I have solved this problem by balancing toward the right channel, but I just wanted to confirm my suspicions or better understand what might be happening.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A picure to help illustrate the setup. The speaker located on the left is always slightly louder, no matter what gets switched around, i.e. the other speaker becomes the loudeer one if I were to flip their locations.
Table Furniture Personal computer Computer Computer desk
 

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Yes sound always travel much better in a room if being blasted into a corner, especially lows. This can make it sound much more "bassy" than it actually is. It's an old trick I still use for my smart speakers, as it blasts lows backwards. Not sure it would affect the actual volume though.

You could swap the speakers around to make sure it's a corner problem :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Perhaps "volume" was the wrong word to use, my bad. I do mostly mean bassiness. The low ends are punchier and it gives off the impression that more sound/loudness is coming from that one speaker. Though I suppose it is just more bass rather than actual volume.

Thanks for confirming my suspicions, for a little while there I could've sworn I was either crazy or would have to go through the very tediuos process of returns thinking it was a faulty speaker set.
 

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TLDR: Would having a monitor speaker in a corner of a room make it sound louder/fuller than its partner which would NOT be in a corner?
Yes.

It's well known that placing a speaker near a wall or even in a corner boosts the low end.

The downside of that is that it often sounds boomy (too much low end). I would only consider corner placement if the speaker either has really weak bass or if you employ DSP in order to tame the response and clean up the signal.

Also, looking at your setup: you do get more sound reflected at you from your left speaker, meanwhile some sonic energy of the right one is lost due to the open door. I would expect a perceived volume difference and possible skewed imaging.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes.

It's well known that placing a speaker near a wall or even in a corner boosts the low end.

The downside of that is that it often sounds boomy (too much low end). I would only consider corner placement if the speaker either has really weak bass or if you employ DSP in order to tame the response and clean up the signal.
I appreciate the double confirmation, I am faily new at this so this is brand new information to me. Unfortunately there's nothing I can do about placements as this is the only space I have available for this desk. To be fair it doesnt seem too bad, and a tiny balance to to right speaker make it sound a lot better. :)
 

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It might not be speaker placement at all. It could be that your amp isn't balanced. Which is normal. You could try increasing the volume at the source. And see if it has any effect.
 

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Are you sure they are properly phased?
 
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