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Equipment Rack: Between speakers or off to the side?

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  • Equipment Rack: Between speakers or off to the side?

    I recently moved my source components up to the front of my room to accommodate a friend's preamp that was single ended only. Normally I have my preamp and sources to the side of my listening position and use long XLR cables (7 meter) and I didn't have any long RCAs.

    After he left, I listened to my system using the same RCA cables (both direct from my DAC and through a couple preamps) and was surprised that the sound was different. Through some experimentation I have since learned that both my sets of 7m XLRs are rolling off the highs and muddying up the bass - or put another way, apparently affecting the signal integrity to some degree.

    So I am now considering moving my equipment rack against the front wall between the speakers.

    How many of you have your equipment up front vs to the side (or other location)?

    If you've experimented with both, what do you prefer?
    48
    My rack is between my speakers
    52.08%
    25
    My rack is off to the side (or otherwise out of the way of the soundstage)
    47.92%
    23
    Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

  • #2
    I can't vote as I've never had my equipment off to the side. All of my rooms/setups through the years were never physically large or convenient enough to work with such a configuration. I have however worked with speaker placement and discovered that having them placed completely forward and unobstructed from the gear yielded much better results. There is considerably less congestion or confusion with regard to instrument separation/placement and bass is cleaner, quicker, faster...less muddiness. And while I don't have the ultimate in component quality, these improvements in presentation are fairly easy to identify. It would be interesting (for me anyway) to hear if having a setup moved to the side would yield improved benefits.
    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

    Comment


    • #3
      Having tried many racks between the speakers, I have always heard a negative impact on the imaging and can no longer tolerate that scenario. I always put the equipment on the side walls now. I also prefer to have the amp(s) between the speakers and run long interconnects. The trade off between better imaging and long interconnects is you must have great interconnects. High cost cables are no guarantee of performance, however, long ultra-high performance cables tend to be expensive. I use 7m balanced interconnects in my main reference listening room and 5m interconnects in my small room.
      Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
      Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
      Analog 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable w/ 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Silver Cube Phono Preamp
      Analog 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable w/ 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
      Analog 3: Studer A810 R2R tape w/ Bridge Console. Using built-in tape preamp
      Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
      Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
      A/C Power: Extensive System Upgrades, Sub-panel w/hard-wired power cables, and IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
      Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

      Comment


      • ashandger
        ashandger commented
        Editing a comment
        I have very similar setup with 25ft Transparent Ref MM interconnects and 8ft speaker cables. I am not 100% sure but I think Transparent may well take length into account when tuning the network for specific length and equipment.

      • Madfloyd
        Madfloyd commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes they most certainly do (same with MIT).

      • jfrech
        jfrech commented
        Editing a comment
        My dealer, who uses Transparent, tried 25ft interconnects, vs 25 ft speaker cables. All was done using Reference a few years ago. He preferred the long speaker cables...and today has 25ft Opus gen 5 speaker cables...your mileage my vary here and I suspect Transparent's tuning for length is important here also...

    • #4
      Ian-If you have 7 meter XLR cables and they are rolling off your highs and muddying up the bass, something is wrong. Did your system used to be made up of a balanced preamp and balanced amps and now you have switched to non-balanced circuits that happen to have XLR connectors?
      Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

      Comment


      • Guest's Avatar
        Guest commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm aware of balanced circuits and balanced interconnects,
        What is a balanced signal?

      • mep
        mep commented
        Editing a comment
        A balanced signal comes from a balanced component.

      • jfrech
        jfrech commented
        Editing a comment
        Are these cable results with your dCS to CAT gear? Isn't the CAT single ended? If so...things just may sound better with RCA's.

    • #5
      Wow, poll is 4-0. Myles, you need to vote.
      Magico M-Project, CAT JL7SE, CH Precision L1/X1/P1, Kronos Pro Limited Edition/SME 3012R/Atlas SL/Opus-1, Schiit Yggdrasil, ZenWave D4 ICs & SCs

      Comment


      • #6
        My experience with the rack between the speakers has been discussed before. I think it's important to have the front of the rack well behind the plane of the speaker fronts, and also ome acoustic treatment (absorption, diffusion, or a mix of both) between the speakers and the rack should be experimented with. Even if you have the rack on the side wall you probably want some acoustic treatments somewhere between the speakers, so I don't look at that as a real disadvantage of front wall rack placement.
        Tascam BR-20
        Modwright Oppo 205 full tube mod w/LPS
        Euphony Summus server, EtherRegen, HDPLEX LPS
        MSB Discrete DAC (dual PS, ISLPro, balanced out)
        Pass Labs INT60
        Daedalus Audio Apollo 11’s
        REL S3 (Kimber Kable connection)
        Daedalus/Wywires, Audioquest, Acoustic Zen, DH cables
        Torus IS5
        Stillpoints and IsoPods, Tube Traps, GIK

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        • #7
          The interesting question: is your preference based on sonics or saving money with shorter cables?

          Comment


          • #8
            Mine are on the side with 6m rca cables.

            I have 3 times tried between the speakers replacing the 6m ic with 1m ic. Zero difference in bass or treble extension. Focus and soundstage was worse.

            If one is experiencing roll off in the highs, time to replace the cables and/or pre amp.


            That said, I have certainly heard many awesome sounding systems with the gear in the middle - majority have been below tweeter level.
            Last edited by Metamatic; 03-02-2017, 07:32 PM.

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            • #9
              I may be misquoting here --but I recall reading Dave Wilson said nothing should be higher than the tweeter level.

              Centre positioned Gears

              Soc

              Comment


              • #10
                I have had my system both ways. Right now the stand is between the speakers. You can achieve outstanding results in this configuration but you need very careful attention to room treatment and seating/placement of components.

                I have heard more systems that sound outstanding with equipment situated between the speakers than the other way around---- this is just to say it is quite possible to achieve superb results with good set up techniques. The ideal is off to the side but racks between equipment doesn't have to be a deal breaker.

                Balanced interconnects and long runs inherently cancel noise & have better power supply noise rejection if the circuits they are connected to are truly differential input through output. ( more parts in true differential design can cause other problems) Theoretically, interconnects should not play into the effects you are hearing unless the wire is bandwidth limited- this is unlikely at audio frequencies despite what audiophiles would say.

                Good luck
                Phono: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
                Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas Lamda, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
                Amps: Custom Direct Drive, Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2. Bedini 25/25
                Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
                Speakers: Beveridge Model 3 Direct Drive amps, REL S/2 x 2, Quad ESL pair
                Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

                Comment


                • #11
                  I use a short...or to be more politcally correct..."vertically challenged" rack between the speakers and somewhat behind them. This permits me to keep my cable runs short.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    my current setup is against the back wall (or front wall depending on your perspective). I once had a HUGE dedicated listening space setup like a dealer showroom with the amp between the speakers or monos next to them with all the gear against the side wall. I never found one arrangement to be sonically superior and I've had more than a half dozen completely different listening rooms over the last 30+ years.
                    TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | Boulder | Magico

                    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

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                    • #13
                      I've posted lots of pictures of my dedicated stereo room over the years and due to the layout, my racks are behind the speakers against the front wall of the room. Do I hear any issues with the soundstage because of that? No. Does the room look cleaner if you have your gear on a side wall? Yes.
                      Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                      Comment


                      • Madfloyd
                        Madfloyd commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I do love the clean look with two tiny amps at the front and nothing else. I truly appreciated this when I sold my Pass XS-150 (4 boxes). But I am going to go through the trouble and move the rack - if only so it will allow me to audition single ended cables (try 'borrowing' a 7m cable from a dealer... good luck).

                    • #14
                      Due to a narrow room I have had the rack situated well behind the speakers. With the drivers of the Avalons 9 1/2 feet away from the front wall, the depth of soundstage has reached far behind the rack.
                      Avalon Time, Walker Proscenium, Koetsu Coralstone, Air Tight PC-1 Supreme, Goldfinger Statement, Dalby record weight, Kondo KSL-SFz step-up, Jadis JP80-MC...heavily modified, Convergent Audio JL-2 Black Path, Sony NS999 ES Modwright modded, full loom High Fidelity Ultimate cables, Rel S-5 sub, Stillpoints ultra and 5's, Shun Mook, Dalby footers, Critical Mass bases, Acoustic System Resonators, Magnum Dynalab Etude, Telefunkens throughout, assorted fuses, Furutech outlets, PurePower conditioner.

                      Comment


                      • #15
                        My setup must be unique, I have two racks, one between and behind the speakers and one off the the side. I have the power amp in the front rack as well as tuners, cassette deck, cd player, cd changer, sacd player, dvda player, video monitor. On the side racks I have the two turntables, preamp, dac, head amp, cd recorder, R2R. I use short speaker cables and long interconnect leads on the preamp outputs.
                        Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                        Comment


                        • MylesBAstor
                          MylesBAstor commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Well technically I have two racks. The Craz with the table, phono, preamp, power supply between the speakers and my R2R and electronics in a Symposiun Isis rack to the front right of the speaker. Longest IC run of my system. 15 ft.
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