Vivid Audio's Speakers -- Toed In or Not?

To Doug Schneider,

I just read your review about the Vivid Audio B1 Decade speakers. I have the Vivid Audio V1.5 SE speakers. In my speakers, they used the same [drive] units as in the B1 series. My question to you is this one: Did you have any toe-in at all? Did you really play with the speakers [pointing] straight forward?

When I toe in my speakers, the voice of the singer is tight in the middle. Do you have the same experience with you speakers straight forward? Can you explain to me why straight forward should be a better option?

Thanks for you time and effort.

Fonz Vorselaars
The Netherlands

To toe speakers in (or even out) or not depends entirely on the design of it. When I had Vivid’s B1 and B1 Decade speakers here (at different times, mind you), they sounded ideal with no toe-in. I think that’s because when I sat in my listening chair, I was about 20 degrees off-axis from the tweeters. Since the B1 models are very wide-dispersion designs, I was still getting enough treble energy, and, since I had the speakers fairly far from the sidewalls both times, the reflections from those walls weren’t messing up the tonal balance or the soundstaging and imaging.

I’ve haven’t listened to the V1.5 SE carefully, but I’m going to take two guesses at what might be happening to you. First, Vivid’s V1.5 and V1.5 SE each have a waveguide on the tweeter, to help better match that driver’s dispersion with the dispersion of the midrange-woofer. That waveguide might be taming down the high-frequency off-axis response by just a little bit. As a result, you might not be getting the kind of treble energy I was getting with both B1 models, which is why, for you, they sound better toed in -- more of the direct energy from the speakers is coming right at you. The second guess has to do with distance to the sidewalls. I don’t know your room at all, but if speakers are too close to the sidewalls, as I mentioned above, the reflections can sometimes cause problems with the tonal balance, as well as the soundstaging and imaging. Toeing the speakers in can remedy the situation a little bit by channeling more of the direct output from each speaker to the listener rather than the walls. I hope that helps. . . . Doug Schneider