Not a new Kamasutra technique, 22 refers to a mention in one of my previous show reports. I had thereby referred to DeHavilland's diagonal room setup as a 22-degree arrangement since it seemed oriented at about half of a 45-degree angle. DeHavilland has repeated this array for each show I've seen them at since. Without fail, their exhibits have become predictable for always making stupendous sound.

Marja & Henk recently had to change the layout of their Rotterdam loft because the Dutch taxman had changed the rules as they pertain to self-employed people who work out of their home. Owning Avantgarde Duos and finding themselves simultaneously challenged to perhaps make do with a physically smaller area for their main listening area, the two remembered 22 as they've drawn it out above.

In defiance of common thinking that speaker setup has to be perfectly symmetrical with regards to sidewall and frontwall distance, there are good reasons why symmetry within the room can exasperate rather than tame room modes. Especially with highly directional speakers like the Avantgardes -- off-axis dispersion is only about 15% and seriously attenuated -- the main aspect to get perfect is symmetry between speakers and listener. You want to duplicate the path length of each speaker to your ears within better than 1/8". You want to do the same for toe-in to be exactly the same for both speakers.

Symmetry is very important but not necessarily how you thought about it. The speaker/listener triangle (either equilateral or elongated) must be geometrically precise. However, it can be rotated within a square or rectangular room or its center line moved off the room's center line.

If Marja & Henk's experience and that of many tradeshow exhibitors are any indication, symmetry within asymmetry is the ticket especially in smaller scenarios. Spanning a corner in a shallow angle can create surprising stage depth without moving the speakers far into the room.

Our Dutch friends report that this tax-law enforced change in their domestic audiophile life has all been for the better. Their system now takes up less real estate and not only performs as well but better than before. Fellow moonie Jeff Day recently took possession of his first-ever home and is presently experimenting with different setups for his primary HiFi rig (also with Avantgarde Duos). He will try out the more conventional short-wall and long-wall straight-ahead scheme as well as our crooked 22 trick and report back on how these layouts compare and which one works best for him. If you're unhappy with the sound you're making or have less floor space than you deem ideal, consider this particular setup. Who knows - you may find ecstasy as did Marja & Henk, DeHavilland at CES and Cain & Cain at RMAF 2004.