Optimizing Speaker Placement

How to arrange your speakers for the optimal listening experience. Written in plain English - no technical jargon.

Getting your speaker placement right is up there in the list of things people just don’t do. Ecstatic with their new purchases, people often rush home, put things where they fit and sit back and enjoy the listening experience. More often than not, that experience is very pleasurable. But it could be better if you follow these simple tips.

5 Tips On Getting Speaker Placement Right

They should be what the rest of your room revolves around. The speakers should be at the front of all your equipment. Too often I see photographs of turntables sitting in front of speakers. Remember that turntable needles vibrate in the groove of the record to create sound. The needle will vibrate when blasted with sound, and not transmit what’s on the record as perfectly as it could.

The speakers should be at a height that allows the tweeters to be at the listener’s ear level. The tweeters are the smaller speakers that you can see if you remove the grill. They transmit the higher pitched sounds, and without getting in to the physics of it, you will be able to hear these sounds best if they sit at ear level.

The width of the speakers is extremely important and is the most frequently overlooked aspect of hifi set up. I would hazard a guess that at least 25% of readers of this article do not have their speakers set up wide enough. Without width, you have no soundstage (that ‘enveloping’ aspect of sound). Of course, if you’re in a small room, there’s nothing much you can do.

The speakers should face towards the listener slightly, rather than pointing straight ahead. Think of a straight line coming directly from the front of your speakers – the lines should meet at your head. This creates equal balance between both left and right speakers.

Where the speakers are in relation to the room’s walls is also worthy of attention. Placing speakers right next to a wall will often increase the bass experienced resulting in a muddied sound, as lower frequency sounds are communicated by solid objects. Positioning the speakers according to the space you have is the most subjective aspect of speaker placement, and no hard rules apply. Mess around with a few different configurations and see what works in your environment.

speaker placement

These speakers should be elevated on stands!

Take The Time to Optimize Speaker Placement!

Speaker placement isn’t difficult, and can vastly improve your listening experience. I highly recommend spending half an hour fiddling around with your speaker placement to find out what works for you.

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