Speaker Placement & Positioning

Learn about the art of positioning loudspeakers: good speaker placement lets you to get the best performance from your speakers & the whole audio system.

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Positioning and placement of loudspeakers enables the very best to be gained from their performance.

Often the speaker placement is a matter of compromise - it can often be an after-thought. A little planning when the room is beings et out can enable the best performance to be gained - more than investing in a better amplifier or better cables.

Good speaker placement can mean that costly upgrades to bet better performance may not be needed.

Speaker placement in real rooms

The dream of many people is to have a room where they can listen to their favourite music in the perfect environment.

For most people the reality is that the speakers will need to be placed into a normal living room which cannot be set up as am ideal home theatre location.

Fortunately many loudspeaker systems are designed so that they will operate perfectly well when placed in this type of room. They key is to position the loudspeakers well; spending a little time on the loudspeaker placement.

Guidelines for speaker placement and positioning

Hints and tips on speaker placement and positioning:

  • Use the length of the room:   If possible the loudspeakers should be placed within the room so that they play along its length. Ideally the main listening chair or sofa should ideally be placed nearer the middle of the room and not too close to the back wall. This will help with surround sound if that is to be used, and it will also help minimise the effect of reflections from the back walls.
  • Keep the front of the speakers clear:   It is surprising how easy it is for objects to be set down in front of the loudspeakers. This will significantly degrade the sound and the listening experience.
  • Place speakers at ear level:   It is interesting to note that loudspeakers perform to their best when they are positioned so that they are at about ear height. The treble in particular can be directional, so placing he speakers very low down of high up can reduce the effect. Bass is much less affected and this is why sub-woofers may often be placed out of site without too much performance degradation.
  • Leave space behind speakers:   Try to leave space between the wall and the speaker. Positioning the speaker away fromth e wall will give an improvement in the mid-range and mid-bass.
  • Keep subwoofers away from corner   Subwoofers are often used with surround sound systems. Even though the placement on these speakers may be not quite as critical as other speakers it is wise to keep them out of corners. Place the subwoofer at least 30cm from a corner to prevent unnecessary reverberation with its resultant booming.
  • Place shelf speakers on foam:   In many rooms it is necessary to place speakers on a bookshelf - there are also many good bookshelf loudspeakers. To get the best performance from them, they can be placed on a layer of foam or a similarly absorptive material. This reduces the reverberation of the shelf and helps isolate the sounds that do not contribute to the overall experience.

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