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deafjam
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Floorstanding speaker placement

Should floorstanding speakers only be placed on the floor, or is it ok to place them atop a lowboy cabinet or credenza?

I plan on purchasing the KEF iQ9 floorstanding speakers, and they will be placed in the media niche in my room. My media niche is about 80" wide, 30" deep, and 80" high. I planned on placing the speakers at the ends of the niche. Between the speakers would be a lowboy cabinet or credenza for the components and other storage.

My wife prefers to purchase a lowboy cabinet or credenza that spans the entire width of the media niche. As a result, I would need to place the speakers atop the cabinet. Is this acceptable placement for the speakers?

I take issue with placing the speakers atop the cabinet because the tweeters would be about a foot above my head when I'm sitting in my typical listening area.

I'd love to get some advice and suggestions.

bifcake
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

I don't think it's a good idea placing the speakers on the credenza. The floor standing speakers usually produce much more bass than bookshelves and the low frequencies produced by the speaker will reverberate within the cabinet. This will create a rattling sound and colorations. There is also the issue of boundary re-enforcement by the walls of the credenza.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

It would seem to be an obvious question; why are you buying floorstanding speakers if you aren't going to put them on the floor? If you are going to place the speakers in what amounts to a standmounted position, why not buy standmount speakers? I can only suggest using the appropriate speaker for the desired location.

Few speakers built today prefer a location that places them in a confined shelf or against a wall or cabinet. To obtain the best performance from most speakers on the market, you should have some breathing room around the speaker in all directions save the floor for floorstanding designs. But placing a floorstanding speaker, with its assumed lower frequency extension and more powerful last octave response on what amounts to a box will result in the box becoming a part of the speaker system and resonating along with the speaker. KEF has gone to great lengths to minimize cabinet resonances, so putting them right back in the system with this sort of placement is largely defeating the purpose of buying a better speaker. Placing the tweeter above ear level might not be disastorous but certainly isn't recommended. If the speakers are against a rear/side wall, the bass response from a floorstanding speaker will suffer from poorly defined quality and an overabundance of lumpy, mushy thuds rather than tight, tuneful, well defined notes. I would expect you to be quite disappointed in the sound quality with this arrangement. Placing them on top of the lowboy cabinet will only exacerbate the wall placement issues.

If the floorstanding speakers cannot be propely placed, I would opt for smaller speakers that can more easily accommodate the location and then buying a subwoofer to add bass extension and power for a HT system. If this is a strictly for music system, I would still go with the satellites and subwoofer though you might want to use the speakers on stands rather than shelf placement. Either way, I would hope you are working with a dealer knowledgeable enough to provide some guidance on speaker selection and placement.

dbowker
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

I agree- floor standers on a cabinet is a bad idea. Any speaker on a cabinet is not a great idea anyway, but definitely spike them (with under cups to protect the wood of course)if that's the only choice you have. You could put a half inch piece of granite tile underneath also to act as a barrier to resonant interaction between the two objects. If not, you may get some pretty mushy bass.

deafjam
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

Thanks for confirming what I thought would be a poor decision in placing the floorstanding speakers above a cabinet. I planned on purchasing the floorstanding speakers because I liked the sound of them best. However, my wife's insistence on having a media niche built a certain way has affected the speaker purchase.

If I have no choice but to put speakers above a cabinet, it seems that bookshelf speakers on stands would be all right. Is this correct?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

With the information provided, I would say yes.

bobedaone
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

You might do even better to buy a pair of wall-mount brackets in lieu of stands. Given the necessarily close placement relative to the wall, it would probably be a good idea to buy a front-ported design, or one that does not pump out a lot of bass. Within your limitations (jeez, women and their acoustically irreverent design criteria, eh?), a pair of monitors and a subwoofer is likely the most flexible and sonically favorable arrangement.

Sorry to hear you're having this glitch with your niche.

Just curious, would it be possible to work with your wife at all to see if you could find a piece of furniture that is both the appropriate size and attractive? IMHO, putting speakers on top of a cabinet is a much bigger sacrifice than learning to like a shorter cabinet. I'm all for aesthetics, but not at the expense of sound. I read Architectural Digest AND Stereophile.

I'm not calling the iQ9 an ugly duckling, but would she yield a bit more if the speakers were really dressed to the nines? By that I mean, would she give a really handsome pair some real estate on the floor? If so, I'd point you toward Monitor Audio or Aperion. I don't mean to contradict your speaker choice, which I'm sure is the result of careful listening. ANY solution that avoids cabinet placement would be a step forward, though, imo.

Good luck! I hope you're able to work something out.

deafjam
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

Thanks for all the comments on my situation. I showed the comments to my wife, and she is now convinced that we should not have a built-in media cabinet made for the niche/alcove in the room if the media cabinet encases the speakers or causes the speakers to have to be placed atop any cabinet.

Instead, I will use a credenza I already have in the house. I'll place the speakers slightly in front (outside) of the media niche then place the credenza between the speakers. Luckily the credenza's interior dimensions can accomodate my receiver, cd/dvd player, and additional media storage.

Hopefully this will result in acceptable sound from the system. If not, I can always put the credenza back then consider another piece of furniture.

Let me know if you think this placement creates any major problems.

bobedaone
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Re: Floorstanding speaker placement

That's sure to sound orders of magnitude better, deafjam. I'm glad that you and your wife were able come up with an agreeable solution!

The main thing to keep in mind when you're positioning your new speakers is that they were designed to "roam free". Anything you can do to give them a little breathing room is a good thing. That being said, I live in a small apartment, so I know that the room is often a limiting factor. If it looks classy and you're able to get most of the audio performance that you paid for, then you're in good shape.

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