Do you have a specific method for optimizing speaker placement or do you guess and fiddle?

Do you have a specific method for optimizing speaker placement or do you guess and fiddle?
I've got it down to a science
13% (10 votes)
I've got a general approach
62% (48 votes)
I have a tip or two
9% (7 votes)
I just guess
13% (10 votes)
I don't care about speaker placement
3% (2 votes)
I only use headphones or my computer speakers
1% (1 vote)
Total votes: 78

Do you feel you have developed skills for placing speakers in a room, or do you plunk them down, shuffle them around, and hope for the best?

jt's picture

Yes, I invite my buddy who is into this over. He brings a microphone and stand, a CD, and a laptop with the analysis programs. You play the pink noise, capture it on the computer, and look at the graphs. Then move the speakers and try again.

Roy E.'s picture

Thiel 2.2s: 4' out from the long wall, 9' apart, equilateral triangle to sweet spot; no toe-in.

Taking Your Advice's picture

Your speaker reviews are informative in this regard, so I'll pass along a "thank you."

Bubba Bubbalinski's picture

Use your dog. When ol' Blue starts howling in the sweet spot I know I got it.

Michael Chernay's picture

Usually start by getting a general placement of the speakers. I make sure they are symetrical in the room, using a measuring tape. Then I'll use a laser level to toe in the speakers so that the axes of the speakers are aimed at the same point. After the initial setup i will adjust the toe in, and speaker position to optimize sound.

Craig's picture

With large floorstanding speakers, which I have, this is a problem to be solved every time I move. Fortunately I don't move often. I start with the manufacturer

Robert Hamel's picture

I have a general approach that I go through. I try to keep them away from the walls and also don't put them in even positions like 1/4 down the wall. Try to use odd fractional measurements of the rooms dimensions trying to avoid resonances. Use the old Roy Allison method of no two dimensions being the same as far as back wall, side wall, and floor measured from the woofer center. I will listen to low end content first to get what I feel is a good general location and then work from there. I set the speakers up on stands to get the tweeters near my seated ear height and then start with no toe-in. I will gradually toe-in and change distance to see what happens. I have a couple of recordings I use to set up like the Delos HT Disk and Peter Gabriel's Up and Roger Waters' Amused to Death as examples. I also have a chair I use so I can adjust my seated height to fine tune things. Works for me.

Dimitris Gogas's picture

If you get your first pair of speakers right, it's easy to make any necessary adjustments afterwards. But god knows how much time and effort I had spent on that first pair.

Mike Agee's picture

This time I used odd division points (3rds and 5ths) of the room's dimensions and experimented. Luckily, two of the 4-5 possible practical positions yielded both great imaging and smooth bass, I chose one but could switch to the other if needed. One confusing issue: What point within the speaker footprint do I locate above the odd division marks? My speakers have three woofers; front, back, and downward firing. I experimented and ended up thinking the point just under the front woofer magnet was best. Am I sure? Not really, but with 120 lb speakers and thick cables I am not anxious to experiment with all the variables again.

S.Davies's picture

The old reliable equilateral triangle set up with the speakers toed in toward the listening position.

Gerald Neily's picture

Here's my procedure. I shuffle them around. Then they sound better for a while. Then I start hearing something wrong again. Then I repeat the process. I don't mind this because shuffling the speakers is cheaper than swapping them.

Ned Wolfe's picture

There is no guessing when it comes to speaker placement for a good system, especially in a dedicated room. Several years ago, there was a great sidebar article in Stereophile on speaker placement using a sound meter. I wish I could find that article again, but I do remember the procedure and have used it very successfully with the Rives CD. With some additional tweaking, it's now optimal.

Doug McCall's picture

I put'em where they look right. Then I listen and measure. Unless there's a problem, that's where they stay. If there is a problem, I'll move either the speakers or listening position about six inches one way or another, then listen and measure again. If I'm still not satisfied, I just keep movin' and measurin' till I am.

James Madore, PEI CANADA's picture

I use the Cardas website calculator for their golden ratio theory. it places my speakers 6' out in the room and 3.5' from the side walls. and it has made me smile like never before

Serpieri's picture

The Audio Physics standard.

Homer's picture

You have to try harder to make the sound bad than to make the sound great. My speakers sound excellent parallel, toed and every other way. The only way they sound boomy or congested is to stick them in a corner or flush agains a wall.

Mike's picture

I use Tracks 17 and 18 (for reference tone) on Stereophile Test CD3 to get the bass response as flat as possible, then use track 10 to dial in the imaging. While not perfect, I generally get pretty good results with many speakers.

frank's picture

pretty standardized stuff. processor setup is more important to fine tune.

Norm Strong's picture

I simply ask my wife, "Where can I put the speakers?" She lays out the parameters and I choose the best of the few available spots. That's where they go.

Anonymous's picture

Limitation of placement options due to room size and furniture.

Tom Warren's picture

I received some advice from my salesman on placement of my speakers as he paid me a visit a few years ago. I had been pretty lost before that. He advised me to pull my speakers out from the back wall and into the listening room. Good advise. Since then I have been playing around with placement. spreading out and moving closer and back out. I now have the best sound stage ever with great imaging. I

John O'Meara's picture

I use the speaker manual suggestions as a starting point, then go from there with speaker placement and room treatments.

Mark Miller's picture

It really depends on the configuration of the room, where the speakers and related equipment will comfortably fit, and living space. I am not one of the fortunatel few who has a devoted "media room"

Chris Kantack's picture

General approaches such as those outlined in Robert Harley's "The Complete Guide to High End Audio" are a great starting point. But I've learned that it never hurts to experiment with other placement arrangements. Multi-speaker (multi-channel) set ups can be especially difficult to set up optimally.


I followed some basic guidelines to speaker placement and found that made a significant improvement in my system. It really does work. (This also included using the spikes that came with the speakers.)

Darryl Harris's picture

I generally use speaker manufacturers' recommendations—with compromises based on room shape. I'm not sure if I've got it right or not; my imaging is not that great at present. Is that my old speakers or is it placement?

Thinkbrown's picture

I usually use the isosceles triangle method. The distance between the listener and the speakers is X, the distance between the speakers is 2/3X. I toe them in so the tweeters point just behind the main listening area.

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

Speaker placement isn't brain surgery; there is a lot of wiggle room.

Nodaker's picture

I find the spot where I think they'll work best and then simply move them around until I find the place they actually do work best. Also, playing with room acoustic treatments at the same time is necessary (ie, move corner traps closer to the corner or further out, move bass traps, etc).

Rob's picture

I have placed them symmetrically—with a TV in the middle for at least the last 20 years—and as far apart as is feasible and with moderate toe-in. What else would you do?