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?

Woody Battle's picture

The biggest room in my house has to function as both a living room and as a listening room. This places some real-world constraints on speaker placement. Speaker placement and room acoustics are fine-tuned over a very long time period.

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

I start with the speakers far out in the room and then move them closer to the front wall until I think the bass and perspective have a nice balance.

Will Weber's picture

I use knowledge of acoustical physics, critical listening, and am just starting to employ an RTA. My room geometry is complicated, though. The sound usually gets better as I tweak!

Doug Gilbert's picture

My room for listening is a series of angles and hard surfaces. Placement takes a long time, then I end up switching stuff and it takes an even longer time. I guess that's the nature of a "hobby."

Austin Kuipers's picture

I use no more than 1/4" toe-in in the front to compensate for the room. If the speaker demands it, that's another issue entirely. For a "conventional" speaker, I like my ears between the mids and tweeters, tending towards one or the other based on trying different positions. I never use the same distance between tweeter/front wall and tweeter/side wall. Oddly, that never sounds right, although I try it every time. I've found a rear-ported speaker needs to be farther than a non-rear-ported speaker from the front wall. Every time you toe the speakers in, move them a tiny bit closer to the side wall to see what it does. If you add a sub, add two. Placement on those is by trial and error, for me at least.

craig's picture

First, read any advice that comes with a new set of speakers. Blend this information with the basics. If your room size allows it, stay away from the front and side walls and have your listening position centered between the speakers and away from the rear wall. Hopefully, the dimensions of your room will not create any highly objectionable resonances from the particular speakers you are using. Good luck and God speed.

chris's picture

Geometry + acoustic measurement software + analysis. Then, fine-tuning in long, painstaking listening sessions.

Kevin Freney's picture

Common sense gets you close. Listening gets you the rest of the way.

Mike Eschman's picture

If you use the same listening room for 20+ years, you know where speakers fit.

Greg's picture

My stereo speaker placement is mostly governed by the room decor. Thankfully, I generally have the speakers about 6'-7' apart on each side of the fireplace and about 1'-2' out into the room. This usually leads to a very satisfactory performance. In my upstairs surround theater, that too is pretty much governed by the room decor. I have the front speakers about 6' apart on opposite sides of my Pioneer 60" plasma with the center channel underneath. The two rear speakers are also about 7' apart on either side of the sofa.

danno's picture

I space them wide, point them in, pull them out from the walls as much as practical without getting the way of traffic, and equalize the rest. YMMV.

Chuckit's picture

A recommendation that has worked for me like a charm: Keep the speakers at least 3' from the side walls. Any other rules of thumb are omitted by me.

Luke's picture

What is most important for me is the distance between speakers and front wall (usually 4' to 5'). Then I adjust the distance between the speakers (6' to 8') and slight toe-in (less distance between speakers = less toe-in). Obviously, this is relative to the listening room.

Mike Jarve's picture

I just fiddle for hours, days, or weeks until it "sounds like it should." Beyond that, I don't use any particular equipment or other guidance.

Nathan Rader's picture

My speakers are rarely in an optimum position, due to apartment living. Some places are better than others.

Bob Gibbons's picture

I never really put much thought into subwoofer placement. I had a sofa centered on the side wall, and the sub just went next to it. When the plate-amp in the sub went out for the second time, I hooked an old 10W Sansui receiver that I paid $4 for at a thrift store to the subwoofer, if only to see if the little Sansui still worked. It put out barely audible thumping from the massive woofer, and I was about to give up on it as a sub amp. Just for kicks, I moved the sub about 9" closer to the front wall and about 8" farther out from the sides, and I was stunned to hear the cleanest, deepest, most well-defined bass I had ever heard in my home. I never heard bass this good, even when the 1000W plate amp was working. I became a firm believer in the power of proper speaker placement.

Isaac's picture

I have the left and right speakers toed-in with the couch back the perfect distance from them, making a upside down triangle pattern. And don't forget all the other fine-tuning stuff involved, like room treatment and becoming very familiar with the RadioShack sound meter.

Rick Lee's picture

I moved my 12" and 15" subs, main speakers, and accessory tweeter array every morning back when my ears were fresh. I used Famous Blue Raincoat by Jennifer Warnes, various test tones and microphone meters, and a few select tracks that featured mono and stereo, natural voices and instruments and bass and drums. This happened for four years until I knew my main room. The sound of music pouring off it has made friends burst into song. Or they start shouting and exclaiming, "What have you done—I never heard anything like this, my God." Everything ever recorded sounds worth listening to and some of it makes you weep, it is so beautiful. Sue me.

Al Earz's picture

I place them where they sound the best without upsetting the routes of traffic. Unfortunately, I cannot place my speakers exactly where they sound the best or I'll block a door. Maybe, as I grow in my hermit ways, I may move them someday.

Stephen Curling's picture

I start with a general placement. Then I go park my butt in the chair for a few minutes then move one speaker a hair, then sit back down. I do this for a little while, then leave it. A week or month later after more listening, I'll move another speaker just a bit. The sequence continues with increasing increments of time until it's just right. Maybe a full year before it's set up right.

Anonymous's picture