Adjusting speaker positioning. What, if anything, to expect?

I am going to adjust my Magico A3’s positioning a little bit to try to optimize their performance and the listening experience. Due to the logistics of the room they’re in, there’s only a limited amount I can move them. I’ll describe the room and what I can do within those limitations. I’m wondering what improvement I might be able to achieve with adjusting positioning.

The room is approximately 14’ x 22’. There is a high vaulted ceiling. about 15’ at it’s peak centered in the room on its horizontal axis. Picture how kindergarten child draws a house. That’s the shape of a cross section of the room and vaulted ceiling.. The speakers are located about 8’ apart centered on the long wall. The front of the A3’s are only out 22" from the wall, the rear of the speakers only 9" from the wall. That can’t be helped. The prime listening position is on a couch about 10’ out from and facing the same wall, also centered. The components are on shelves centered and built into the same long wall the speakers are on. There are some other furnishings, and books above built-in cabinets, line most of the other three walls.

I can move the speakers about a foot farther apart or closer together, and I can change their toe-in. What changes, if any, might I be expecting or hope to achieve moving the speakers within these limited parameters? Could the sound-stage be affected? I’m not sure what the sound-stage should be like anyway. Should it extend to the left or right outside the speakers, or be mainly between the speakers? Right now depending on the recording the vocals and instruments are usually between or no further apart than the actual speakers. Could the treble, midrange, or bass response be augmented or diminished depending on positioning? Are there any other factors that may be affected by positioning alone? Thank you for any guidance and please feel free to ask any questions. Thanks,

@skyscraper Well, man, sometimes the truth hurts, right?

Being openly prejudiced is one of my many, many failings in life, but hey, you only go around once, right (as far as we know, anyway,,,) so you might as well have the best!

Obviously this is all meant as lighthearted fun...whatever speakers you have will need to be set-up carefully IN YOUR ROOM, and you should audition whatever equipment you are thinking of buying in that same room.

Speaker set-up is sometimes difficult, and the various ways presented here are probably OK.  Stereophile had a CD for setup at one time, I believe, and even my Denon home theatre system came with a microphone to help me set it up IN MY ROOM, although I made some manual changes later.

The point is, obviously, use whatever you can to help you obtain the sound of the music that YOU love.

It just happens that Maggies are the only way to get the BEST sound...uh oh, here we go again!


Tomico60 and asvjerry, OK, I did google Fibbo sequence and came up with the Fibonnacci sequence. I’m guessing this is what you are talking about. Said something about the golden rule be an example. My golden rule is do unto others....... and leave the math to someone else. I’d get hopelessly lost doing it in forward, much less reverse. I could likely figure it out, but rather go to the dentist for another root canal.

Geoffkait, I will get that XLO test CD, check it out and report back.. My options for speaker placement are severely limited if you recall ,and there will be no room treatments. I’ll probably not be able to achieve sound coming from all over the room. The only time I’ve had that effect was quite recently with a Sonny Rollins record newly purchased. Oddly enough the piano on one track clearly was positioned on the center of a side wall, maybe eight feet out from the left speaker and a few feet behind an upholstered chair . It was a quite startling and weird effect. Can a recording or one instrument be recorded out of phase to cause that effect? That’s the only recording that’s ever done anything like that. I played it twice even it was so odd with the same result.

Elliot, The Magico A3’s are on spikes and the spikes came with small metal discs they sit on to protect the oak flooring. They do slide on the floor fairly easily and I’ve only a small distance to work with for speaker placement, but thank you for the link to the wheeled dolly/stand anyway. I could try them without the spikes or other decoupling options though, and see if that offers any improvement. I hadn’t considered doing that.

Richopp, I did audition some Magneplanars back in 1976 when I got my old Dahlquist DQ10’s. They sounded good, but were big as doors and the WAF ruled out their purchase. The much smaller, but still substantial size of the DQ10’s bought me enough grief over the years as it is.

I’m glad you’re pleased with your Maggies. They must sound great. I’ll have to content myself with the speakers I’m burdened with now, having made a mistaken speaker choice twice in a row. Due to the intentional and misleading name similarity I might have been confused thinking Magico’s were Maggies.

I will play around with the Magico A3’s positioning some as you described to wean the last bit of musicality out of them.Then thanks to your clearing up my thinking on this matter, my next speaker purchase, planned for 2060, will definitely be for Maggies. Thanks


IMHO: you cannot do this alone - you need at least * one helper *...

Start by setting up by mathematical equilaterial GOLDEN TRIANGLE FORMULA, based on "The Spot" you plan to listen from. ACTUALLY MEASURE IT OUT TO START

Position speakers where you think they should be - from back and side walls

"Toe-In" - stand behind speaker and 'aim it' at that spot (mirror image, both with the same angle toward the listener. MARK IN CHALK AS #1

Play a 30-60 second repeat of sound (music, whatever) you are more than familiar with: repeat 3-4 times - with a good 5second in between plays.YOU LISTEN AND ONLY YOU LISTEN. WRITE DOWN YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSIONS...

Have your "helper" adjust each speaker (obviously do with both speakers) out away from the direct line you started from, in about 1/4" increments. MARK ON THE FLOOR/CARPET/WHATEVER in chalk #2... Repeat the listening repetition and WRITE DOWN YOUR IMPRESSIONS ( BIGGER WIDER DEEPER SOUNDSTAGE; MORE FORCEFUL BASS; LESS FOCUS OF VOCAL; LESS REAL: WHATEVER YOU ACTUALLY HEAR)

Repeat above procedure moving speakers more away from initial position...

The most important caveat for any initial listening experiences are: IS YOUR EQUIPMENT AND ALL CABLES AND CORDS BROKEN IN ?

@skyscraper Sorry to hear that you were not able to get into Maggies due to size.  I completely understand as this occurred many times back in the day when I had my shop.  We also made solid wood cabinets and furniture for housing equipment, and I can tell you that there were many "discussions" in the shop about what was acceptable and what was not.

Today, Magnepan has many different models of various sizes, but I get that you are keeping what you have.

I am sure you will eventually get them positioned to your satisfaction and be sure to keep enjoying the music, which is what this is all about.


Jim Smith's book, Get Better Sound, ~$40, IMHO, is the best setup method I know of. Lots of other tips as well. I spent an afternoon with Jim in his music room, relatively modest system, best sound I've ever heard, a real eyeopener.