Best 2 ch. speaker placement algorithm.

What instructions have given you the best/quickest results?
What sound or music do you use? Do you need an SPL meter? Calculator? Bottle of wine?
I'd like to see them written out in steps.
1 good friend...2 is a bonus....3 is too many
1 bottle glen morangie scotch....speaker placememt requires strong fortifying drink
Place speakers a reasonable length apart...wider for speakers known to have a wide soundstage
Make sure that the speakers are different distances away from the back wall and the side wall.The exact distances differ depending on the speaker long as the speakers are not equidistant from the back and side walls. Spread the speakers as much as possible till you start seeingthe center image lose focus....that is too wide. then move them in small increments towards and away from the rear wall until the bass is sharp, full but not muddy. Next I concentrate on the midrange tonality and dial in the center image using toe in.

This is very simplified. To make it more simpler, first I test how wide a soundstage can be managed by increasing the speaker spread. Then I get an idea of the interaction with the back wall then I work on teh midrange and high and use them to fine tune.

Not to listen the value of my comments but Iam quite sure however that others will have a much better method than I so I will be hoping for some other inputs.

Jdwek's directions are right in the ballpark. I would simply add that using a solo singer with your preamp set to mono ( if possible ) is a GREAT way to determine the width of the speakers. When you no longer have a central image and are hearing independent left and right signals, your TOO spread out. Move them back inward until they are as far out while still be centralized in terms of imaging.

Once you've got the spacing dialed in, work on the tonal balance and bass definition. By varying the distance of the speakers from the wall behind them, you will be altering where the speakers are located in terms of room nodes. As such, you will be highlighting and minimizing certain frequency ranges. Stop when it sounds the cleanest and clearest while still mainting good body and weight in the bottom end. If you've got monitors on adjustable stands, you will also have to play with their height at this point in time.

Once you've got speaker seperation and bass reinforcement / cancellation dialed in, you'll have to fine tune the sweet spot / soundstage / imaging of the system. This is done by adjusting the "firing angle" of the speakers in regards to your listening position. Toe'ing the speakers in will increase treble detail, widen the sweet spot and make every recording sound "hotter" but can also increase listening fatigue and reduce soundstage width. Running the speakers "flat faced" or "firing forward" can widen the soundstage and reduce brightness, but can also minimize a noticeably "strong" sweet spot. Your looking for a good balance of all of the above. Quite honestly, i think that a good soundstage outweighs a "hot" sweet spot but that is simply my take on the situation. To me, a hot sweet spot is good if you are the ONLY person that will be listening to the system. A good soundstage with solid imaging can be heard in several different seating locations.

Keep in mind that altering the speakers position will also play games with your primary reflection points, so you might have to adjust any room treatments that you have accordingly.

Once you feel comfortable with what you have, start all over again : ( Since your somewhere CLOSE to the final position now, the speakers may need to come together closer / be spread out slightly, moved forward or back, etc... All of these individual adjustments have changed slightly since you first started because one adjustment DOES affect the others.

This is the approach that i've found to work best with any room or speaker combo. All of the "placement formula's" deal with "perfect" rooms in terms of relatively "normal" measurements and speakers with "standard" dispersion patterns. Since many rooms have irregular openings, alcove's, furniture placement, etc... and many speakers do not follow the old "direct front firing dispersion patterns" and are bipolar, dipolar, semi-omnidirectional, etc... the results using placement formulas are less than stellar. Formula's will work for people that are blessed with rooms that were designed by somewhat "intelligent" architects and make use of conventional speakers though. The rest of us are out of luck and simply have to "play" with the system until we can get what we're looking for out of it. Hope this helps somewhat.... Sean

PS.... You might be surprised at the difference that changes in electronics and cabling can make on speaker placement.
Thanks Sean, I was hoping you would see this thread and post.
...continued from Silver Lace Revisited: Out went the adjacent wall HT setup, love seat and coffee table. Did the math from the Cardas site and marked the carpet with masking tape; transferred the measurements from a ruler to the tape with the boundaries the Cardas position from sidewall and Cardas to Stereophile article front and back. The former is width*.477, the latter, ceiling height*5/18. A 7" difference. Right on the Cardas result is the best position re: sidewall. Good center fill and cymbals not as localised to the speakers. Big improvement in piano not migrating unnaturally right to left as frequencies change.
Amazing differences in string bass sound as speakers were moved to the Cardas distance from the front wall but the soundstage worsened a bit. Moving them a little closer to the front wall a la stereophile improved the image and maintained the impact and tunefulness of the bass. I was very surprised that the bass actually improved further away from the wall as before.(Meadowlark Kestrels with rear-ported quasi-transmission line)
Not there yet, still playing with toe-in and listening position. The equilateral triangle isn't working for me; so far, about 12" more than the distance between speakers is good, then the next 12" away is poorer and the image improves as the distance becomes greater for about 18".
All this is also in-line with the Wilson method of walking around the room, clapping and talking loudly to oneself.
Oh the lengths we go to! I hadn't intended to take a day off but I guess Dr. Schmidlap will just have to wait for his Cherry Roanoke Postal Desk. This is important.
See Audio Aylum FAQ for references to Cardas and Wilson sites.
Following the above posts, all I can contribute is a difficult mono voice recording: Schubert, "Winterreise" by Hans Hotter (CD, Gramophono 2000 AB 78725). Average (to say the least) recording, remastered in Cedar whatever. Hotter has a very expressive voice, not too chesty, clearly vibrating. Good for speaker distance. Chesky's "ears" a capella track is good for front-to-back gauging.

For the rest, no better than the above...