Corner Placement

My visit to Capital Audiofest last weekend reminded me that the Audio Note speakers with their corner placement are always one of the more enjoyable listens at these shows.

It got me wondering more both about the speakers and corner placement.

Corner placement done well is clearly good for bass levels but not so good for depth of soundstage.  That seems to be the main trade-off.    Would you agree?

Also I am not sure I can determine anything unique about the Audio Note speakers compared to others that give them any special advantage for corner placement.  I suppose they are designed to produce the right level of bass with that placement especially being acoustically sealed rather than ported I believe.   But why could not other speakers that may be a tad bass shy benefit similarly?

How much of the Audio Note sound is the speakers versus the corner placement?

It made me get around to trying out corner placement at home.   I have at least two pair of smaller monitor speakers that might work best that way, like seemingly Audio Note does.   So far I am liking what I am hearing with these speakers that are also very good but would be considered a tad bass shy otherwise perhaps.

4b9c724a 509c 4bb1 a384 a61b6782a9d0mapman
The Audio Note speakers have cabinets that flex. They look like cheap enclosures but they are designed to vibrate and enhance the music. They are designed for corner placement. Most speakers are not
WAlan, but I am trying to understand what constitutes a speaker designed for corner placement?

Corner placement tends to enhance bass. That’s the only thing I can think of. So the speaker is designed to sound right with that corner bass boost and may be bass shy otherwise.

If so, any speaker that is shy on bass otherwise might benefit from corner placement.

The downside I can identify and hear with corner placement in general is sound stage depth.

Yes, I remember reading that about the AN cabinets. Definitely a unique feature. Tonian is another brand I recall that designs cabinets that way.

Not sure cabinets that flex have anything to do with corner placement being best though.

I am trying out my Triangle Titus monitors with corner placement for the first time.    I like what I am hearing so far.    More bass out of those known to be somewhat bass shy speakers.    Big soundstage but not necessarily deep which may be a good tradeoff for me with those.

I also have a pair of Boston A40 speakers I refurbed recently to try there as well.

Also a pair of old OHM Ls I refurbed myself as well to try.   These are larger and more comparable in size at least to Audio Note. 

Something new and easy to experiment with.  We'll see. 

Who needs a sound without soundstage depth? I certainly don't.
To make a speaker that works well in the corner you must have the right bass but also the correct (not wide) treble dispersion.

Here are some advantages I thought of.

  • More likely to excite all of the room modes evenly, allowing for smoother bass. 
  • Corner speakers take up less floor space.
  • Sensitivity. If you are designing for the corner, your crossover design may end up creating a speaker that is 3-6 dB or more sensitive than it would have been otherwise, allowing for the use of smaller amps.
So, in absolute terms, while you may use any speaker in a corner, a speaker designer who expects a speaker to go into a corner should make different crossover choices, not to mention tweeter choices.

As for imaging depth, that's a personal value thing. I think sometimes we place too much on depth and spacial reproduction, even when it's not real. That is, I think some systems create a perception of location that has no relationship with what we would hear live.  Like I said though, this is a personal value thing. :) I'd trade for instance, smooth and accurate timbre for hyper-etched 3D localization of instruments if I had to make a choice.


Mapman, sounds like an interesting experiment.  I have always wondered about AN also, have heard them many times at the CAF and at Voodoo in VA and always enjoyed the immediacy in the presentation.

 As a younger audiophile I used to value soundstage depth and precise instrument and voice placement more than now.   My priority is now accurate timbre, bass and more realistic decay, at least as accurate as possbile compared to a live event.

I have had my speakers as far as 9 feet into the room and it does create a 3D experience that is interesting.  But live music is not presented that way and there are too many tradeoffs. 

If a speaker has a wide dispersion capability I find placement closer to my boundaries, 2 feet from sidewalls and 3ft from the front wall works best which puts them near the corner, but not as close Mapman as you are going.  My corners and sidewalls are also treated.

Interested to hear your take as you get more listening time. 


Audio Note AN-e speakers are rear ported.

I think they are adequate for sound stage depth although not their priority. I’ve had very critical audio friends over and they commented that they were not expecting sound stage depth and were surprised. I think some of that depth is enhanced by the texture of the mids created by drivers and as mentioned above the carefully braced wooden enclosure and also the rear port. Add to it a 10 watt DHT SET amp and the texture and depth are increased. Over all sound stage is big rich and textured. I feel no dissatisfaction. The combination of a SET amp and these speakers seem to create a different type of depth. A depth created by a beautiful mid range texture. I frequently go to my friends NYC apartment and hear YG speakers driven by CH electronics that are positioned into the room that have amazing depth but unless one has a dedicated listen room having speakers protruding into a living space is usually a problem. At least it would be for me. The depth of the YG/CH system is different than my AN/DHT SET system. I hear the difference and appreciate both approaches. They both have virtues. Some folks use AN-e’s out into the room but I’ve never heard them positioned like that.

You are correct, very careful placement in relation to the corners/rear wall will either add or subtract to the bass, texture and depth. Even as little as an inch either in or out will change the sound. My speakers are about 5 inches from the back wall and what is counter intuitive is if I pull them away from the back wall, I get more bass/depth and if pushed closer less bass. That rear port is most likely having quite a bit of influence. Using silver speaker cables vs copper will also change the bass, texture and depth and require a slight change in position in relation to the corner.

As Erik mentions above I also believe their sensitivity is enhanced by corner placement and very much wife approved since they integrate nicely into our living space. 

I’m doing the corner placement experiments in a smaller room (12X12) where I find it harder to get soundstage depth. I value soundstage depth but this is not my main listening room so I am willing to make a tradeoff there especially since options there are limited.

Having the speakers in the corner out of the way of traffic in a small room is a nice benefit.

With the AN corner placement setups I have heard, the merits overall always seem to outweigh any deficiencies in soundstage depth compared to most in that regard.

I think you have to have a larger room in most all cases for the best soundstage depth, though I have heard it done quite well many times in smaller rooms with careful setup.

The benchmark demo for soundstage depth and imaging accuracy within was mbl 111e demo at United Home Audio a few years back. The gear and showroom were just maxed out in this regard beyond most anything else I have ever heard.

My OHMS and other speakers do a decent job at home in regards to soundstage depth but I do not have a room that really facilitates anything like what United Home Audio was able to do in their showroom.

Yes I can easily see where bass reinforcement provided by corner placement would greatly benefit use of low power SET or other amps ie use the room to best effect provide the extra boost likely needed and not there otherwise.   makes perfect sense.

My big OHM F5 series 3 speakers have 4 3 way level adjustments on each speaker.   The one for the low bass is labeled corner/wall/free or something to that effect ie low bass level can be adjusted to compensate for placement within the room.  I've found this to be a most useful feature to help get the speakers best integrated into the room.    Also John Strohbeen at OHM typically recommends speaker models based on room size ie how big is needed to properly load a room.    That's a  useful metric that most vendors pay little attention to.  It means you may not need the top of the line biggest model to get the best sound possible in teh line in any particular room, so the end cost typically depends mainly on room size.
inna the AN setups I've heard had more soundstage depth than I would have thought and did not seem really 2-dimensional either, just not as much as many other good setups.   Plus other than that the AN setups at these shows continuously seem to be among my favorites.

Knowing what can be done otherwise, would that bother me over the long term?  Not sure.  My experimenting at home will help me answer that question.
One thing I am pretty sure of if I ever decide to take the plunge and add a SET amp system, which I have almost done many times to-date, I am pretty sure I would now definitely go with a corner placement arrangement of some sort. It seems to have the most advantages going for it and makes the flea powered tube amp option much more desirable for me.  WAF of corner placement helps a lot!

Mapman - I am with you, have always been intrigued by a setup like that.  I love everytime I have heard one and it is totally opposite from my long term rig - Thiel speakers and a big powerful SS amp.

I have also heard the MBL setup at the old UHA and it was incredible.  They temporarily hooked me but it is so much money.  I almost sprung for some speakers....just barely almost!

Jetrexpro, great description of your system - I would love to hear it!

Map, I forgot to mention that my speakers as along the long wall in my living room and there happens to be very shallow corners in which the speakers fit into. It's nice not to have any side walls. I guess this helps the sound to expand beyond the speakers sides, which also helps create some sense of depth.

Thanks Pops. You are welcome anytime if you are near NYC. It has been great hanging out with the guy who has the YG speakers CH amps. As you mention- a totally different and very expensive system compared to mine. I have learned from him and his system and he has helped me when he stops by for a listen. He helped my come upon the right IC's and speaker cables to bring it all together.
By the way, I believe (and would not mind being corrected if wrong) the AN speakers were based on Snell models of yester-yore. Some of the reasons why listeners are fond of them may need a bit of a history lesson. :)

As always, buy what you'd like, I'm just trying to add to the understanding of the AN speakers.  At the last show I was at they were one of the few rooms I could stand to listen in. Most had such poor room treatment they sounded like pooh pooh.  The AN speakers, with no room treatment, sounded quite nice.  I'd still add room treatment, just saying, they seem to need less of it than most.


Lastly, not exactly a corner speaker, but if you like the idea of a classic 2-way speaker, you may want to check out the Seas A26 kits.


Has anyone tried ACROSS the cornet placement? Due to the layout of my large room I have my JBL S3100 Horns placed across the corner about  9' feet out from the corner with the cabs 9' apart and my listening position also 9' away. Previous to this placement bass was a bit bloated but not so now and I have great sound depth and width. Also, as the walls recede away from the speakers, I do not get much side wall reflection either. Something to think about.   
Across the corners is worth trying in squarish rooms. A number of manufs have conquered some hotel demo rooms with that setup. Cheers,

I’ve had my small Triangle Titus monitors in corner placement in my 12’X12’ office room now for a few weeks. On 6" stands with slight upward tilt. I don’t think they are moving anytime soon.

They sound more like full range speakers now with the best tonal balance top to bottom they ever had. Big full soundstage but not particularly deep though good enough. Also I’m finding this very good placement not just for sweet spot but for listening in various places in the room as I often do there.

This no cost experiment has paid dividends. Easy to try and reverse as needed for anyone interested.

Note that if you live in a yurt or a dome or any other sort of round building (former missile silos, grain storage towers, water tanks), corner placement can be difficult to accomplish due to the lack of corners. This explains why Audio Note speakers are rare among yurt based communities…they tend to be more "near-field" centric.
Wolf were I in a yurt or dome, chances are I would opt to listen exclusively with headphones which by chance are also often round.
I disagree…headphones always sound better when placed in a corner.
Very recently have placed my Golden Ear Triton Ones in the corners, spaced along the narrow wall (room is 12 feet by 25 feet, and the speakers are approx 9.5 feet apart) and am very happy with the results thus far. I was expecting some bass emphasis relative to where they were (along the 25 foot wall about 9 feet apart) but there does not seem to be all that much bass change. I like the imaging a bit better now though as there is nothing at all directly in between them. Previously had a television centered between them.