How far and wide? NSMT speaker placement

Greetings, when I heard the NSMT's at Teajay's place they were like 15 feet or more from the front wall. He played Copeland's Fanfare for the Common man and holy smokes the drums were all the way behind the speaker to the wall which as mentioned was 15 feet or more (lovely post and beam house).  I have been playing with my speakers in my small place and when I got them to 34inches out into the room the depth changed for the good!  It was astounding.  I am going to move so I can have a larger room as this room is limiting my speaker placement ability. 

How far and wide have you found to work in your room?  Love to hear other's experience.




My room is not very big, 14’ x 16’.

My speakers are on the short wall, about 3.5 feet out, about 9 feet apart slightly towed in, I am about 8 feet back. I have acoustic panels in the critical spots in the room.

My speakers are Jeff Bagby’s "Kairos" monitors, sitting on a a pair of his "Kairos woofer modules". These are NOT subwoofers, they are designed to turn 2 way monitors into a 3 way system.

Kairos Kits

The Kairos, use SB Acoustics drivers, and besides incredible transient response, coherency, transparency, timbral accuracy, they are imaging and soundstage champs.

I get percussion from the back of the orchestra seemingly coming from 20+ feet behind the speakers, violins extending beyond the outside edge of the left speaker, and cellos and basses from beyond the outside of the right. The image and soundstage extend well beyond the walls of my listening room. 

It sounds about how it would sound form say, 12-15 rows back at Disney Hall.

I have chamber ensemble recordings, that have such an open soundstage, and a 3D image within that soundstage, that I can ’see’ each musician. It seems as if I could stand up from listening seat, and walk among the musicians in the soundstage.

These aren’t mine, but mine are not too dissimilar. Except I have not finished the woofer modules, they are bare MDF.


The Cardas guide to speaker placement is based on multipliers of the rooms width. Once the speakers are placed away from front and side walls according to the formula, form an equilateral triangle where, when seated, your ears are at the same distance from each speaker as the center of the speaker cones are from each other.

If you really want to dial everything in to your preferences, follow the instructions in this video:


5 or 6 feet out is not unusual. 15 feet out works for some speakers but not all.  

What model do you have?  I can remember reading Terry’s review of the Jamaica years ago and had thoughts of wanting to try them. I think the price, like everything else, has gone up quite a bit.

FWIW I have a 19.5 x 13.5 x 9 ft room. Speakers are 6 feet from wall behind them (short wall) and my listening position is in an equilateral triangle with speakers toed in with axis crossing just to the sides of my ears. Speakers are Silverline Bolero's. Sort of based on the Cardas set up but not identical. Works for me, but not perfect I think (room limitations, perhaps).

FWIW I have a 19.5 x 13.5 x 9 ft room. Speakers are 6 feet from wall behind them (short wall)...

If you can or are able to try the long wall, sometimes the bass is better. Always worth a try if you can. 

I can relate. My room is about the worst shape possible 16x16.5 :-( Monitors do a better job of soundstage depth in this room, but at present I have a pair of too large Zu Omen Defs. Wide but shallow stage nowadays. But I really really like the sound they provide. GIK room treatments and three subs make the room respond as well as it can I think. They are positioned rather oddly for the best sound - the right speaker is toed out slightly, firing towards the opening to the kitchen. The left fires straight ahead though another door opening,effectively making the room larger. Sort of. There's a stable center image and instrument placement.They are each about 3 1/2' from the side walls, 2 1/2' from the front wall.It's like sitting just a few rows back from the stage. I listen mostly to acoustic and electric blues so it's a good setup for me.

Equilateral triangle with speaker faces aimed at the listening chair is usually a good starting point.

Every room is different. I think my speakers are out four feet or so. Mine Sonus Faber speakers do well in my room with a 8’ equilateral triangle.


The imaging stopped at the wall until I hung a thick wool carpet on the wall behind the speakers. Then the imagining went back behind the wall. The absorption from bolsters along the floor / wall junction improved the imaging even more. You can see photos of why main system under my user ID. 

But every room and speakers are different. The place to start is probably a 7’ equilateral triangle as far away from the front and sidewalls as you can. “Cross the streams” 18” behind your head to start with toe-in. Then move out to perpendicular to the wall to stain the best soundstage vs central focus. 

I use angles and have front left and right channels at roughly a 30 degree angle from my MLP. Because my room is a bit narrow I needed to bring the MLP forward to about the center of the room. See:


They have powered woofers, right?, so they don't need near-wall reinforcement.



Yes they have powered subs but when I moved them 3 feet from the wall depth appeared like it never had. So yes don't need wall reinforcement and can also turn up or down the bass. Focused on the full range driver sound.

Love this stuff!


Go to the Cardas website they have a very good setup that’s been very good 

I have found straight ahead or slight toe is good but I have my Dynaudios toed almost like a x intersection the apex in the middle and sounds great .

the Omni MBL speakers I want just have to be the same distance front and side wall and are incredible speakers , each speaker has its open preference for each room.

all of you guys are awesome. thanks for the responses. love this community!



My ML stats and sealed boxes are around 7' out. 

Get them speakers out in the room to breath!

Cardas isn't for a one-size-fits all, but if you have a dedicated space, worth a try. 

Room Setup Calculators (


My son’s system;

Rear of speaker enclosure approx. 6ft out from front wall. Center of drivers approx. 5.3ft from side walls. Room is approx. 18ft wide x 32ft long.

Speakers; Magico S3 Series1

Streamer / DAC/ Amp; Mac device running Qobuz or Apple Music driving Devialet Expert Pro 220, either via Air (Devialet streaming utility), Airplay, or USB (‘helped’ by W4S Recovery).

Soundstage is very open / large (deep, wide, high) with no sign of constraint. There are specific regions in the bass which display resonance but it’s not too dreadful. Generally sound is well balanced and open. The mids on the magico are incredibly open of course. Primary listening position about 9 feet away from baffles. Speakers are toe’d in where driver centers are pointed to intersect about 2-3 feet behind head at primary listening position. Its a living room so unfortunately no proper room acoustic treatments. No doubt could sound much better, but its not bad at all especially at primary listening position.


Base reinforcement is one thing, soundstage is another. Low frequencies come out of the speakers in 360 degrees - so pulling the speakers out from the front wall allows the low frequencies breath behind the speakers and adds depth to the soundstage. It’s a must for mono recordings. I have one room set up for mono and another for stereo - mostly because of limitations in room size but also because they have different needs. 


Excellent point. I am trying to get the best soundstage I can and think the room is the problem which is why I am moving!


Tilt/Cant is a major factor that many people overlook. I recently added 1 inch to the front legs of my towers and it totally changed the soundstage. This created about  5 deg. of backwards tilt to the tower. I even reran 'Diraclive' to make sure thigs were accurate.

My room is about 15’x20’ and my speakers are 7’6” apart ( center to center ) and the back of the speakers are 2’ from the front wall and 4’ from the side walls.

I’d love to pull them out more, but I don’t want nosy puppy noses getting behind them.

All the best.

zazouswing, well said + one.

If you have the room placement liberty I’ve found the Golden Ratio formula from the Cardas website to be very effective in my last three rooms despite those rooms not being exactly rectangular and slightly different.

Since my speakers are designed for very slight toe-in may have made the Golden Ratio formula a good fit. Using the Golden Ratio with aimed toe-in should still provide good bass loading within the room. Your listening position may vary.

I used the mobility of an wheeled office chair to optimize the listening position from the speakers location.

Get out your tape and good luck.


I bit off-topic, but I’d like to give a plug for high accuracy measuring devices.

I use a Leica Distro Last Tape Measure to locate my Martin-Logan speakers in the room to within 1/8-1/16 of an inch from the back and side walls.

I then use a digital level (Swanson Tool Co SVT200 9 Inch Savage Digital Magnetic Aluminum Billet Torpedo Level) to get the vertical "cant" of the speakers equal to within 0.1% of a degree (I prefer bolt upright).

Both of these make a audible difference, are one-time purchases, and are generally useful around the house.




+1 yes, very good point.  Very accurate placement can be very important to get the most out of your speaker.


I used planar speakers for around 30 years… they are really sensitive! 1/8” can effect sound in a very big way. But most speakers are more or less effected.