How important is speaker positioning?My experience

CAL Icon Mk II -> Sonic Frontiers SFL1 -> Classe 15 -> Thiel 1.2.

I have had this system for 8 years now, the only new
components being Classe 15 (2.5 yrs now), and cabling
(MIT IC's, speaker cable from Frank at

Every change improved the sound somewhat, but I could never
listen to the system for a long time -- always ended up with
listener fatigue on any CDs that could even remotely
sound like that (fortunately, I listen a lot to Indian
vocal classical music where that is not so much an issue). I have moved several times, and the present room is
17'6" x 13'8". I painstakingly adjusted the
speakers about 3' from the side wall, and 3'6" from the
front wall, along the short wall. The soundstage snapped
into focus, and things sounded better, but the same problem
-- listener fatigue came very quick.

Then last week, I was looking at the Audio Physic website
(, and came across
their theory on speaker placement. To my surprise, there
was more to it than just place the speakers in the middle
of the room, and sit with back against the wall (ludicrous,
in my opinion). I will not go into
details (you can get them from the website if you are not
already aware of them), but I ended up placing the speakers
about 3'6" from sides and 4' from the front wall, and I
listen from my futon placed against the back wall (where it
always has been).

Well, I have been thinking of buying new speakers, but I am
in no rush now. The system is actually laid back now with
NO listener fatigue. I played music almost continuously for
4-5 hours today -- music other than Indian classical, and
cannot wait to get back to listening again as soon as I am
done typing this rather rambling post. I just wanted to
share my experience because I am elated. Just tells you how
important speaker positioning is. And I realized that to
an extent I needed hand holding through the placement. This
is the first document I have come across that does that.

Thanks for listening.

(Amit Mathur)
Proper speaker placement...regardless of cables,electronics, the one free tweak most people ignore...and the one that will automatically guarantee sound improvment..and I posted a thread about dealer speaker placment just a short time ago...unfortunately...the majority of dealers focus on sales over sound...afterall...there only is so much floor space...but this really is a disservice...most people looking to upgrade...when they hear pricey equipment set up poorly...pass...whats the point if it doesnt surpass their current set up?...and people who do buy...usually emualate how the speakers were positioned at the order to remedy the all starts with the dealers...proper speaker placement education...hi-end dealers are just as guilty as Best Buy in this regard...
Just a quick note...

Often a positioning fix for excessive brightness can be toeing the speakers in or out so they are further off-axis from the listener. Tweeters pointing directly at the ears can often sound too "hot". Toe in will affect imaging characteristics, and proper compromises should be made.

Jeff Delman
Value Audio the point that properly placed cheap speakers can outperform more expencive non-properly placed.
Speaker placement can make or break a system in some rooms and that goes for two channel as well as hometheater. Once in a while you get people who buy the wrong speakers for their room or just did not take into account the W.F. so its also a good idea to give a whole lot of thought as to what speakers fit your room even before you buy. I had a system that sounded so good I could listen to it for days on end, well I sold the house and bought a new one and no amount of trying and tweaking could bring back that magic I had in the old room. I think a lot of good gear,not just speakers get a bad rap from people because its the wrong system in the wrong room.
Amit, thank you for your post!

I also tried the Audio Physic speaker placement technique to great effect in my room. I read it in a "Fine Tune" column by Jonathan Scull(my least favorite Stereophile writer). It was probably the quick and dirty version. But, as I said, the results were fantastic. Along with my upgrade to OTL power amplifiers, it was the single biggest improvement I have made since moving into this new room this year.

For those interested, here is the gist of it...

First, long wall placement is favorable to short wall placement. I know this sounds trivial, but the long wall is the room's longer wall - in a 20 X 15 room, the long wall is 20', the short wall is 15'. I only write this because it sometimes elicits some confusion - sorry. Reasons being imaging, and ability to position speakers farther from the room's side boundaries.

The listening chair should be parallel to the speakers, obviously.

Second, divide the room into 4ths, both longitudinally(front to back - parallel to the short walls) and laterally(parallel to the plane of the speakers/listener/long walls). You will have 3 lines parallel to each wall. According to this theory, the room's bass response is strongest along these lines.

The ideal speaker location is the intersections of the second lateral line(middle of room, between the long walls), and the 1st and 3rd longitudinal lines.

Next best, and where I positioned the speakers in my squarish, not too large room(because of furniture/WAF/looks, etc.), is at the 1st and 3rd parallel lines and 1st and 3rd longitudinal lines.

For those that position their speakers along the short wall, the same placement alignments hold true.

Moving the speakers back and forth along the lateral and longitudinal lines affects deep bass or midbass, depending on which plane you move.

The no - no(unless you have speakers that overload the room, and you want to ameliorate this problem) is to to divide the room up in thirds rather than quarters. The room's bass response is weakest along these lines.

This was a mistake I was making, thinking that imaging would be best here, I ended up in these locations longitudinally. I didn't factor thirds, quarters, or any of this into what I was previously doing, I used a different recipe. In many room's the difference between thirds and fourths can be very small. Which is the reason many are so astonished at the effect of moving the speakers even an inch or two.

When I went with this theory, it certainly reaped wonderful benefits for me. Every facet of sonics improved. And, like people always say, speaker placement is free. My new room gave me an incredible improvement in sound, correct speaker placement took it to an even greater level.

GOOD LUCK everyone!
Trejla, very nice post and a spot-on accounting of my own experience. Amazing the difference of even an inch movement, huh? It is worth the time spent to get it right.

We recently moved and my older son said, mournfully, that he bet it would take me a month of tweaking to get things the way I wanted. The younger said, "Yeah, but Dad likes to do that tweaking". He was right, of course. ;-)
Speaker placement is probably the biggest effect on sound for my system, and small one inch adjustments can make significant differences. Thanks for the details Trejla... my speakers are at the 1st and 3rd latitude and longitude lines, and that was me adjusting by ear!...
IMHO if you put your speakers against a wall you may as well shop at Circuit city ... it makes that much difference. The Audio Physic site is a great resource ... it's what I stumbled upon a few years ago, and it showed me what my Spica's are capable of. need to shop at circuit city or best buy. if you're talented enough you can brew the speaker that suits only your room with cheap drivers that will blow 10x spent for the factory ones. saw the professional acoustic engineer's artwork myself who designed an entertainment room(music/video) in my cousin's house with pierless cheapo drivers.
Quick clarification please. When they speak of the intersection points, is that where to place the front of the speaker, place the speaker in the middle of that intersection, or what?

Snipes .. it's a long time since I read their web page, but I suspect that the intersection point refers to a point that would be formed by an imaginary line coming straight out of the speaker cone, perpendicular to the baffle. Others please correct me if I'm wrong.

It's a fancy way of describing toe-in. IF the intersection point is behind you the speakers aren't toe'd in very much. If it's in front of you then they're toe'd in a lot. I remember they made an interesting point that a wide sweet spot can be made be heavily toeing in the speakers, so that they intersection point is in front of you.
I have Köchel K300 horns and found placement on the long wall sounded horrible with these. Come to think of it, I remember not liking my N.E.A.R. 50Me II along the long walls either.
Suggest you try the Cardas formula, in your room the center of the woofers should be 45" from side walls, 73" from
back wall(short wall).
Speaker placement is important and I found that very clear with Audio Physic Virgo II. Due to multipurpose use room I however cant place seating area in the ideal position. Can a room correction device i.e. Tact take me closer to ideal?
Anybody ever try different hight on small speakers?
What do you think the golden rule should be?
Thanks for the input.
I can hear a difference by moving my speakers just ~ 1"! Therefore speaker position is very critical. Take time to do it right. Readjustment as long as the breaking in of the cables and the hardwares.
Small speakers...general rule....tweeter at ear level(sitting position)...which is roughly 36 inches...if you have monitors with inverted drivers...mid-bass driver on will have to go higher to achieve the optimum...word to the wise...with very small mini monitors...go with 30 inch stands....
I have been re-postioning my A/V room for the last
day and have had GREAT results. I was inspired by this
thread and a prevous thread. The imaging is SO much
better I had a corner placment before(i was trying to save much needed room) but i got it all figured out with info
from you guys and WOW what a differnece I think i nailed it!
I want to thank ALL of you guys for sharing your knowledge and experience... You guys rock!

Now i do have one dillema left... I have two 12w x 24d
x 79h glass and wood curio (i think thats what their
called) cabinets and it would be nice if i could put those
BEHIND speakers. Back in corners I am very limited for space. Will that muck things up if i put them behind speakers. I was planning on putting some fake plants behind
speakers and i could still do that even with cabinets behind. If i do there will be approx 14 inches between speakers and cabinets... Any thoughts on this idea... is it bad idea?

I will borrow a quote from a movie.. i think it was War Games... "Hell i would piss on a spark plug if i thought it would help".. Thats where im at... If i have to start chucking furniture it!