Perfect Speaker Placement - Put next to the back wall as much as possible.


Hello,

I happen to find an good article about the ideal speaker placement. 
(Easiest version without numbers & formulas that I can’t honestly understand :D)

I’d like to share. 

Personally I find two things interesting.

1) Only use 40% of the room area (38% rule)

2) Put the speaker as close as possible to the back-wall (next to bass trap)

Of course, minor adjustment would be required depending on speakers.
Still, I think this is helpful to figure out the very first step. 

http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/room-setup-speaker-placement/

https://realtraps.com/art_room-setup.htm

Happy listening.

p.s. what should I do with half of the room left... :?
sangbro
I would put a bookshelf in the back half, stocked with copies of Robert Harley's The Complete Guide to High End Audio. The article you cited can then be printed out crumpled up lit on fire and used to light your barbecue. Might as well get something useful out of it.
Isn’t it written by the world class professional studio engineer? I thought that it’s professional standard. 
Any industry insider?

It’s interesting that there are two completely different ideas. 
https://proaudioblog.co.uk/home-studio-monitoring-speaker-placement/

Just to be clear, of course things are dependent on situation. Many speaker manufacturers recommends equilateral triangle set up as the starting point yet notably the engineer of Harbeth recommends a 1:1:1.5 triangle shape. 
The best part about speaker placement is that it cost zero to try for one self. 
Ignore Millercarbon’s comment. He would never let someone else’s obviously superior knowledge get in the way of his bravado. Odds are he didn’t even read it.

The article is targeted at near field monitor usage with emphasis on accurate frequency response for best mixing. Pretty much the article is spot on. Many audiophiles who have no clue how acoustics work just parrot others rules of thumb. Getting the speakers far into the room, in a small room, is one of those. This article explains why that is often a problem, but also says you need both acoustic treatment AND equalization to fix the resulting placement, but at least the final result will work properly while a speaker far from an untreated wall will leave you with a result that can’t be fixed and even if treated may not work properly.

It’s a good article in my opinion.

Just read the other article. They pretty much say the same thing and both are good. This was the one in your replies.

In Ethan's section on Real Traps he says 38% rule from front or back wall and then clarifies that's purely theoretical and is best measured.
"p.s. what should I do with half of the room left... :?"

Obviously, you should put another system at the opposite end! The listening chair can be swiveled to allow enjoyment of either system. I strongly recommend you have two very different systems setup for maximum variety and enjoyment. 

I am glad to have been such an influence upon you that I have helped to revolutionize your participation in the hobby.  ;) 


Oh, that should be FRONT wall not back wall.
Thank you @sangbro for posting these links. I am still experimenting with speaker placement and unlike @millercarbon am open to the idea I might actually able to learn something I don't. 

@millercarbon I will continue to read your post and learn what I can but why do you always have to be so caustic and condescending? Not everybody has your financial resources to buy thousand dollar plus power cords and all of the accoutrements you have. It's hard to reconcile the graciousness you've displayed to people who've been able to hear your system and the arrogance you put on display in your post. Have you considered the possibility someone else might know something you don't?
That’s a recording studio setup. If that’s what you’re doing, fine. Listen to the one above. He pretends to know a lot about it. If doing a home system though you could hardly do worse. Talk about unwilling to learn.

My system https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367

Mike Lavigne’s system. https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/615

Similar size rooms, vastly different budgets, yet look how similar the results, at least in terms of speaker placement.

Let me assure you, Mike Lavigne is the furthest thing from, what did he call him? Oh yeah, a clueless parrot you will find in all of audio. There is a clueless parrot here but its not us.

Our speakers and listening chairs are way out into the room for some very good reasons. Which you will understand very well only after absorbing an awful lot of information, which can be done most efficiently by reading the Harley book I recommend above. 
When Mike Lavigne built his room he hired an acoustics expert, not you Miller and you still fail to understand it is not simply about a recording studio (where the sound YOU listen to was created) but about understanding the REAL impact of speaker placement and acoustic treatments and equalization on actual sound output, not perceived impacts from limited experience and limited knowledge.   Mike knew his limits and hired someone.

In a small room putting speakers far into the room is often not possible. In a large room that is not dedicated or a home theater room that may also not be possible. However, if you understand the mechanisms at play then you can use speaker placement close to the wall with little negative impact. Understanding room nodes, symmetry, and measurement further improves setup.  Some people have more tools in their toolbox than a hammer.
Looking at it, briefly, these recommendations are for the driest possible sound. As close to wearing headphones as possible, which is good for mixing, maybe not for listening, and certainly not how home speakers are balanced, especially when it comes to bass vs. mid and treble ranges.

He's also relying on a lot of damping behind the speakers, not just bass traps.  It's pretty close to the old Live-end, Dead-end technique which made a huge splash int he 80's and then kind of disappeared from audiophile consciousness.

Really hard to imagine this set up working for a living room.  You do not have to follow this advice. Look at your speaker manual for recommended placements and ask pros at GIK or ATS acoustics for advice.
"The guidelines I’m going to give you are based on best practices for both pro and home recording studio setup. But most of this advice applies whether your room is a mastering studio, hi-fi listening room, project studio or home theater."

1st sentence: fine, OK.
2nd sentence: wrong, wrong, wrong. Pity you crossed that bridge.
Yeah, not for home use. The long wall is usually the best wall and your loudspeaker will determine where it NEEDS to be. From Maggies out 6 feet from the front wall to Klipsch Cornwalls that like wall placement, your speaker design overrides all pseudo science formulas. 
My gosh look at the people without an understanding of acoustics (probably who didn't even read the article in detail) puffing their chests.

While bipolar and omnidirectional speakers obviously were not a consideration for any of those articles, Klipsch would still come into consideration and for any normal dynamic speaker, it would come into play.  Really how many of the people responding actually read the article in full and understood it before replying?  Thank you Erik for obviously digging deep enough to see the comment w.r.t. damping.

russ69, the long wall is rarely the best wall for speaker placement.

twoleftears:  Sorry the 2nd sentence is absolutely correct, but your wrong conclusion is certainly possible if you didn't actually read the article or understand it.

For those of you far more interested in extolling your "expertise" instead of learning, the articles very clearly discuss the aspects of moving your speakers into the room. Heck, they even talk about the distance from the front wall, and what frequencies that causes issues with, and how far they need to be out from the wall, even dependent on the frequency response of the speaker. IF you had read and understood the articles instead of being keyboard warriors, maybe you would have discovered that.


If you can't move your speakers out from the wall, which can be often the case in small rooms, home theaters, small mixing studios, etc. then you need to deal with having the speakers close to the wall, and if they have to be close to the wall, it is often better to have them really close. Why? ... well if you read the articles you would know. It is because of the frequencies affected, the closer to the wall, the higher the frequencies and the easier to address with acoustic treatment.  Will you get boundary reinforcement. Yes. Do the articles address this? Yes. Again, if you read that, you would know that.

The articles were written by people who obviously have a much deeper understanding of speaker placement, acoustics, and general implementation than most of those commenting.



It's the new year we've all been waiting for...sadly MC continues his arrogance and mean-spirited contributions just like 2020 and all years prior.  Sigh..  
"...the long wall is rarely the best wall for speaker placement..."

Let's just say this has not been my experience with the dozens of locations and systems I have owned. And there is no need to try to discount the opinions of others. The suggested set-up does not work with all loudspeakers and is not seen in any true hi-fi system installation that I know about. Perhaps it's geared for working systems (that have different requirements) rather than home systems, I don't know. The best nearfield system I put together had the loudspeakers 5 feet out into the room and the seat 6 feet from that in a tiny room. The soundstage was awesomely wide and deep, way beyond the room boundaries. Perhaps my best system to date. That didn't happen by luck. 
I wish I could push my speakers against the wall and get good sound but that hasn't been possible with the loudspeakers I owned in the last 45 years. YMMV. 
A lot of people got up on the wrong side of the bed this year!  ;) 
@audio2design  I recommend you go the whole hog and just build your speakers into your front wall.  I'm sure that way you'll gain inestimable enjoyment from your system.
I wish I could push my speakers against the wall and get good sound but that hasn't been possible with the loudspeakers I owned in the last 45 years. YMMV.

May I suggest reading the articles the op has posted then. That will tell you how to do it .


The long wall is rarely the best place because room modes are much closer together which makes placement difficult to impossible. Of course, if you are never treating the reflections off the side walls, then the long wall may be better to keep the speakers farther away from those walls.


The best nearfield system I put together had the loudspeakers 5 feet out into the room and the seat 6 feet from that in a tiny room.


Okay, we are already 11 feet to the seating position from the front wall. We are no longer talking about a tiny room as I certainly hope that seating position was not close to the back wall. If it was close to the back wall, then it was no where near ideal unless there was serious acoustic treatment on the back wall which can be quite difficult to do well.
"...May I suggest reading the articles the op has posted then. That will tell you how to do it..."

I did read it, sorry but my Triangles, Martin-Logans, and Maggies don’t work if they are against the front wall.


"...Okay, we are already 11 feet to the seating position from the front wall. We are no longer talking about a tiny room as I certainly hope that seating position was not close to the back wall..."

I had to open the closet door for best sound. Yes it was a very small room. It could saturate if you played too loud, I had some treatments but minimal.


"... If it was close to the back wall, then it was no where near ideal unless there was serious acoustic treatment on the back wall which can be quite difficult to do well..."

Well my audio friends, some audio pros, raved about that system...but what do I know? Ever get an audiophile to rave about anything?
That placement works great and is absolutely the very best speaker placement.... 

Not. 
The 38% rule from the front wall, I would never even attempt it in my 23ft long rectangular room. It somehow would make me miss enjoying two thirds of my beautiful room. However I find that the 38% rule from the back wall is the ultimate position for me. I kept moving my seat between 33% and 43% and somehow I always end up at 38%. No joke. It is the truth. That's where my sound comes out with the widest soundstage where the music comes from the entire front wall, left to right, top to bottom, and yet keeping the clear location and clarity of every instrument. I move back a few inches and I lose some that instrument location and clarity. I move forward a few inches and I lose some of the wide spread soundstage all over the front wall. It is that precise. Of course the room acoustic treatments are totally up to snuff as my house of stereo system shows. All this to say the OP's posted articles are far from being garbage. It is literally not very smart to disregard such information.
Your Maggies and Martin Logan's may not work as noted, that article was not targeting this type of speaker. However your Triangles, with the proper acoustic treatment would. Just because a speakers name is Triangle does not change the physics of acoustics.
Amazing, math and physics work! Thank you for the post @baylinor.  If you do measurements, you will likely find that is where the frequency response is flattest.


However I find that the 38% rule from the back wall is the ultimate position for me. I kept moving my seat between 33% and 43% and somehow I always end up at 38%. No joke. It is the truth.

I determined my position by listenings in regular position and in near field... Interestingly my 2 best locations respect this 38%...

My first seat near the speakers is at 38% from the front wall,,,

My second seat from the back wall is also at 38 %...

I just measured few minutes ago to verify...

In these 2 positions imaging and soundstage are holographic and near perfect...I attributed that to my embeddings controls but also i have always be conscious that optimal location for the ears exist, it is just that i never know this %....

😊

I determined my regular position with my ears ignoring this rule at this time...But now it is amazing that it works....Anyway even without knowing the rule it is relatively easy to spot the location with short listenings sessions....i did it...

Interesting..... A number to be remembered....You know why?

Simple...It just POP in my brain...

Because this is the value of the golden proportion, the crux of greek esthetic and acoustic and of Egyptian architecture....Rediscovered by Fibonacci in Italy just before Leonardo....

This is the reason why i suspended my copper bell resonator in the center of my room from the ceiling at the same proportion...I just realized that...

This law of acoustic is older than the Greek theater .... 😊




« Universes passes by but the golden ratio stay»- Some reincarnation of Pythagorus



«All your % is bullshit, i must pay my taxes anyway»- Groucho Marx




Children, please!

if it works for you then do it!
   I have gained a lot of knowledge and have received a lot of useful advice from various posts in this forum. Obviously, there are those here who have a wealth of knowledge and experience with audio equipment and the application of them into the listening environment. Often, the discussions stray from the main subject of the OP. Sometimes these stray comments are constructive and one may pick up some info that wasn't expected.
   However, dueling opinions and personal insults are things best left out of the intent of the forum to help readers obtain answers to specific issues. I praise the knowledge of some of the posters in this forum but do not want to sift thru unrelated input to the questions at hand.
Happy New Year Everyone.
  1. Just ditch the outlier adjective ideal. Substitute possible.
Except for Mr. "Burn While Reading’" of course.
The Corn brothers did it better.

My experience tells me speakers must have room to breathe.  Pull speakers out from the wall.  It will always sound better. 
As a retired recording engineer, I can tell you first hand that studio and home setups are as different as chalk and cheese.

In the studio, we don't listen to music. We listen to instruments, voices and mixes.

B I G  difference.
This thread is really helping me to understand why so many recordings sound the way they do. How are you going to get a nice deep wide sound stage when they aren't listening for it and even if they were couldn't hear it anyway because of the way they're laid out? 
Wilson Duette 2s, back against the wall
Audionote (UK) E, J, K. In the corners
Niam DBL, NBL, SBL,SL2 etc, all back against a solid wall (not plasterboard)
Same for the orignal Linn Isobariks
All Laesen speakers.

These are all designed for near wall placement and sound bass light out in the room. I own the Naim NBLs and they don’t need bass traps to work 6.0cm from the wall at their backs (but note the precision of that measurement).
I’ve not heard Duettes, Briks or Larsens; the Audionotes can give a very large scale sound but it takes a bit of careful positioning to not get ten foot guitars along with it. None will give that holographic imaging that I’ve heard from some systems but I’ve never heard it in a concert hall or opera house so that doesn’t bother me..

I beg to differ ieales. The usage is different, but acoustics does not magically change, and goals acoustically need to be similar. Read the articles in detail. The acoustic properties they discuss are universal, but very few have ever done the work to place speakers close to a wall and address issues both from an acoustic treatment standpoint and an equalization standpoint.  The articles clearly discuss these issues. They don't say this is the only optimum method, they do say it can have optimum properties by placing the rear wall and hence rear wall reflection as far away as possible hence removing its interaction in the listening experience. That of course does not change for home listening either.

Not a recording engineer, but spent much of my life in the technical ends of the recording industry to pretty intimately familiar.
Wilson Duette 2s, back against the wall
Audionote (UK) E, J, K. In the corners
Niam DBL, NBL, SBL,SL2 etc, all back against a solid wall (not plasterboard)
Same for the orignal Linn Isobariks
All Laesen speakers, back against the wall.

These are all designed for near wall placement and sound bass light out in the room. I own the Naim NBLs and they don’t need bass traps to work 6.0cm from the wall at their backs (but note the precision of that measurement).
I’ve not heard Duettes, Briks or Larsens; the Audionotes can give a very large scale sound but it takes a bit of careful positioning to not get ten foot guitars along with it. None will give that holographic imaging that I’ve heard from some systems but I’ve never heard it in a concert hall or opera house so that doesn’t bother me..

The acoustic properties they discuss are universal,
I think that this is right because the ratio 62% to 38% is an expression of the Golden Ratio....Then older than european civilization and well known in very ancient times and used by the Greek in acoustic...This ratio is a constant of nature not a fad of the moment...

Then the change of goal using a mixing studio or a small room for music dont change acoustic indeed....
And yet no one has addressed Maggie’s that are dipoles and reflect far more than box speakers.  There is no ONE rule for speaker placement.  It depends on many factors,not he least of which is speaker design.
For the maggies i dont know, i own box speakers, but the golden proportion has make his proof in all nature and in all the best old monastery with an extraordinary acoustic and not only greek hall...

Acoustic law dont change with speakers, but some speakers yes need precise location that cannot be the same than a box speaker.... But i an pretty sure that you can use the same golden geometry in another way with the maggies perhaps not the same % from the back or front wall but perhaps the ratio of the distance of each of the maggies speakers from the lateral wall and from each other try it with the same proportion....You must experiment...



«Why Cleopatra was so beautiful? It is only geometry brother»-Groucho Marx

«What is acoustic? A flowing silent geometry» Anonymus

Happy new year....
ieales wrote:

"As a retired recording engineer, I can tell you first hand that studio and home setups are as different as chalk and cheese.

"In the studio, we don’t listen to music. We listen to instruments, voices and mixes.

"B I G difference."

^^This^^
baylinor -- you actually induced me to take a tape measure out and measure the speaker distance from the front wall.  Assuming that the 38% figure is from the wall to the speaker's business end and not from the end where the wires attach, I've found I'm within a quarter inch from 38%. No wonder my system is so world class.  If Hairy Person were still kicking, he'd give my ears a medal. I dig your Aladdin Sane avatar, too.
In thousand of years nobody has ever contested this mathematical fact, even trees obey it...And celestial dynamics are also obeying it...

http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.astronomy.20190801.02.html


38
: 62 is the proportion between the shorter line and the longer one....Or 1/1.6180
Just beginning in the hobby, I can’t tell you all how helpful it is to see the lack of agreement amongst those with years of experience in the hobby.  It’s takes subject matter that is critical but confusing to impossible to comprehend.  I am also stuck with long wall placement in a 33’ x 18’ room. The one bit of value that I have gathered from this ‘discussion’ is that I am best off throwing a dart anywhere in the board and starting there.  After much (confusing) reading on the subject I have sent my dart to the golden ratio.  This allows me to manage two dimensions at once (distance from side wall and distance from front wall) as one variable.  If it does not work just throw another dart.
chilli42

Nothing will replace fun experiments with your own ears.... It takes times, it takes me 2 years to figure it out, one incremental acoustic controls or treatment , one step at a time...But we must all learn how to listen sound...Hearing sound is not listening sound...we must learn to be consciously active in listening sound...

And the method for becoming active in listening is simple: we create a modification in the room and after some listenings we decide if this is good or bad for our ears, this is called feed-back... One feed-back at a time the acoustic veiled marvel of your room reveal itself.... It is the contrary of a strip tease tough , the beautiful nude room is dressed by you one step at a time.....

How is the texture of this sound? How is his color? How is the decay? is it a flowing sound like a wave gently floating to my ears or a sound that seems a distant island? Are each instrument well placed and separated but anyway partaking the same ethereal space in my room? is the soud limited to a walk between the speakers? if so this is wrong...Etc....

All these impression will guide you to take the good choices... Experimenting is trials and errors...But any errors is only a step to a new joy...

You will be amazed someday, when listening music,you will be able to qualify the sound qualities and variations spontaneously on the spot... And the doubter simplistic mind must know that, NO, i dont have and we dont need hearing bat ears to do that....

The only rule is believing in yourself and having faith in your ears... Your room will be for your ears, not for the neighbour or for an audiophile bat omni hearing creature, but for you.... Take pleasure listening and think about the way you can change thing little by little and verify with your own measuring rod: your ears/brain/body....


I experienced the same desorientation 7 years ago as you.... I made mistakes listening to reviewers in my buying choices... No reviewers said to me that the only important factor are not the choice of costly gear, but the way we must control vibration, electrical noise level, and acoustical settings...

They all sell something and people wanted to pay without never making their homework.... But this homework is the only real joy in audiophile life It is listening experiments with low cost device to cure the 3 source of noise or of lost of S.Q. It is not only buying a beautiful new electronic design ...

It is creativity and music the never ending real joy....

Happy New Year...


« Sounds are like love, they seems illusions sometimes to some, but these illusions are the only real deal»-Anonymus
Ok, I feel like this is an extension of another post I just made in another discussion about imaging.
 I used to sell audio, I have some experience setting up different kinds of speakers. They vary dramatically in their optimal placement from walls. So no one rule works, despite acoustic treatments or DSPing being helpful. If you have a port in the back of your speaker, it behaves differently than a sealed acoustic suspension, which behaves differently than dipoles. Some are made to be against walls or made to be placed in corners (I sold Klipsch speakers). 
There has to be some type of program where you rnter your room dimensions and it will give you different speaker placement distances from the front wall in order to tackle specific dips.

Like, if you have a dip at 40hz, thats a 28 foot wavelength so at what speaker location will that wave cancel itself out at...


Room treatments are so huge in the way your setup sounds and once you get used to them theres no going back.  You just want to treat every square inch with absorption or diffusion.
I’ve been enjoying dsp as well.  Its kind of fun.  Its somewhat like changing speakers in and out without changing speakers in and out.  It allows me to still enjoy my high quality speakers but with just a different flavor of sound.

To clarify, you guys are saying that your speakers are 38% into the room and your listening seat is also 38% into the room?  This seems like it would be a nearfield setup in anything less than a 40 foot deep room...

I thought it was a good article mainly talking about small monitor speakers in a nearfield listening position with bits about larger speakers thrown in. For small speakers, I would suggest his recommendations. I have done it this way with good success. But for larger full range speakers, you need the speakers out from the wall, way out. There are many articles on speaker placement and for example the Cardas method, he states recommendations for planer speakers and for box speakers, nearfield or not, and for square vs rectangle rooms.
The Wilson duette speakers sound very good up against the wall whereas the Wilson Alexia 2’s would not.
I also agree with audio2design and many others on these forums: never listen to millercarbon. I think it’s outrageous that MC compares his low fi system with Mike Lavigne’s system, that’s an embarrassment to Mike. 
@b_limo 
To clarify it is your ears that are supposed to be at 38% from the front wall or the back wall. Nothing to do with speaker placement.


"In the studio, we don’t listen to music. We listen to instruments, voices and mixes.

"B I G difference."


Oh?  How so within the framework of acoustics or perceptive differences?

 I don’t think there is any such thing as "perfect" speaker placement as long as you have them in a room with people, furniture, and pets. However, any of the major speaker placement formulas may improve your set up just by (a) getting the speakers away from the walls, (b) introducing symmetry in the relationship between speakers, walls, and listening position, (c) ensuring that the speakers are not equally distant from boundaries in more than one dimension. Beyond that, I’m skeptical that there necessarily is anything dramatically better about one of these formulas than another (Rule of Thirds, 38%, Cardas, etc.)

I’ve found that the Allison Rule is more flexible than others w.r.t. furniture placement. The Allison Rule (as I understand it) depends on 3 measurements, namely height of the woofer off the floor, distance of speaker front face to front wall, and distance of speaker front face center to the side wall. It states that the middle of these distances should be the square root of the product of the least and the greatest of these distances. So I place my speakers about 4.5 feet in from the side walls; midpoint of the 2 woofers is about 2 feet high; the front face is about 3 feet out from the front wall. That is, 3 feet (the middle distance) is the square root of: 2 feet (the least distance) times 4.5 feet (the greatest distance). The point is to maximize the differences among these 3 measurements, within the constraints of room size and speaker placement, in order to minimize room effects.

By "back wall", the OP seems to be referring to what other audiophiles usually call the "front wall", that is, the wall directly in front of the listener (and behind the speakers). In my experience, placing speakers very close to that wall may improve bass extension, but generally is not so good for imaging/soundstage. I prefer to pull speakers away from the walls and increase bass extension by adding a subwoofer. Also, I use highly directive (focused) monopole, sealed, hybrid electrostatic speakers. These tend to minimize room effects. I get a very sharply focused center image along with a rather flat frequency response between about 10hZ and 15kHz+, without any room treatments (other than furnishings) or PEQ. Then, to widen/deepen the soundstage, I use BACCH4Mac software.

To clarify, you guys are saying that your speakers are 38% into the room and your listening seat is also 38% into the room? This seems like it would be a nearfield setup in anything less than a 40 foot deep room...
Yes you are right... In my case i must say that owning a small room , my nearfield position at 3 feet+inches of my speakers and/or at 7 feet of them in regular position, this golden number rule of Fibonacci is perfect: 62 % ratio to 38%...

But compared to most i which own more bigger normal living room for example, my 2 positions are really almost 2 near-field one that work well one or the other, BECAUSE of this ratio in my square small room....

The difference between the 2 positions in my case, i love the 2, is a slight change in the relation between dynamic and imaging... Imaging better possible at 3 feet and dynamic better possible at 7 feet....But soundstage holographic and relatively comparable timbre and decay in the 2 positions with only an accentuation on details in nearfield and an accentuation in bass frequencies dynamic in my regular position... I love the 2 without being able to chose between the 2.... There is difference but nothing really is lacking.... A sure sign of a good acoustical setting in my case...

Then in my room the golden ratio win the game....
My wife wants to know who Mike Levigne is and why my stereo system is in the driveway by the trash barrels.