Putting your components inbetween your speakers.

Would like to know if there is any truth about putting your components inbetween your speakers will affect the imaging other than an amp between the speakers on the floor.
Yes. It is true.

It's not just the imaging but the overall timbre as well.

I really think all audiophiles should do two things in their lifetimes:

1 - Build a pair of speakers
2 - Throw a bunch of pillows and blankets around their speakers on the floor. Behind and between them.

Try it and listen for yourself, you'll hear a lot of things change for the better. Of course, this is not necessarily a permanent solution, but it will show you how important that area is, and how tonal balance can be affected by indirect, diffused reflections just as much as direct reflections.


All i have between my speakers which are B&W 800 Matrix are a preamp and 2 Krell BAFs bass alignment filters. 
I went to a 3 shelf Quadraspire lowering the previous 4 shelf.  The improvement was noticeable.  The imaging and detail improved.
I’ll agree with Erik on this one. In fact I sought his advice/opinion on how and what to do to minimize the effect I was/am having with my television. I like his suggestions, however, they may not be entirely practical for everyone, especially if ones decor has to accommodate others who couldn’t care less about quality music reproduction.

In most situations, not having anything between the speakers is ideal from a sound quality perspective.


OP, in your case the equipment between your speakers is minimal and in all likelihood not negatively impacting the sound in a practical sense.
Well, my point was not that you should go to TJ Maxx and buy more blankets. :) My point was to use your own ears to listen and experiment. If YOU can’t hear a difference, doesn’t matter what I think. Why ask others to tell you what you can hear? :)

If you are worried, cover your gear with a blanket and then listen! Usually the biggest culprits are big TV’s and bit flat entertainment center surfaces. The less, the better. Will 2 pieces of gear matter to you? I do not know, but the best way to find out is by experimenting. Also, the advice is free and takes minutes to set up... so, try it! :)

Even if you have nothing in between, trying this experiment can help you realize the value of comprehensive acoustic treatment.


Also, kind of like physical therapy, you can make up deficiencies in one area by improving another. There is no absolute answer to how to put gear in your home.

As a _rough_ example, filling corners with dampening materials may somewhat make up for excess reflections in the middle of the wall.


@erik_squires  I agree, it certainly makes a difference, however people may not always be able to keep the space between the speakers empty. Basically any "fill-in" between the speakers will act as a diffuser, so sometimes it may not be desirable, other times it may improve the imaging, when compared to an empty reflecting wall. The only way to find out is using your ears. In general I would say, try to keep the objects in the space between the speakers below ear height. That way you can run shorter cables, (shorter=better) and most likely still keep good imaging.
@han_n No, this is just a test, but diffusers are different than absorbers, and this is mostly an absorber tets. :)

My last tip: Your imaging improves in the dimension you improve room treatment. If you want more depth, deal with thigns behind the speakers and behind your head. More height? fix the ceiling and floor. More width? Sides.


@erik_squires  No disagreement about diffusers and absorbers, I know the difference, but here it was about putting your equipment between the speakers. As the equipment will never act as an absorber, it will diffuse the sound. I also agree that room acoustics will have a much bigger impact on the sound than what most people are aware of. Dare to experiment and you wil find out that with moving things around (at no costs but a bit of sweat) you may find a bigger improvement than investing in more expensive equipment. Unfortunately, most people don't have a dedicated studio for listening purpose, so moving things around is often limited by the lovely wife... 
According to Jim Smith , the author of the book, Get Better Sound, he states that you should not place your gear between your speakers.  It will have a negative affect on imagining.  FYI.

When you are referring to gear are you referring to components or both a stand with components. Because i have right now in my system a stand with a Krell KPS20i and a Rega Saturn r cd player. Then next to that i have 1 speaker B&W 800 Matrix ,then a stand with a Mark Levinson 38s preamp with 2 Krell B&W BAFs (Bass Alignment filters, then a Krell FPB 600 amp on the floor next to that ,then the other B&W 800 matrix speaker. If i moved my stand with the Mark Levinson 38s and Krell BAFs on the other side of the B&W 800 matrix so both stands will be on each side of the speakers it would cost me thousands extra in interconnect cables to go from the cd players that are one one side of the speakers all the way to the other side of the other speaker to connect to my preamp.to have both stands on each side of the speakers for the imaging. Would this really be worth it? Would i really hear that much of a difference ? or any at all? Its not something i can just try out because i dont have long enough interconnects. And all my interconnects and speaker cable are Straightwire Crescendo. Not cheap. Like i said i dont have alot of components inbetween my speakers , Just a preamp and the BAFs on a stand with the amp sitting on the floor . 
I will have pics up soon on my virtual system. I spoke to audiogon and they are having problems with uploading pics on the virtual system. They are working on it and should be ok by Tuesday thay say. 
A low rack is almost on par with having nothing at all between your speakers.  A tall rack is not good and will affect the center image.  It acts like a magnet and also makes the image taller or enlongated, limiting most of the soundstage to the center.

Anything below your tweeters and even with or below you midrange is best.  I also believe in diffusion on the front wall.  I have tried it both ways and prefer the low rack to long interconnects.
OP, while it seems you are getting basically a universal response that nothing between the speakers is "best", rack and gear placed lower than the tweeter/mid second best and so on, there is one other thing to consider... The *plane* of the items. I recently moved my speakers forward (closer to PLP, further from front wall) of my audio/video rack. So while my television and other gear is still "in between" the speakers, all items collectively are no longer on a straight line of sight (when viewed from the side walls). So you might want to add moving the speakers forward a bit to any experimentation you're conducting.
If a rack and components (or screen) MUST be between the speakers, one way to minimize the damage is to place diffusers on both sides of the rack(s) and/or screen, parallel to the side walls. When the sound coming from either the rear of planar speakers or sidewall reflections reaches the diffusers, that sound will be intercepted and randomly dispersed by them, rather than reflected off the rack and EQ.
Update. I did wind up moving my 2 stands further back from where they were in the middle of the speakers and i swear i could hear better imaging from my B&W 800 matrix.. Maybe its in my mind maybe not. But i do like it !!! Thanks to you all.... 
So now there is NOTHING in the middle of the speakers.

I think what you mean to write is "So now there is NOTHING **directly and at the same plane** in the middle of the speakers. ", correct? :)
TTM (Mike) if you want to get really Audiophile ANAL with imaging between the speakers, they should be set up with

The Points In  

I realize for your angled room this does not work best. For this reason stick with the points out as the room is still the No. 1 factor influencing the sound. Unless any of us have a space like Abbey Road (who does?), we are all dealing with that Elephant in the Room.

The owners manual is clear. Keep them away from walls and in a wide room angled in. In a narrow space no more than 60 inches apart for excellent imaging. Anyone bringing these speakers into what AudioGon consider medium treated spaces, will need to re-treat the room as their size affects the room sonics. And my experience has been one will be removing treatment, due the effectiveness in the double woofer design to excite different sets of room nodes, thereby reducing the room effect.


Post removed 
Hi Elizabeth , That is what i did with my rack, i moved it back from the speakers so that there is nothing between my speakers except my Krell FPB 600 that sits on the floor to the right of my right speaker but as far back as possible as shown in my photos . I cant move my speakers anymore forward as my room configuration., Im trying to do the best i can be with this awkward room. 
I think the easy solution for folks who must have the rack between, is to move the speakers forward, and the rack back. So there is a greater sense of space between the speakers. Also to have the rack as low as possible..

Positioning them on a rack in between the speakers always reminds me of an altar.
My personal preference would be for having as much of the gear as possible out of sight. We have that with our modest bedroom system, with an Ava Maestro 50 digital amp with auto on/off and a Chromecast Audio as its only source. It sits hidden away, and comes on if I use a Chromecast app on my phone.
Putting your components inbetween your speakers.

Good if you want to ruin your depth and sound staging ability.

Cheers George
I have tried many setups and have found I get the best sound with nothing in the "listening triangle."
@handymann - RE:
I have tried many setups and have found I get the best sound with nothing in the "listening triangle."
So an interpretation of that could be to have the equipment in between the speakers, but far enough back so they are not in the listening triangle.

That is my current setup - I am fortunate enough to have the speakers 8 ft from the wall behind them and the component rack is located just in front of that wall - so about 5 ft behind the speakers. Of course the 20ft of space behind the listening position and the broadloom on the floor also helps eliminate reflections, which can degrade the overall image.

This is also the setup a couple of Audio stores that I frequent tend to use in their better sound rooms.

In my previous house I was not so fortunate and the image, although very good, never had the depth to the image  I now enjoy and it always seemed to be "focused" around the components.

After my initial setup in the new house the image was so good I saw no need to try other setups.

So I guess I can confirm one aspect of your statement above :-)

Regards - Steve
hi I too moved my system away from the "normal" place between the speaker and i helped in every way. Better imageing and more focus.
Remember that between the speaker is the highest soundpreasure.
It did however require a balanced setup in order to have long ic to the monoes.
Having all the equipment except the speakers mounted on the walls is also working very well.
regards Thastum
Not all of us have the luxury of a large enough space to accommodate all our needs (audio and video). With the speakers out enough in front of the media rack (with the TV, etc.) improvements can be had. And, it doesn't have to be that much in front of the rack to hear an improvement. Not enough to be on par with nothing in between, but good enough.

Factor in that my new media set up eliminated my tall equipment rack and TV stand and now everything fits on a low slung media rack and that my new TV is an LG OLED TV, which is very thin and sits lower as well. There is more distance now from the speakers. The music sounds much better as far as the soundstage is concerned.

My new speakers are front ported as well and load the room in an entirely different way, compared to my older, rear ported speakers, adding to the improvement. They are situated much lower to the floor as well, adding to the improvements.

All the best,
Not all of us have the luxury of a large enough space to accommodate all our needs (audio and video). With the speakers out enough in front of the media rack (with the TV, etc.) improvements can be had. And, it doesn't have to be that much in front of the rack to hear an improvement. Not enough to be on par with nothing in between, but good enough.


Even though individual configuration of the room will have an important effect on the placement of equipment I am interested in whether there is any general consensus of how and where folks locate their equipment other than centered between the speakers.

Do you locate your equipment on the side wall shelves in front of/alongside/behind the line of the front of the speakers?

If on a freestanding table or rack is it against a side wall or away from the wall at a location in front of, alongside, or behind the line of the front speakers?

Somewhere else?

Issues of practicality.  How long are you speaker cables?  Or do you want to run a long interconnect to the power amp?  Or do you go for an optimal set-up and bring the extra $$ for extra long cables or interconnects?

The LG OLED sits on a low (Sanus) stand pushed back almost touching the front wall.  The backs of the speakers are over 3' out from the front wall.  The audio equipment stand is tight in a corner, behind to the right of the right speaker, because that's already a long run of speaker cable to the left speaker.  BTW, it's all set up on the long wall orientation.

The flat-screen TV made the biggest difference.  I've tried various sound-absorbing/deflecting baffles sitting in front of/over the screen, and can hear no difference at all in the soundstage vs. naked.

I have a set of magie i.7s in my fairly lg.dedicated listening room and have them just shy of 4' from the front wall and 5' apart. With my 4'w x 4'h cabinet between the speakers, even though back against the wall and some two ft. behind the plane of the speakers, I was getting some annoying glare at the top edge of female vocals. Putting 1ohm resisters in place of the solid jumpers, as suggested by Magnapan, didn't help. I replaced the 4' cabinet with a much lower (21"h x 42"w) open rack and hung ceiling to floor acoustic drapes across the wall behind and on side walls. The glare problem was solved and imaging and stage is very deep, wide and well placed. Even though my audio equipment is still between the speakers it has far less influence and since I don't like long cable runs, I am most happy with my equipment set up as it now is...Jim
Made some changes in my room recently, built a new TT Rack and located it on the side of the room, away from an overhead Heat Vent that was spewing Dry Air and Dust. Rebuilt the Center Rack also (smaller, shorter) this has cleaned up the Center Imaging as well. Win, win.



For imaging and depth perspective there should be nothing between the speaker, and the back wall between the speakers should be as far back as possible.
I can say is Neville Thiele (rip) taught me this, and the result was a no brainer, so much so I even took the wall out in-between the speakers and left just a short 1.5mt wall behind each speaker for loading purpose, and the depth of image increased even more, to a visual/aural placement of depth imagery up to 5mts back behind the speakers.

Cheers George
George, it is about preference also.  I do not like an image and soundstage that deep with my system.  I prefer layers just behind the plane of the speakers up to 10 ft and in some cases with some layering in front of the plane at the same time.  More of a 10th row perspective.

Most do not have the endless options to experiment with placement.  Some basics to work on in any room:

No equipment rack at the first reflection point on the side

No equipment rack in corners of the room

Equal distance from the sidewall on both speakers

No rack between the speakers (a luxury for most) or almost as good - low, beneath the tweeters and equal or less to the MR.

Diffusion at first reflection point or absorption - smaller room should use absorption.

These basics have worked for me in several rooms I have had some small and some large, but all challenging.


In the end.. it’s all about choices.

These choices include, cost, vs. ultimate SQ

Which one chooses is up to them.
I do not like an image and soundstage that deep with my system.

Hang on lets get this right, this is not a false image/depth impression, it doesn’t happen with every recording, only with ones that have been recorded with it, others can sound as flat as a pancake.

Just get hold of Chesky sampling and audio test disc, Part 2 Audio setup test tracks, track 12 Image and depth test, at different lengths up to 4mts back from the from the microphone, then you'll realise with your stuff between the speakers you've ruined your image/depth as seen with your eyes and heard with your ears.  

Cheers George
Is imaging better down the length of the room or across the short length?
What about near-field? 

@noromance: Kinda a late post to your question, but from my experience and all I’ve read, you want your speakers, depending on what type, to be placed far from the side and rear walls and your listening position to be far enough from the back wall, for the sound to actually have a chance to “form.”  I heard Dennis Foley say the best place to listen, would be out in a field, where reflection points etc, can not enter in to the sound.  On your direct question, I would want my listening position to be on the long end of the room.  I’m sure you’ve figured this out by now.