Speaker placement

Hello everyone,

I was wondering if anyone has heard of Bob Robbins speaker placement system and tried it or actually hired Bob himself. I have a difficult room and instead of fumbling around trying different speaker positions with inexperienced listening skills would I be better off hiring Bob? I would also be open to suggestions on speaker placement from everyone here as well. Thanks! 
Zero dollars to educate yourself or you pay Bob for a setup Bob likes.  Easy choice for me.
Just looks a room with high ceilings.

Those Focals need to be out in the room to breath and sound their best.
Just something to try and it's FREE. It's not a fix for all setups.

Based on this they should be around 8 feet from the back wall 4-5 feet from the sides. Position your seat starting with an equilateral triangle and adjust to taste.

Trust your ears. 

Good point! 

i will definitely check out the link. Also it’s the big difference in the side walls that will seem to be the biggest issue. Thanks for the help. 
It looks like your room would work fine for home theater.
For 2 channel as has been stated the Focal's should be brought out into the room about a 1/3 of the way, sit about a 1/3 of the way back and with the other 1/3 behind you. Then experiment with the distance from the side walls, min of 3 feet from side wall. You want to move them inside until the center image is where you like it.

These are just starting points but adjust from there.

The roughly 1/3 is a pretty good rule of thumb, as is 3 ft from side walls. The system I have used for years winds up right around there. Remove spikes, put speakers on cardboard, towel, carpet, anything to make them easy to move around. Then do move them around, farther out, farther back, farther apart, closer together. For every place you put the speakers also listen from a couple different locations closer or farther away. Listen only for tone or frequency response, or your overall impression of balance.   

If you want to try unusual stuff like diagonal placement this is the time. Now they are very close to where you will want them you can put them on your Podiums or whatever. Toe them in about right, and measure to get them symmetrical. Now listen, this time for imaging. Experiment with toe until you get the balance of image depth, focus, and width that you want.  

Finally, now that you know where the speakers and chair will be, you can work on the room. I would not even think of doing acoustic panels, tube traps, or anything like that until after first having put the speakers on Podiums and with as many HFT kits as you can manage. Because otherwise you are trying to correct what seems to be room acoustics but are really resonance problems the speakers directly vibrating the room by not being isolated. Huge difference. 

Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately podiums we’re out of my budget so I got GAIA ll and lll footers for the mains and surrounds and OREA pucks for the subs. They have taken the vibrations out of the floor pretty good. I have heard some good things about the HFT kits and will check them out. 
I had the same question about room placement, and did two separate methods: the Sumiko method and Cardas method.  Wouldn't ya know it, both of them had the exact same result!  I now enjoy my Klipsch Belles out in the room (out of the corners- blasphemy!) without worrying about it.
Go to the cardas site they have a room formula there all you have to do is plug in the width of the room and it will give you the exact spot from the back wall and the sidewall to put the speaker I tried it and it works beautifully.
In an Audiogon discussion I came across the  “Allison Rule” of speaker placement.  The poster described it as follows:
The Allison rule basically states that the distances from the woofer to the floor, woofer to the side wall, and woofer to the back wall should be as different as possible. To accomplish this, one would apply the following equation:
Middle distance squared = shortest distance multiplied by longest distance.

22" (floor to midpoint between woofers, a fixed distance)
57" to side walls (about as far as I could get without bumping furniture)
36" to front walls (the "middle distance")

Compared to Cardas and a couple other formulas, this one seemed to offer a better compromise with practical furniture placement needs (in a space that is not a dedicated listening room). 
Over the years, I've tried numerous speaker placement methods and the Odd Dimensions Placement, advocated by Richard Vandersteen, has always worked best for me. 
Another good trick I learned was go to Axpona in person if you can or use web site to look at how the rooms are set up. You will see more of them using what I call the corner unequal triangle set up. There is an article out there on this but I can recall where it is. This is used to increase sound stage a depth when you have a difficult room configuration or listening position. In general the system is in the corner apex and one speaker is placed in a forward position and the other is further back. Sorry I don’t have more detail as I read in a very passive way knowing I did not have to do it in my room.
I do plan on going to RMAF here in Denver and am going to try to hit Axpona in Chicago. I hope to see some agon members there! 
+1 on MillerCarbons advice. The only way I would differ is that I was able to accomplish quite a lot with treatments after experimenting with placement and doing some measurements with REW software (free). At this point, expensive podiums might help but not nearly as much (in my room) as treatments. Some of the treatments were easy to make myself. 

Thanks for the tip. I think I probably made the mistake of putting up treatment before trying speaker placement as there was a lot of reverb. I went off vicoustics recommendation of mostly higher frequency absorption and a small amount of low end absorption. They said with my room it would be hard to know where the bass modes were for panel placement. I’m thinking I can still get better sound playing with speaker position. 
What does Bob charge?

Maybe BOB can teach the OP.

Some folks learn BETTER with a hands on approach. I do.

Show me, then I know. 

Now ALL the stuff you should be reading will make sense because BOB will be nice enough to explain it and show you a few tricks to fine tune the system to your taste..

If Bob has a reasonable fee and YOU have the money to spend AND want to learn Bobs way... Why Not.. Then share if BOB is a good teacher, or LOL, Robbed your silly a$$ for hiring BOB fresh out of Local State Pin. He learned a trade INSIDE..:-)

Enjoy in any case.. Lot of help right here IF you really want to do it.. Your call..


That is exactly what I was originally thinking. Use his listening skills and knowledge to teach me. If my room was more “normal” if you will I would be more confident. I am going to try the advice I’ve received here first and go from there. Bob’s fee varies with the size of the speakers etc. His website is informative. He wanted $750 plus a small drive fee. One thing that is nice is if I don’t hear an improvement I only pay the drive fee. Seems very fair. 
You could buy a framing square, tape measure, and string and hear an improvement for a fraction of the drive fee. Seriously. The setup I described works so well one year at CES the Talon Audio guy spent a couple hours tearing his hair out trying to get the sound he wanted. What's wrong, I asked? It's just not imaging like I know it could. 

The room was one of these cockeyed convention center rooms with walls that move and wind up staggered, a real mess. I said well can we dig up a framing square, tape, and string? We did, and 15 minutes later he was smiling.  

It just ain't that hard. Once you understand what is going on.
I’m now looking forward to trying it myself with all the help I have received here. Thanks again everyone !
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That must be a helluva room those speakers went in! 😂😂. I didn’t get to the part about room treatments with Bob. I wanted to get with everyone here first. I’m not sure if he does any measuring or if it’s all by ear. 
By ear? Sorry OP no measurement?

You LOST ME.. How you gonna know what the heck is going on in a "DIFFICULT ROOM" (Your quote not mine) if you don’t take at least some SPL readings in the corners and seated position. HIGHS and lows it will tell you a LOT. 10 to 1 right in front over your head, treatment there alone, will tame all kinds of HF energy.

The BACK wall, normally the first reflection point is pretty important and Major control point for OVER loading a room. Decay rate is VERY important.. How LIVE is that flippin’ room and where are the hot spots..

3 way to heaven. Trap a frequency, control a frequency, or LOSE a frequency. It still boils down to room correction mechanically and tailoring the sound with Tone controls (parametric and some graphic EQ) and if needed time delays. Heavy curtains are your friend believe me.. You can draw or open for room correction and they look nicer than the stupid room treatment panels.. Some are, ARE, JUST UGLY dude...:-)

Corner traps. Some are a WHOLE lot better than others.

Master M can tune in.. He always has a goodie or two.. helmholtz TECH

Difficult rooms, 6-7 foot ceilings those are REAL tough..

Kitty Corner in the room is that an option? Decware https://www.decware.com/paper14.htm has a great article about just that type of room..

It’s all pretty cheap BUT it does take time to learn it.. Week or two you aught to be a pro.. LOL Charge BOB 500 and a smaller fee for travel..


I was referring to Bob if I was to use him not knowing if he took measurements or not. I do have treatments on the walls and ceiling. Have a look on my systems page. I would love to hear your opinion. So far I have run the audyssey xt 32 room correction that came with the Marantz 8805 in the position that the speakers are in now. My next thought was to try the sumiko placement method and see how that sounds. Would I run room correction after each new placement? 
I've come to conclusion Audyssey sounds best when it is never used above 500Hz as it can cause ringing. Perhaps why there is a 2kHz dip by default.
Can’t help with a high ceiling as I have never had to deal with it. The kicker is it is a fixed distance. Hopefully you don’t have cubed dimensions. 

To get a little more scientific. you can look at 1/4 wave lengths. 1/4 length cancel because by the time it bounces off the walls and comes back it is a 1/2 length out of phase with the driver. 

The tricky part is the front wall, back wall, side wall and ceiling all count. So it is best to have different distances between all of these so the cancellations blend together to fill the holes. Worst case it have the side wall and back wall be the same distance as in both 4’. Get ready for a giant hole in the sound of this is the case. 

The short version is all walls between between 3’ and 6’.6” should be avoided for bass. Closer than 3’ is actually better than between 3’ and 6.6”’. After 6.6 the bass lumps tend to go away and the speaker soundstage opens up. But closer than 3’ and your mids get muddy. 
If you can’t get your mains 7’ off the walls one of the best solutions is to use subs so you can cross them over and tuck them less than 3’ off the walls and pull your mains out 4-5’. This will fix a null issue as you can place different frequency drivers in different places. 
Chart so you can calculate it for yourself. http://www.soundoctor.com/freq.htm

Video for the reading impaired myself included lol. https://youtu.be/T10_MLGOBfc
SPL readings in the corners are perhaps useful if you're going to be hanging out in the corner. Note that most rooms have their own sound and hey...embrace it...the world is full of rooms, and much of what is "music" is performed in them. I like room sound, although I don't like bad room sound and furnish my listening rooms with human related items...books, CDs, LPs (and a few singles), furniture, myself, others (rarely), guitar cases...you know what I mean.
Crap the dog erased my response.. No kidding..

WOW that is a big open room.. you did a LOT more treatment than I would have EVER done.. you did a GREAT job there..

2 channel right? Turn off everything BUT the mains, and pull them out from the wall. 4-5 feet to begin with.

Set the cut points for the mains, 50hz is going to be a push in that BIG room.

Get the center phantom the way you like. Nearfield is gonna have to work, kind of a nearfield. The toe is going to be very critical. Get your phone turn on a SPL app and make sure the the DB level is the same left to right at the seated position. 50, 300, 700 1k 5k, 8k. You know the drill tone burst readings..

How do you adjust that? One speaker one inch further back and 1/16 " MORE toe in will do a LOT for db levels.. 1/2 inch at a time, BACK and reset the toe. To get real techy top to bottom too, TIP it forward tip it back.. Even left to right can change a lot of issues an EQ can't.. Mechanical EQ first, then gear EQ..


3-4 small 8-10’ IB subs.. NO PORTS. It would be nice if the plates had variable phase up to 180, delays an PEQ would be capital..

Turn them on 2 at 50hz 2 at 40hz, (I’m close with those high ceilings).
The steeper the ramp the better too, 12-24 db 2nd to 4th order XO.
A 6db first order is a NO NO in that room.. Set the plates at the 1200 position (GAIN)

Your going to have issues..
ALL PEQ (DSP) and main placement.


Coherence and width of soundstage in a NF,

PUSH the speakers BACK toward the back wall 1/2 inch at a time, keeping the TOE in, the same as before you turned on the subs.. Use blue or green tape to keep it straight use a square to keep your toe.. (Roofing square is a great tool also). REMEMBER your DB adjustment left to right.. Keep that number correct (+ 1/2 or 1 inch and the toe setting)

The further back you go the better UNTIL it just starts to get muddy and turning DOWN the gain to 11:00 doesn’t fix it. THEN pull the speaker back 1/2 the distance from the LAST movement.. as little as 1/4 of an inch..

11:00 to 1:00 on the sub gain depends on the music. Classic to Hip Hop..

That’s it.. But just so you know I like ear buds.. LOL Just kidding..

The corner SPL were for wolf, he spent a lot of time there as a kid..
I hadn’t seen the room Mr smarty pants.. LOL It’s a doozie!!

Thank you everyone again for all of the fantastic help with getting my room dialed in. I’m looking forward to making it the best it can be. 
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When placing speakers in a room, audio performance takes the highest priority. But often aesthetics need to be considered as well.

In general, triangular positioning, distance from the rear wall, angle, height and tilt will need to be combined for the best outcome.

Once you have your speakers positioned, the final step is to optimize your system using Dirac Live digital processing for room correction. Dirac combines frequency response correction as well as impulse response correction to achieve the optimum audio experience.

If you'd like to learn more about the benefits of Dirac, feel free to contact us at Deer Creek Audio.


L.O.T.S. Loudspeaker Optimization Techniques for Soundstage!  Ran across this a little while ago. You might find it helpful.


It's pretty straight forward and he explains it every step of the way.                                
The two things I found most helpful were inexpensive laser measures and casters.  My listening chair is against a wall so I put a laser measure on the top of each speaker aimed at a single spot where my head would be, but you can do it with one and some blue painter's tape.  You can also measure the distance between speakers. But to achieve exact distance and angle I found having the speaker on casters let me get the placement 'dead on balls accurate' (it's an industry term) for distance and aiming.   My casters are attached to a metal sound deadening plate, but by matching the speaker spike thread to the caster thread larger heavier speakers in particular will be easier to 'dial in' precisely.  A dense rubber caster wheel will probably isolate the speaker from floor vibrations as well as anything else.  This system beats a tape measure or string or any other guessing.
Great thread; lots of good suggestions.

Jim Smith's method should also be considered. In addition to his book, you can schedule a listening session at his studio (sets a reference to what's possible) or he can come to your home and do it for you although I don't know if he's traveling these days.