I am reporting you to the placement police, they will be there any moment. Seriously, put them where you like them. Some like to sit at the back of the concert hall, some up front, the music sounds quite different by moving just a few seats; a recent Stereophile drew attention to this. As they use to say back in my younger days" If it feels good, do it".
No one can argue with Stan's advice, but there are some general principles(?) things(?) I've noticed over the years with all kinds of speakers in all kinds/sizes of rooms (BTW, you should provide your room dimensions to make the discussion more productive ;--)
What I found most important, over and over again (the tail that MUST wag the dog) is the WIDTH of the room.
WITH THIS ONE EXCEPTION: If the smallest dimension of the room is LARGER than 15~16 feet, then you will be able to place the speakers on the longer wall, with 2 or 3 feet behind them, and still be able to sit back far enough from them to enjoy the superior soundstage that 'long wall' placement provides.
But if you have a room that's only 15 feet wide or less, than you have to place your speaker in front of the short wall in order to sit back far enough to enjoy them, and that is when the distance of each speaker from its respective sidewall becomes critical. You must keep the (outer) edge of almost any speaker at least 20 to 24 inches from the sidewalls, or they will not provide an optimal image -- sometimes NO image.
In this situation, I therefore always start with my 2 X 2 rule: 2 feet from the back wall and the sidewalls; then if there is a poor (or no) soundstage or no tangible image of a (preferably mono) solo vocalist, then I start pulling the speakers together a couple inches at a time until a strong image appears (remembering to keep my listening distance approximately as far away as the speakers are apart (center to center).
When a strong(est) image appears, then you can play with all the other lower priority variables:
Distance from rear wall.
I guess what I'm saying is that the only "rule" if you can call it that, is to be careful (in short wall placement) to give the speakers a minimum clearance of 2 feet to the sidewalls.
I am glad your system is sounding better, one must adjust it to their ears and space.
But, back to your original question.
Yes, you are crazy. Enjoy the insanity.
And the individual speakers differ greatly as to toe in etc. My Spendors sound best [to me] with the axis of the tweeters crossed in front of the listener. In fact that is what Spendor recommends. My friends Wilson's have much less toe in; of course they are in a much wider and taller room then my 13x35x7 one. The short wall placement is the only one practical in my room; I tried several different locations but settled on the one from the Cardas web site, close to 6' out from the back wall and over 3' out from side walls. Looks wrong but sounds good. I am not sure that it is the ultimate placement but I haven't found a better one and dead lifting my 80lb speakers gets tiring after a while.
Stan, I have resigned myself to the fact that no room narrower than 15 - 16 feet will allow "proper" speaker placement; and at best will require shortwall speaker placement and 'near-field' listening.
Unfortunately, the majority of residential rooms, including living rooms, in this country fall into that category. Some people find that situation unacceptable for one reason or another (like they prefer big speakers and big bass). I advise those people to consider headphones ;--)
All, thanks for the responses! It's fun to share the joy of discovery with like minded people (albeit most of you are far more experienced and knowledgeable than I).
Stan, I don't know about the placement police but the waf police nearly imprisoned me after the Owens corning fiber panels came in!
Davt - prolly a good life philosophy embedded in your last thought! Thanks.
Nsgarch - the room is my biggest adversary. I am in a finished basement that is of open design. The easiest way to describe it is that the room is 16x13 feet, however one of the 16 foot sides is open. There is however a structural column in the middle of where the invisible wall would stand. Ideally, I could place the speakers on the other 16 foot wall, but the placement of the column opposite the wall prevents placing any sort of listening chair... So, the speakers are on the shorter wall. The space opens another 26 feet or so past the invisible wall to a built in bar area... The challenges here are numerous, but the fact that one speaker has a corner behind it and the other does not seems the biggest obstacle. I have experimented heavily with diy bass traps including several days spent with a sound meter and test tone cd sampling response... I hope some of this makes sense. I am always grateful for thoughts and advise!
Miles, I can offer you two practical solutions. One will cost a bit and be a bit disruptive (but worth it IMO) the second is cheap, and easy a to try. It might even work -- especially with dipole speakers:
1.) Install two posts to replace the one in the middle and then you'll have a place for your listening chair, or
2.) Place you speakers, freestanding in the opening and in line with the post, and place your listening furniture against the long wall.
I have Thiel CS2.3 speakers that were positioned 2 feet from a back wall. Then I moved them 3 feet from the wall. The loss in bass response was less than I had expected but the speakers sounded better overall - there certainly sounded different. I don't strictly follow the Thiel guidelines either as my speakers are about 7.5 feet apart while I am about 10-12 feet from the speakers. I don't have a dedicated listening room; my system is set up in my living room.
Paperw8, there are tables and formulas that specify the relative proportion (not the actual dimensions) of space behind the speaker to space in front of them, and depending on the room's dimensions and volume, what frequency(ies) of standing waves will be generated from those different speaker position, where they will be the strongest, etc. You can't eliminate them, you can only move them around, and hopefully kill them if necessary ;--)
I wouldn't consider having your speakers in your living room a handicap. It's usually the biggest room in the house -- a definite benefit. And as an architect, I've never found a properly placed set of speakers that couldn't work well with a comfortable furniture layout.
By the way, when you describe speaker-to-speaker distance, you should be measuring their center-to-center distance.
When you describe speaker to rear wall distance, it should be from the front (baffle board) of the speaker to the rear wall.
And when you measure speaker to sidewall distance, it should be from the left or right edge (of the left or right speaker) to its adjoining sidewall.
Every speaker and every room is different. I have yet to find a formula that puts the speakers in the proper place. I have followed them precisely, to the nearest 1/4 inch. Since I always ended up positioning them by ear anyway, I found that the "Master set" method cut through all the complicated formulas and followed my ears from the start. I recommend this method since the formulas cannot predict the placement of furniture, objects in the room, and variations in the walls. As mentioned above, the long wall is best. Anyway, my ears are happy, and that's all that counts.