What should well placed speakers sound like?

I'm relatively new to a hi-fi system. I'm slowly upgrading, but have recently purchased Meadowlark Kestrel Hot Rods...getting rid of some old JBL speakers (10 years old+).
I'm wondering as I try to place the speakers....what should I be looking for? That the sound comes from the middle of the two speakers (as opposed to the speakers)? Can some of you in-the-know explain the concept of soundstage and speaker placement and what to listen for when placing the speakers.

I have them 7 feet apart (can't really change due to the set-up of my living room) and a somewhat toe-in (which seems to help).

Idealistically, the speakers should perform a disappearing act. Thus giving the impression that a new listener cannot determine why the speakers are even in the room because that is not where the sound is coming from.

More specifically, from the listening chair:

1. The entire front 1/3rd of the listening room should be the soundstage. That includes behind, above, sometimes in front of, and even beyond the borders of the speakers themselves.

2. Imaging - certain sounds should have pin-point accuracy and held in space. If you close your eyes you can visualize the exact location where the vocalist or instrument is located.

3. Bass should be phenominal. Full, blooming(but not booming), pronounced, yet exceedingly well defined.

There are other effects, and of course, every other piece of equipment (to one degree or another) either helps or hinders the percentage of success of aquiring the above attributes. Including electrical AC, room acoustics, cables, etc..

You might want to check out Cardas.com. There they have a golden room set of equations for getting your speakers into the approximate location for starters.

You know the placement is right when there are no speakers in the room. The soundstage is wide and deep and the imaging is pinpointed. You can accomplish this by getting the speakers out from the far wall and placed properly from the side wall. My speakers are about 7 feet out from the far wall and are seven feet apart. Use a tape measure and get it down to the correct inch. I have two 6 foot tall tube traps that are against the side wall just forward of the speakers. Adding those just nailed it. Bought the pair of them locally for $200. Best $200 upgrade I have ever made.
Good post,Stehno Songlian your source is important as to how good your speakers will immage. Try to keep your speakers 3 feet from the sidewalls.and 2 to 3 feet from the rear wall all depends on your speakers for bass reinforcement.
I know when placement is right when the highs and lows are balanced with the mids. With mine anyways there is some play left for soundstage, as in to have vocals in the middle when they should be. This play really just pertains to the distance between the speakers. Making the toe-in angles equal is also needed to appropriately place points along the horizontal axis, but the degree of toe-in is just to adjust relative amount of high frequencies. As long as what should be is centered between the speakers and correct position for frequeny response, your equipment and room will dictate the quality of the rest of the atmosphere. Your's is a good question, but staging and imaging are less important and than they are made to be. The best soundstage, created by the best systems, is the most undefined.
Thanks for the information. Unfortunately, I can only position the speakers in so many places. I can't pull them out much from the wall, maybe a few feet, and can barely move them away from a side wall (at least one of the speakers)...again due to the room size. The speakers are pretty small and I have a dog, so I have to position the speakers a bit back, so she can't run them over (big dog).

I have them positioned probably as best I can right now and it sounds great...someday i'll have a dedicated listening room and can do something better...
Here are two great placement sites :


If you have speakers next to side walls or rear walls in my experience it kills the imaging. One day, just for fun, pull them out into the room and see what happens ... you might find that the imaging is so wonderful that you can't put them back and you have to live with them in the middle of your room. Friends will laugh at you, but then that comes with being an "audiophile". You should see my listening room .. what a mess !