What speaker for being close to rear wall?

I'm looking for a speaker that would excel, not just tolerate, being near the rear wall. It needs to be within 12 inches. Don't worry about cost. Also I recently tried Audio Notes so you can leave those off the suggestion list.I don't have symmetrical defined corners. :(


Since these are going on the "rear wall" is it safe to assume they are for surround sound duties?
Thiel SCS?
Obviously, Klipschorns. You'd have to make fake corners though to really optimize them.

I think AudioKinesis has a model that does well close to walls. Duke makes some great stuff. I have not heard his new speakers, but they got some great buzz at RMAF
Van Schweikert V-33 and Allison One (if you can find a pair on the used market). Both were designed for rear wall placement. My Zu Definition 2s are 12" from the rear wall; this is where they sounded best.
I think the Naim speakers were designed for wall placement. There are more for this placement than you might think, I suggest a google search as my memory isn't what it was.
Summitav- No not for surround. However they are in my living room and therefore do not have the luxury of being in the middle of the floor. I know this is less than ideal but it is what I have to work with.

Thanks everyone for your comments so far. If anyone can provide information about what makes a speaker work best there, perhaps that info is also useful.

All Klipsch classics
Linn speakers are--or at least used to be--designed for near wall use.

At least some of Rega's speakers can apparently be used close to the wall.

My understanding is that wall creates a boost in bass frequencies, which is probably why speakers like the original Linn Kan had amazing bass for the size. Thus, the overall design of the speaker has to take this boost into account.
Anthony Gallo Stradas are designed to be within a foot of the wall. I use the A'divas in my office as they are 6" off the wall, and everything else sounded too boomy.
Gradient Revolutions
Guru speakers were the talk of the show in NY a few years ago.
Made to be against the wall. Incredible bass!

Any speaker which is non-ported or front ported will work well closer to a back wall. I've had success with Linn Katan, Linn Majik 109 and currently Spendor S5e floorstanders, which use a transmission line design and port out the bottom. Aerial 5's also work well, but need lots of power.

It's the rear porting than tends to cause bloated bass problems.
I agree about the porting, but there seems to be more at work. For instance I had Avalons that were bottom ported and they needed to be 6-7 feet out. It seems some of the older vintage designs were designed to work well in corners or against the wall. English speakers also generally seem to get mentioned a lot.
While I agree in theory that non-ported work well close to a wall...it doesn't always work in practice. I was using Mirage OMD-5s at my desk, which are acoustically sealed, and they don't sound good unless away from the walls. Way too much bass reinforcement. I'm assuming it is because of the omni sound dispersion bouncing off the walls and reinforcing. That's why I'm using Gallo A'Divas for the moment. They need the reinforcement.

I'm thinking about trying some Paradigm Signature S1s and see how they fare. Couldn't agree more on rear port...that by a wall is uber bad. :-)
This speaker was designed from the get-go to be placed against the wall and got some great reactions from those who heard it (myself, not included):
Audio Note !

Yeah, I'm really intrigued by (the clue). I'd love to see a thorough review of it one of these days.
There have been numerous threads on this in the past. If you search "north creek" (which I own and enjoy) and "guru" I expect you will get several of them. John
I have a pair of Triangle Celius ES speakers in the living room and they are front ported and sound great 14 inches (back of speaker) from the back wall. They do not really change much on pulling them out further. I have a pair of Triangle Comete monitors in the den also close to the back wall. They come in bordeaux and cognac ( rosewood and cherry) colors and are available on the used market. They are also easy to drive and are far better than their cost would suggest. See reviews.
Audio Note !
Omega! Any of the XRS line will do. Louis will also build any of his other designs with a front firing port for close to the wall positioning. Great sound and a 30 return policy.
The Joseph RM7 are front ported and do quite well near walls. Then again I have owned these for a long time, so I'm biased.
front-ported Rega's work well near a wall. I've had the 1's, 3's and 5's in this configuration with good results.
My Classic Audio Loudspeakers are 6 inches from the rear wall and no worries. The down-firing woofers seem to be effective at dealing with proximity issues- the speakers don't boom even though they go down to 20Hz.

Duke of Audiokinesis had a set of speakers at the RMAF show ($4400/pair!) that can back up close to the wall too. They have a set of drivers that fire to the side walls, which is helpful for breaking up standing wave issues and at the same time allowing for a great sound stage.
"English speakers also generally seem to get mentioned a lot."

I've noticed that, too. My speculation is that it reflects England, where living rooms are said to be smaller. (Easier to fit speakers in if they go close to a wall.) Plus I imagine it's less common over there to have dedicated listening rooms.
At a local (Seattle) dealership, I heard a very nice demonstration of the Wilson Duettes in a close-to-the-wall configuration and I thought they sounded very nice.
I have KEF207/2's and they do just fine close to the rear wall. They are also remarkable speakers (see Stereophile review). Good luck@
A pair of Guru QM-10's just went up for sale here.
Vienna Schoenberg series is designed for on-wall or near wall use. Not great, but not half bad.
One thing I'd be leery of, if you have to go near the front wall, is getting speakers that are not voiced for near wall, but said to work "pretty well" in close. One day, you'll pull them away from the wall out of curiosity, and you'll likely find they sound much better further out (as indeed the manufacturer's directions indicate), and you'll be bummed to have to return them to the livable configuration, knowing you're not able to take full advantage of what you paid for. Happened to me, anyway.

Totem, more specifically in corners.
Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the suggestions and there are definitely a few here I have not ever considered.

I think you mean front wall . Most speakers will produce more bass near a wall so a speaker thats bass shy would be a place to start , and of course front ported .
Agree on the wall description. If it is the wall in front of the listener how can it be the "rear wall"?

Now for the problem (regardless of what you call it). Bass frequencies load up (are emphasized) at room boundaries. Any two planes (such as wall and floor) are the normal example but corners are three plane intersections and therefore create greater emphasis. Few speakers are specifically designed to compensate for or take advantage of this condition.

Klipsch corner horns were designed to take advantage of the loading. AR-9s, and their offspring, were designed to compensate for this loading (by driver size, placement, and crossover points).

I don't know how many other speakers were designed from one of these two concepts but they include Snell Type A, Allison, Naim, Linn, and AudioNote. Also, the suggestion for bass shy models may work but you could end up with an upper bass emphasis without any mid or lower bass, resulting in a heavy or overly warm sound.

Then in addition to bass response, imaging can also be affected by close wall placement.

Good luck.
Linn Majik 109 work great close to rear wall.

Stereophile Review:

According to the reviewer:
"Another unusual aspect of the 109 is that the 2K array is mounted on a dedicated cast-alloy chassis directly in front of the front-firing reflex port. The impetus for this design came from Linn Japan, which was pressing for a bookshelf model diminutive enough to easily fit into a small Tokyo apartment. As a result, Linn chose a front-firing port to enable the speakers to function properly when placed flush against a wall. In fact, in addition to dedicated stands (available in black or silver), these speakers are available with optional Linn Brakits for wall mounting."
The rear wall would apply from the speaker's standpoint. I know many refer to that wall from the listener's standpoint hence the description of "front wall". At least we're all clear on that now!

My favorite comment on this debate came from a 'goner who asked:

"If the wall behind the speaker is the "rear wall", does that make the opposite wall behind the listener the "front wall"?

Just a funny observation borrowed from a fellow contributor.


Audiokinesis Jazz Modules have an adjustable rear port and can even be used as a sealed box if necessary. I have found them to be very flexible as to room placement.
Clio09- I heard those, and I think highly of Duke. He has a new design that is made to sit right up against the wall and the drivers are at a 45 degree angle. That is exactly the type of solution I'm trying to find.

Does anyone have experience with the new JBL designs (Array, K2) and how they react to near wall placement?
Vandersteen 7,5,or Quatro Wood II
they can all work even 4 inched out from the wall
Yes much to my dis belief with their included Room compensation feature we tuned them in many rooms even on fireplace hearths sounding amazing.
Bubble Level adjust side to side then laser tilt back adjustment then room compensation and you are done.
Best Johnnyr
Front wall , is the wall in front of the listener , I thought this was put to rest in years ago .
I am using a set of Joseph InWall speakers in my main system and they are working very well. I have them teamed up with an old NHT SubOne i and I find the sound very satisfying. Not quite as satisfying as my Vienna Acoustics Beethovens that are siting in storage now but very good none the less.

I don't have symmetrical defined corners.

AN speakers do not necessarily have to be placed in the corners. I know several folks who use their ANs (and Snells) in the middle of a long wall. You will have to play with toe in, and the placment from the back wall might need to be tweaked for each speaker to even out the sound at your listening position.

It sound like you have a less than optimal room. Welcome t the club. There are no perfect solutions (other than building yourself a more perfect room). I think that you are either going t have to accept some compramise in sound or speaker placement. Or you can try to correct for the the room acoustics digitally via a Tact or some other room correction device. That's not my cup of tea, but it's an option.
Br3098- Thanks for your input.

I've tried both of those. Couldn't get AN's to sound good. They were flat. 2 dimensional. The dealer wants to try again but they just didn't sound right in my room.

A while back I tried an electronic room correction device. I also decided that was not my cup of tea.
Not exactly "right" sounding but very enjoyable stuff
Another option would be the Totem "on wall" (Tribe series) speakers.

I heard the Tribe V series with a Tribe Sub and they sounded amazing!

Ditto Vandersteen. Richard Vandersteen recommends that they be close to the back wall. If I get mine any further out from the back wall than 18" the bass starts to fall off, and they are very comfortable a foot away. The rear firing accoustic coupler needs the rear wall to augment the bass response.
For the past 5 years I have used PSB M2 Platinum monitors about 14 inches from the back wall and about 18 inches from a corner. All that seems to do is to enhance the bass, no standing waves. This speaker ports at the front which is better than a rear port when used close to the wall. Great speaker and not expensive either.