Question re: speaker/sub placement in a small room

My question relates to speakers used for both music and movies (each through an amp/AVR, respectively).

My room is on the small side - 14 x 16, with the front towers and subwoofer positioned in front of the 14’ wall. My subwoofer is on the outside - that is, closest to the 16’ wall.

For purposes of listening to music, am I better off with the current placement or might the soundstage improve/broaden by moving the tower speakers to the outside with the sub taking the inside position? (Would the answer be the same for movies?)

Yes, I could and will move these around and test, but just wondering what conventional wisdom provides. I seem to sense it’s my current set up, but I love contrarian thinking.

Thanks for any advice you can offer.

If you’re using some sort of room correction software, it makes sense to put the subwoofer where it’s loudest because then the room correction software can just turn it down. Otherwise you’d look for the place where the sub gives the most even response at the listening position.

The placement will not affect stereo imaging provided you cross over at 80 Hz or thereabouts. That’s low enough for our ears not to worry about where the sound is coming from.

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It’s not so much that I’m worried about the sub - I’m interested in maximizing the presentation of the stereo towers. Assuming the sub placement doesn’t impact the sub, do you think that spreading out the left and right towers will benefit the soundstage, or are we talking about relatively small adjustments that won’t make a difference?


Your room is a similar width to mine. For me I tend to get the best presentation of the soundstage the wider apart the main speakers are, but should be 85cm from the side walls minimum.

I have my speakers 85cm from the side walls and the sub on the inside of the speakers - then use DIRAC room correction.


That was my hope. Thanks - I’m going to give it a try this weekend.

The “gold standard” is an equilateral triangle between the speakers and the listening position. If you can’t achieve that, you could try having more or less toe-in. For example, you could point the speakers in such a way that an imaginary line from the tweeters would cross behind or in front of your head. That could change the stereo width, but it might also affect the frequency response (particularly higher frequencies) at the listening position. An advantage of exaggerated toe-in is that you will minimize reflections from side walls.

Something to try at least.

Another suggestion could be to try having the whole setup on the long wall instead. Usually that gives more even bass and less pronounced reflections from side walls.

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Good thing I’m getting some spike pads for my towers - looks like I’ll be sliding them around this weekend and testing it all out. Thanks!


Find the right spot for your Main Front Left and Front Right speakers first… Usually a few feet into the room from the front and side walls… Then find the right spot for your sub, could be anywhere along any wall in your room… See Speaker Placement Calculators and Sub Crawl…

You might also look at some low frequency absorption and wide band diffusion for your room…

Room EQ Wizzard might help to “see” what is going on in the room…

Google is your frenemy…

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