Speaker placement - what method do you use

I had felt that my room and speakers ( had this with all speakers thus far) where not very compatible and have been using Roons DSP and convolution filters made by HAF to combat this. I can’t have speakers too far out and I am limited to having them in front of the large windows in my front room so treating this area is difficult. Also listening position is pretty much close to wall on the opposite side and nothing I can do about this so bass is an issue here. Using DSP It sounds great but only for Roon so this has become more of an issue when I want to use my vinyl section.

So for the time being I have been playing with placement more to try and elevaite some of the rooms issues and turned off DSP. I had been following traditional methods of placement following the recommended distances by the manufacturer and forums advice and also making sure the speakers where equal distance away from listening position etc.

This really has not worked and led to imbalance, more reflections so often causing more issues. So after more research I ended on reading threads and experimenting with the Sumiko method of placing speakers . There are a few variations on it but all more or less throw away the concepts of equal spacing and distance and it focuses on balancing the pressure of the room so the speakers work in unison.

After quite a few attempts I am pretty much there with this method , it does take some time to do and patience. And wow what a difference it’s made. Combined with quite severe toe in for my speakers, funnily it’s the way Tannoy recommend them to be but it never seemed right before it’s sounding so much better. Less first reflections and vocals are centre stage and this centering is present even when listening way left or right of the normal sweet spot which is the aim of this method. So even on my other sofa the music comes from the stage not the speakers if you know what I mean.

I do still have room modes going up from 35hz this an issue that causes about 8-9db gain down from 15db from 35 -100 and I have a few nulls at 55hz and 75 hz which I need to try and solve so I am going to use room treatments for this stage. I finally found some that will help tame the bass and are actually acceptable to look at and look more at home in a domestic environment not a recording studio. Although there still will be protest :slight_smile: an likely some absorberd behind my listening position disguised as family pictures as GIK and others allow you to have your own prints on them.

After all this I will likely revisit DSP for the final tweaks to the digital area but at least my analogue side will be more listenable again. I can’t recommend this method enough for getting it just right.

So how have you done it?

Had a dedicated room so didn’t have the placement and treatment constraints you had to counter. Speakers around 2m into room, 1m from side walls, listening position about 2m from rear wall. Wall mounted absorption for first reflection points, diffusion on rear and side walls, floor to ceiling chunk traps in all corners. Still had a LF null around 35Hz so articulate bass without the visceral impact. Other than that room was a great place to listen.

Speaker placement was done using the method outlined in Get Better Sound and paying very close attention to symmetry relative to listening position.

For the moment I’m reduced to cans.

From the paucity of responses does one infer that most Roonies use cans or that speaker placement is not something they pay attention to?

I’ve spent some time optimising speaker placement. Fortunately, my listening room is largely for my sole use. Nonetheless, I’ve had to make some compromises to pass muster.

The room is roughly 4m square with a bay window behind the listening position. Speakers are a metre from corners and 500mm from the wall (albeit that space includes bookcase.) I’ve paid close attention symmetry with the speaker initially beaming directly toward the listening position; but they now have an approximate 10 degree toe-out from this position. I also took time deciding on the optimal height before buying stands (a relatively low 500mm.)

I also tweaked by playing a mono track (Wouldn’t It Be Nice) and inverting the phase of one speaker, adjusting until the voice was all around me rather than centre. Then I changed phase back and use stereo tracks to adjust bass (Roundabout) and sound soundstage (Moondance) and so on.

Definitely worth the effort!

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Mine fire upward at an angle so are less sensitive to placement, which is fortunate as my wife is very sensitive to their placement in the room…


My wife told me where to put mine. I’m beginning to think “headphones”.


My wife told me also, but they won’t fit. :rofl:

Just kidding. I don’t have any speakers, just a soundbar, subwoofer, and headphones.


Sounds like you had the ideal space, I take it that is no longer the case.

No I have my placement I need to ensure the family dont move anything. Difficult as the lady of the household pulls sofa and tables out all the time to make her way to out washing on the radiator and doesn’t put them back. I can tell instantly some things off. It would be amazing to have my own space but that’s not happening any time soon. Maybe when I retire.

We have 4 bedrooms and only use one. I could make one of them a listening room, but I don’t want to sit all day isolated. Wait…

35SQM of dedicated listening room, fortuitously with a firewall between it and rest of house so sound didn’t travel into the house either meaning a few us regularly enjoyed whiskey till the wee hours without disturbing the household.

If council approves my plans my new “shared” listening space will be around 50sqm with the speakers wherever they need to be. Treatments will be interesting, don’t think I’ll get away with what I was able to do previously, at least not to the same extent.

Some crude drawings to illustrate what I found gave me great results:

  • start with the middle of the room and put some tape down dividing the room into two equal halves
  • ensure both speakers are equidistant from that mid point
  • find your listening position along that center line
  • toe speakers in to achieve the desired soundstage
  • ensure that speaker toe in is identical i.e. measure from inner and outer edge of speaker to a point on the room’s center line ensuring that the inner distances to that point are the same for both speakers as are the outer distances.
  • reconfirm speakers are equidistant from the line dividing the room

Repeat above dance till the conditions in both of the last two bullets are satisfied

Lastly put a laser on top of one speaker and put some tape where it hits wall behind listening position. Do same with other speaker. Adjust speaker feet till laser hits same height from both speakers.

When that’s done you can be pretty sure your imaging will be spot on (assuming of course you’ve countered hard surfaces appropriately to counter secondary reflections)



But haven’t you tumbled down the rabbit hole of accurate imaging vs. reflected sound? The “precise imaging” camp had box speakers that had to be placed just so. If you sat off-axis from the one ideal spot or - as in your case - had to move to another room, you could never get accurate imaging. Then Bose and Allison came up with reflected sound speakers, using the room as a part of the acoustics. No imaging, but a glorious “open” sound.

If the room is your constraint, perhaps moving to Allison or Bose or the like would provide the solution.

Where ever I sit now its imaged ust right even off axis. That’s why I posted about the Sumiko method as it’s worked best for me in my room and makes listening to music not just in the sweet spot more viable. I personally would never buy Bose, I have not liked anything they have made that I have heard at all.

Don’t use a specific method. I’m fortunate to have had to take an architectural acoustics course in college, so I paid attention to our living room layout and constuction when we had the house built. Reflection and diffusion has been roughly factored in from the beginning.

As for the tweaks: mostly by ear, some verification wit a sound pressure level meter. For surround sound I used audyssey and tweaked the EQ curves a little by hand.

Biggest improvement I made to the room was installing a wrought iron art nouveau style stair railing (that works really well with the clean lines of our living room) that does a very good job at diffusing a slight echo from the stair well that couldn’t be avoided before because we needed the stair well to be where it is.

Thing is, you can calculate all you want but real life construction defies all the math. Unless you build an anechoic chamber but who wants to live in that?

I’ve generally had pleasing results with my Quads being a few degrees toed in

But I was watching an old Hans B video (I’d seen it before, so the unscratchable itch was clearly on my mind…:thinking:)

He recommended using a ‘pink noise mono’ track for toe-in

I tried it, maybe my focus spot was a bit fat?

Out with the test gear…

Well, burger me!

From ~5^ to ~10^ (ie toed in a bit, but not at me)
Lovely compromise; bit more centre focus, maybe slightly less wide, but more importantly - slightly better front to back separation of instruments, and some aspects that seemed to stick in the Quads were more palpable, still at the speaker, but fleshed out

If that makes any sense at all :grinning:

Anyway, point being… a bit of tweaking is well worth a go - fun, free and potentially beneficial

I put them equal distances, sensibly away from walls, toed in slightly and then use DIRAC. Sound fab.

Plonk them back roughly where they were before we moved them to vacuum or make room and carry on listening.

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I re- positioned mine back towards the wall and slightly wider spaced the other week whilst a bit tipsy as it sounded to bright and not enough depth on some tracks. Made a massive improvement.

Ask the wife.


She heard it sounded better from upstairs. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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