Speaker placement is very important both in professional and personal settings. How you set up your speakers will determine the listening experience that you end up with.
For the beginner, knowing how to deal with the placement of speakers can be quite a challenge. I say this because a question I got recently in my email was basically a person asking whether speakers needed to be placed at an angle or not.
Therefore, I wrote this article to address this specific question in order to offer help to anyone that may have a set of new speakers but is unsure of whether or not to place them at an angle.
With that said, Do speakers need to be angled?
Speaker positioning is very important. Having Speakers angled can help you keep them on axis and create a good stereo effect. Therefore yes, speakers are best positioned at an angle to direct the flow of sound better.
Angle your speakers inward so they’re aimed towards the listening position. If you want good sound across a wider listening area, then decrease toe-in. I recommend that you try different angles of your speakers a few degrees at a time until you hit that sweet spot or the best position for the speakers.
Speaker placement tips:
1. Deciding placement
The very first step in speaker placement is figuring out where your speakers will go.
If you’re a music producer or engineer this will mostly mean having them near or at your workstation but not too close that they interfere with your work and the free flow of sound that you need.
A good practice is to have your speakers form an equilateral triangle with your listening position.
This is a good practice in audio engineering work where subtle key details like this makes a difference.
Now that you’ve decided where to place your speakers, the next step is to get some good speaker separation. Which is basically the distance between the right speaker and the left speaker.
It’s best that you to try to get about 4 feet of separation for bookshelf speakers or 8 feet for floorstanding speakers.
If you have your speakers too close together, sound from both speakers will start to blend together more aggressively and you’ll end up with a muddy output. This may make it difficult for you to get a good sense of the audio.
It may even be irritating.
As a caution, its worth mentioning that If your speakers are too far apart, there will be a gap between the two halves of the stereo image.
And this as well will create problems.
Delicate work like record producing will suffer from badly positioned speakers… so get a good general distance between the speakers and have them angled towards you.
A general good practice is to try out different spacing between your speakers until you find the sweet spot. Which is the optimal listening position.
3. Speaker height
Another consideration is the height of the speaker which is also important.
You need to position your speakers so that the tweeters are at roughly the same height as your ears.
Tweeters drive high frequencies of your speakers.
The directional pattern of sound coming from the speaker, can vary greatly as you move away from the front and center of the speaker,
Therefore to get consistent and good sound, Its important that you set up so you’re facing the speakers at ear level.
Good speaker stands can help you get speakers to a good ear level.
4. Wall proximity
Sound travels through air as you may know and it is very easy for it to be reflected when it hits a hard surface like a wall.
It is also going to get absorbed when it comes into contact with soft material like a carpet, clothing or any other sound absorbing material.
Therefore a good practice when setting up your speakers is to keep them away from the nearest wall.
Have your speakers at least 2-3 feet away from the nearest wall. This way you’ll minimize sound reflections, which can negatively impact playback clarity and also make it difficult for you to get a true audio representation of what you’re playing.
5. Adjust speaker angle
Like I mentioned earlier on in this post, speaker angling is very important because you’ll use it to create an optimal listening experience and position.
A good practice is to angle your speakers inward so they’re aimed towards the listening position more specifically, at a point directly behind the listener’s head. In order for the listener to be in the central sweet spot.
6. Free passage of sound
Like I earlier mentioned, sound travels through air and its possible for it to get absorbed or reflected.
Therefore, ensure that you don’t have any objects or items standing in between your speakers and your ears. This is important in keeping the passage of sound free from interference.
Always go for symmetry in speaker and furniture arrangement.
The goal here is to minimize sound reflections as much as possible while allowing for a natural flow of sound.