Electronics rack placement

I never quite understood why placing the electronics rack between and behind the speakers was suboptimal relative to placement off to one side.
It seems that that sound pressure from speakers would be higher off to the side but in front of the speakers as I see in many of the pictures posted.
Any science /SPL measurements behind this?
There are disadvantages when off to the side such as requiring much longer speaker cables.

I’ve never seen a dem either at a hifi shop or Naim dem with the kit between the speakers. Alway to one side.

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I have seen many demo’s with the gear between the speakers. I can’t remember the last one that wasn’t.

For me there are two things. Firstly, having stuff between the speakers can affect the balance of the sound, though this is less significant if the front of the speakers is forward of the stuff. Secondly, I don’t like staring at a load of hifi boxes when listening to music; it’s too much like a hifi shrine.


It’s a double whammy ‘free’ upgrade - the speakers will have more air around them giving the sound more room to breath, and the electronics are out that 360 degree wall of sound, which will travel into the sensitive cables, electronics and sockets from all angles, especially as the volume increases.

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Thanks for the responses. It’s a moot point for me and and my space since I can’t move the kit off to the side, but was just wondering if there was some supporting data. I do agree with HH regarding the “shrine”however.

I always use my own ears. It either sounds better or it doesn’t. Vibration travelling into a system and feeding back through the signal is a well known phenomenon, data or not. One only needs to put a microphone too near to a speaker to hear any feed back. Think of all that energy travelling into the stand and the boxes, where is it going to go?

Agreed, but is it less off to one side?

Yes, quite significantly so, the further the better, in a practical sense.

Same here off to one side quite a way from speakers. Tried gear between speakers once :disappointed_relieved::disappointed_relieved::scream::scream: never again destroyed sound :scream:

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I’ve found things to be ok (in-between the speakers) at a very low volume, but once the dial is increased to average or more listening levels then one can start to hear nasties creeping into the sound. Obviously the more revealing a system, the more so, regardless of any volume.

With Naim amps, longer speaker cable generally works better, so if putting the rack to one side requires more length that would be a good thing.

In my last flat, I had the racks off to one side well away from the speakers. When kids arrived I moved the racks to be between the speakers to basically give the kids one less angle of attack.

The soundstage suffered. Whether by early reflections from the gear or psychological impact of having no “empty stage” I know not. It doesn’t really matter. The perceived change was real.

That was my first and last experiment with hifi between speakers. Never again. Not to mention the aesthetic harmony to be gained for me by not having a wall that looks like a shrine to the gods of hifi.


My own findings through experimentation are that between and only slightly behind, level or proud affects the soundstage due to reflections, as does a TV, cabinet, fireplace or lack of distance to front wall etc.

Between and well behind doesn’t affect the soundstage, but if you listen with eyes open or in a light room, the psychoacoustic affect could be quite powerful, depending on the individual.

I prefer the kit and speakers in one part of the room, so it doesn’t feel invasive and maintains symmetry. When listening, I generally close my eyes and am used to tuning out any psychoacoustic effect but when others have listened, some find it disconcerting that there seems to be a person (singer) standing behind the kit.

At the end of the day, if you have space to experiment with placement you can make either work. If not, as usual it’s just about finding the best compromise that works for you sonically and aesthetically.

As an aside, I found having the kit well away from the wall preferable, which is only realistic (in my case) between the speakers.

I see a lot of racks placed in corners of rooms and have never quite understood this as bass frequencies are strongest in corners. Surely not a good place to site equipment. I did consider this when changing my room around last year but decided to site centrally between speakers and have tri traps in the corners.
Fortunately my speakers are placed well forward of my rack and TV and my system has never sounded better.
Interestingly I tried placing some acoustic panels in front of my TV to remove the dreaded TV reflection problem and I didn’t like the effect. Panels on the rear wall behind my listening position are much better.
As always I appreciate everyone has different views, experiences, rooms and constraints but always worth experimenting if you can.

My rack is not in the same room as my speakers :slightly_smiling_face:

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Finite Elemente have done a fair amount of scientific and SPL analysis of kit on their racks. Could be worth looking them up online.

Mine is also in a different room to the speakers.
Very noticeable improvement when the electronics were moved out of the listening room

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After a year or so between the speakers, I moved my LP12-based office system off to one side. I’d always had 5m-long speaker cables so no change there. The sound became a bit more refined / smoother and was musically slightly more engaging too. Not a big deal but worthwhile. For critical listening system, then I think it’s definitely worth doing.

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