LS50s on their side?

So I’ve needed to relocate some gear around the house, and without going into too much detail, my LS50s and UQ1 are now in the basement in an environment that is slightly more ‘nearfield’ than I’d like. The past two weeks have been fine, but the KEFs are on a pair of Solidsteel SS7s at c75cm and I have been feeling like I was missing something - have been moving in and out of the back wall, toeing them in out, etc…Just not getting that right feel for placement. Like they were too high - to the point of thinking I should get a pair of smaller stands.

Until I had the (stupid?) idea of placing them on their sides.

The difference is unbelievable - soundstage, imaging, depth, all of it. Like they’re totally different speakers. I think the difference in vertical height of the driver is maybe 8-10cm? But seems like a world of difference.

Has anyone else tried something similar? I’m curious as this seems to go into the book of ‘can you place bookshelf speakers on their side and get the same / better results?’ And my experience over the past hour seems to be yes…By a huge margin

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Many years ago between houses I lived for a short while in a bedsit, where the only place to put my speakers was each lying on its side on top of built-in wardrobes either side of a fireplace (i.e high in the room as well as on their sides). The speakers were IMF TLS50ii, which are fair size floorstanders (something like 36" x14" x13"). The room was a compromise, and I can’t say they sounded better than normal, but I do remember being pleasantly surprised to find they sounded good despite the positioning. There is absolutely no reason to not use speakers in unconventional orientation or positioning, when, depending on the room, there is always the possibility of sounding better than the conventional way, depending on which aspects of the positioning have the greatest effect in the room they’re in.

I think that most ‘bookshelf’ sized speakers these days are designed to sit on stands, bringing them up to ear level for listeners sitting in a chair.

(I appreciate that this is a generalisation.)

Or even hung from the ceiling… Like these Living Voice speakers in Posh London Restaurant/Bar Caia.

Very, very cool! Three record decks and a mixing console rather than an amplifier? And in a restaurant/bar?

Do patrons of the establishment bring along a favourite LP to listen to while dining?

Is that an Ortofon step up transformer next to the console thingy?

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I’d be concerned about the effect of free hanging speakers on the sound because they’d move (equal and opposite reaction to movement of cones - albeit a lot less distance being inversely proportional to mass of speaker and mass of cone), while inertia would make slower, but still possibly significant on large impulses. Hanging the equipment rack would be another matter…

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Hanging rack Mmmmm. :thinking:

I suspect driver height is key here. KEF’s own matching stands are just under 66cm, so just over 9cm lower than your SolidSteels. Presuming KEF’s own stands put the speakers at an ideal height, you’ve effectively replicated that by turning them.

There’s a lot of discussion on the forum about positioning of speakers relative to rear and side walls, but I’ve found the vertical dimension can be important, too. This is particularly true in a nearfield setting.

I believe the KEF’s Uni-Q driver has a radially symmetric dispersion pattern, so turning them on their sides shouldn’t affect dispersion. This won’t apply to all speakers. For example, ATC design their drivers with a wide horizontal dispersion but it’s much narrower vertically, so rotating them is probably not a good idea.

A fascinating finding — thanks for posting.


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Strange as I would have thought the uni-Q driver would be very tollerant of positioning…perhaps its more to do with the dispersion across the cabinet from side to side - and the fact that this maybe assists some element of the midband… conversly the speaker standing upright might allow sound to be more reflected from the side and back wall…
I seem to remember Gale speakers were in your preferred orientation…
Don’t worry about it!

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Neat Iotas are designed to be used horizontally, too. I’ve occasionally wondered how they’d perform in a vertical orientation, but mine are on wall brackets, so too hard to experiment.


But the ideal height will be relative to the ear, so seating and body height also play a role here. Any stands height, including the manufacturers, might not be “correct” for a listeners reality.

Of course, but I assume KEF base the height of their dedicated Meta stands on some sort of average seat height.

I just thought it probably more than a coincidence that the reduction in driver height from rotating the speakers was the same as the difference in stand heights.


So I got out the measuring tape. On the ‘long’ axis, it’s 10cm from edge to driver and 4cm on the short side. So a net reduction of 6cm when placed sideways. Has the effect of reducing my SS7s to an effective height of 68ish cm

Given the UniQ is circular and in the centre of the speaker, there’s no reason to think that the dispersion qualities are any different horizontally vs vertical.

Listening to Springsteen’s Letter to You - the difference is night and day horizontally; better separation, imaging, depth. And I think they look better sideways. Like the way those Guru Q10s look on stands…

Maybe not necessarily if the speaker drivers and tweeter are angled towards the ear, then the height wouldn’t matter.

A bit like in the photo I posted above of the posh bar/restaurant with the speakers hung from the ceiling, which are angled downwards.

A bit like having a flat screen tv high up on the wall then angling it down to your veiwing angle.

I think they’re angled back so they must be fixed from three points.

I would think two points on top which is visible in the pic then one from behind at the bottom onto wall.

Although I’m not sure if free swinging speakers would pose a problem as it’s the foundation of the principal of Townshend Podiums that allow a speaker to move freely.

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