Optimum distance from speakers esp. re. bass

What is the optimal distance, mathematically at least, from speaker to listener?

Sitting behind the listening sofa yesterday playing Hnefatafl with Loki-son, I experienced a much more pleasing amount of bass than usual which made me rethink my set up.

What works best for you? Is it an issue? Is there a graphic which offers scientific advice to the beleagured?

Try this link

1 Like

It depends on so many things - room, speakers, rest of system, your constraints, and your sound preferences… Try this recent thread, which attempts to gather all available info as a single resource:

Click here: Speaker Placement Guide - resource thread

Be prepared to study a bit, and measurements (or trial and error) plus listening.

1 Like

As others have said the variation will be down to your room and reflections from the walls.

Let me just add that sound propagation is different for low and high tones, due to the very different wavelength they have. Treble sounds are high-frequency sounds, having a short wavelength. Bass sounds are low-frequency sounds, having a long wavelength. ( so you need distance for full appreciation of the bass)

In opposition, the shorter the wavelength, the more easily the sound is absorbed when it reaches the various existing objects through the path through which it propagates, such as carpets, furniture, decorative objects, ceiling covering, walls, etc …

PS.: I would make ( ideally) at least 2.5meters of distance to the speakers

1 Like

Hi Cardoso - I am not sure the wavelength of the sound has a bearing independent of reflections/resonances/absorption of the room walls and fittings. Quality headphones can go down to 10 Hz or so - where you feel the pressure wave as opposed to hear the sound - and there is only a very short distance between headphone and ear :slight_smile:

think its a Question of physics: speakers have to move more air, compared with the headphones.

sure - but that equates to power required for a given frequency as opposed to wavelength surely?

What about near field listening? I get strong bass from speakers yet sat within a 4ft triangle. For me, distance from speakers depends on the room, system and distance between speakers.

It is possible to hear good bass at any distance from the speakers. What makes a real difference is room dimensions, and positions of speakers and listener relative to walls - particularly with regard to peaks and troughs and their positions in the room, and of course influenced by any bass absorbency in the room.

my point is, the farther you are, the stronger you feel the bass, not that you didnt ear it.
And obviously where all depending on the room size.
Near field listening is(for me at least) a compromise.

We’ll have to disagree here. It’s far from a compromise and has been the most revealing setup I have tried with minimal reflections interfering with the sound.

refering to “the punch”. you need space to do this.

Dear sir, i’m specificaly talking about the bass (power of.)
as opposite, the high frekuences, the closest, the better.

I have zero problems with lack of bass in NF. Fast, strong and detailed.

in order to the bass move the pants of a person, you need space.
try playing bass on stage and move the volume up. 5 meters good. 25 meters everybody´s vibrate

(@Toonartist not saying you dont have Kuality of bass)

I do not master the subject , but in the case of whales, the frequencies go far and it will certainly not be only the result of the strength of the lungs

Funny that you ask this… Today I decided to try to measure my frequency response using a phone app and a frequency sweep played from YouTube. Not the most ideal setup but it really gave me a much better idea of what is going on. I recorded a sweep with the speakers hard up against the wall and in stepped increments all the way out to 1 meter out. When I found the flattest response I then did the same thing with the width they were spaced apart. The ideal spot turned out to be 50cm from rear wall and about 3.5 meters apart and towed in looking directly at the listening position. Turns out I had a large dip at 30 hz and 150 hz and also elevated treble for some reason. They sound so much better now but I never would have found the sweet spot by chance.


Me too - that is the beauty of near field - you largely remove the effect of early reflections, room resonances etc - they are there, but masked by the near field response. For me headphones excels with the near field, then speaker near field - where you can feel vibrations i n your body and a spatial variance when you move your head - and then more extended field listening where usually some clarity and precision is lost due to room reflections and resonances - still sounds enjoyable - just often not quite as real or immediate across the frequencies, though depends on the recording - although your brain does a lot of the filling in I suspect.

Bass slam in headphones is a very powerful effect - i have only experienced it with higher end open back magnetic planars though with effective amplification.

The other thing I note, is that a i enjoy the room response or house response of speakers in a room - that is a slightly increasing bass below 120 Hz and a gradual HF attenuation from around 1kHz - this seems to map slightly to the Harman curve - ie how many of us like to hear our sounds. I sometimes assist this curve using eq when using speakers if the room is unduly interacting with the Harman curve. The end result is a more natural and cohesive presentation - especially in the near field. The bottom line humans will find a flat frequency response un natural - albeit this is a combination of course of the record and playback eq.
I notice this most I think when I compare live ambient recordings with studio recordings… where the former can sound very or occasionally astonishingly real - whilst the latter can sometimes benefit from a bit of Harman curve eq - though depends on master and production style


Indeed. That’s ( for me) the greatest reason to have high end headphones: the ability to reproduce the high end speakers for a fraction of price.