Speaker and system positioning

Having been a member of this forum for a little while now I have had the opportunity to see many different system setups in several ‘show me’ threads. One thing that strikes me is the proximity of speakers to system stacks, many of which seem rather close to my way of thinking.

I haven’t invested in a set of Fraim shelves, so I don’t know if the isolation provided makes this a non-issue. But to maximise isolation wouldn’t you want to keep them as far apart as possible?

Clearly in a home situation, many will not be free to arrange their system solely on SQ grounds, but I do (perhaps naively) wonder if sufficient attention is paid to system siting to minimise vibration/microphonic effects.

In my, admittedly, small but dedicated listening space, I am considering longer speaker cables so I can move my system stack even further away from my speakers. Should I really be worrying about that?


This is a really good question and I have wondered about it myself. Logically, if putting the components in something like a Fraim changes the sound then where the Fraim is located should also make a difference. If there is such an effect then I would imagine it has to do with the room modes.

i have gone with 8m speaker cables to keep the isoblue stack well away from the speakers - that is practical with naca5 - less so with more exotic cables


I have segregated my electronics from loudspeakers with 10m of speaker cable. I certainly think it prudent to do so, especially if you use a TT. I’m pretty sure that 10m lengths do not, noticeably, affect sound quality.


It’s probably fine to put the rack between speakers if the speakers sit well forward of the rack so that technicall the rack is behind them. It’s certainly desireable for non Naim amps that use eye wateringly expensive speaker cables where 2m or less is common.

I site all of my systems off to one side on the adjacent wall or at least the corner.

I’ve certain put 3 racks side by side snig between speakers before when domestic restrictions required it. There was a noticeable difference but we all live with domestic realities.

Personally, even for aesthetics I don’t like putting the hifi between speakers. It sort of makes the room appear to have a shrine to the gods of hifi by way of a media wall and I’m not fond of that.


Dear MrFixit,

My XS system is not in the same league as yours. However, when purchasing my system, the dealer recommended Naim Speaker cables of at least 5 metres in length, which suited my room layout at the time. I am sorry, I do not have pics. It was a large open-plan lounge dining room.

We have moved home twice since then, and at the new home, which is a much-downsized home. I have kept the same speaker cables and have laid them in a lazy “S” behind the Atacama music stand. This is not ideal, though all the power cables in this area are shielded. There was a great soundstage in the larger houses, and in the new home, the soundstage is still there, though much smaller. I have found a sweet spot of two seats wide for music enjoyment.

I hope this helps. The new setup and the old were visually and aesthetically appealing as well as sounding well. I am a bit OCD with everything having to look right as well as sound as best as it can. The speakers used to be two feet away and toed in from walls in the previous homes, though, after a refurbishment of the speakers, I was informed I could place them face on and against walls, which I have done due to lack of space. The picture below is for the current setup.

Warm regards,

Mitch in Oz.


Looking at some of the pics posted here, I suspect some like to gaze adoringly at their rack while listening. I suspect some are reduced to gazing wistfully at it while forced by their partners to watch TV! I prefer mine to be out of sight.


Sure, but we all have to live within constraints. I’ve definitely done it before. Mrs FZ is actually fond of the media wall look. And as mentioned, speaker cables aren’t cheap.

I see a lot of effort to make such arrangements look as nice as possible in the system pics thread too. The fact I won’t do it unless forced is a preference not a criticism.

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Yeah, I’m just poking fun at a few people really. We are all different.

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Just ditch the TV completely and concentrate on the music……


Yeah, I could happily live without a TV. Not sure my wife would be so keen.

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Seeing the proximity of some very expensive turntables to some very big loudspeakers does make me wonder if the turntable sounds ‘different’ because it’s permanently on the edge of feedback…


If I had a large complex system in a big room with big speakers, I would be concerned having the racks tucked in a corner away from the speakers. Axial, tangential, and oblique room node vibrations could be stronger there than in between the speakers.

Can you explain why you think the size of the loudspeaker makes a difference? Is it on the basis that generally larger speakers will be able to output lower frequencies?

It doesn’t really, any more than the cost of the turntable makes it more prone to feedback. Although if you’ve gone to the trouble of squeezing big loudspeakers into your hifi shrine, maybe you play loud?

It’s not intended as a serious critique, more an observation that people do some strange things. I recall one thread that observed that vinyl ‘rips’ were better if the loudspeakers were muted during the recording. Well, yes. Quite likely. In which case playing the rip is likely better than actually playing the vinyl… unless you ‘prefer’ marginal feedback.

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Thanks for clarifying. I suspect for many, as for me, it’s a case of compromise.

The HiFi is in our living room, and there’s not that many domestically acceptable places for the turntable. At least not without using horrendously long phono leads, which would be a worse compromise IMO. My speakers are also quite heavy and extensively braced, but I’m not sure if that makes a difference for these purposes.

Not really, of course it happens occasionally, but not more often then when I had smaller speakers. And I’m more likely to be streaming anyway.

Observation not aimed at you of course - but having now found your speaker build thread I can see why it might appear relevant!

I appreciate equipment location is often a compromise; for a turntable, I’d opt for a suspended subchassis design with the lid closed and long speaker cable - but that’s my compromise.

My gut feel is that many people who didn’t grow up with vinyl as the primary source simply don’t know what compromises they are working with. And some are just copying what they’ve seen in ‘system pics’ threads.

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My shrine is to the right, and the speakers and TV are ahead. Can’t remember the speaker cable (in comparison to the rest of my system, it is ridiculously cheap) I measured twice and got just enough to reach the far speaker.
My seat makes an equilateral triangle and the speakers are positioned to intersect just behind my head (in the PMC style).
They are away from the wall, not needed, but they have to fit in with domestic things like heating.
My entertainment uses half the room, with the space behind for media storage and a dining table.
My flat is rented and so physical changes are out of my control. It is concrete floor, with carpets.


Going off-topic slightly… What are the speakers sitting on? Why?

IKEA Chopping boards. :person_shrugging:

I needed to lift them out of the reach of the robot, but the concrete under the carpets seems to be a soft mix. The spikes never seemed to be solid. I tried some old marble plinths I had from a previous pair of speakers, but they were too small.