Speaker Positioning - we can believe our ears!

Speaker positions matter, but it isn’t easy.

The example that started this was my getting B&W 804 D3s. In my room, they were the best I tried so I got them. B&W know their speakers, but had the salesman stuck to their recommendation on 50cm from side or rear walls, they would have sounded ok, but not great - and certainly not worth the price.

Moving them an extra 15cm away from anything made them a bit closer together than ideal, and was domestically inconvenient, but suddenly everything (esp stereo & tightness of bass) got clearly better in my house. This is not what happened in the shop audition and it changed what I bought.

The trivial point here is to listen in your own home if you can, but the episode also highlighted that for years I have believed manufacturers and journalists on positioning. If what they said made clear that a speaker wouldn’t work in my house, i didn’t need to consider it. In the light of my B&W experience, i wonder what I have missed - and how unintentionally misleading a lot of guidance on this stuff is.

Does anyone else wonder about that sort of thing?

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I used the manufacturer’s guidance as a starting point but the size of my room dictates that I can’t follow it too closely. I shuffled my speakers round on chopping boards to give me the tidiest bass and then tweaked the toe in to gain the best sound I could.

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From my experience positioning is everything. Incorrect positioning can cause all sorts of issues and solve them too. All available positions must be tried. A different position or location in the house can drastically change the sound of a system. I used my speakers for a while pointed straight out and closer together so further away from side walls in an attempt to minimise reflections but I’ve found that closer to side walls with tow in seems to be preferable for me. It seems to widen the soundstage and helps the speakers disappear.


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