Speaker Space

Hi all,
I am new to this forum and I have been upgrading my system over some months, my final purchase a Naim ND5 XS2 streamer, to me the ATC CD player sounds superb but my Linn DSM 3 streamer did not have the same SQ even with Hi Res files, so after some home demo’s the Naim was my choice, When looking at images of other members systems it seemed to me the speaker placing was rather narrow, mine are about 3.8 mt apart and I seem to have a nicely spaced sound with no hole in the middle, any advice on this setup would be appreciated
so my system as follows:
Naim ND5 XS2 Streamer
ATC SCM40P Speakers


I believe ATC recommends a degree of toe-in, with the listenening position forming the tip of a triangle.

It should not be too difficult to toe the ATCs in and give that a try


If you can place them wide without putting them in corners / close to side walls, and without having an acoustic hole in the center, all the better. And if you like the very wide sound stage.

Many photos on the forum seem to have narrow placement in part because the rooms are narrow and in part maybe because some members are stuffing 100K of gear into small rooms because they can or have to, not because it’s necessarily best in this room

But always depends on room, speakers, preferences


I would say that generally, the more you give space around and between speakers, the more they will breath naturally.
In your case they are very close to the wall and constrained by a lot of furniture between. But I don’t know if you can change the position of the furnitures ( tv, rack, cd rack……).


I’d be inclined to put the speakers where the cd rack and system is…


Agreed, if you can get them away from the wall and in front of the furniture it would be better. As for width, no problem. Wish I could do the same but if I did one would be in the landing the other in the garden😯

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Hi, thanks for quick replies, I have tried toe in triangle and it was more focused, I will try bringing them out and toe in to give more clearance, but distance apart seems okay in your opinions, the room is about 7m x 4m but there are some constraints on furniture ( The Better Half ) L.O.L.



Mine (active 40s) are about 1.2m from front wall to the front of the speaker. About 2m apart and just over 1m from each side wall. Room is 4mx4.5m

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Speaker spacing and listening distance are directly related. 3.8 m apart is theoretically spot on if you sit something around 3.8m from each speaker (3.2m from the centre point between them), but would likely be excessively wide if you sit only 2m away, and too close if you sit 6m away…

Thare are several threads giving guidance as to how to optimise speaker and listening positions. this one has perhaps more info than most: Don’t forget this thread: Speaker placement guide which contains other guidance on speaker positioning (and given the real world differences between rooms, not just their dimensions, all guidance can only be a starting point.

Of course, in reality the various guides can only be just that because every room is different, everything in it having an effect as well as shape, how the room is constructed, and characteristics of the music system. In effect they can give you a starting point (and different tools may give different starting points,). Then you can start to optimise. Some people optimise by ear, but I find REW is a far quicker way, as testing each position takes only a minute of so, and can be compared directly with previous without having to go back and forth a cocuo,e of times to verify. REW is free software, though it needs a measuring microphone (more info if you search this forum).

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Apart from what @Innocent_Bystander said, also consider if you can at least move them forward a tiny bit so the drivers are just further into the room than any furniture between them.

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ATC recommend that the distance between the speakers and the listening position should be about the same distance and as said before with a bit of a toe-in. From the photo, it looks like I have my passive SCM40s further out into the room which improves the sound in my system to my ear.

I have a similar set-up with my records between the speakers, whilst the rack is to the side of one of the speakers and a rug on the floor between the speakers, firing across the room to a sofa.

So have you tried moving the large cabinet out of the way and tried playing the speakers about a quarter of the width of the room away from the side walls ie half the width of the room between the centre of the baffles then?
Have you tried moving the speakers say a metre away from the wall at the same time also? :thinking:

Would just be curious if you happened to get a more focused sound that way :+1:t3: Good luck Peter


All good responses on this thread. In my opinion, if it sounds great to you that is all that matters. Based on my past experience when I had the speakers in a large room, the optimal distance between speakers is 1.8m to 2.2m. I’ve tried placing the speakers very far apart from each other, up to 4.0m with ample space from side walls and the sound got worse.

Listening distance from speakers is around 3.0m to 3.5m.


Hi @SKY1950 and welcome to the forum. The SCM40s have closed box cabinets which make them less sensitive to positioning than ported speakers. However, in my experience they do still benefit from some experimentation with position. My active 40s were initially installed firing across my rectangular room but that meant they were rather close to the back wall and I found they sounded better further from any walls and firing down the room. That does mean I sit a bit further away than their distance apart but I’m OK with that. Like others I’d suggest pulling them away from walls as much as is practical and domestically feasible. I’ve not found them as sensitive to toeing in as some models, perhaps the improved off-axis performance of the tweeter has something to do with that, but it’s easy enough to experiment.


Hard to tell from the photo but if they are on the 4m wall, 3.8m puts them too close to side walls. If on the 7m wall, 3.8m sounds about right but that puts your listening g position right up against the back wall so not ideal either. If you can bring your listening position forward and narrow the speakers so you stay more or less with an equilateral triangle, it might be worth trying. If not, an absorption panel behind the listening position might be beneficial.

As others have mentioned, bringing them forward should help too, just remember to then narrow the distance to keep your equilateral triangle.

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Hi All,
Thanks so much for all the helpful replies, I checked the ATC setup and the equal triangle is recommended, I have moved the speakers away from the wall with tow in and get a much more focused sound with good controlled bass, It’s not practical to move the sideboard but it’s solid wood so hopefully will be okay, so my plan is to move the speakers to each side of the sideboard and out enough so the front baffles are in line with it, then move my rack to the left wall and the CD rack to the right, check original photo, I measured the triangle from where I sit and that should be an equal distance, I’ll do some listening tests and report back.
Thanks Again


Hi Steve, you will find some real sensible set up advice in the linked video by someone, who knows what he’s talking about. He has done another set-up video at greater length, which very much sums up what it takes to try and eliminate the adverse effects of room boundaries :+1:t3: Have fun Peter

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I used to have my speakers firing across the short side of a fairly small room and I got a very clear central image of the singer. When I added bass traps behind the image changed to give a more spread out sound. The image was caused by reflected sound off the back wall.

This may be what you are experiencing.

Now I have my speakers firing down the long side of the room and the bass is much better but I have lost some of the sound stage. On balance I prefer it.

Having acoustic panels was problematic for my wife in the living room but in my office I have free range so I am ordering some more bass traps!

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Hi All, many thanks for all the advice and tips, Great link for speaker placement from PeterR, I have moved my hi fi rack, moved my speakers out from the rear wall and narrowed the distance to get an equal triangle, I now get a more focused sound and bass is still good, I think the sealed box ATC scm 40p are more tolerant near a wall than most, anyway I am still tweaking. hope you like the Old Grey Whistle Test logo !!!


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