Speakers toe in or not toe in?

Toe in here as recommended by ProAc for my speakers.

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I would also like to point out that – at least with my speakers – just a few mm of extra or less toe-in can make the difference between leaving a hole or filling a gap in the middle, or starting to collapse the soundstage when playing orchestral music. It’s really eseential to do this by ear and forget about charts, diagrams, etc.


In my experience the level of a pair of speakers’ toe-in depends on several factors such as; the room, level of acoustics in the room, location of speakers in the room, location of listening position, electronics and the all important WAF :joy:

Even with identical electronics and speakers, I had to change the level of toe-in to achieve what I feel was the best compromise when I changed house / listening room. Just goes to show how important the listening room is.


That was kind of my point too. When it comes to toe-in, many things matter and affect it, such that the only way to deal with it is by ear. Listening and making minute, incremental adjustments is really the only way to get it right.

And when the scotch starts pouring, just leave it alone, lest it’s all screwed up the next day!!!


It depends on the speakers I use. The LS3/5a:s fire straight forward. But the dipolar ribbons (Magnepan LRS) must be toed in or placed very closed together.

It is also practical to hate the sound of large heavy loudspeakers :-), both my pairs are 7-8kg with stands making them easy to swap and easy to move forward from the rear wall which gives a very nice intimate perspective.

If the speaker has a very narrow off-axis response then toe-in is going to be mandatory. As has been said many times above by others, whether “required” or not is going to be dictated by speaker design, not personal choice.

With speakers that do not “require” it, it then becomes a personal choice… unless they mandate positioning flush with a rear wall like Naim xBL speakers.

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned though is the relationship to the amp. It seems totally nonsensical (utterly), but in practice, it has an effect. I remember positioning certain speakers in the dem room with lower power 30w amplifiers and them needing toe in but as soon as something more beefy was connected, they sounded much better firing straight.

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Interesting, because my Dynaudio speakers needed a bit more toe-in after I upgraded from 250DR to 300DR. IOW: beefier needed more toe-in, not less. The opposite of your experience. It’s all very sytem dependent. One cannot generalize about this.


Either way, the amp inexplicably seems to have real impact on this.

IIRC (and this is going back nearly 30 years) Mission 752s driven by an Arcam Alpha 5 amp (30 watts) required some toe in. With a Nait 3 (same 30 watts but significantly better transient current handling) they sounded much better slightly further back and firing straight. The Arcam lost he plot unless toed in.

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Toe in with Atc scm40 passive as recommended by atc 2.20 meters apart measuring tweeter to tweeter. 900 mm from back wall again from tweeter to wall , also have them 6 degree of rake backwards opens up the sound stage a bit more without loosing stage depth, height and width

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Me too @Gruido71 - I have 25.23’s and when I was first setting them up I was very keen to set them up as per the instructions that came with them, ie. with toe in.
It just didnt sound right for me, so gradually I decreased the toe in until I ended up where I am today - parallel!
If I could have the speakers placed wider apart maybe that may be different, but room layout does not allow this.


I also think the kind of music you listen to is important: orchestra is needing a set tup little or no toed in, vocal a more centric and more toed in, rock groups and jazz are in the middle, I think voice presence is impacting

There is a thread over on the Steve Hoffman Forum where Mr. Hoffman himself recommends the track Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks (must be the STEREO mix).

Because of the weird way the backing vocals are phased - once you have the speakers set correct - will appear to come from behind you.

I haven’t quite got it right but there is something about the backing vocals on this track that leads to a peculiar effect.


also pmc suggests to toe in but most of pictures in view from listening point show pmc not toed in… it’s personal taste

I’ve read that post as well, I too have never been able to reproduce the effect he mentions. But then my listening position is compromised and nothing I can do about it.


True I tried them straight on didn’t get on with them at all but did get a wider soundstage.

I idly wonder if speakers should be precisely positioned to recreate stereo in the same way those funny spot diagrams only “pop” into view when your eyes and diagram are in a particular relative orientation.

I have highly subjective and very tentative evidence to support those thoughts! Any time I fine tune speaker positions, getting them orientated exactly the same relative to rear wall and listening position, my system does seem to sound better in a hard to quantify way.

Might try a tentative listen to the track @AndyP mentions, not least to see if it sounds like it “should” with my speakers in their current position X)

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I think diagrams are just indicative as many factors influence. being close to a corner or to a furniture, or other furniture presence will impact. positioning is very subjective. just I was suprised when I noticed that most of pictures in the thread picture from listening position show speakers parallel each other and not toed in at all… so empiric evidence goes in this direction!!!

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Ah, the diagrams I was specifically on about are stereogram images. There’s a hidden picture in an apparently random image, the hidden picture only becomes apparent when you focus your eyes in a particular way, with the image a particular distance from them. I idly wonder if there’s an analogous process with audio

I think that how much audible difference small changes in toeing will have is likely to depend fundamentally on the dispersion of the speakers, those having wide dispersion likely to be more tolerant of small variations, and possibly a less critical “sweet spot” than those with narrow dispersion.

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Interesting stuff. Has anyone with Kudos speakers gone counter to the manufacturers recommendation and toed them in at all?