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Speaker Positioning – An Important Part Of The Setup

Do you know what happened when I decided to do speaker setup for the first time??

It was complete shit and I’m serious about that I did it really bad. And the part where I messed everything up was Speaker Positioning.

What mistake did I do? Firstly, I didn’t bother to take any reference and the other was that I totally messed up with the placement of the speakers. Also, you know what, I did learn from that.

So, in this piece of article, I’ll make sure that I give you what I learned about speaker placement and why it actually matters.

Importance Of Speaker Positioning

Now, what most of us think that buying some good, and premium speaker will just give me what we need i.e. A splendid listening experience.

Yes, speaker quality does matter for the audio experience to be great but what about how you place them.

 Speaker Positioning is an important step for creating a setup that will help you get what you expect. 

Moreover, even if you don’t have hi-fi speakers it’s fine. Decent speakers when placed well can give better music experience than a poor setup with pricey speakers.

The music we listen using a speaker travels from the speaker to our ears. I know you know this but it is also important to know that there are two ways in which this can happen.

  • Directly
  • Indirectly

Now, by direct I mean the soundwaves coming from the speakers reach our ears directly without undergoing any reflection. This reflection takes place from the floors, ceiling, side walls, etc.

Now just imagine all these sound waves traveling around you having different intensity, frequency, etc.

Having said that, there is a phenomenon called interference that occurs, where these sound waves interfere with each other.

This results in a change in the properties of the waves.

Therefore, when finally the waves reach your ear they might be modified which may sound good or at the same time, it could trouble you.

As you can see, the main motive for proper speaker positioning is to make an arrangement such that the waves that travel an indirect path to help in improving the overall audio experience.

Basic Rules To Follow –

A]. Take The Trouble Of Experimenting

This is the first rule which is very important if you want a perfect setup. Professionals have tools that measure sound pressure and other factors. Therefore, they might set up perfectly in the first try.

But while setting up on our own without any tools or prior experience is difficult.

So, be prepared for many failures. Never give up, if one position doesn’t work well take the trouble of making some changes in the arrangement.

Finally, you will see that all the efforts will be fruitful.

B]. Determine Your Position Before Determining Speakers

Your Positioning

It is of great importance to find out where you want to sit for enjoying your speakers.

Moreover, taking this decision might be easy if you know a bit about room acoustics.

You will be surprised to know that the structure and size of the room to play their role.

Small rooms do well for Home Theatre Systems than large rooms. But at the same time, a very small room is not suitable too.

Further, while determining your seating position make sure that you don’t sit in the middle of the room.

Why I recommend this is because if you see carefully, for a rectangular room middle position is a center for the room.

Draw a line through the center you will find symmetricity.

Therefore, there is a high chance of sound to be very low at the center.

C]. Let’s Come To Speakers

Let’s take the case of a rectangular room for understanding Speaker Positioning.

Now, as a rectangle has length and breadth. Moreover, we know that length is greater than the breadth. Therefore, the ideal position for you to sit will be facing the breadth.

Golden Triangle

 

Golden Triangle Rule

 

This is a rule that many followed in the early days. Most importantly, I consider it a good move for beginners.

A triangle has 3 vertexes and these vertexes are the speakers and the listener. The above image shows the Golden Triangle Setup.

According to this rule, the distance between the speakers and the listener should be equal.

A better understanding is that the distance between the speakers can be at most

  • 2×d

Where d is the distance between speaker and listener.  

→ 1 Meter Rule

  • In the following image, I have shown what the 1-meter rule implies, the speakers placed parallel to the short wall should be at least at a distance of 1 meter away from the side walls.

→ 60-degree Rule

  • As we know that sound spreads which mean it doesn’t follow a straight path. So, there is sound in between the right and left speakers. This can result in a poor audio experience.
  • Hence, it is recommended to place speakers at a 60-degree angle. Even more, this is nothing but the Golden Triangle Rule.

→ 38% Rule

 

38% Rule

 

This is a guideline given by a world-class studio designer, Wes Lachot.

According to his theory, the optimum listening position in a rectangular room is 38% of the length.

  • Calculate 38% of the length of the room and that will be your listening position. Though, for a Home theatre system, people suggest a listening position to be near to the middle of the room.
  • As we can see that placing a sofa at 38% length means it falls in the ⅔ position of the room. Now by just visualizing, we can conclude that the two speakers fall in the ⅓ region of the room.

How Far To Place Speakers From The Wall Behind It?

Always remember that it is not advisable to place the speaker close to the walls. This is true not only for the walls behind but also for the walls at the side.

→ Ideal Height for the speakers

 

Speaker Height

 

  • Ideally, the level of your ear is considered to be the ideal height for the speakers if you have a stand.
  • But head level does great as that is easy to measure than the ear level. Why the ear level is ideal? It is because the small speaker cones that we see in the speakers called the tweeters which generate the heart of the sound.
  • On top of that, this sound originates in nearly a straight line. Therefore, it is better if this sound reaches your ear directly.  

Some Room Acoustics To Consider

It seems that reflection is what causes the good and the bad. Even after following all the rules there might enough reflected sound waves to ruin the experience. Therefore, in this section, we will see some tricks to reduce the extra reflections.

If you are placing the speaker on the table then make sure that the speakers are not in direct contact with the table.

Place some sound absorbing material below it. As if you place the speakers directly you will get a bass generating table which seems good. But it is not true.

Dampening also helps to remove if not then reduce echoes.

Don’t worry if your room length is not greater than or equal to 17 meters. If you have a bookshelf with many books then you can use this too to dampen the unnecessary reflections. 

But there is a high possibility for flutter echo to exist. If you don’t know what flutter echo is then this article can help you. You can identify the flutter echoes by clapping your hands near a corner of the room.

If it exists then place small cushions in that corner.

A Bonus Tip For You

If you are interested in trying out a 7.1 surround setup then make sure you enjoy the video. 

More, you will find out that it supports almost all the rules that we have discussed in this article.  

 

Conclusion

These were the few basic rules for Speaker Positioning.

Following these rules carefully will help you set up a good speaker system. But the process of setting up is quite tiring and failures are waiting at each step.

Believe me, I have experienced it. But always cherish the 1st rule, don’t give up and try experimenting as experimenting with various positions changes will help you set up a system according to your music sense.

Plus don’t forget to share this with all your audiophile friends. 

 


 

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