A brief primer on speaker placement

August 31, 2016
A brief primer on speaker placement
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All about speaker placement

Buying the best quality components for your home theater or home audio setup is paramount. It dictates the quality of sound reproduction you can expect and enjoy. However, speaker placement is an equally important aspect to consider. The direction, location, shape, and content of the room will have an impact on musical timbre and stereo imaging of your speaker.

These days, not each can afford a huge home theater or listening room. Most rooms are small and quite multifunctional. For e.g. your home office or man cave doubles up as your home theater setup. Whatever the size of your room may be, it is crucial to know that sound waves don’t merely pass directly from the speaker to the listener, they also reflect and bounce. Sound from one speaker can impact a listener from many different directions. Furthermore, different frequencies behave differently in a room. Both decor and speaker placement can improve or detract from the sound response.

Let’s have a look at easy speaker placement pointers to help you get the best sound reproduction from your setup.

Speaker placement near walls

If speakers are located too close to walls, certain low frequencies may be exaggerated; these frequencies are dictated by the room’s dimensions. So, it’s usually recommended to not place subwoofers in corners. If speakers are placed close to large reflective surfaces, then mid and high frequencies may reflect and interfere with the direct sound coming from the speakers. This can lead to phase issues and affect clarity, especially in the mid and high frequencies.

Ceiling speaker placement

Ceiling speaker's holes need to be cut into ceilings and wires run long before the speakers are connected. So, getting the placement correct early is both important and difficult. Sound from an in-ceiling speaker disperses a circular pattern and depends on the room’s height. They need to be placed at a proper distance apart so that the sound-field overlaps to avoid dead spots and irregular sound dispersion. If you notice sound gaps while moving throughout the zone, then you need to rethink your speaker placement. Furthermore, speakers placed too close together won’t have good stereo imaging. The overlay between two ceiling speakers needs to be accurate.

The Golden Triangle - Sweet spot

speaker placement

Years ago before the development of the home acoustics field, many music enthusiasts set their systems up by using the golden triangle rule, which stated that listener’s seat should be equidistant apart from his speakers i.e. create an equilateral triangle between you and the two speakers. This rule is still a good starting point today. If speakers are too close together in relation to the listener, it narrows the system’s sound-field, while speakers that are placed too far apart are unable to create a cohesive soundstage. Also, this depends on the specific speaker room acoustics, dispersion pattern, and listener preferences. This rule is effective for computer speaker placement and music production setups.

We hope this post helped you with your speaker placement woes. Understand these basics and you will be on your way to superior and accurate sound experience. Here’s to oober cool sound!

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