Is there only one best location in a room for a set of speakers?

ScottK

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Apr 30, 2023
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I’ve been on a mission lately to experiment with my speaker/seating placement In my listening room. As it’s not a dedicated room I have limitations on options like most folks. To date I’ve found several locations for speaker and listening chair that work well but sound different. I’m hard pressed to call one the best. Same applies to the degree of toe-in. What are others experience with this? Have you found the single best or like me have found several that yield similar SQ but slightly different results in the mix between tonal balance, bass, soundstage, etc..
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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the actual answer is that the best spot is objectively unknowable. since there are so many variables in signal path, bass performance variables, and room treatment. if those others are fixed then we can maybe have a best spot to some degree. smaller rooms will be more restricted mostly. listening position flexibility also is a key variable. when it's not a dedicated room you maybe start with the preferred listening position(s). nearfield? farfield? what do you prefer?

and sometimes multiple spots might happen to sound similarly. just how it happens to work out. then you choose which one looks best. obviously measuring bass performance can be a component of the process.

assuming you are not in a time bind, try one for a week, then another, then another. by the end of that you will start to have a sense of it. if a third party is doing the set up then view how that ends up as a starting point, and go from there. get your head in a space where you view this as a fun discovery process and not a pain.

i played around for 10 years before i settled. and be prepared to evolve in your tastes and preferences over time.
 

ScottK

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Apr 30, 2023
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assuming you are not in a time bind, try one for a week, then another, then another. by the end of that you will start to have a sense of it. if a third party is doing the set up then view how that ends up as a starting point, and go from there. get your head in a space where you view this as a fun discovery process and not a pain.
Great advice! Thanks Mike. Don’t know if I have 10 years left to experiment
 

Lee

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Feb 3, 2011
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I’ve been on a mission lately to experiment with my speaker/seating placement In my listening room. As it’s not a dedicated room I have limitations on options like most folks. To date I’ve found several locations for speaker and listening chair that work well but sound different. I’m hard pressed to call one the best. Same applies to the degree of toe-in. What are others experience with this? Have you found the single best or like me have found several that yield similar SQ but slightly different results in the mix between tonal balance, bass, soundstage, etc..
Yes, I believe so. I think there is an optimal position for loudspeakers. I spent many hours working with an eighth of an inch to place my Alexia Vs with a lot of help from Jim Smith. Everything locked into place and it all just came together. There are always trade-offs to every position but In my own experience, there has been one precise spot where everything just works.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Yes, I believe so. I think there is an optimal position for loudspeakers. I spent many hours working with an eighth of an inch to place my Alexia Vs with a lot of help from Jim Smith. Everything locked into place and it all just came together. There are always trade-offs to every position but In my own experience, there has been one precise spot where everything just works.
so then what happens 3 or 6 months later when as you listen, maybe you visited a buddy who does it differently and you like it, and you decide to change the position and then you prefer it in the new spot? maybe you like an acoustical treatment that allows a different spot? any sort of different perspective.

which does not mean the first spot was not just fine. but something changed; maybe you and your reference.

the idea of a "ONE TRUE SPOT" is just not viable logically, i don't care if it was a bolt from heaven that choose it. it might be the best spot that can be determined at that time based on the information and mind set available. but things change. we have to realize we never know everything. stay humble, but also feel good about where we are and fully live in the moment. otherwise our ears close to opportunities. our ego gets in the way.

just my 2 cents. in my room journey i got humbled dozens of times. finally learned it was part of the process. still is.

it is perfectly fine to view your speaker location as great and good enough that you don't want to mess with it, but that's a different idea than knowing it's the 'ONE TRUE SPOT".
 
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ScottK

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Apr 30, 2023
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Yes, I believe so. I think there is an optimal position for loudspeakers. I spent many hours working with an eighth of an inch to place my Alexia Vs with a lot of help from Jim Smith. Everything locked into place and it all just came together. There are always trade-offs to every position but In my own experience, there has been one precise spot where everything just works.
I watched your video today with JS. Very interesting! How large is your room? Mine is 16 foot wide with an open back wall at 42 feet and 12’ ceilings. As far as I can tell no standing waves. Thus bass is rarely an issue for me.
 
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Lee

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I watched your video today with JS. Very interesting! How large is your room? Mine is 16 foot wide with an open back wall at 42 feet and 12’ ceilings. As far as I can tell no standing waves. Thus bass is rarely an issue for me.

Thanks! My room is 15x20x10.5.
 

Lee

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Feb 3, 2011
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so then what happens 3 or 6 months later when as you listen, maybe you visited a buddy who does it differently and you like it, and you decide to change the position and then you prefer it in the new spot? maybe you like an acoustical treatment that allows a different spot? any sort of different perspective.

which does not mean the first spot was not just fine. but something changed; maybe you and your reference.

the idea of a "ONE TRUE SPOT" is just not viable logically, i don't care if it was a bolt from heaven that choose it. it might be the best spot that can be determined at that time based on the information and mind set available. but things change. we have to realize we never know everything. stay humble, but also feel good about where we are and fully live in the moment. otherwise our ears close to opportunities. our ego gets in the way.

just my 2 cents. in my room journey i got humbled dozens of times. finally learned it was part of the process. still is.

it is perfectly fine to view your speaker location as great and good enough that you don't want to mess with it, but that's a different idea than knowing it's the 'ONE TRUE SPOT".

Mike,

I think we may just politely disagree on this one. For a particular loudspeaker and a room, it does appear to me that there is an optimal spot. Can there be more precision in exact placement? Yes. But based on what I have seen there seems to be an optimal placement.
 

Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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Mike,

I think we may just politely disagree on this one. For a particular loudspeaker and a room, it does appear to me that there is an optimal spot. Can there be more precision in exact placement? Yes. But based on what I have seen there seems to be an optimal placement.
"seems to be" is as close as we can get at any particular time.

which is different than "only one".

time is the best teacher. over time looking back we realize that some stuff is unknowable until we go around the next bend. keeps us open eared.
 
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ScottK

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I’m thinking placement is always a choice of the various combination of acoustical parameters. That mix likely is a function of personal preference. it’s kinda like the Harman Curve. Moreover some rooms (smaller I’m guessing) have fewer options. There are also locations that are clearly wrong.
 
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JackD201

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By definition there can only be one best right? :)

When I set up client's systems usually they have already determined where the equipment goes because the flow of the space comes first. I can totally understand that there is more to life than listening for most people so it can get tricky. Now let's say that person lived alone then determining the best spot will now depend on things Mike has mentioned such as your desired perspective. If you just want to carve a space out by going nearfield there can be very many alternatives. If farfield then finding the most geometric symmetry typically leads to one listening spot. This left to right symmetry is why we've gone for dedicated rooms.

It surely can be found in common spaces, again what sacrifices to livability might one be willing to make?
 

JackD201

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I think your room in your avatar window is gorgeous by the way.
 
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Lee

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"seems to be" is as close as we can get at any particular time.

which is different than "only one".

time is the best teacher. over time looking back we realize that some stuff is unknowable until we go around the next bend. keeps us open eared.

Let me put it another way…there is an optimal placement for the most musical engagement.
 

Another Johnson

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Jan 13, 2022
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I’m thinking placement is always a choice of the various combination of acoustical parameters. That mix likely is a function of personal preference. it’s kinda like the Harman Curve. Moreover some rooms (smaller I’m guessing) have fewer options. There are also locations that are clearly wrong.
Yes. I would agree. There are fewer options in smaller rooms, and in some rooms there may be just one good option. But in larger spaces, my experience is that there are more possibilities, some of which may be equally appealing to many listeners, and perhaps one of which will appeal most to one listener while another appeals most to another. (Confusing enough?)

I spent several hours in auditions in several different rooms on Wednesday and Thursday. I think some rooms are a lot more forgiving than others. And there are rooms that refuse to cooperate.
 

ScottK

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spent several hours in auditions in several different rooms on Wednesday and Thursday. I think some rooms are a lot more forgiving than others. And there are rooms that refuse to cooperate.
+1
 

Robh3606

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Aug 24, 2010
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I’ve been on a mission lately to experiment with my speaker/seating placement In my listening room. As it’s not a dedicated room I have limitations on options like most folks. To date I’ve found several locations for speaker and listening chair that work well but sound different. I’m hard pressed to call one the best. Same applies to the degree of toe-in. What are others experience with this? Have you found the single best or like me have found several that yield similar SQ but slightly different results in the mix between tonal balance, bass, soundstage, etc..

Hello Scott

I have the same experience. I find there is a position that has the best overall balance of imaging, soundstage and frequency response and that is where they end up.

That spot is my preference someone else may choose as different position based on how they rank them in order of importance.

It's different for SAT/SUB's where individual placement is possible for a potentially better overall as long as the different placement doesn't give you integration issues.

It's a fun exercise as long as you are not dragging behemoths all over the room!

Rob :)
 
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ScottK

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It's a fun exercise as long as you are not dragging behemoths all over the room!
Would you consider a 500lbs speaker a behemoth?:rolleyes:
 

Robh3606

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Would you consider a 500lbs speaker a behemoth?:rolleyes:

Yes certainly do!

Very glad I have never had to deal with speakers that heavy that could not be broken down in some way to make hauling them around easier!

I have a couple of systems that are 2 man lifts. They are either on pads or low caster carts. At 500lbs I would have them on low trucks to get under spikes to move them and remove once placed or change the spikes to casters if possible.

I do not like spikes because it makes even minor placement changes difficult. I also have wood floors so there is that as well. Even a relatively light speaker on spikes can easily damage the floor if you are careless.

Rob :)
 

ScottK

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Yes certainly do!
Hi Rob, Thank goodness my WA Alexx v's come with casters (two wheels each). I am able to nudge them an inch or two but it's not easy. As a side note I actually reinforced my wood floors before I took delivery. Thanks for your input! Cheers
 
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Gregm

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Mike,

I think we may just politely disagree on this one. For a particular loudspeaker and a room, it does appear to me that there is an optimal spot. Can there be more precision in exact placement? Yes. But based on what I have seen there seems to be an optimal placement.
May I respectfully disagree -- and agree with Mike -- for the reasons Mike detailed above plus one: as your seating position varies, so will the optimum speaker placement.

As your room is large enough to allow you to avoid the usual compromises in the bass, why not define the listening position first and optimise speaker positioning based on that?

In theory, there should be one ideal placement for the speakers, all other things being equal (temperature, dB SPL, power, etc, etc, too many variables to enumerate!). Regards
 

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