How Optimal Speaker Placement Improves Your Overall Sound

Posted by David on 2/21/2014
Sound is a crucial part of creating an immersive home entertainment system. Even if your speakers are not top-of-the-line, your audio experience is dramatically improved by choosing the ideal speaker location. Poorly placed speakers often produce tinny bass and unbalanced stereo sounds. Before purchasing speaker mounts, experiment with your speakers to find the best placement.

To find the audio sweet spot of any room, look for speaker placement that creates a sound arena. The sound arena is the location in your room where sounds surrounds you, letting you hear every nuance. To find your sound arena, it helps to remember how stereo sound works. Each speaker plays a separate element of the audio, working together to create a complimentary mirror effect. When placed correctly, a zone of perfectly balanced sound materializes. To achieve this effect, mark the spot where you typically listen, then measure a 60-degree angle radiating outward from this point. Place your speakers along this angle. Triangle calculators, available online, help you determine the 60-degree angle using just a measuring tape. These calculators are especially useful when mounting ceiling speakers.

Measuring also ensures that your speakers are equal distanced from your ears, which is crucial to avoid unbalanced audio. Most audiophiles recommend speakers be pulled away from the wall, though how far away is a matter of debate. When placed too close, bass sounds reflect off walls and furniture. When placed too far away, the sound becomes unfocused. The size and dimensions of your room affects the ideal wall distance, since sound is more focused in smaller spaces, so experiment with different positions until you hear balanced audio. Smaller models, such as bookshelf speakers, sound better closer to the wall than larger speakers. Look for mounts that let you angle the speakers to face your sound arena and keep your speakers at ear level. Double horseshoe designs are particularly effective, allowing speakers to pivot both left and right and also up and down. Ball point designs give a fluid, free range of movement. Sometimes the ideal location for your speakers is impractical, such as in the middle of foot traffic. Remember that it is okay to make some sacrifices for the sake of your living space.

Stereo speakers work as a pair to create a full, immersive sound experience. To hear a dramatic improvement in your audio, experiment with the placement of your speakers. Use the 60-degree rule, and play around with distances from the wall to find the audio sweet spot. Choose mounts that let you pivot your speakers towards you, making your listening space into a sound arena.