Hi-Fi speakers positioning can have a dramatic effect on your listening experience. Making sure your loudspeakers are placed ideally throughout your room is essential if you want to achieve the best balance of sound quality and tone. The beauty of setting up a series of different speakers for your Hi-Fi is that you can take advantage of different heights and acoustics in the room to create the ideal set-up. You will know when you find the optimal positioning plan for your speakers. You will hear a more detailed bass response, better mid-range clarity, enhanced tonality and sound quality in the top notes. Here is TIBO’s speaker positioning guide to help create the perfect sound.
Speaker positioning Guide
One good way to plan a dual speaker placement is to imagine an equilateral triangle that sees the two Hi-Fi speakers and the listener making up the three corners of the triangle. Position each speaker at the same height, so that the tweeters are sitting roughly at the same level as the listener’s ears. This is normally when you are sitting down, ready to relax to your favourite tunes, radio stations or podcasts. This is easy to achieve with floor-standing speakers, as the optimal listening positions have often already been calculated. However, you may need to experiment a bit more with smaller speakers to find the nest shelf, furniture top or stand height to put them on.
Height and width
Try not to place the speakers too close to your listening position, as this will cause some distortion of the sound and in extreme cases, risk damaging people’s hearing. Don’t put the speakers too far away into the corners of the room either, as this can add too much resonance and artificially boost the bass levels to the point that it could overwhelm the higher sound levels and ruin the whole experience. This is especially key for bookshelf speaker placement, as you may well have a choice of shelves at different heights and time must be taken to work out which height is best. For home cinema setups, place the speakers around twice the width of the screen away from each other, to the left and right of the screen. This offers an ideal sound balance when it comes to two-channel speaker placement.
Small is beautiful
Even if you have a small room, or limited space to set up a Hi-Fi system, this shouldn’t mean that you must compromise on sound quality. Take careful measurements of your room and area where you plan to keep your kit so that when you sort out the details of your speaker placement in a small room and go shopping for speakers, you can keep a sense of perspective and not buy anything that will overwhelm the space. While it can be tempting to buy big, choose too large a system and you will find that the sound is distorted and the bass notes, in particular, will become uncontrollable and unpleasant to listen to. Choose the right size speakers and then position them as you would in a larger room, thinking about the equilateral
triangle with you as the listener is a pivotal part of the calculations. Don’t forget to keep the speakers out of the corners and tilt them slightly inwards for optimal sound quality.
If you are experiencing problems with the sound of your Hi-Fi system, try moving your loudspeakers around the room before you look into any technical faults or think about replacing kit. For example, if the sound feels off-balance and not quite right, try repositioning the speakers so that they are closer together and closer to the main listening area. You could use a speaker positioning calculator to gauge the prime spot to put them to enjoy a more balanced, ‘symmetrical’ listening experience. Other ways to improve the sound is to use absorbent mats, fabrics etc to soften a harder sound and help relay resonance, or to remove absorbent materials from the proximity of the speakers if the sound is coming out too flat or muffled.
It’s not just the speakers themselves that can be repositioned for better sound quality. Moving the furniture around them can also help the sound waves be relayed and reflected off the surfaces. Surface materials of furniture can also help with shiny, hard surfaces such as metals and plastics offering enhanced acoustic support over fabrics and softer woods. Make sure your speakers aren’t placed between two very reflective surfaces, however, as this can distort the sound so it feels like your music is being played down a pipe as the sound waves bounce off both surrounding surfaces and create a tunnel effect. Turn your speakers in slightly to face their listening position, rather than having them sit flat against a wall, shelf or item of furniture. This will give you the best loudspeaker placement results.
Making sure your speakers are safely positioned is obviously crucial to stop them topping over or being damaged in daily use. However, having them on a fully stable surface will help improve the sound quality as well. Speakers produce their sound via the speaker cones, which operate via microscopic movements that are set off by high-frequency sounds. If your speaker is not rigidly in place, these small movements will be compromised by external rocking or wobbling and so degraded as they move. Many floor-standing speakers come with rubber feet to add stability on a hard floor, and/or spikes for sinking into a carpet or rug for the same purpose. It is well worth spending time adjusting these feet so that your speaker is as stable as it possibly can be.
Configure your Speakers
Soundbars and more
Soundbars can offer a huge boost to speaker sound quality, especially for home cinema systems and their positioning is equally important. An ideal place to sit them is at the very front of the furniture or shelf they are sitting on to eliminate the risk of reflective sounds ruining the effect and will result in a cleaner, more detailed overall sound. This is also true of subwoofers and other added pieces of kit. Aim to eliminate external reverberation risks and bring them to the front of the system as much as possible so that you can really enjoy their added benefits.
Find out more about Hi-Fi speakers
TIBO’s electronics and speaker experts can work with you to plan and position your new speakers and Hi-Fi system in your space or room in more detail. Give the team a call to see how they can help.