Speaker Placement and Room Treatments

Taking the time to properly position your speakers and deal with first order reflections is the best thing you can do to improve the sound in your room. You will probably get more improvement than buying a new component or speaker.

If you don’t like boomy bass get the speakers away from the walls. 2’-3’ from the sides and 3’-4’ or more from the front wall. I know some people call that the rear wall but we’re looking forward. The idea is to eliminate or smooth room affects. An equilateral triangle is a good starting point for a listening arrangement but take your time and experiment. There are no absolutes. You can just move your head forward or back a foot or two to change LS (listening seat) distance and toe in.

Let’s keep it simple with toe in. Generally speakers straight ahead or with a little toe in will yield greater air or spaciousness with less image focus. And speakers with a lot of toe in or on axis (pointed straight at you) will yield greater focus but might sound too bright. There is always a compromise. Another option is to over toe. Point the tweeters at your hand with your arm fully extended in front of your face. Sometimes this is the answer.

Don’t go nuts. Take your time and enjoy the music and the learning process. Try one thing today and maybe move them a little tomorrow. You know you’re getting there when you start hearing stuff you never heard before and the speakers disappear.

I tell you the truth! These simple treatments made a huge improvement to the sound in my room. They’re easy, cheap and adjustable. What more could you want?

Use anything you can drape a blanket over about 2 feet wide and a little higher than the speakers. Softer textured blankets are better. Comforters can be reflective, but because of the billows they will work. Make billows, this is important. And try this – think of the frequency you want to address, let’s say 6000 kHz, divide 13560 (speed of sound in inches) by 6000 = 2.26” (wavelength in inches). Make the billows about this wide and deep. This does make a difference.

We place these treatments at the points of first order reflections. On the side, front and maybe the rear walks. Some people even do the ceilings. Forget the mirrors and the Mylar tape. This is easier. Set in your LS and think bank shots playing pool. Shoot for the tweeter or mid-range off the wall. For the front wall shoot off the wall through the back of speaker cabinet. Put the treatments there. It’s that easy.

And you can move something wide like a pillow side to side behind you to hear if you have to treat the back wall. I have a full blanket behind me because my drums are back there. If you have hard floors you need a rug between you and the speakers. Wool is the best but expensive. I found mind used for $20.

Once you know where they go and how they look. I’m sure you can come up with some crafty way to make them look good. I’ll be too busy looking at my new speakers. You may or may not have to treat both sides. You can kill a room, I did. But at least treat opposites, left on the sides and right on the front wall or vice versa.

The better your room gets the more you will hear from the music and less of the room. And you will even notice when you move a piece of furniture or stagger books on a shelf (this helps) I heard a difference when I painted the room, and it wasn’t for the better.

Like I said, enjoy the process sometimes we focus so much on getting to the top of the mountain we miss the journey.