A larger full-range speaker is
more fun and better than a smaller speaker. A smaller
speaker shears the bottom two or three octaves of your music
or movie soundtrack. This smaller speaker is analogous
to cropping the bottom third of a photo. More precisely,
downsizing to a smaller speaker is the equivalent of removing
much of the red pigmentation or hue from a treasured
painting's color balance. Smaller speakers do not
reproduce a complete audio picture.
If a speaker accurately reproduces acoustic music, it will
also accurately reproduce movie soundtracks. The inverse
is not necessarily true. A movie soundtrack typically
includes a wealth of artificial sound effects. What is
the sound of an actual dinosaur? Although our children
may not believe us, we do not, in truth, know. However,
music is real. Therefore use music as the reference to
judge a speaker's fidelity.
A speaker placed at ear level sounds better as a painting or
photo looks best when viewed at eye level.
And proper speaker placement will minimize problems created by
Speaker and listener placement
Richard Hardesty 'the Audio
Perfectionist' stated, "The goal of optimally positioning the
speaker and the listener within the room is to make the sound
from the speaker more prominent, and the sound from the room
less prominent." The speaker's distance from a room
boundary is the lead issue. It is inversely related to
the level of the reflected sound's amplitude. That is,
the reflected sound is louder if the speaker is closer to a
boundary, less loud if it is farther away.
Therefore, move the speaker away from the room boundaries,
particularly the wall behind the speaker. Three feet is
a minimum recommendation. More is better. However,
the placement of the speaker should also avoid problem room
mode peaks and nulls. The following will guide you
through the maze of acoustical obstacles. Begin
this project with a sketch of your floor plan.
Left and right speaker
I was introduced to the
following procedure many years ago by my late friend Steve
As will be explained in more detail in Chapter 7 -- this may
be the most practical audio application offered on this
Calculate, and choose feasible front left and right speaker
positions. First, measure the width of the room.
Divide this measurement by the values 3, 5, 7, & 9.
Use the results to measure and mark points along the width of
the room from the left and then the right corner.
Next, measure the length of the room. Divide by
the odd values. Use the result to calculate the room
Mark these points along the room length from the front and
then right corner.
Now observe the on-floor coordinates established by the width
and length points.
While avoiding equal coordinates, choose a practical pair as
positions for your front left and right speaker.
(The home theater layout on the next page outlines this
Locate the sweet spot
While avoiding room mode peak
and nulls, place a chair with the front left and right
speakers in an equilateral triangle. This arrangement
creates an inclusive angle of 60 degrees, from the chair to
the front and right speakers.
While seated, listen to a stereo recording. Move the
chair slightly forward or back of the initial position.
Adjust the cant or focus of the speakers toward the
listener. The sweet spot or optimal position is at the
point where the stereo recording falls into stereo focus.
The listening position for stereo is also the ideal seating
location for a surround sound system. However,
additional seating is probably desirable. Therefore,
carefully select additional-positions that are comfortable and
practical. But avoid room mode peak and nulls.
More on this later.
If your system is stereo music
only with a subwoofer, then move ahead to Subwoofer
If it is a stereo audio-video system without a subwoofer, then
skip to The TV. If it is exclusively stereo music
without a subwoofer, then skip to Loose Ends. If your
system is a multi-channel surround system, then continue with
the remaining speaker placement instructions on the next page.