Book Shelf Speaker Positioning

Book Shelf Speaker Positioning

by Mick Stillone

The reason for this post is the countless questions I get asked about where best to place the stereo speakers. Many customers think they can’t achieve good sound due to the room size so they boycott quality and go cheap and nasty thinking something is better than nothing.

We know the room plays a huge part in what we hear, so we can work with the room to improve the way sound works in that space.

Firstly, where not to put speakers

  • Don’t mount your good book shelf speakers on the wall up in the corners and expect them to sound great.
  • Don’t put your book shelf speakers on the floor and expect them to sound great.
  • Don’t put your book shelf speakers in a book shelf and expect them to sound great.

Speakers need space and air, they need to be positioned away from a wall slightly, good speakers that are rear ported can be tuned by moving closer or further from the wall. 

Book shelf speakers need to be on a solid surface, and if you are listening to them sitting down, and you want to get the best from them, try and position them at head height at the seated position.

The same applies for floor standing speakers, I have seen them up on a cabinet, tucked in corners, built into cabinets and even hanging on walls.

Before I go on, if you do need to hide speakers in cabinets, that is fine, but you must be selective with the speakers, most speakers have air ports in back, or some have ports under speaker between the plinth or stabilising plate, so air will rush out, and if the speakers is in a cabinet the air will bounce out then back in, the sound will resonate in the cabinet and what you hear coming out will be muffled and droned, there are great specific closed box designed speakers with minimal leakage to minimise resonance.

Remember there is a good speaker to suit your application and desired position, if you need to mount the speakers high that is fine, but knowing which speakers will work in this application will make all the difference, you will not waste money when you buy the right product. 

Every little thing you do will improve audio, so it is good to take the time and think about the room, where you sit, how you listen, weather you want a selfish sound or generous sound. It all matters and the time you take in getting it right will be rewarded with great sound. Also, room treatment is always available to help with rebounds or reflections, this will be another topic.




Mick Stillone
Mick Stillone

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