Is toeing speakers a bad idea?

I was toeing in my speakers and that seemed like a good thing to do. But then I decided to de-toe the speakers. I was hoping that the speakers dispersed things well enough and maybe they don't need to be focused so much to create a so-called sweet spot.

I found the imaging in the room was a lot better and sound improved. The room is a rectangular room and the speakers are placed at one end of the room about 3 feet from the wall. Room sizes 17 x 23 with a 7 ceiling. Maybe someone can share some rationale for this.  I feel the sound waves may spread out better and not be so disturbed when they collide in a so called sweet spot near my skull.


" I found the imaging in the room was a lot better and sound improved"  You have answered your own question.  Trust your own ears.  

Depends on the speaker. Some are designed to be toed. Sounds like you figured yours out…

if your the only one listening then sure.  Otherwise ...  leave out.  Personally i think having them out closer to 180 deg. gives me more sound stage. 

There are no generally applicable rules on any aspect of speaker placement, including toe-in; speaker design, room acoustics, listening preferences matter.  Toe-in results in less sound first bouncing off the side wall before reaching the listener.  This tends to make the center image seem more sharply focused and prominent.  However, this does tend to make the soundstage seem more narrow.  Toe-in choices tend to be matters of picking the right tradeoffs.

Very severe toe-in, with the speaker axis crossed well in front of the center listener’s position, tends to make for a wider stereo sweet spot.  This is the case because, for example, a listener sitting to the left of center will be closer to the left speaker, which will make that speaker more prominent partly because the sound arrives first (we locate sound sources using timing differences between sound reaching the left and right ear..  But, with severe toe-in, the right speaker will be more directly aimed at this listener so its higher volume partially compensates for the timing cue favoring the left speaker.

Every room and every speaker is different.  Experiment and trust your ears.  

I have found that toeing in speakers benefit the listener more in smaller rooms than in larger rooms, especially in near field listening.

The off-axis response of the tweeter + the room are the balancing acts. I do think the idea that all speakers need to be laser calibrated to point to the listener is a myth we should deal with more.

The correct answer IMHO is balancing your preferences with imaging.

Some speakers are meant for little toe-in (Revel, Magico) and throw a great image over a wide area IF they are not constrained by side walls.

Some speakers have raspy tweets on-axis which sound great off axis. 

I've found Focals to need minimal to no toe-in for instance.

Also, it's not just toe-in, but some speakers just sound better on mid range axis, so speaker tilt can really vary.  B&W's are IMHO like this.

Go through change and feel good.

If you toe in again after a while you will feel almost same or better

As many have said… it depends.

The recommended toe in, or not, is a starting point. My manufacturer recommends to start by crossing the beams behind your head by about 18”. Turns out in my room with my setup, no toe in results in the widest and deepest soundstage without loosing the central images. So imaging is homogeneous across the soundstage. Hence a piano recorded in stereo with the intent of capturing the sounds from left to right will be be equal volume across the soundstage, with no warping of the image.


You must make adjustments in very small increments to find the exact best spot. An 1/8th inch can make a big difference with some speakers.

If you are fairly new to carefull tuning, then it is easiest to way to start is to just listen to your speakers for a few weeks until you know the sound. Then make a big change in toe in. Then listen, for as long as it takes for it to be obvious that is much better or worse. That could be a minute or a couple weeks. Then go to the best sound and move half way towards what was last tried. Anyway take your time and make successively smaller moves until perfect.

Folks with lots of experience can do it in minutes… but the first time can take months… but there is no hurry. Getting it perfect is a huge win.

My current OB speakers like about 5 degrees toe-in but as others have said it's really about adjusting not only the toe-in but the width of the speakers with respect to the listening distance. 

My other speakers, KEF LS50 Metas liked no toe-in for best soundstage as well as making vocals sound very well balanced without losing the detail. 

Overall, part of the fun of audio is playing around with speaker placement.

It depends on the speakers dispersion, room reflections, and listening position.

Toe varies by room and system. Try no-toe, slight toe-in, even trying radical crossing of toe up to 10" crossing in front of the listener - -  would have never believed it until my local 53-year-in business dealer showed me with a few AudioNote systems. The differences and results can be quite amazing.   

Try all positions. The generic methods and formulas do not account for your room, just try it all, listen, take notes for each position. My setup has barely any toe-in, and sounds best like this, for my room and system. You do need to learn to trust your own ears in good time. Take your time, try each position, listen carefully. 

decooney mentioned something important that i forget about and that is to take notes which does help.


@tomsch decooney mentioned something important that i forget about and that is to take notes which does help.

1000%, its amazing how many times we can test something, thinking we’ll remember the results each time, then comparing to 5-10 other test scenarios, moves, and end up repeating the same tests over again IF we don’t have any notes record of prior tests and results..

For me, its a complete waste of time, and potential for do-overs, if you simply can’t take notes to record results, thoughts, and findings of each test case scenario.

A few years back, I was testing 30 different pairs of vintage small signal and drive tubes in some different amps. Weeks later I’d go back and re-read the results from each test, almost in disbelief how things can be similar and so different some times.

I also do this in case our mood and hearing changes too, trying not to leave another separate day of testing in the dark when comparing back to prior days. 

I remember once upon a time using a Sheffield Labs disc that had an in-phase/out-of-phase track and Doug or Rodger (I cannot remember which) said, when out of phase, to position the speakers enhance the out of focus as much as possible (when out of phase) and then when they were back in-phase, that positioning would result in very tight focus.  So I did that, and that turned out to be what I consider a rather severe toe-in in a near field room, and the focus did wind up being real tight . . . but I lost a whole lot of peripheral sound stage.  Now I don't use any toe-in at all . . . focus is good and I have (by my standards) pretty good peripheral sound stage.

Of course, this is all in a near field listening environment, and that is not what you have. 

Audio Physic has info on speaker placement.  That is the best suggestion I have found to date.  Toe in depends on what you equipment can produce as far as soundstage, dimension, etc.

Happy Listening.

Everything depends on your room and room treatment if when straight too bright 

a bit of toe in can be good ,go to Cardas web sight and there is a informative 

section on speaker setup.

With a large room, why are you placing the speakers 3’ from the wall? When I had a room this size, speakers were 9’ from the front wall.

Do whatever sounds best to YOUR ears, mostly based on the distance between your speakers and how far back you are listening to them. My speakers are very far apart, but the sofa isn’t as far back as it needs to be. So, I toed them in 1” and am extremely happy with the sq. The soundstage got a little more coherent while still exhibiting a huge sound stage front to back and side to side and bass response increased.

I used to do this with a pair of 15 ohm Rogers LS3/5A's and the difference was significant.  Imaging improved substantially. The only issue is that in order to benefit you have to sit directly where the axis of the speakers meet, otherwise the imaging is off center.  

Toe in benefits are in the ears of the beholder, and ONLY in the ears of the beholder. There is no sound in a forum response.

Almost all speakers radiate out at an angle that should hit your listening position.  A little toe in can be good, but to much can shrink the sound stage. 

All the best.

I think I've moved my speakers 0ver 150 times , in , out  , forward , backward  with toe-in and facing straight until I found my ideal sound . 

I use 3/4 inch toe-in . but my room is only 13 feet wide .

I have a pair of very tall ESLs. As many planar speakers do, they "beam" meaning that the sound stage is not very dispersed. However, you CAN play with it by using  varying amounts of toe-in. 

Counter intuitively, less toe-in creates a very focused image, and a very small 'sweet spot' to go with. More toe-in creates a wider, more defuse soundstage. 

I go through phases where I'll listen to one configuration for several months then one day I'll switch to the other. It's fun to hear the differences and keeps things fresh! 😉

Happy listening.

Thanks for the question and thanks @hilde45 for posting the PS video.

I always thought my Harbeth 40.3's should be toed-in somewhat, and I thought they were pretty dialed in at roughly 10 degrees (actually 3 inch diff. in distance from the rear corners of the speakers to the wall).

I re-started with 0 degrees as Paul suggested and was surprised how much better the image was (centered vocals, wider sound stage) and landed at maybe 5 degrees (now 1 inch diff. from the wall).

Perfect timing for Jazz Sunday!

I'm not sure I'll helpful it is to know the dispersion qualities of any given speaker unless you see a straw coming out of the speaker rather than a cone.

Horn speakers definitely are dispersed otherwise no clue.

Sometimes my toe in is directly proportional to the amount of alcohol I've consumed.

I rotate four different pairs of speakers.  Three of them I set with no toe in, and the other I set with slight toe in. Go figure.  

for me it was.....actually my speakers work best when faced outward....toward the left/right ears

I'm constantly, it seems, moving speakers around. About the only constant is tweeters at, or very near, ear level.  I tried to convince my wife experimentation was good.... didn't work with her either

Not enough toe in can hurt the center focus (phantom center) and you can also lose detail in the highs above 10k. Too much toe in narrows soundstage. 

Almost every speaker I have had sounded best with only a slight toe-in. Certainly not pointing at the listener. More air, more soundstage and openness. This was in different rooms, different distance, e.t.c it didn't matter.

Perhaps this is a listener preference of mine.

Others may prefer the closed in focused sound that toeing gives you.

I find it an interesting exercise to use a calibrated mic and RTA to see what effect my toe in has on frequency distribution. I go both ways. Use the RTA to find best position and listen. Or use my ears and then see what the distribution is. Just for fun. 

Interesting thread and notice nearly all preferences for little or no toe in.The preface I find "interesting " is that the WASP (  Dave Wilson's setup theory)is to have the Speaker toed in such as to fire directly at the listener in the  final positioning.

Having owned 4 sets of those transducers I can categorically state that none of them  delivered the most natural to Source  playback  in that configuration in my rooms.



Some speakers need it like the Charios I still have but don't use. They sounded best with the speakers converging just in front of the listening position and far apart. The owner's manual even showed that configuration. My current JBLs sound great with just a little toe in.

It’s interesting the deviation that might occur between a speaker company’s recommendations and your own experience. Reflections, dimensions, ceiling height, even with what amp or dac you use, there are many factors that can influence the sonic outcome. But I always have found only a small adjustment to what is recommended for any given speaker is pretty standard due to its design becoming paramount to that overall equation.

my Spendors “should be” directly at my seated position and no less than 6 feet apart. But I get the most natural and clear presentation when they’re toed out just a few degrees from directly at me. That might change if I actually ever get into a larger room 🙏🏼

From my listening chair, It helped the low bass when I toed in my speakers but soundstage gets a little bit smaller. I rotate them straight ahead any time I get the itch for a component upgrade. 😂

Sometimes it helps to spread speakers further apart to increase soundstage when toeing in. But it may diminish height.

When I had my speakers toed in, where they crossed about three feet behind my head, the soundstage depth began literally in front of my face and I was distinctly aware of sound emanating from the speakers. When I decreased the toe in to maybe a three, four degrees, soundstage recessed behind the speakers, width increased by a wide margin, deep bass increased as well. 

Gotta feel sorry for those people with big speakers that can't move them easily. I put an insulation ceiling acoustical tile beneath the speakers and I can move them around all over the place so much easier. It cost about six dollars for a square foot tile and it's black so I can't see it and it's really nice.

Post removed 
Post removed 

No one has mentioned the distance between speakers. Easily  as important as toe in.

@emergingsoul   Like all things high end audio, there’s never a one size fits all scenario. And that includes speaker placement. One must experiment with toe-in in order to find the perfect speaker placement in a particular room. That’s the only way. Happy listening.