Making speakers “disappear”…..

So I’m just setting up my new system and dial it in-

Benchmark AHB2

Benxhmark DAC 3

Totem1 speakers


all trial and error here but…..when you guys are dialing in speaker placement do you move them around, closer and further away until the sound doesn’t actually seem that it’s coming from the speakers? So far I’ve found that sitting in a “triangle” - equal distance from the listening position that the speakers are placed apart and so far so good - do you guys do this or have any tips for me on this?


I’m still somewhat new to hifi - about 18 months in - but here is what I did after a ton of reading and watching a few youtube vids. This was with my old speakers which were Sapphire M3s - my new to me speakers, Rivals went into similar place but were spread apart more with more toe in and a closer chair. I went from 78% with the M3s to about 91% with the Rivals:

1. I started with speakers and chair about 30% into the room with the speakers about 20%-ish in from the side walls and moved around from there.

2. As I moved the speakers around and chair back and forth, I made the priorites as follows: 1) each speaker the exact, or very, very close the same distance from each ear to each tweeter. 2) each speaker the same distance from each side wall, all measurements from the tweeter. 3) always making sure the chair was exaclty in the center of the room width-wise. I measured the chair and put a dot in the middle of it. 4) from what I’ve read, make sure the distance from the side walls is not the same as the distance to the front wall.

It took me about 12-15 hours over 4-5 weeks to get the M3 there but it was a Eureka moment. My wife was amused or thought I was (more) crazy. Of course you need a good recording. The immersion into the music was something I have never experienced before. I played Abby Rd, side 2 and it was emotional - not crying or sad but some kind of elation and stayed wtih me for a few days.

I had the same thing with DSofM, side 2 about a week ago with the Rivals. The Rivals were more difficult so I also did this which helped:

-disconnected the left speaker and then moved that 1 speaker, the right speaker around to where it sounded the best - mostly concentrating on the bass and then once set, worked on toe for mids and highs. That wasn’t too far off where I had them but was a few inches - toe was a bit further out. That was closer but still not quite there. I had a fantastic center image and imaging but the speakers were still there.

Then I "installed" the Townshend Podiums and they were gone. For me - it is a sound stage that is all around but mostly in front but can be to the sides. They are staying put there for a while. Maybe for a long time.

To "test it" I used this method - which is pretty freaky when you experience:


I have a small "L" shaped listening room; thus, I have a near field setup.  My room is 11'-5" wide; long wall is 28'-2"; short wall is 15'-7".  My speakers are 2'-5" from the side walls; 4'-0" from the front wall; 6'-10" apart; and toed-in about 3/4".  My listening position is 13'-5" from the front wall, i.e., 9'-5" from the speakers.

I spent a lot of time on Agon researching this topic and tried many different things trying to make my speakers disappear. I finally purchased Paul McGowan's Audiophile's Guide.  I found it both informative and very useful, and it helped me dial my system in.  By that I mean, depending on the music source and qualify of the recording, my speakers may or may not disappear; my soundstage may or may not be wider than my speakers; and I have not yet used any acoustic treatment on any wall. 

For the price of a book and suggestions found on Agon, and a lot of moving the speakers and sitting position, and adjusting the toe-in, most of the time my speakers do disappear.  I think the book helped the most.  I'm quite happy with my current setup.  

Hi guys, so many responses and I’m e trendelt grateful, so many responses on two other categories I can’t respond as I’m flying today - 30 hours with stop-overs but I will get to these in the coming weeks, just jumping on so you guys don’t think I’m ungrateful.

thanks to everybody so far !!!


Most folks know bookshelves pull off the "disappearing act" much easier than floor standers. When they don't it typically means there's something about the room setup (reflections and room modes) that's ruining the illusion.

Changing out any upstream gear (cables included) often requires a fresh examination of speaker placement. I just changed DAC's and that had me moving my speakers 5 inches closer to the rear wall and 6 inches closer to the side walls, with a tad less toe in.

Even with great room setup poor recordings will almost always tell you exactly where your speakers are. It's just something we sentimental people occasionally have to put up with.

Listener position is also a factor, which some forum members have already commented on. I have two positions that I like to bounce back and forth between. The first being the equilateral triangle, which gives me a smoother, more refined presentation. The second being the "89% setup" aka. nearfield. The "89% setup" gives me a more immersive and exciting experience. In my rig my speakers do a great job of disappearing at both listener positions, which should tell you listener position isn't the most critical factor, but nevertheless shouldn't be ignored.

So it's really an alchemy of these five factors (gear/recording quality/room treatment/listening position/speaker placement) that determine whether or not your speakers "disappear", and the only way to achieve this is to experiment. Rules of thumb are great, just don't fall into the trap of any one dogma. The best in the business have spent decades crafting their setup skills. The whole process of exploring what works and what doesn't isn't just about finding the sweet spot (for you), it helps train your ears.

Then there's the whole realm of psychoacoustics to explore, but that's another topic and deserves a good bottle of wine to go with it ; ) 

Happy listening!

Since you are playing around with set up and have endless option make sure you try the off axes corner set up. Almost every room at the audio shows us this method. It contributes to the soundstage and adds a 3d sound.