Speaker placement Quandary

Where to begin here? My question is that in my experience with speaker placement I "think" that it is best to have your speakers well out into the room to achieve the best in soundstage width and especially depth? For example my Legacy Focus XD's are 6.5 feet into the room from front baffle to front wall. I messed with them quite a bit but never went closer to the front wall than that in fear of losing that well spaced out soundstage or emphasizing bass.. Imagery seems rather good as well. The "sound" comes from deep into the front wall not near the speaker plane. I see many listening rooms (in forum members setups, you tube, etc) that seem to follow this thinking and I also see some rather sophisticated expensive high end systems (in dedicated rooms so no WAF effect) that have their speakers just 1-2 feet off the front wall between the rear of the speaker. Is this an element of a different preference in listening? Wouldn't the soundstage become flatter? Is there some tonal advantages to this? I realize some speakers are designed to be closer such as some Wilsons and it seems many the the B&W's end up like this.  I understand that locating speakers is room dependant and a huge variable too. 


My speakers weigh 140 pounds each and I have them sitting on Via Blue decouplers so I cannot move them by myself and replace them on the footers, so I have not tried to move them closer to the front wall. Additionally they are rear ported and as I understand it's best to keep them away from the wall. 


As many of you have probably experimented with speaker placements, what have you found that gives you that nice expansive soundstage and imagery  in your rooms? 

Also is it more an issue with room modes too?


My room is 14w X 18L x 7H  My speakers are 6.5" out, 39" off side walls and 8 feet apart measured from center of front baffle.. My listening position is 9.5 feet (Of the side triangle measurements) from the front baffles and I sit about 4 feet off the rear wall. I have side wall treatments, rear wall diffusion, front wall diffusion and bass absorption. 


I am not really looking for placement suggestions unless you see a real flaw here. I just wonder how so many different configurations work so well regarding less distance between speakers and the front wall? Thoughts?


Do you do any DSP curves to measure the sound in your room? Before and after. I don't know too many people who actually do this because those dsp software packages are incredibly difficult to work with. The interfaces are horrifying and then you have lots of signal errors when you're doing test. Wish someone would do better job with this DSP stuff

Great thread!  Good resources, suggestions. I saw an intriguing suggestion a couple years ago about setting your system up diagonally in the room. So instead of facing a wall from the listening position, you face a corner. I can’t try this for technical, architectural, and marital reasons. Wondering if anyone on this thread has?

I am using an Anti-Mode 2.0 Dual Core room correction device that covers the entire sound spectrum....but I only use it for signals at 200 Hz or lower. I also use one SVS 4000 sub for frequencies below 45 Hz. The main speakers are Harbeth 40.1's arranged about 9 feet apart(4 feet from the backwall) into a very large room. The resultant sound is truly spectacular

That's a well set up room and looks well planned.

Did a ton of research myself on equipment placement (see my systems page).

Several generalities apply:

Each room and speaker set up is unique and no specific set up is best in all cases.

Most speakers sound better away from room boundaries.

Source and amp equipment is best placed along side walls or on floor behind speakers.

Listening position in the room is possibly the most important factor and is dictated by bass room modes.  The smoothest and best bass determines the listening spot.

Adjust initial speaker position partly based on listening position and partly on bass smoothness.

Use toe and tilt and fine movements of the speaker to "lock in" imaging. 

The smaller the room the greater the challenges.

One of the best systems I've ever heard was at Jeff Catalano's flat (High Water Sound).  In that system, the speakers were positioned along the short wall in a room approximately 50 feet long by 16 feet wide by 14 feet high.  The speakers were approximately 8 feet center to center apart, about 15 feet from front wall and about 12 or more feet to the listening position.  I estimate that the listening spot was 35% or so into the room from the back wall.  Of note, other than about 20,000 lp's (not kidding) flanking both side walls floor to ceiling, and 2-foot deep beams along the length of said ceiling, no room treatments were in use. 

Of note Jeff's rooms are typically the best or among the best at shows worldwide, so the guy knows what he's doing.  Study some photos from his set ups (google) for tips/hints.

The Jim Smith book also a great resource.