Speaker positioning and center image depth

I’ve been in so many conversations with people who boast of the depth of the soundstage from a particular pair of speakers to fall well behind said speakers, and others who claim the sound is very much more forward for some speakers. For me, I’ve found that most times, it just depends on how the speakers are positioned in the room.

I find a combination of just slightly too much toe in and just not enough distance between speakers in relation to the listener create a more powerful and forward center image and potentially a narrower soundstage as the speakers end up not taking advantage of the side walls. On the other hand, having the speakers toed out too little at a larger distance from each other results in a more distant center image and at times loses clarity.

Distance from the walls also makes a huge difference here, as well as how well the room is treated. And there are many variables that will change the way a speaker projects the sound.

Of course, many speakers do a better job of imaging a particular way over others, but I’m not convinced of generalizations made about these projections (how forward vs deep a speaker sounds) in reviews or forum threads. For me, it usually has much to do with how it’s set up in the room.

That said, I do believe some speakers play incredibly large, and others small such that the thresholds (toe in, distances, etc) are all variable, which help a speaker work in some rooms better than others. And of course every speaker imparts it’s own sonic character, some more open and transparent and others more recessed and warm, etc.

I’m curious as to other peoples’ reactions and experiences with regards to speaker depth/forwardness, and if they agree with what I’m finding or if they believe the speaker has a much larger role than the room the way I am describing. I’m always looking to learn more.


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Reality is if you don't have dedicated space-whatever sounds good to your ears.

Equal side/front wall distance introduce SQ concerns?

Simple fact: All speakers have a different "in room" response. My issue is with the overcomplicating of setup os it chews the fun out of your gum (Richard Julian line). Get a pair of Magicos and maybe the shop will come over and set ’em up for you...maybe...I use horn drivers which can help with the dreaded "early reflection" issues, and 2 subs allow for control of standing waves. You don’t want those waves standing around. Also note that nobody knows your earballs, taste, and what your listening room sounds like, and don’t let any of us come over and hear it...we don’t want to see your crappy decorating taste or sit on your disgusting old furniture. I like the sound of a room as it’s where life occurs, and a couple of reverberant tones shouldn’t harsh your mellow...shouldn’t, but man, I bet it makes you want to throw your cable elevators at the cat.

Bipole, dipoles, horns, dynamics, Omni, etc all have different radiation patterns, and that’s what mostly dictates proper in-room setups no one way or the highway. Best to understand how your loudspeaker radiates and interacts with room boundaries before setting them up.

Not at all half the fun is getting the setup right. Not saying it has to be rocket surgery but some thought has to go into it.

Besides chewing gum is disgusting. IMHO. 

+1 @johnk Great point.

​​​+1 @juanmanuelfangioii If we didn't feel both rewarded and frustrated through the process, we wouldn't feel so highly about the hobby overall. Sometimes enduring the frustration is what makes the rewarding moments even more fulfilling.