Speakers need to be placed close to back wall. Help

Hello all,

I want to buy my daughter and her husband a house-warming gift of a nice stereo. The problem is that the room they will probably want the stereo in simply won’t allow speakers to be place more than about 6-8" from the back wall. Any ideas of manufacturers and/or models that might work for them?

They listen to all kinds of music and I want to stay below 4K for used speakers.


Thanks in advance.


Ag insider logo xs@2xrustler

I had the same problem and choose Harbeth's. They have a port in the front, whereas most speakers have ports in the rear of the speakers making the bass muddy when close to a back wall. You can find used (and new) ones easily for your price range nd they have several sizes available. They are good for all types of music, especially voice, although heavy or death metal is not their best forte. They also sound good even with low "Background/dinner music" volumes, which many speakers are poor at. 

Obviously speakers with sealed cabinets would also work or any 'monitor' type speakers front ported. Just mainly avoid those ported in the back in my opinion. Hope this helps.

Any single driver full range speaker (Mark Audio, Omega etc) or full range with a super tweeter (Zu, Devore etc.) work better that close to the wall.

If they are not hifi nuts, they probably would like the sound of any decent speaker placed near a wall. It gives a bass-heavy jukebox sound that non-audiophiles find appealing. The Axiom speakers from Canada will be fine. I set some friends up with a system like that, with the speakers set up against the wall and they think it’s great. .

Check out Ohm Walsh.  Size of the speaker depends on the size of the room, so if the room is on the smaller size they should meet your budget.  I bought them because my speakers need to be close to the wall and corners, and I love them.  I just got an email today that they have some in their outlet store on sale.  Otherwise they are made to order, and the wait can be months.

Any Audio Note speaker. They are designed to be close to the wall behind them.

Larsen 4 or 6 should be within your 4k budget and they are designed to be placed within an inch or two of the front wall.  Www.larsenhifi.com


@rustler, I think that's a WONDERFUL gift!!

Pardon me for muddying of the waters, you've probably already considered all of this, but just in case...

If either of them have any interest in our hobby, OR if either if them are good candidates for developing an interest in our hobby, you might want to involve them in the decision-making process, and you might all really enjoy it.  Sometimes The Quest is half the fun.

Now if neither of them are speaker hobbyists or are likely to become such, you might STILL want to involve them because how the speakers LOOK in their room may be their top priority.

Regardless of the details of how you proceed, I think such a gift is incredibly thoughtful and generous of you.  And personally I like the suggestion of the Larsens.


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I have bought one stereo system as a gift for someone in 50 some odd years of life and only then because that is exactly what they requested as a gift. Unless this is something they have explicitly discussed getting, then it is a poor gift idea. That they listen to a wide variety of music is not a factor. Most people do, and they are quite happy with their non audiophile listening experience. Most would take convenience and matching their decor and feng shui over the best sound. Most considering something better sounding are far more likely to be interested in surround and a big TV to match.  I would rethink this idea unless this is something, exactly something, they have explicitly discussed having in the past.

Regarding the Jern cast-iron loudspeakers:

The castings are what’s known as "grey iron" which is incredibly inert, they are probably the most inert material that loudspeaker enclosures have ever been made from (and one of the heaviest, so we’re not going to see "normal sized" speakers with grey iron enclosures anytime soon). And THEN the enclosure has this rounded shape like two spheres of different sizes merging, which is GEOMETRICALLY incredibly rigid and ACOUSTICALLY very close to ideal (which just about nothing else approaches). None of this would matter if they didn’t sound excellent, and they DO. As a big speaker manufacturer and proponent I VERY SELDOM get excited about small speakers but I was extremely impressed by the Jerns which is why I stuck around to learn more about them when I first encountered them years ago.

No affiliation, just mad respect.  The Jern is a speaker which keeps me away from trying to build a competing small speaker because I don't think I could get as many things right as it does. 


@theaudioamp +1

A pair of Monitor Audio Bronze 50 on decent stands for under a grand would probably blow them away. What amp and source? Cables?

Close to the back wall = front ported speakers 

+1 for HARBETHs

here is a fine performer but more modest price option

TRIANGLE COMETE 40th Anniversary









Speaker Setup - Video 2 - Basic advice on speaker types and how to position them


Audio Note Uk speakers come to mind right away because they are designed to be placed close to the walls. 



Check out ATC. Sealed woofer on all models! The Harbeth P3ESR would be another choice. BTW, I own the P3ESR!




 Where are you located? Have a pair of Ohm 5 Mk2 s that I would like to sell.Would be under your price.

At the risk of coming off as a dick, allow me to inform you that the wall behind the loudspeakers is actually the front wall, not the rear. The wall your listening position faces is front, right? Unless you listen with your back to the speakers! I know it's just semantics, but it can cause confusion.

Many horn speakers can be used up against walls since their radiation patterns are controlled. I use a pair with 4- 21-inch woofers in a near-field system up against walls in my office.

Thanks again to all who actually responded to my initial question!  I am located in Toledo, Ohio Tooth2th.  I won't be ready to buy until I get into the new house and run all the options by my daughter.  I'll get back to you as soon as I do if we aren't a continent apart.

I heard a system at the Pacific Audio Fest that delivered amazing performance for the money. It's a pair of small stand-mount active speakers from Vanatoo. They sell for $599 and are driven by a digital source (USB, spdif, or Bluetooth). They include a subwoofer output, but they sounded very nice without there sub connected. These easily embarrassed systems costing way more. 

Add a Bluesound Node and a pair of nice stands and you're in for about $1500. Add a nice sub or two if you want to spend a little more. 

Acoustic Suspension design, also known as a sealed box is preferable for close to to a wall install. Even better would be a acoustic suspension design with room boundary compensation. Unfortunately, you would have to some research. I have the same issue and use Mirage HDTF LCR's but they are 20 years old. Not sure who would make that type of speaker anymore but research is always fun. 

RLJ:  My first ever serious speakers were KLHs from 1971; paired with my Pioneer receiver and turntable, it was audio heaven for an 18-year-old!  Will definitely check out the newer models.  I went on to Advents after that before sticking with ADS L810s for many years!  Speaker history is fun.


Vandersteen 2Ce models have a rear-facing 10" acoustic coupler that is designed to enhance bass response. They are designed to be positioned close to the front wall (4-10").  My setup was an equilateral triangle, 30* toe-in, 6 feet apart, listening seat 6 feet from each speaker. 

Russ, I have recently added a pair of Buchardt Audio S400 MkII speakers, and have them about 10” from the wall and sound amazing. They have a rear passive radiator, and their website says they can be placed close to the wall…..about $2,050 per pair, free shipping, and a 45 day audition period with a $100 restocking fee if you decide to return them. Worth the audition for sure



Thank you so much for that recommendation. I have checked out their website and many reviews and I really like what I see and hear. My daughter is an architect who spent time in Denmark studying and she might really like the design features as well. Great work and keep on listening in the “free world!”


Rustler, glad to lend a hand. I know during my research, I got a ton of great tips here at Audiogon that helped me narrow down some options and save a ton of time. The veneers are beautiful, I have the Rosewood veneer.....but I've seen the Walnut too, and it was gorgeous.

+1 on Larsens for close to the wall. 

@rustler what amp or will that be purchased too? Room dimensions?



Shank I haven’t been able to see the new house yet, so I’m not sure of the dimensions or where they will be placing their system exactly. I was thinking of going with a nice integrated amplifier, maybe one with a phono section because my son-in-law is a hipster who is into vinyl!  I will post more information as I get it, but it might not be for a couple weeks when I get to see the property. Thank you for your help

s bank. These Larsens look amazing.  I wish I could audition them somewhere near me!  

Some of these suggestions even have me considering switching my gear.  I love my Martin Logan Summit X speakers, but these new-fangled things have piqued my interest.  Can either the Buchardt or Larsen speakers really deliver big, medium sized room filling sound?




Not sure of the specifics of a "medium sized room", what are the dimensions?

Maybe try the Buchardts in your space before installing them in your daughter's space....that should give you an idea if they will work for you.

OHM, LARSEN 4 or 6, KRIX or NSMT Audio Model 15SE, an acoustic suspension spkr with 3/4 inch anti-resonant cabinet, 1 inch baffle, first order xover, propylene caps, non-inductive wire resister, multi-strand ofc copper wiring and 5yr wty for only  $1995.

Can either the Buchardt or Larsen speakers really deliver big, medium sized room filling sound?

The Larsens can. I haven't heard the Buchardts, but I would say in general the best way to "room filling sound" with stand mounted speakers is to pull 4-5ft from the wall to create a deep soundstage in all that space. In your use case, that's not likely, so maybe not so much. In a smallish room, e.g. 10x12 bedroom, sure you can fill that with most any speaker. Low end may be on the modest side. 

The match between speaker and the room size and placement is pretty critical, so you may want to wait until you know dimensions and talk over furnishings and setup flexibility with your recipients. Hopefully the room isn't square, those are tricky and require a bit of finesse on setup(e.g. diagonal) to get the most sound for your investment. 



Mofojo:  they look interesting, and the specs and few reviews are very promising.  Many thanks.

Any omidirectional or semi omidirectional speakers are exactly what you require. I'm UK based and use a modified pair of NVA Cubix speakers and the ability to almost fine tune the bass by moving the speakers proximity to the wall has to be heard, it's really quite something. I know there are some very well regarded American designers of omidirectional speakers and I am sure you will be astonished by their performance viz a viz traditional design.

Ps Steve Guttenberg did a review a year or two which was very positive re one the American designs 

Get them the KEF LS60 (the Baby Blades). I will cost $7K, but it has a preamp, amps, META, DSP, and I think it also looks pretty cool and can be placed very close to the wall because of that built-in DSP. I think all the features are controllable from an mobile device, like an iPhone.



I second the ATCs. Have a scm7 v3.

If thinking of Buchardt check out the their i150 amp. Has dsp. The auto Room EQ is actually a room modes correction. Simple to do. Has sub out. Crossover and many easy to use controls. Sounds great. The app works on iPhone although Android is coming.



If you do go the Buchardt speaker and amp route, make sure to buy the speakers first.....before the i150 amp. If you do that, then the i150 is 2,000 Euros instead of 2,500 Euros.....customer loyalty discount