Whether you’re listening to music, watching movies or playing video games, speaker placement is a crucial component to getting the best sound quality out of your bookshelf speakers. Poor speaker placement can cause unwanted reflections and frequency build-ups that make it difficult to hear things clearly. But proper speaker placement can provide a truly amazing listening experience.
Adjusting your speaker placement by just a few inches can make a huge impact on the overall clarity and detail of your sound. In this blog, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to set up speakers to create the best possible listening experience in any environment.
Setting Up The Room
The first step in setting up bookshelf speakers is figuring out where they’ll go in your room, which depends on how you plan to use them. Will you mostly be using these speakers to listen to vinyl during dinner parties and get-togethers, or for an immersive solo gaming experience? Do you plan on having friends over for watch parties on your couch, or using these speakers to listen to music while working at your desk?
Depending on our situation, you may decide to set up your bookshelf speakers on your entertainment center, your desk, an actual bookshelf or even dedicated speaker stands. This can be tricky, especially when trying to connect to a home theater system, but with Bluetooth speakers like the Edifier S1000DB or S3000Pro bookshelf speakers, you can connect wirelessly for a clean, sleek aesthetic with no tangled cables.
No matter what your speaker setup is like, it’s best to place the tweeters at ear level, which lets you hear sound directly from the speakers. Tweeters produce the high frequencies, making things sound more crisp and detailed when positioned correctly. When speakers are placed too high or too low, the sound can’t reach your ears directly. Instead, it bounces off of other surfaces first, like the walls, the ceiling or the floor, which reduces clarity and causes the sound to “smear.” Speaker stands will almost always result in the best possible sound, but may not be an option for everyone.
Ideally, bookshelf speakers should be set up so they project across the length of the room, meaning that if your room is a rectangle, the speakers should be placed at the far end. Essentially, you want to put as much distance as possible between the front of the speakers and the wall they face to eliminate reflections.
When setting up bookshelf speakers, it can be tempting to place them right up against the wall, or even tuck them in a corner to help save space. While it may improve the aesthetic of your room, placing bookshelf speakers near walls or corners can double or even triple the amount of low-end a speaker gives off, which can “mask” other frequencies, making it difficult to hear things clearly. For optimal sound, both bookshelf speakers should be an equal distance from the side walls and placed two to three feet from the rear wall.
Creating the Sweet Spot
The “Sweet Spot” is a term that audiophiles use to describe the ideal listening position in a room, where the sound is most balanced. Think of it as the focal point between two speakers.
Start by identifying where you want the sweet spot to be—typically in the center of the room. This could be the center of your room, your office chair, or your favorite spot on the living room couch. Place your bookshelf speakers on either side of your TV or turntable. Try to create an equilateral triangle between the speakers and the sweet spot. Make sure the speakers are the same distance from each other as they are from the listening position. This will help ensure that you hear sound equally from both speakers and maintain a clear stereo image.
Of course, this may require some rearranging and may not be possible in every environment. If that’s the case, just make sure the speakers aren’t too far apart. Otherwise, you start to affect the stereo image, which can make it sound like there’s an empty space in between the speakers.
All About the Angle
The last step in setting up your bookshelf speakers is adjusting the angle or “toe-in.” In order to reduce reflections and create a more balanced stereo image, it’s best to angle your speakers inwards toward the sweet spot.
Imagine drawing a straight line from each tweeter. Angle your speakers so the lines intersect just behind your head when sitting in the sweet spot. If your speakers are the proper distance away, they should be at a 60-degree angle, but unless you have a protractor handy, simply adjust each speaker until you find the best results.
Turn It Up!
Once you have your bookshelf speakers in place, it’s time to put them to the test. Turn on a song that you’re familiar with and turn up the volume so it’s at a reasonable level—about where you think you’ll normally be listening. Sit in the sweet spot and listen closely.
Are there any balance issues? Can you hear all of the instruments clearly? Does anything sound like it’s blending together or overlapping?
Listen for reflections. Does anything sound like it’s smearing? Are you hearing sound directly from the speakers, or is it even louder from somewhere else? Stand up and walk around the room a bit. Do you hear the bass change drastically? All of the frequency ranges should be balanced when sitting in the sweet spot.
Next, make small adjustments to the position of your bookshelf speakers and return to the sweet spot to assess the sound. The sound should improve every time you move your speakers. If not, return the speakers to their last position.
That’s it! All that’s left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the pleasure that only a finely tuned pair of bookshelf speakers can provide.
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