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Speaker Placement Ideas for the Best Sound for Your Vinyl

So, you’ve decided to start collecting vinyl records. You’ve got a new turntable, found the right speakers, and a crate full of your favorite tunes. But what happens if the sound quality still doesn’t sound quite right?

The problem might be your speaker placement. Figuring out the best configuration for your stereo sound equipment is an important step in getting the best sound out of your turntable so you can listen to your vinyl the way the artist intended.

What Speaker Placement Gets the Best Sound?

The best shape for speaker placement is a ‘listening triangle,’ so this should be your starting point for your home audio setup.

To place your speakers in a listening triangle, keep them a few feet away from the back wall or side walls. Think about the place where listeners will sit, stand, or hang out as the top point of a triangle with three equal sides. Your speakers will form the other two points of that equilateral triangle.

Remember to think about how you interact with the room when you place your speakers. If your speakers and turntable are in a room you move around a lot in, like a workroom or kitchen, you’ll want to think of the place you are most often as the top point of your triangle.

Don’t worry about setting up speakers to capture everywhere you’ll be — just set them up to work with the most commonly used area of the room.

How Far Apart Should Speakers Be Placed?

Distance depends a bit on the type of speakers you have. You’ll want to separate bookshelf speakers by about four feet of space for the best sound. Floor speakers need to be farther apart, so aim for about eight feet of distance between them. If you’re using speaker stands, aim for somewhere between the two distances.

Make sure that your speakers are stable and aren’t on wobbly shelves or sitting on unstable shelf corners. Also, make sure that no furniture, plants, or other household items are sitting too close to them if they’re on the floor because the sound could be muffled or the speakers could be damaged.

How High Up Should Speakers Be Placed?

For optimal listening conditions, your loudspeakers should be set up at approximately ear level when you’re listening to your vinyl for optimal listening conditions. This means you need to think about what you’ll be doing while listening. Will you be sitting or standing?

If you’ll spend your time sitting and listening, make sure your speakers are at the same level as your ears when you’re sitting. Otherwise, the best sounds will literally go straight over your head. By the same token, if you spend your listening time standing, the sweet spot is to set your speakers to your standing height.

What Part of the Room Should Speakers Point Towards?

Let’s go back to the listening triangle from earlier. Think about that triangle shape, with you at the top point. Imagine that an invisible line is coming out of each speaker, and visualize where they’ll meet.

You want those invisible lines to meet at the third triangle point, where you’ll sit to listen. Angle your speakers inward to make the invisible lines intersect correctly. Also, try to make sure there’s no other furniture in the way because it could interfere with the sound.

Ideally, you’ll form a listening triangle with an empty space in the center so that your sound can resonate. This is called toe-in, and it’s a key concept in a good listening position.

How Close To the Speakers Should The Turntable Be?

Your speakers shouldn’t be too close to your turntable. Make sure that they’re far enough away to not cause vibrations because that could make your records skip or scratch.

In fact, minimizing vibration is a good rule of thumb for every part of speaker placement and setup. You don’t want the speakers or turntable to vibrate at all. Vibration creates extra sound and sound interference, so you want to make sure you have as little as possible.

If you can, put the speakers on a different surface than your turntable. This is easy enough if you’re using floor-standing speakers and your turntable is on a bookshelf. But if your speakers are shelf models, try to put them and your turntable on different shelves if you have the space.

Simple things like this will keep vibration from interfering with your equipment and muddying the sound of your favorite songs. Another option is using speaker stands.

If you need more help understanding how to set up your record player before you think about speaker position, we have a guide you can use.

Does the Room Environment Have Any Effect on Speaker Placement?

If you’re setting up speakers, you should be aware that having a lot of thick, soft rugs or furniture can dampen sound and make your music sound quieter overall.

Usually, only the most dedicated audiophiles choose their entire home decor based on room acoustics. However, if you’re not getting the sound you want even after setting up a perfect listening triangle, you might want to think about shifting around the rugs and furniture.

This will help create smoother pathways for the sound waves your records produce to bounce off of the walls so you don’t encounter resonance from your favorite couch. Small tweaks to furniture placement can help you create the ultimate surround sound system in your living room or home theater.

Where Do Subwoofers Fit Into Speaker Placement?

A subwoofer is a special speaker made to amplify the bass sounds in music. They’re the piece of equipment that lets you feel the bass vibrating all through your body, not just in your ears. If you’re a big fan of genres like hip-hop, R&B, or metal music, a subwoofer can bring out the low notes and driving beats that make your music enjoyable, so they might be the rights speakers for you.

The good thing about being made for low frequencies is that subwoofers don’t necessarily need to be placed as precisely as speakers do. This is because low frequencies move in many directions, while high frequencies generally move in one.

However, they are still affected by sound-absorbing furniture, rugs, and hangings. Try placing your subwoofer in a few different spots on the floor, preferably in corners, to see where it produces the optimum sound.

As far as where a subwoofer fits into your listening triangle, it doesn’t, necessarily. A subwoofer operates on a very different frequency level than a traditional speaker, so you can’t use the same strategies for placement.

Does Speaker Placement Matter?

Speaker placement matters a lot if you want the smoothest vinyl listening experience possible. Like any speaker setup, getting it perfect requires a bit of trial and error, but there are a few general ideas to keep in mind for your audio system.

Form a listening triangle, using yourself and a pair of speakers as the triangle’s three points. Keep things at a good listening height and far enough away from each other to minimize excess vibrations that could interfere with your vinyl playback. Keeping these things in mind will help you set up your speakers perfectly in no time.

If you want to find some new tunes to test out your speaker placement skills, head over to The Sound of Vinyl shop.

Sources

How to Set Up Your Speakers | PCMag

What is a subwoofer? How a bass-focused speaker can give your home or car sound system a boost | Business Insider

How to Place Stereo Speakers for the Best Performance | Lifewire

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