Front Wall vs. Back Wall?

I recently listened to one of @Paul’s “Ohms Law” episodes where he explained some of the terms used in our hobby that can be confusing to newer members. He covered “transparency”, “air”, sound stage" and a few others. It got me thinking about other terms that can be confusing and one that sticks out is the inconsistent use of “Front Wall” vs. “Back Wall”.

My understanding is that the terms are from the perspective of the listening position i.e., the back wall is behind the listener (not the speakers). Nonetheless, in listening to podcasts from “experienced audiophiles” (Darko - I’m talking to you :grin:) as well as reading various forum posts, I’m starting to question whether this convention is universal?


There seems to be no real consensus on this one. I can generally tell what a writer means through context.

to avoid confusion, I use these terms:

  1. wall behind the speakers

  2. wall behind the listening position


All articles that I read in Stereophile, HiFi News, HiFi Choice etc. and in a few books and guides reflect your understanding which is mine too. Walls are in front of listener or back of listener.

Thanks for sharing your understanding. Most of the positional terminology in the hobby is unambiguous - no one is confused when a member refers to their left versus right speaker. This one is a head-scratcher to me. I agree with @Elk that what is intended can usually be divined from context.