Get (Your Feet &) Your Speakers Off The Wall!


When calculating how far off the back wall you have placed standard floor standing speakers, do you measure from the front of the speaker (fixed) or the back (varies from speaker to speaker)?

Also, does anyone make speaker sliders or rollers that will allow the listener to slide heavy floorstanding back and forth? 99% of speakers in the home when placed optimally for 2 channel stereo, are in the middle of the room, too close to the listening position and/or blocking doorways and walkways.

Lastly, has anyone had any luck getting the smaller Magnepan speakers (MMG or LRS) to sound good when placed only 3’ off the wall? Their optimal placement of 6’ will work in probably less than 1% of most homes.


Stay safe,


FWIW, I measure everything in terms of the front surface of the “tweeter”, with forward-firing transducers. If your speakers have rear drivers and/or ports, that might impact the calculus. Regardless, in the end, your ears should tell you when you have found the best positioning, So, pick a metric and stick with it for purposes of trying different distances/placement scenarios.

Have fun and good luck.

I’ve always used the front so it would make sense comparing speakers but for placement of the pair your gonna use I guess it doesn’t matter as long as you have a reference.


I’d agree - measure from the front baffle if you’re going to measure.

But feel free to go crazy and put 'em Way Out…and listen. Rinse and Repeat. Different designs and rooms are more or less responsive or sensitive to placement.

And that includes YOUR placement in that space. Meaning listening seat with respect to all of this.

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I’ve always measured the distance from the front wall to the front baffle of the speakers.

Every speakers sound is impacted by the room they are put in and where in that room they are sitting.

Be realistic on where your speakers can go. There are many different speakers so there are lots of options. A speaker that works in a room that is 20 x 30 feet may never sound quite right in a room that is 10 x 15.

If you have a smaller room that is used for more than just listening to music, then great bookshelf speakers and a great sub woofer will provide a stunning sound. Buy speakers that fit your room , speaker reviews without a description of the room they are in can not provide you the information you will need to choose your speakers.

That certainly wouldn’t work in my house. My .7’s are about 18" from the wall 90% of the time, and they sound fabulous. I might bring them out another foot if I’m doing any critical listening, or turning up the volume, but my living room space wouldn’t accommodate any farther out than that.

So, all things (the speakers) being equal, I’d say it depends on the room and the listener and the system. (For me, the “bumping into” factor and the “now the room is unusable as a living room” factor play heavily in my decision.)

Speakers sound best where they make you happiest.

When I sold off my second system, my Maggies .7’s went with it. Big regret there.
They were typically 2ft from the wall and they sounded great. When no one was looking, they came out to 3 ft and they sounded better. But that was it in my room.
I think the six foot recommendation might be slightly exaggerated.

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True dat on the first two sentences, and maybe…on the last one, Ron. As Jim notes above, room should always be given as part of the system. And particularly with dipoles. There are situations/rooms where the backwave does happy reinforcement things at a certain distance, and if you move them fore or aft of that, the opposite can occur (being opposite phase).

I think the notion of moving them further away is to take the room out of the equation more, which makes sense on the face of it - but is not a guarantee that it will be better in your room, or that you’ll like it better.

I played around with speaker placement recently to much benefit, the speaker company Dynaudio have a great setup video, which was very effective.
Speakers are front ported, so had them close to the wall as per Manfg. recommendation.

Getting them into more space allowed the sound to breath a lot better, soundstage has opened right up.
Far more direct sounding now from, I assume, from not listening to sound reflected off back wall mixing with speaker sound?

Couple of main takeaways from the video:

As a starting point,
Measure the length of your room along the wall your speakers fire along.
Move the front baffle of your speaker out to a point 1/5th distance of your room wall.

Do the same for your listening seat.

Measure from the front baffle as previously said.