Music to help with speaker placement

I’m trying to make sure that my speakers are placed optimally in my non-symmetrical set up (for which there is no cure except buying a new house😕). Can anyone recommend recordings that explain, either with a diagram or in words, exactly what one should hear in terms of instrumental placement? I’m thinking of things like “backup singer at the extreme left, drums at the left, singer in the middle, bass guitar at the right, flute at the far right.“ I have the PS Audio Audiophile’s Guide and its accompanying SACD, and some of these tracks are helpful; but I’d like some more, especially for classical music.

Stereophile’s test CDs should have what you need.


Maybe try this book and music

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Abbey Road is best for dialing things in.
Or Grand Funk Railroad, the Red album.

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These are all good, but if you want something that is specifically designed to do just what you’re asking, go to the site and use (preferably buy) the test tracks. You can read all about them there. They work. IME they’re the least subjective way to understand the limits to how well you can optimize speaker placement for a given set of speakers in a given room. Use the music mentioned here to verify / tweak / fine tune. Chances are if you do the best you can with the audiocheck tracks, any changes you choose to make with the music will be still useful, but at least you’ll have ground zero set up. :slightly_smiling_face:


The nonet an excellent choice for imaging.

These two from Native DSD are excellent. I didn’t find it in the description but I believe the first includes a .pdf showing what instrument are places where in the setup. I can verify later.
Audiophile Speaker Set-Up

Audiophile Hi-Res System Set-Up

+1 on the Audiocheck but I have the site as but the site isn’t responding right now. It is excellent in that it uses test tones to track tone movement within a sound field.

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I certainly like Abbey Road. But the version I have is in stereo, which I believe was created by processing the original mono in some way. So I wouldn’t trust it to show how the album was actually meant to sound.

Thanks, I’ll check this out. The “Walkaround” and “Clap Track” might be useful.

@stevensegal, thank you very much! This detailed information is just what I am looking for. I will check out the Martinu, a piece I don’t know. @tony22 and @allan.thunes , I will go to the Audiocheck site later today; I was not familiar with it.

Also check the ‘relative fase test’ (“out of fase, move your speakers incrementally a litle bit at the time to enhance this effect…the less focus you have in out of fase mode, the more focus you’ll have in fase”)

What you need imo depends on the level and performance of your setup. If you have an extremely good imaging setup, what most recommend, won’t help much….a great sounding recording that sounds impressive on all setups. It will sound even better on yours then, without much difference when positioning and fine tuning isn’t perfect. Such recordings may help with a less good setup, as only those recordings will provide a kind of imaging there, that’s suitable to judge „3D/transparency/positioning of performers in the room“ sound aspects at all.

To get already very good sounding setups to the point, imo one needs a recording that has the potential to sound really involving, intimate or transparent/3D/organic/natural but can sound somehow average, not extremely impressing,maybe a bit dry or flat on less good setups or good setups with too little optimization. It needs recordings on the edge between very good and fascinating to dial in better setups. I have several of those kind of tracks and they are very useful.

Two (of such “on the edge” ones) which I often use are those. They always sound very good, but they can sound really fascinating. I stored the possible sound of several such recordings in my mind, so I always know when the setup is performing below its peak.

Track 5:

Track 1:

Simply this.

So in your opinion my deep appreciation and enjoyment of the Stereo version of Abbey Road is wrong? Odd. To each his own.

I read somewhere that AR was the first album the Beatles actually recorded in Stereo, no?

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Abbey Road was released in stereo only.


that’s the stuff

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Of course not. As a matter of fact, I like this album very much.

It turns out I was wrong and Abbey Road was the first stereo album, not the last mono, from The Beatles. I stand corrected. But if I had been right, I don’t think an album not originally recorded in stereo would be the best choice for what I am trying to accomplish.

Plus one on @Elk’s suggestion, the Stereophile cd or LP. They call out very precise left, right, center, foreground, background, etc. It’s excellent.
Then follow up with your favorite music.