Small room soundstage trick that worked for me

I figured out a trick to help with soundstage (particularly depth) when you have a small room to contend with.

The usual advice is to bring the speakers into the room (I’ve hear that they should be 1/3 in, your seating position 1/3 in from the rear wall, and to create an equilateral triangle). The problem with a small room is that this ends you up in a near-field listening position with sound stage depth feeling cramped and soundstage width bending inwards like its trapped in a sphere.

I decided to try something new, and ignore the rule about seating position being 1/3 in from the rear wall. I pushed my seating position all the way back (not with my head against the wall - that’s too far and creates a new boundary problem), so that my seating position is about a foot from the wall. This allowed me to bring the speakers almost halfway into the room and also “forced” me to widen their stance due to the new equilateral triangle formed.

Wham! HUGE soundstage that images correctly on the outside of the speaker and goes WAY back! I haven’t noticed any standing wave bass issues either.



This arrangement roughly aligns with my small room setup. Better imaging and fewer standing waves for sure. I have the advantage of no wall directly behind me as well. For kicks you could try put a diffuser on the wall behind your head and see if it improves even more.


Yes, I have ample absorption and diffusion already, and it definitely helps!

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do you keep the speakers pulled out or move them in n out as needed?

They don’t move. Its a dedicated room.

Very good. it’s nice to be able to find the “holy grail” and leave it. I’m doomed to move my speakers to accommodate daily life.

It seems as if you nailed right on…

Your tinkering has served you well…Congratulations

Thanks for sharing

Best wishes

Congrats! Good job.

From your sketches I assume:

  • you increased the distance of the speakers from the front wall, pushing them further into the room (it helps a lot in depth)
  • you increased the distance between the speakers

Does it mean you reduced in some way the distance of your listening position from the speakers?
Like during a live concert if you come closer to the stage a few raws, the result is a wider soundstage perspective.

How are you managing first reflections on the side walls? Some pics would be appreciated, if I may ask.

The entire seating position moved back, allowing the speakers to move away from the front wall, as well as wider apart. The sacrifice was that you can’t walk behind the chair anymore because it is too close to the wall.


What are your room dimensions? (Kinda important from my perspective, having a “small” room too.)

Thank you for posting this, great information. My future listening room is going to be small. How much distance is there between your listening position and speakers?

Ok so here are the room and system specs and a pic:

The room is 10.5’ x 12.5’, but it has two odd bump outs that are about 1.5’ deep by 5’ wide. The room is STUFFED with things. And the room is significantly smaller because of the acoustic treatments.

PS Audio Directstream Powerplant 20
PS Audio Stellar Powerplant 3

PS Audio BHK mono 300 x2
PS Audio BHK Preamp

Magico A3
Townshend Seismic Isolation Podiums Size 3
Townshend Isolda 2M Speaker Cable

Velodyne DD15

Denafrips Terminator Plus
Denafrips Gaia

Rega Planar 8, Apheta 2
Nakamichi RX-202

Inuuos ZENith 2TB
Innuos PhoenixUSB
Innuos PhoenixNET

Synergistic Research Purple Fuses

Audioquest and Audience interconnects and power cables. Lots of sound absorption and diffusion from Thomann, Gik Acoustics and Acoustimac.

There is also a surround sound Integra DRC-R1.1 with Genelec surround speakers, and Artisan heights for use with TV, movies and video games. There is a small Crestron program to run it all, including a Lutron motorized shade and controlled dimmer. Finally, there is modified zero-gravity “Perfect Chair” recliner (need to not have the head back disturb the sound behind my ears).

My Preamp tube hours-counter tells me I spend about 2.5 hours a day, on average in this room. It’s my hidey-hole. I’ve been modifying it since summer 2018. Early 2020 is when I started going big. Considering the timing of the circumstances, it paid off.


75" to each tweeter from my sitting position (head).


Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m coming to the same conclusion in my similarly sized set up. I’m not getting a tremendous sense of depth but that’s more likely source related and gear to some degree. Enjoy!

Small rooms are so tough to work with. Congratulations! on your solution.

My solution to small rooms is now:

Clearly not everyone’s preferred solution. :sunglasses: