It’s always a significant decision. Where do you put your speakers? There are domestic issues and sound quality issues to consider. And sure, it’s always going to be a compromise.

Elsewhere in this blog we have discussed the symmetry and accuracy issues of speaker positioning. But recently I saw a very simple and effective demo by Jeremy Baldwin of The Right Note, as he explained to a audience at a show a simple way to appreciate what can happen to the tonality of your systems sound if you put your speakers right into the corners of your listening room.

He first stood front and centre and talked in a slightly raised speaking voice, so that the audience could clearly hear him as if a vocal on a recording. He then carried on talking whilst slowly walking backwards into one of the corners at the front of the room.

The tone if his voice remained fairly constant until he was within about a metre of the side and back wall. Then as he slowly got even closer, the tone of his voice changed considerably, sounding progressively more cuppy, nasaly and splashy as he got close to the corner. Of course what you are getting is more and more of the corner reflections having an effect. You can hear the bounced reflections, but also how they mix and intermodulate the whole perceived tonality of the voice.

I recommend you repeat this experiment for yourself in your own listening room. You’ll need an assistant to do the talking and walking whilst you sit in your listening seat.

This should give you a very good indication of the sort of change you will get in the tonal accuracy of your system if you were to similarly place your speakers in the corners. Usefully, you can ask your assistant to come back out of the corner again whilst still talking, and you can determine the position where the effect stops being significant.

The simple implication is that this position is the closest you should put your speakers to the corners of your room. However It’s not always that simple when you have to take into consideration bass performance, phase/imaging requirements, your domestic needs and so-on. But use this corner check method as an additional aid when going through the speaker placement process and you may find it helps you get a better position and a better sound.

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