How to angle loudspeakers

August 24, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

17 comments on “How to angle loudspeakers”

  1. Good afternoon Paul!
    Please try to explain this to me.
    In my bed room, I have my Avantone Pro CLA-10 studio monitors stacked up on top of my JBL LSR-310S studio subwoofers.
    They are in the corner of the room on the south east and north east walls.
    I have them setting in angles.
    This is where the tweeters are in deed pointing right at my ears.
    All depending on what I’m either listening to or working on, it does sound like the sound is coming from behind the system.
    Am I hearing all this correctly?
    And, what would happen if I changed the monitors around, and set them up the way that you suggested in your video?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi John,
      Because of varying room acoustics, loudspeaker design & individual perceived hearing, different types of toe-in will have different results in different environments.
      The only way that you can truly know if you are “hearing all this correctly” is to play
      around with the settings & the loudspeaker positioning; this involves more than just
      the toe-in angles within the room.

      Furthermore, neither Paul nor anyone else can tell you what changes there will be in
      the soundstage from moving your loudspeakers around…only you can ascertain that.
      Have fun!

      1. Good morning FR!
        I don’t know if this makes any sense to you, but here it is.
        One set of monitors, is in the corner of my bed room, right at the foot of my bed.
        The other set of monitors, are in the other corner, right by my dresser.
        My subwoofers, are down firing subs.
        But sense I like my subs firing directly right at me, I turned them on their sides, and put the monitors right on top of them.
        But if you’d like to get a look at my monitors, they are the Avantone Pro CLA10 monitors.
        You can look at them at:
        https://www.avantonepro.com/
        go to products, then look for the CLA10 monitors.
        One word of note.
        There are two kinds of these type of monitors.
        There are the CLA10 monitors, which is the ones I have.
        These are passive monitors.
        The other ones, are the CLA10A monitors.
        Those are active.
        Which means, they have amps built in to them.
        I don’t have a pare of those, but I do own a quod of the passive ones.
        My subwoofers, are the JBL LSR310S.
        You can look at those at:
        https://www.jblpro.com/
        go to products.
        Then look for the LRS300 series.
        Then you will have some what of an idea of my setup.

  2. My speakers sound great off axis but the front baffles has a focused angle geometry where the baffle and not the speakers are toed in. This contributes to diminishing internal standing waves as well as avoiding early reflections on the rooms side walls.

  3. Toe in or not has a lot to do with how the designer positioned the speakers when doing final voicing. If he toed them in then that will probably work best in your room. If he pointed them straight ahead then that will probably work best for you. The only way to find how he voiced things is to try various angles from straight ahead to the tweeter pointed at your ears. I suspect that most speakers are voiced angled in.

    1. Agreed. It’s not as if off axis accuracy is some secret that only some designers know how to achieve. Some choose to voice their speakers for toe in. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad design.

  4. It’s science: Harman research (Dr Sean Olive et al) have shown the importance of evenly laterally dispersed acoustic energy to give the satisfying feeling of envelopment.

    Which is to say that accurate reflections from side walls matters.

    1. If the side wall reflections matter then only a tiny minority of audiophiles will get the correct and desired sound quality in their listening rooms not featuring the room acoustics of Harman Kardon‘s laboratory. However this toe-in discussion again reveals the shortcomings of stereo reproduction without crosstalk cancellation. And concerning the “broader” sweet spot: the seats left and right from the center seat will inherently show unwanted phase differences due to different path lengths for the sound waves coming from the left and right loudspeaker. Only the center seat sees equal path lengths.

  5. How to angle loudspeakers?
    So that the resulting music coming out of them sounds the best to the listener.
    This also includes soundstaging & imaging, if they are important to the listener.

  6. My observation is that most speaker designers aim for relatively flat frequency response and tonal balance, which means they measure with a lot of toe in. Designers can’t control the size or shape of rooms or the proximity of their speakers to side walls, but they can control on axis frequency response, so specifying measurements with toe in makes some sense. On the other hand, I agree with Paul that a wider soundstage with better depth is obtained when speakers are placed with little or no toe in. I prefer listening to measuring!

  7. and who does the voicing…

    age and loud environmental exposures over time degrade one’s hearing (but boy were those rock concerts a ball… (what did you say?)

    so, stating a reviewer has ‘golden ears’ may just be referencing one’s age after all

  8. I was wondering, Paul, how to accomplish this with three-panel Magnaplanars (T1-D specifically). As wonderful as they are,
    Maggies make set-up a bit more complex. I have my tweeter panels on the outside (and toed-in directly to my listening position) and expect you would recommend first reflection points from the tweeters for the purpose of diffusion. Your learned comments would be most appreciated!

    1. Whenever I’ve run Maggies I’ve always had the tweeter panels on the inside, for whatever that’s worth.

      Fortunately, Maggies are dipoles so sidewall interaction isn’t an issue. Not sure about the three panel setup you’re referring to.

  9. Paul–I referred to “three panel” as the T1-D’s construction–one bass, one mid, one tweeter panel hinged together. I used to run my tweeters on the inside but then another person in your industry (I’m sure you know him well–has much experience with Maggies) recommended that I place tweeters on the outside (along with other recommendations). The sound was very different–at first, I wasn’t sure “better”–but thinking and listening, I began to believe it was (better)–trying my best not to allow any acclimatization to skew my “analysis.”

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