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Triangular speaker and seating position

January 4, 2023
by Paul McGowan

16 comments on “Triangular speaker and seating position”

1. paulsquirrel says:

I guess that most of the readers of this post haven’t at all the chance to placed the loudspeakers not to close to the front wall and side walls allowing the reflected sound waves to reach the listeners ear delayed for 5 ms or more compared to the direct sound – a basic requirement for a “good” stereo setup. As one could assume from this video this requirement is fulfilled in music room 2 and the front wall is even further away from the speaker’s baffle than 2.5 feet!

2. Sven Stalbovs says:

Well, me too I cannot adjust speaker placement freely in my living room. So I have them placed one third of the room length away from the front wall which gives a relatively good bass response without booming. The triangle scheme helps for a good sound stage impression. Personally I like to stay farther away from the speakers when listening music rather loud. Need to say that I don’t listen to classical orchestra music where the triangle might work perhaps better?

3. stevem2 says:

I hate to tell you @paul but what you describe here (and in the diagrams, but not the text of your book which seems to correctly describe an equilateral triangle), is not an equilateral triangle. It’s an isosceles triangle. To be equilateral, the speakers would need to be 8 feet from the listening position whereas you measured from a line that runs between the two speakers rather than from the speakers themselves. The Pythagorean theorem would tell us that, in your example, the speakers are almost 9 feet from the listening position (square root of (8 squared plus 4 squared) so square root of 80). I’m curious as to which you think is really the correct placement.

1. franciscogaston says:

Yes I agree it is a isosceles triangle not equilateral
Anyway it is understood

2. Fat Rat says:

Agreed.
Paul is close & probably, for all intents & purposes, close enough to achieve the required soundstage from the loudspeakers, however, technically (strictly speaking, as far as a true equilateral triangle goes) no cookie Paul.

4. Sven Stalbovs says:

Hi Stevem2,
you are right. What I found in several old literature was both ways of measurement descripton. I prefer to adjust for me the listening distance as that the sound is pleasant for me. Also direct/indirect sound plays a role and there almost each room is different. So the triangle is good starting point for newbies.

1. stevem2 says:

I agree. Paul’s description, apart from the specific triangle terminology, is perfectly clear. Whichever way you start (equilateral or isosceles), it’s just that–a starting point.

5. Well, math is certainly not my forte as is evident. However, when I pace off the speakers are 8′ tweeter to tweeter. When I pace of from the front lip of the listening chain and walk diagonally to the speaker it is 8′.

Now, One could rightfully say that my head is another foot back….but that feels more like hair splitting. No?

1. stevem2 says:

Paul, in the video and in the diagrams in your book you don’t measure from the tweeters to the listening position but rather from the midpoint of a line drawn between the two tweeters. Those two distances from the listening position can’t both be eight feet–the distance to the tweeters has to be longer than the distance to that midpoint. Your speaker set-up may in fact be an equilateral triangle, but that’s not what the diagrams show.

2. Fat Rat says:

Truth is Paul that it can also depend on whether you are leaning forward in your chair or sitting back against the backrest.

With my home-audio set-up, if I’m leaning forward on my sofa then I’m pretty damn close to an equilateral triangle, but if I lean back on the backrest then
I’ve gone more isosceles by almost two & a half extra feet.

6. Joe says:

The manufacturer of my speakers recommend for the listening position be 1.5 times the distance between my speakers and that works fine for me.

1. Theo says:

After years of fine tuning my small dedicated 2-channel music room setup (9ft by 10ft), I consistently arrive at monitor baffles 2ft away from front (9ft) and side walls (10ft) and separated by 60″. My Best sweet spot (accurate/fantastic imaging, presentation and soundstage width, depth and height) is achieved with a sitting distance of 90″ from the baffle centers!

Just realized, that is Exactly 1.5X the distance of the speaker separation…The Ears Have It!! 😉

7. Fat Rat says:

My DeVORE Fidelity – ‘Orangutan O/93’ floorstanders are 6’5″ (195cm) apart
(L mid-tweeter to R mid-tweeter) & when I’m seated in my sweet-spot leaning
forward, my ears are 6’8″ (203cm) from the front baffle line of the loudspeakers,
ie. pretty damn close to an equilateral triangle.
And when I sit upright, then I’m about halfway between the two extremes.
This allows for soundstage variations.
However, when I recline to the backrest my ears are 9’5″ (286cm) from said
front baffle line of the loudspeakers…well into an isosceles triangle.

8. BobMcG says:

It is my belief that as long as a person realizes a good starting point is having your listening position as such that your ears are about the same distance from the tweeters as the left and right tweeters are apart from each other, you’re doing good. You can then fine tune it from there for an individual’s taste.
I also believe that anyone with half a brain knows that’s what Paul is getting at.
All of this back and forth as to correct triangle terminology is much to do about nothing. You can call them cat or dog triangles and it doesn’t mean a thing to your ears. He’s not suggesting a single, fixed position (or triangle) is good in all instances anyway, and makes that clear.
Too much overthinking going on and as usual, another of the “Na-na-na-na-na, Paul said something wrong” moments going on parade. Sometimes quite constructive, other times? Much to do about nothing.
Keep up the good work Paul, and don’t it just suck? Not being perfect, that is.

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