Loudspeaker Stereo Setup

According to IEC, the 2 loudspeakers should form a symmetric triangle with the listener, with equidistant distance from the listener to either loudspeaker. The distance between the loudspeaker and the listener should be at least 2.5m and the distance between the loudspeakers should be at least 2m.

The two statements below can be used as guidelines for fine tuning the location of the loudspeakers

  • Broadening the distance between the loudspeakers increases width of the sound stage at the cost of depth.
  • Decreasing the distance to the loudspeakers decreases depth and width, but increasing the distance introduces large room coloration.

The room will contribute with additional coloration to the sound image other than the recording studio. In order to minimize the amount of this coloration it is advisable to consider the use of absorbing elements inside the room, such as carpets, pictures on on the wall, furniture and windows. Regarding the absorptive characteristics of common living room interior it should be mentioned that windows act as low frequency membrane absorbers. Carpets, furniture etc. are absorb mid and primarily high frequency components. Consider the fact that the absorption area determines the reverberation rather than the amount of absorptive surfaces. This effectively means that you only to a small degree benefit from carpets mounted on the walls (instead of on the floor). Couches and other soft furnitures generally absorb more than thin carpets! According to IEC, the standard reverberation time inside the average european living room is 0.4 - 0.7 seconds and this is ofcourse considered by the sound engineers during mixing of the recordings. Therefore, you should aim for this reverberation time aswell.

0.5 seconds of reverberation, means that the sound pressure of a white noise signal is decreased to 1/1000 (corresponding to a sound pressure level decrease of 60dB SPL) after 0.5 seconds. That is a quite "dead" room in my opinion.

My Stereo Setup

The setup that I use is illustrated beneath.

My setup

The loudspeakers are illustrated by the two square pyramids in the top of the drawing right in front of the listener.

It is often quite easy to perform an intuitive estimation of the reverberation time of a room if you are acquainted with how different reverberation times sound. I have constructed a small set of test sounds that you can playback via headphones and thereby familiarize yourself with how specific reverberation times sound.