From Listening Room to Bathtub
No matter how expensive or critically acclaimed your speaker is, speaker placement and height is vital in ensuring that your music sounds as it was meant to be heard. Slight adjustments to your speakers’ height and position can genuinely make a dramatic improvement to overall performance.
In this blog, we’ll share what we have learnt from the hi-fi industry across the world and our customers' feedback to provide recommendations to achieve the best speaker height for you. Every model of speaker has been designed and manufactured with a specific listening height in mind, and has a clear reference point. However a typical rule of thumb is that your ears should be approximately level or slightly below the speaker’s reference point or listening axis - generally midway between the tweeter and woofer for two-way designs, or tweeter and midrange for three-way designs.
The omni-directional nature of the bass radiates sound in all directions, but tweeters and midrange offer a much narrower window, and therefore require precise placement. This positioning is proven to produce the best balance with the most linear frequency response.
Calculating the Optimum Height of Your Speakers
When calculating how high up your speakers need to be for optimal listening, you need to consider if you will be listening whilst sitting in your preferred listening room or standing in the recording studio or kitchen - or even lying down, if your speakers are going to be located in your bedroom. We have even been asked to produce them at ear level when in the bath!
Taking seating as an example when listening to your speakers, the required height that the speakers should be positioned at is dependent on your preferred seating and the height dimensions of the speakers themselves. Even for seated listeners, ear-level height can vary dramatically between full-sized sofas, bar stools and bean bags! Furthermore, if more than one person will be listening to the speakers, or if you commonly have guests round, using an average ear height of around 91cm to 96.5cm (36-38”) is often just as suitable as measuring the distance from your ears to the floor. Well-designed speakers with good lateral and vertical dispersion allow you to be a little less exact with your measuring!
However, if you are still unsure about your speaker’s ideal height, we commonly suggest an experimentation method. If you are setting your speakers up for your own use, it’s important to trial different heights to find out what works best for you - rather than solely relying upon what is recommended by the hi-fi industry or within hi-fi forums. Everyone's room shape is different, and placement, furnishings, rugs, laminate floor, windows and more can all make a significant difference in the sound. Simply mock up the right speaker height with a table and some books, take a listen and adjust as necessary. Although books are not ideal for placement under a speaker it will give you the opportunity to allow you to hear your speakers’ best listening height and provides more confidence in your choice, whilst giving you the chance to know what to expect beforehand.
Once you have this measurement, it’s time to think about speaker stands! Speaker stands bring your speakers up to an ideal height for you, whilst providing a wide range of acoustic benefits including a wider soundstage, sonic clarity, vibrational control and optimised bass response. Once the speakers’ reference point (or your preferred height) is in line with your ear, measure from the base of the speaker cabinet to the floor. This is the exact height you need for your speaker stand.
No Two People’s Positions Are the Same
At Hi Fi Racks, unlike other brands who offer set sizes only, all of our products are made-to-order from start to finish within our UK workshop. This approach provides you with the opportunity to have the stands made to meet your exact requirements to the millimetre. All of our speaker stands can be created to any custom height, with many models offering fully bespoke top plate and base plate sizing so they fit your speakers perfectly. We do offer standard speaker stand heights 500mm, 600mm and 700mm, selected due to the most common speaker stand height requirements, but our understanding is that “one size does not fit all”. We’re dedicated to enhancing your listening experience by enabling you to tailor your speaker stand for correct positioning to suit your exact requirements and fit your available space, without compromise.
Why not browse our bespoke height solid hardwood speaker stands online or get in touch with our friendly team at firstname.lastname@example.org for one-to-one assistance with speaker stand configuration, and achieve the best possible acoustic performance.