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Speaker Distance From the Front Wall

NipperDog

Member
When I read about measuring the distance from the front wall (behind the speakers) to the speaker cabinet, should the measurement be from the wall to the rear of the speaker cabinet or to the front of the cabinet where the drivers are located?

It makes sense to me to measure to the front of the cabinet because that's where the sound emanates from, but I'm open to other opinions.
 

SCPB1967

New member
Hi NipperDog,

As above, the front is the technically correct measurement but some reviews/reviewers give different info. Hopefully it's always made clear in the accompanying text as to what is measured.

Always best to also check the manufacturer's website for recommended minimums too.
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
With respect, may I introduce a fact that makes precision measurements of distance from the front of the speaker, the back of the speaker or any other part of the speaker to the wall a needless worry?

Are you aware of the concept of 'wavelength'? This is rung one on the ladder of physics awareness concerning the propagation of sound waves. If this is a familiar concept then you could establish that at low frequencies the wavelength is many metres..... hence a few centimetres here or there is absolutely irrelevant.

If the concept of wavelength is unfamiliar, I urge five minutes invested on-line will as a great investment.
 

ahofer

Member
With respect, may I introduce a fact that makes precision measurements of distance from the front of the speaker, the back of the speaker or any other part of the speaker to the wall a needless worry?

Are you aware of the concept of 'wavelength'? This is rung one on the ladder of physics awareness concerning the propagation of sound waves. If this is a familiar concept then you could establish that at low frequencies the wavelength is many metres..... hence a few centimetres here or there is absolutely irrelevant.

If the concept of wavelength is unfamiliar, I urge five minutes invested on-line will as a great investment.
But you did say in another thread, if I remember correctly, that you hadn't listened to speakers close to the rear wall in years?
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
I constantly listen to speakers pressed up against the wall. The Sony micro-fi system behind me now has its little speakers hard up againt the glass wall. I'm long adapted to the sound and it doesn't trouble me. In fact, there is likely to be a significant bass boost, which compensates for the tiny woofer's limited bass output.

The point is that it matters not the brand, size, shape, price or color or any other factor concerning the loudspeaker - the proximity of any solid structure, such as a room boundary or wall - greatly disturbes and degrades the 'anechoic' lab frequency v. loudness sound output of a speaker, especially in the low/mid frequencies where the conventional loudspeaker radiates omnidirectionally into the room.

What that translates to is this: at the bottom end of the audio band, it matters not where the designer positions his microphone relative to the speaker box. He could point the mic at the top panel, side panel, back panel or front baffle: it would not matter. The loudness of the bass notes would be practically identical regardless of measuring angle relative to the woofer itself. Common sense tells you that is absolutely not true further up the audio spectrum.

Test that point yourself: pull one loudspeaker well away from the rear wall, play music over it alone and listen to how the bass is equally loud regardless of whether you are in from of the speaker, side-on or behind it, but that the loudness of the mid, and especially the high frequences is correlated with your position relative to the drive units. Then, to prove that this is physics not something unique to loudspeakers, walk around your partner as he/she speaks and you will near the same issue.
 

ahofer

Member
Oops, I stumbled on it:

OK, here is my honest view. The only time I spent with Harbeth (or indeed any) speakers 12-18 inches from a rear wall was when I was obliged to do most of my critical speaker listening in a small spare bedroom at home when the children were growing up and needed more space. The Compact 7 was under development at the time.
But you do go on to make the same points. My wife constantly pushes my speakers back against the wall. One of the blessings of the Harbeths is that they are easier to put back into position without risk of back spasm (..than my old Thiels or a variety of other speakers I looked at)
 

Rob F

Guest
Useful advice. I confess I have always measured from the rear panel. This meant, following the guidance of the Harbeth user manual, my 30.1s were way out in the room and in danger of being knocked over. Measuring from the front, they are just where Harbeth recommend - 0.75m from the wall. I am very relieved!
 
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