Speaker Placement for Bigger & Better Everything

MartinLogan Owners (MLO)

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Well-known member
MLO Supporter
Aug 10, 2014
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Highland Park, IL
Since I'm done with speaker & amp selection I am once again tinkering with speaker placement with the emphasis on: "A centered vocalist should remain in the center no matter where I sit". This is a slight exaggeration, however, it would appear that after not too much effort it is beginning to "appear" that the singer does indeed remain centered after some extreme toe-in.

I viewed a video of a conference from 2014 in which a speaker explained his method of speaker adjustment. This video can be seen HERE. At 18:06 is where the actual placement info begins. The music track he recommends is mostly just a vocalist and stand up bass.

I haven't played by his rules totally yet, but instead have tweaked from where the speakers have been for the last few months. I do plan to use his method from the beginning in a couple weeks when I'll have plenty of time to play.

It is pretty amazing how things are at the moment because really tiny movements of each speaker can result in noticeable changes in the stage presentation. It's not perfect by any means, but it seems that a much better and larger sweet area can be attained and still sound fabulous!

I'm interested in knowing if anyone else has come across this methodology or something similar?


Well-known member
Jan 11, 2005
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Tampa, FL
I am now also using more extreme toe-in for my Expressions (contrary to ML recommendations, and most on this forum, to use the flashlight setup method). The center image and soundstage depth are still great from the "sweet spot" but off-axis listening is now much better... no longer "collapsing" to the nearest speaker. Per the flashlight method, the reflection should be inside 1/3 of panel. Mine is now outside 1/3.

Another benefit is that rear reflections off panel are now at a more oblique angle relative to the wall, so I hear more of the "crisp" front sound wave (in "sweet spot" anyways), with less "smearing/interference" from the rear wave. That allowed me to position the speakers a little closer to the front wall as well (still 44" out).


Super Moderator
Jan 16, 2005
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Big Canoe, GA
First rule of dipole speaker placement is: Remember it is a dipole, it radiates the same signal in back as it does out the front.

So a lot of the usual placement wisdom for monopole point-source speakers goes right out the window. Electrostats are line-source dipoles, a very different beast when it comes to balancing the radiation pattern (both sides of it) and the room.

As Sleepy mentioned, the angles of the rear-wave will have beneficial or detrimental impacts, the longer the rear-wave takes to arrive at your ears, the better. And the more diffused or absorbed, even better.

I achieve multiple seat wide 'sweet spot' by seriously dampening as many rear-wave reflections as possible. The whole front of the room is essentially covered in absorption materials, and even then, there are times I wish for more. And getting rid of modal ringing as well is a huge win, as I can play loud now. Big ESL line-sources can easily over-energize certain frequencies in a room and unbalance the sound due to modal reinforcement and lack of impact from registers that are not affected (like lower frequencies).
But if you dampen the excess energy in the right frequencies, you restore the balance across a greater range of volume.
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