Finding the best placement for monitors and the listening position

Hi John,

Many thanks for doing this Q&A!

Given a room with enough space to have choices , and assuming it’s symmetrical, how do you go about finding the best listening position and speaker placement for a room to optimise frequency response and imaging.



Indeed a loaded question - and is the very reason we have created our own proprietary software - this has taken us three years to develop - called NIRO (non iterative rom optimization) - quite involved - created by REDIacoustics ( . Right now we are providing this to the acoustics community as a consulting service, including complex BEM (boundary element method) analysis; optimizing using (sometimes) 1000’s of iterations to get the best solution, and then a materialization portion - responding to the known pressure locations (after the geometric optimization has been solidified). None of this software is available to the market (no front end - GUI). However good news - we are in a beta version of the phase 1 (geometric optimization) which would be exactly what you want. Get in direct contact with me ( - we can discuss this further. In general, obviously mix on your x axis centerline - but do not position yourself in the center of the y (width) axis - this is an obvious null! - get in front or behind it b y at least 1/8" front to back distance. There is NO excuse for your room not being symmetrical around the acoustic centerline. Position your audio monitors at ear level. Do not over use broadband absorption - use it onoy where you need it (usually harsh first reflection points. Stay in touch.


My only choice is really moving further away from the wall in front of me, which has 9-16 inches of mineral wool as does the rear of the room 20 feet away. The room is only 10 feet wide though so my only choice is along the long dimension. The further I got from the absorbers at the front of the room the less clarity I was experiencing and that seemed to be the key factor. The backs of the speakers are around 2 feet in front of the absorbers. Some say they like a somewhat reflective room to mimick the real world, but I am not sure that is actually the real world (e.g. cars and headphones). In my experience the less reflected sound interacting with the sound from the speakers the better. I’d pick a smaller room and treat the shit out of it and use the bigger room for tracking. Lots of major studios have speakers either in the wall or on the console where the console is placed to be best to interact through a window with musicians. The location either sucks or is arbitrary, whereas the design and treatment of the room is not.

Obviously choices around which 1/3rd of the room overall is likely important, but I think the treatment being more important is illustrated if you use mode prediction software free online…poorly treated rooms with all parallel walls are a modal mine field no matter where you sit.