Guide To Bookshelf Speaker Placement & Mounting Options

by Craig Walker

Now that you’ve settled on bookshelf speakers it’s important to consider where you’ll be placing them and how you’ll mount them, i.e speaker brackets, stands, free mounted?

Whether you’re watching movies, listening to music or playing games, speaker placement is key to getting the best experience possible.

Now let me start by saying that at TECH4 we’re definitely on the “lifestyle” side of audio. 

We like things to sound as good as possible but we’d be lying if we were true audiophiles and we don’t tend to get the protractor out when setting up systems, this blog is designed for those of us who want to get the best results possible from our systems without going crazy over angles and perfect positioning.

As you’re likely searching for active bookshelf speakers I’ll assume that we’re on the same wavelength so read on to learn how and where to place your bookshelf speakers for optimum performance.

GETTING THE PLACEMENT RIGHT

SETTING UP THE ROOM

Firstly we need to consider what you’re doing with the speakers. 

Will you be sitting in a specific chair enjoying your music? 

Are you sitting at your desk gaming?

Watching movies from the sofa? 

Enjoying vinyl records in the dining room with guests round?

Your speaker placement will depend on your primary usage, if you’re mostly sitting at your desk then you’ll want to desk mount your speakers.

If you’re enhancing your TV sound then you’ll want to look at either mounting on a TV stand or on speaker stands adjacent to your TV.

THE SWEET SPOT

It’s important to consider the “sweet spot” for the best performance. This is the key listening position so we’re going to want to optimise the sound quality to suit.

Imagine yourself sitting in the middle of your sofa listening to your favourite song.

Your bookshelf speakers are placed either side of your TV on speaker stands.

Where you’re sitting right now is your “sweet spot”.

This is where we want to create a balanced stereo image between the two speakers in front of you and the position that you’re listening from.

Your speakers are placed an equal distance from each other facing towards you.

Now imagine an equilateral triangle between the speakers and the sweet spot.

Turn in each speaker towards that sweet spot, your ears!

Whether your speakers are either side of the TV for movies, on your desk for gaming, on the bookshelf for background music or either side of your HiFi rack and “listening chair” the sweet spot concept is exactly the same.

LISTEN IN

Now that you’ve placed your speakers the final step is the sound check!

Play your favourite track and sit in that sweet spot.

Does the music sound balanced?

Can you hear directly from the speakers or are you getting reflections from the left or right?

Make minor adjustments to the speaker's angle and return to that sweet spot to reassess the sound and keep adjusting until you are happy with the sound quality.

WAYS OF MOUNTING BOOKSHELF SPEAKERS

SPEAKER STANDS

A common method is to use speaker stands.

You’ll find a wide range of stands including specially designed matching stands for most HiFi speakers on the market.

Most speaker stands will feature cable management to keep things tidy.

Speaker stands are ideal for use either side of a HiFi or TV Stand and are definitely not the “discreet” option and not always recommended if you have small kids!

It’s quite common to use speaker stands for home cinema applications as well with bookshelf speakers either side of the TV and the centre speaker either on the TV stand or on a centre speaker stand.

SPEAKER WALL BRACKETS

Speaker brackets are commonly used when placing bookshelf speakers for background music or when placing multiple bookshelf speakers for home cinema applications.

We would always recommend that you use the manufacturer's own wall bracket if available, otherwise you can use a high quality wall bracket such as the B-TECH BT77.

Don’t forget that you’ve spent a lot of money on your speakers so the last thing you want is to use a cheap bracket that potentially drops your speaker!

TV STAND

If you want to use your bookshelf speakers for TV & movies as well as music then you may be considering placing them on your TV stand / bench.

They can be directly placed on the stand and plugged into your TV usually without requiring any additional brackets or mounts.

Depending on the distance of the TV from the listening position it may be worth considering adding some desk stands to slightly raise them more towards the listening position, but this usually isn’t required.

DESK

Another popular use of bookshelf speakers, especially the active variety, is on your desk.

Whether you’re using them primarily for music, movies, gaming or work they’ll look great on your desk and sound amazing.

You can either directly place them on your desk or get some speaker desk stands which angle the speaker more towards the listening position.

BOOKSHELF

Obviously we had to get this one in here!

As per the name you can easily place your speakers on a bookshelf, shelving unit or other similar furniture.

Bookshelf speakers are freestanding and are designed to sound great wherever you place them so if style and “discreet” is your preference then don’t sweat the placement too much.

CONCLUSION

Hopefully now you have a better understanding of how bookshelf speakers should be placed for optimum sound quality.

It’s important to consider what you’re using the speakers for and where you’ll be listening.

For most applications you can’t go too far wrong so don’t worry too much, just follow the steps and make small adjustments until you’re happy with the sound.

If you’d like any more help setting up or choosing a bookshelf speaker system please feel free to contact our expert team by email, live chat or by calling us on 02392 006118.