The Do's and Dont's of Resting Audio Speakers on the Floor

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Maybe you hate the way audio speaker stands look. Maybe you're scared your pets/child will knock them down and damage your precious speakers. Or maybe you're going for a college-chic aesthetic with everything from your mattress to your TV on the floor. Whatever the reason, plenty of people place their audio speakers on the floor. Here's why you might want to reconsider...

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  • DO recognize audio speakers are most effective at ear-level. If you're a stickler for sound, the floor is not the best place for them. If your speakers are small enough, consider placing them on a desk, shelf or console.

  • DON'T ever put your speakers directly on the floor. Buy or make at least a short stand to protect your tech from an unexpected flood.

  • DON'T worry too much about where you put your subwoofer; these are omnidirectional, meaning that they project in all directions at once. They can be placed almost anywhere it's convenient, such as behind a couch or in a corner.

  • DON'T put speakers in a corner except for the sub. Every room surface near a speaker will reinforce bass tones. If they're going to be near the floor, keep them away from other surfaces like walls and the sides of hard furniture to avoid an echo-effect.

  • DO look at your speaker's construction for placement clues. If they have unfinished backs, they're meant to rest against a wall. If finished, they're designed to sound best a few feet from the wall; finding the best floor spot for them could be a struggle.

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  • DON'T annoy your neighbors. If you live above somebody else, reconsider the idea of resting your speakers on the floor. Each building has its own weird acoustics (especially the old ones), so you might unknowingly amplify the sound for them. Maybe add a bass trap if you're prone to listen to bass heavy music. Even carpeted floor tiles can help damped audio from above.

  • DO recognize floor surface attenuation; heavily carpeted floors will absorb some sound from your speakers and damped the overall audio effect in a room.

  • DO know that hardwood floors are very susceptible to the vibrations caused by speakers resting on the floor, causing sound anomalies.

  • DON'T use speaker spikes. While they'll help reduce the effects of vibration, they might scratch your wood floors or leave holes in your carpets.

  • DO carefully consider the listening path from speaker to listener; the most important thing is that speakers (except the subwoofer) have an unobstructed path to listeners' ears. They're fine on the floor, but not behind a couch or chair.

(Re-edited from a post originally published 10.26.10 - GH)

(Images: Flickr user Jussi under license from Creative Commons, Flickr user Turner Burns under license from Creative Commons; Gregory Han)

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Tech, Audio, Speakers

Taryn is a writer, maker, and designer based in Atlanta, and editor of lifestyle blog Formal Fringe. She loves her fiance, her dog Bacon, and collecting beer koozies when she travels.

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