• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Optimizing near-wall, in-shelf placement


Feb 19, 2022
I have a 3.1 system that I use for music and TV; I expect to expand it to 5.2. Currently I am using 3 KEF LS50 bookshelf speakers for LCR.

I am building some shelves with doors for the living room that will hold the speakers. The LR speakers and the TV would be on the top, and then the center speaker would be immediately underneath the top. My goal is to minimize the depth of the shelves. Ideally, the speakers would be as close to the wall as practical while still sounding best. The shelves will get cut to a depth that is exactly the distance from the front edges of the speakers to the wall. The center channel would be mounted under the top, as close to the TV as possible. All of this will be built from heavy materials to minimize resonance from the speakers into the cabinet.

————————————— (Shelf)
Stuff | Books C Books | Stuff
————————————— (Shelf)
————————————— (Floor)

I know of the general advice against putting the center channel inside a cabinet and about putting bookshelf speakers on shelves. But, if the crossover is high enough (currently 100hz), I seal the ports, and I build the shelving thick/heavy/stable enough to prevent resonance and my listening volume is notably less than 85 decibels, then isn’t there a way to make it work without compromising the sound quality? After all, a room Is just a big cabinet, so it must be a matter of degree rather than a “never” situation. The LS50 has a pretty good cabinet. How could I predict how much space would I need to leave around the center speaker to avoid hurting the sound?

Aesthetically, I would prefer like 1mm between the top of the center speaker and the bottom of the top shelf, and I’d like to make the center speaker look like it is working as a book end. But, I don’t want to hurt the sound.

In other words, acoustically I want to design and custom-build the shelving to optimize the performance of the sound system, but I want to make it look like the speakers (and TV) were just plopped down haphazardly/organically. I can place a subwoofer on either/both sides of the shelf, to minimize the effects of using a high crossover.

I will be using room correction and some other room treatments as well.
Top Bottom