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Things to consider when placing bookshelf speakers on wall mounted brackets or shelves?

Blew

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Hi,

I would like to place a pair of Focal bookshelf speakers on wallmounted brackets or shelves and am looking for some advice or experience.

What would I need to consider for this? I'm looking for advice on:
  • Brackets or shelves? Which is best for acoustics? Is there anything to consider regarding vibration? Brackets have the advantage of being ablet to tilt them slightly, but are there any disadvantages? Most good floor mounted speaker stands have spikes at the feet to minimise the vibrations on the floor, is this something to consider for a shelf/bracket mounting?
  • Speaker height. Is it better to have them at standing height or sitting? I'd prefer to listen to music while sitting down but would also like to have the music generally sound good when having guests in the room who may be standing around.
  • Speaker placement. Is it better to have them at the far end of the rectangular room where it's narrower and allow for more flexible seating arrangements, or along the side to make them further apart for greater stereo separation?
  • Anything else that I need to think about?
I came across these on Amazon, which fits the idea of what I was thinking about. Any opinions on them for a reasonably good audio experience?
https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B0779MBZRK/

I'd appreciate any advice on the above as I'm quite a newbie when it comes to hifi and speakers.

Thanks!
 

tuga

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Is this a lone speaker-wide shelf or a bookcase shelf?

Most speakers of the box-w/-cone-&-dome variety will radiate very widely from the bottom of its operating band up to the lower mids (see below).
Putting it in a shelf may or may not affect its response at the listening spot depending on whether the shelves are empty or full and the contents are flush with the speaker.

Then there's the question of providing a rigid support because the speakers resonate and will transmit those vibrations to the shelf and supporting structure. You may have to use some form of decoupling to avoid this.

In any case you will need to compensate for the wall proximity by EQ'ing the low end (reducing the bass output). Many active pro speakers come with these "environment" controls (EQ presets which tailor the response according to the relative position of the speaker in the room).


9eBX5VH.jpg
 
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Soniclife

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  • Speaker height. Is it better to have them at standing height or sitting? I'd prefer to listen to music while sitting down but would also like to have the music generally sound good when having guests in the room who may be standing around.
  • Speaker placement. Is it better to have them at the far end of the rectangular room where it's narrower and allow for more flexible seating arrangements, or along the side to make them further apart for greater stereo separation?
  • Anything else that I need to think about?
Test these with ad-hoc temporary stands before putting whatever you choose up.
 

tuga

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If you are looking for speakers which will sound as good when listening seated and standing then your best bet is to look for those with a coaxial driver (the high-frequency unit is located inside of the midbass unit). Such speaker will work equally well when resting on its side as it will standing up.


Loki-center.jpg
 

Zek

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What would I need to consider for this?
First - you need to choose speakers that are intended to be positioned close to the wall.
Second - the bass reflex port should be on the front of the speaker.
With classic bookshelf speakers, a bass boom can occur if they are placed close to a wall.
 

raindance

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You'll need room correction because of physics. You can't change acoustics, but you can fix the result to some degree.

Vandersteen makes a coax speaker called the VLR wood that works well close to a wall and doesn't boom. It is really, really inefficient and inaccurate, but seems to satisfy some folk.
 

Willem

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There will inevitably be a bass boost, but with small speakers with limited bass response this may not be too problematic. Beyond that, make sure you get long brackets to get the speakers as far away from the wall as possible. Once you have done your best on this, just measure the in-room response and go from there. A simple tone control may be enough, if not you will need more serious dsp eq.
As for height, the reference level of the speaker should be at ear height. Usually this is the tweeter, but sometimes it is half way between tweeter and woofer. Ask the speaker manufacturer. I would get it right for serious listening (i.e. when you are sitting) and not bother with getting it right for standing guests. You cannot have both.
 

raindance

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I agree on getting the speakers as far from the wall as allowable. I've done this with shelves before, where the shelf is 2-3 times deeper than the speaker. But correction has always been required; even a simple AV receiver with basic Audyssey can do this.

Of course, not everyone hears the same and hugely elevated bass notes may be your cup of tea :)
 

suttondesign

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what i have done is mount small speakers on lcd screen mounts that extend. for background, flush to wall or books. for critical listening, extend the arm out. you must use good quality mounts.
 

ttimer

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Do you already have the speakers? If not, does it have to be a bookshelf speaker? Not sure about Focal, but companies like Dali, Elac or Nubert make good sounding speakers which are designed for wall-mounting (e.g. Dali Rubicon LCR). Their bass response is calculated with wall gain factored in and they either come with suitable mounts or are designed for very wide dispersion to cover the listening position. Those might be better suited for the use case you are describing.
 
OP
Blew

Blew

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Thanks for all the suggestions! I had not considered the effect on low frequencies due to the proximity of the wall.

Is this a lone speaker-wide shelf or a bookcase shelf?

Most speakers of the box-w/-cone-&-dome variety will radiate very widely from the bottom of its operating band up to the lower mids (see below).
Putting it in a shelf may or may not affect its response at the listening spot depending on whether the shelves are empty or full and the contents are flush with the speaker.

Then there's the question of providing a rigid support because the speakers resonate and will transmit those vibrations to the shelf and supporting structure. You may have to use some form of decoupling to avoid this.

In any case you will need to compensate for the wall proximity by EQ'ing the low end (reducing the bass output). Many active pro speakers come with these "environment" controls (EQ presets which tailor the response according to the relative position of the speaker in the room).

Thanks. I'm considering mounting a small pair of shelves, one shelf per speaker. Otherwise using the mounting brackets in the Amazon link I pasted. What do you mean by decoupling to avoid the vibrations?

Do you already have the speakers? If not, does it have to be a bookshelf speaker?

Yes I already have the speakers and they are bookshelf speakers. They have the bass reflex port at the front.

Will having the bass reflex port at the front be enough to avoid issues with bass when mounting on the wall?
 

tuga

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Thanks. I'm considering mounting a small pair of shelves, one shelf per speaker. Otherwise using the mounting brackets in the Amazon link I pasted. What do you mean by decoupling to avoid the vibrations?

I meant putting something between the speaker and the shelf to cancel the transmission of vibrations. But that won't be necessary with the wall brackets you're buying.
 

raindance

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Having the port in front does not stop the effect of the wall being too close. It's a common misconception. The effect is just as significant with sealed cabinets. I'd say it's the single reason millions of sound systems around the world sound bad - although the world is so focused on bass these days, that some people probably enjoy the effect.
 

ttimer

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Will having the bass reflex port at the front be enough to avoid issues with bass when mounting on the wall?

Depends on what you mean by "mounting on the wall". Several speaker manufacturers recommend a minimum distance of 5cm from the back wall for their rear ported speakers, to ensure adequate ventilation of the port. As long as you can ensure this, it doesn't matter if the speaker is front or rear ported. Around the tuning frequency of the port, the bass is pretty much omnidirectional anyway.
To avoid issues with overemphasized bass from mounting close to walls, you can apply a shelf filter to equalize down the bass (or use tone controls), or try plugging the port.
 

iLoveCats

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Kef LS50's come with 2 stage port plugs. I have a pair mounted on wall brackets in my bedroom 5 feet above the floor. Im using the half port plugs and they sound better than when they were on stands in my living room with the exact same equipment and source. They definitely get less pleasing without the plugs.
 

lc155

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Thanks for all the suggestions! I had not considered the effect on low frequencies due to the proximity of the wall.



Thanks. I'm considering mounting a small pair of shelves, one shelf per speaker. Otherwise using the mounting brackets in the Amazon link I pasted. What do you mean by decoupling to avoid the vibrations?



Yes I already have the speakers and they are bookshelf speakers. They have the bass reflex port at the front.

Will having the bass reflex port at the front be enough to avoid issues with bass when mounting on the wall?

The port doesn't have nearly as much of an effect as you'd think - bass is omnidirectional. You only need a minimum of 5cm from the wall for a rear port to work properly (as per Genelec and others).

Depending on the size of the room (this applies for smaller rooms), it is actually *better* to place the speakers as close to the front wall as you can, due to something called SBIR. The closer to the wall, the higher the frequency that gets nulled from phase cancellation (makes it less obvious and easy to treat). From there, you can do your best to treat that null, if possible (such as acoustic foam on the walls the speaker is on).

Yes, you will have a bass increase due to proximity of the wall. This is better over having the speakers be >1m from the wall and suffering from bass suckout at 80Hz that is a royal pain in the ass to treat. If the bass boost is too much, you can EQ that down a notch (or use attenuation on the speakers themselves). To avoid this (bringing the null frequency below the audible range), you're looking at >2m distance, which, unless your room is huge, you will then start having problems with the rear wall due to being too close to it in your listening position.

As for the placement of the speakers, whatever width you put them apart, you really want to ensure you have that equilateral triangle. Sure, you can exaggerate soundstaging if you place them further apart, but it will hurt your ability to pinpoint stuff in tracks if you do so. It really depends on your preferences - bass boost at proximity to wall, exaggerated soundstage from having them wide apart, and so on.

In all cases, you're fighting with the room. There's no perfect answer. However, from everything I've read, close to wall in smaller rooms is your best bet if it comes to achieving the least compromised sound. This is in addition to all the other guidelines for placement that factor in side walls, and so on.
 

raindance

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The port doesn't have nearly as much of an effect as you'd think - bass is omnidirectional. You only need a minimum of 5cm from the wall for a rear port to work properly (as per Genelec and others).

Depending on the size of the room (this applies for smaller rooms), it is actually *better* to place the speakers as close to the front wall as you can, due to something called SBIR. The closer to the wall, the higher the frequency that gets nulled from phase cancellation (makes it less obvious and easy to treat). From there, you can do your best to treat that null, if possible (such as acoustic foam on the walls the speaker is on).

Yes, you will have a bass increase due to proximity of the wall. This is better over having the speakers be >1m from the wall and suffering from bass suckout at 80Hz that is a royal pain in the ass to treat. If the bass boost is too much, you can EQ that down a notch (or use attenuation on the speakers themselves). To avoid this (bringing the null frequency below the audible range), you're looking at >2m distance, which, unless your room is huge, you will then start having problems with the rear wall due to being too close to it in your listening position.

As for the placement of the speakers, whatever width you put them apart, you really want to ensure you have that equilateral triangle. Sure, you can exaggerate soundstaging if you place them further apart, but it will hurt your ability to pinpoint stuff in tracks if you do so. It really depends on your preferences - bass boost at proximity to wall, exaggerated soundstage from having them wide apart, and so on.

In all cases, you're fighting with the room. There's no perfect answer. However, from everything I've read, close to wall in smaller rooms is your best bet if it comes to achieving the least compromised sound. This is in addition to all the other guidelines for placement that factor in side walls, and so on.
This close wall placement, "defeating" SBIR, only works WITH EQ for normal speakers.
 

lc155

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This close wall placement, "defeating" SBIR, only works WITH EQ for normal speakers.

True, but if you're going to care about SBIR you'll be caring about other basic room treatments as well, so it's fine. I'd say 90% of setups (basically everyone who has a normal liveable room) I see have the speakers on a desk very close to the wall as it is, if we're talking bookshelves. Floorstanders are similarly close to the wall at either side of a TV setup, to keep the wife happy.

Very few people would have the room size and WAF to pull them way out to tackle SBIR the opposite way, haha. So in this case, shelving the lower frequencies + treating the resulting front wall reflections at 280Hz+ is a lot simpler than treating a bass null at say, 100Hz.
 
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