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monitors and hifi speakers, listening distance


Active Member
just wondering...is there any truth in a hifi speaker being able to throw the sound further than a studio monitor when playing at the same level

My issue is not wanting to make a lot of noise that neighbours can hear

So...if a HiFi speaker carries the noise further (does it?) inside the room would that noise also be more audible through a wall/floor?

Or is the only way to hear better when sitting further away from the speakers just to have it louder....ie no difference between HiFi and monitors?


Distinguished Member
It is a mistaken notion. Possibly because some pro monitor manufacturers label their speakers 'nearfield' etc...

But a speaker is a speaker is a speaker. There is and can be no difference between the two in how 'far' a sound wave is flung.


Distinguished Member
There can be some aspects of speakers, especially larger speakers, that push the listening distance father away.

Here is a very good example of a speaker that specifically requires you to sit some greater distance from it -

DALI OPTICON 8 - A towering floorstanding speaker


Notice it has a bass driver on the Top and the Bottom. With that distance between those bass driver, to get the sound to blend together coherently, you have to be a considerable distance away. If you are too close, you will not hear distinct single point bass, but rather bass from two distinct sources. At a distance, those two distinct source sounds will blend together into one seeming single source.

But because of the design, basically closely spaced 2-way, Monitors do well at close distance, and in general, Studio Monitor tend to have smaller and fewer bass drivers.

There are people who use Active Speaker/Studio Monitors for Home Theater and general music listening. So, they certainly work for that.

On my computer, I currently have two Q Acoustic 3020 bookshelf speakers, and when I'm leaning back in my chair, the speakers are about 40" to 44" from my ear. The speakers are on a Desktop placed 36" center-to-center.

When I am in the Sweet Spot, they sound fine, but if I get up and step out of the Sweet Spot, the sound significantly drops out, even stepping 4 or 5 feet to the side, the sound drops way down. But that is not a failing of the speakers, but rather a characteristic of the near-field listening circumstances. I have had the same speakers on my main stereo system and they had no problem filling the room.

So, in my opinion, it is not so much that a given set of speakers are Near-field speakers, but more so that you are listening in Near-field circumstances.

So, if you are trying not to annoy the neighbors, then near-field listening is likely to accomplish that goal. But under other circumstances the same speakers should be able to fill a room, to a reasonably degree depending on the size of the speaker.



Well-known Member
I recently bought a pair of "nearfield studio monitors" with 6.5 inch woofers. I think I am supposed to listen to them at about 2 or 3 feet. I have no idea why they can fill my kitchen of 30 odd metres square with an expansive soundstage, and why to me they sound great. They are studio monitors, don't they say that they should sound boring and lifeless?

Be careful what you believe when it comes to tech. Numbers and graphs can mean nothing in real world use. Try and listen to a few various types and make up your own mind.

Oh if I turn up these monitors I could easily piss off my neighbours, possibly even the ones 5 houses away :)


Active Member
thanks...the replies have got me thinking.....

what I'm really wondering is if one set of speakers could have a sweet spot further away from the speakers when at the same volume?

just now the bass is at it's best when i'm sitting about 7ft away from either speaker with the speaker 11ft apart, when I hear the volume there i wouldn't want to turn it up much louder, but when I sit where I would like to sit (about 11ft away) for listening there's far less punch or drone!

ideally I'd like have that sweet spot at 11ft away but with the same volume

I dunno if that's possible or if the sweet spot just increases with volume, so doesn't matter..

also thinking it's probably down to the room too, but in general...


Distinguished Member
The room and your position in the room have much more to do with the perceived sound of your speakers than the speakers themselves.

The various modes/nodes cancelling and reinforcing each other is a complex mess of head scratching conundrums.

The only way to deal with it is to vary the speaker position and toe in (or not) and simply experiment.

I'd suggest that if you can, get your seating position closer. If not then you're left with varying the distance between the speakers, between the speakers and the rear wall and between the speakers and side walls.

And unfortunately the various combinations between them.


Active Member
mmhmm....they've been everywhere, at every angle and height....I must have 100 (not visible, thank fudge) holes in my carpet from the floor spikes... eventually figured out it's easier to move myself around to find the sweet spots rather than just the speakers!

guess the only way to find out...is to find out!

bit of a minefield eh!

yes...closer is definitely better, just can't help thinking if there's speakers that will get the bass further across the room, without actually being louder for neighbours etc

bit confused as Ive read the placement of sub woofers doesnt matter so much as bass is harder to detect where it's coming from but there's a definite 'bass sweet spot' that I'm feeling

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