Advice on wall mounting speakers


New member
Username: Jjchwdad

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-17
I currently have a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 8 floorstanders. Music source is a Cambridge Audio 640C CD player, shortly to be joined by an Audio Technica AT LP5 turntable. I need to move my hifi kit to a different room but space resrictions suggest that the Wharfedales may have to go in favour of something like a pair of wall mounted Q Acoustics 3020s. Never having used wall mounted speakers before I wondered if anyone has any advice on how successful the 3020s are when they are used like this? Q Acoustics makes a dedicated wall bracket that seems to hold the speaker away from the wall so that the rear-firing port has a bit of room to breathe. Any thoughts on wall mounting vs floorstanding, or suggestions for other speakers, will be welcome.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18390
Registered: May-04

Back in the day ...

Yeah, I know, you're already thinking, "Oh, Lord! here we go again!"

Back in the day, there were no "speakers" you could buy. There were individual components; woofers and tweeters and some mids plus a few crossovers on a piece of wood. You could put them together to make a "speaker".

A lot of people built them in the doors of a closet - remember, this is back in the days of mono only hifi. The closet then became the enclosure which prevented the low frequencies from wrapping around the box and cancelling out the direct signals from the driver.

This sort of installation had the benefits of a "quasi-infinite baffle" design. S705&oq=infinite+baffle+loudspeaker&aqs=chrome..69i57.6740j0j1&sourceid=chrome&i e=UTF-8

At the dawn of pre-assembled loudspeakers, vents were a cut and try method of design. There were no formulas for designing good bass extension and proper response from any given driver/enclosure combination. Though, unless the system was designed to intentionally be placed tight against a wall or corner, no one put rear firing ports on a vented system.

Back then we also had the term "bookshelf" speaker which meant exactly what it sounds like it means. There were no "stand mounted" speakers. Another reason no one put ports on the back of the enclosure.

The reasoning is simple, bass frequencies are very long peak to peak and need room to expand. Ports are the only way out of the enclosure for the rear firing pressure waves.

By placing a speaker/enclosure up against a large barrier, if you have rear firing ports, you will have reflected sounds which can create severe comb filtering effects. This is known - or it was known, I no longer hear anyone using these terms despite the fact they are technically accurate - as 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 "pi" locations.

In other words, each time you move a driver/enclosure closer to another barrier, you induce another lump, or a greater expansion of the same lump, in the system response.

The area for these lumps to occur will be in the low to mid-bass region and they extend upward into the lower mids where they begin to intrude on vocals. Of course, with speakers small enough to wall mount, there is no low bass output and you begin to notice the effects only when you get to the mid-bass octaves and above.

Unless a designer has provided a way to minimize the effects of close barrier design, or they have designed specifically for such placement, those ol' laws of physics once again determine the rule will not be broken.

Put a speaker cabinet, and particularly one with a rear firing vent, close to a large barrier and the bass will get lumpy and mushey - at best. It will provide the perception of slightly deeper bass extension by creating more mid bass, but that is only an illusion. You can't change for the better the actual physics of the enclosure/port volume simply by moving a speaker box. You can, of course, seriously mess with the physics of bass reproduction by doing so.

If the speaker was designed to provide flattest frequency response when in an "open field" position - nowdays called "out in the room on a stand" response - hanging it on a wall isn't your best bet if you value the concept of flattest frequency response.

On the other hand, mounting upper bass, mid and high frequency drivers close to a wall - not a corner, never a corner unless both boxes are put tight into identical corners and then you risk having a large hole in the center of the soundstage and then you've already got wires run and holes drilled and such and it's a royal PITA to fix - does provide a somewhat but not quite "infinite baffle" response solution to the common errors caused by step response. This refers to the time element which is created by the combination of out of synch direct and reflected sounds which arrive at the listener's ear. When they occur, they combine in your perception to create comb filters also and make soundstaging rather weird, if not completely unidentifiable.

When all things magically fall together with such placement though, the upper ranges can - only "can" - take on the perception of a much larger soundstage since there are minimal out of phase interferences occurring at your ears and in the inner workings of your mind.

That's the good news.

It's also pretty much the only good news you get from doing something the designer didn't take into account.

If, however, the system has not been designed for this sort of placement - providing brackets is not "designing for" this location, it is taking advantage of a very common issue of how much space a loudspeaker takes away from domestic bliss - the soundstage most often will not be 3-D. Quite often, though the soundstage will be rather large, it will also be rather dimensionally flattened out and paper thin.

No way to tell what you will take away from such a design in such a location other than to try it. Depending on what you presently value as necessary to your musical enjoyment, you may like it and you may not. There is no way to predict what you will like or dislike at this point.


Gold Member
Username: Magfan


Post Number: 3433
Registered: Oct-07
Magnepan makes several models expressly designed for wall mount. Not IN but ON.
The can be folded flat to the wall when not in use.

When used with the DWM mid-bass module and a decent sub, a full system can provide the full spectrum from deep bass which is useful for movies, On UP.

I have NO idea of the proposed space for the new system or proposed budget. The Magnepan solution might not be the cheapest. But it will be very good. If you are lucky enough to live near a dealer (not all that many of 'em!) go for a listen to determine what you think of the Magnepan sound and presentation.

Wall mount Maggies take advantage of the wall in ways that conventional cone and box speakers can't manage.
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