I've recently purchased a pair of monitor speakers in order to build myself a better critical listening environment.

I've tried setting them up near one wall in a small room off of my living room, whose dimensions are about 8'x7', and which is about 8' high. The left-side wall is missing, as it connects to the living room. There are no acoustic treatments yet, as I want to get the basic setup right before investing in some treatment.

I have found that from where I sit, which is about in the center of the room, very low frequencies (below about 130Hz) roll off very quickly. However, if I slide my chair to the back wall, I can hear the bass quite well, down to about 50Hz.

What might cause bass to attenuate so sharply in the middle of a room like this, and is there anything I can do about it short of rearranging my desk to be up against the back wall?

  • 1
    I believe they call it the "standing wave" of your room / environment... but my answer isn't elaborate enough to write up a full answer. That could be the technical term to look for though.
    – bigp
    Aug 5, 2011 at 23:53

1 Answer 1


If you do a bit of reading, you'll find that the optimal position for you to be in can be calculated based on the shape of your room, and that the center of the room is a sub-optimal listening position.

The reason that you hear less bass in one position than in another is because reflections from your walls and other elements in the room work together to phase cancel the direct signal that is coming to you from the speakers. If bass is your biggest problem, look into bass traps. These are treatment elements that work specifically to reduce standing bass waves.

This site has very good information on the topic, and provides a free room analyzer tool to help you determine the best listening position, and help you decide what type of treatment might be necessary to improve your listening experience.


Also, you might want to head over to the gearslutz.com forum, where there are many articles on this topic.

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