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Speakers near drywall - good or bad?
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Forum Posts: 4
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January 18, 2019
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January 18, 2019 - 1:22 pm
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I wanted to ask, what do you think about speaker placement near light wall like drywall, plasterboard, etc.? Let’s take the example:

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Blue walls – concrete. Red – drywall, single sided, like here:

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I realized that it is extremely important questions, because in my opinion 80 percent (or more) of people live in spaces, divided by drywalls, including me.
All manufacturers of audio speakers give recommendations of placing speakers in particular distances from the wall. And I think, by saying “wall”, they mean hard, solid wall, like concrete. And I think all these recommendations are NOT valid for light wall, like plasterboard, drywall, etc. And this is because bass goes through these walls, like there are no walls at all. And this could be good thing.
On the other hand, drywall starts reflecting frequencies from about 120 HZ. I think.

So on the one hand, drywall is good thing, because it passes through bass, and the bass do not “see” the wall (like there is no wall at all), and I think it is good. By doing this, we refer to speaker manufacturers recommendations to place speakers as far as possible from the wall. Place the speaker 5cm, or 150cm from drywall and the bass would be exactly the same (if do not taking consideration, that bass hits the first concrete after drywall and goes back). But on the other hand, as I already said, drywall reflects sounds from 120HZ and higher, that could be bad thing. And also, drywall can have some unwanted resonances.

Also, I think that in all hi-end shows, spaces are also divided with light walls. And despite this, some rooms still have impressive sound (or maybe light walls are the reason of having good sound)

And the last thing, I do not understand, why speaker manufacturers write nothing about wall types in their manuals. That is very important question, because a lot of people live in spaces divided by light walls. And the manuals should have some recommendations about that. People read manuals, move their speakers further away from drywall and think WOW, the bass should be better now. But the real situation is, that they did nothing for sound improvement. They just ruined their free spaces in rooms. I think if the back wall is drywall, then placing the speakers near drywall (for example 2cm-5cm) could be much better then moving them further away (30cm-150cm) for the reasons described above.

So, guys, what do you think? Is it good idea to place speakers near drywall? Does anybody have similar situation? If the red wall would be like other blue walls (concrete), would overall sound experience be better, compared to drywall version?

Chief Acoustics Engineer
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January 19, 2019 - 9:45 am
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T, Placing speakers near any surface regardless of any composition is problematic. You have two main issues that interfere with the direct sound from your speakers. There are lower frequency pressure and reflections. Determining the correct position in your room involves many variables. Wall composition has an impact on all frequencies. With drywall, lower frequencies can be absorbed down to 90 Hz. but lower than that they have no value. Drywall also has a negative impact on middle and high frequencies for reflections.

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