How to configure speakers for the best sound
If you’ve got a speaker system in your entertainment room, whether it be for music, at-home movies, or gaming, the placement of your speakers can impact the sound quality you get out of the system.
The vibrations from each speaker interact with walls, surfaces around the room, and each other. Therefore, having poorly positioned speakers can be pivotal to the sound.
It is especially true for surround sound systems. A surround sound system creates an immersive audio experience from a specific listening point.
When the speakers point in all directions, they must be aligned to avoid canceling some frequencies or enhancing others.
Proper alignment also helps create an accurate audio image or helps your brain correctly place sounds in your environment. Gamers know precisely how important this is.
Tips for placing your speakers
Selby, a speaker dealer in Australia, shared with us these expert tips to optimize the placement of your speakers; follow these steps:
- Identify the optimal listening position: Before placing any speakers, you should know where in the room you intend to be when listening. For example, if the listening area is relatively large, identify the central point or where you like to sit most often.
- Equilateral triangle: To determine the general placement of the front stereo speakers, they should form an equilateral triangle with the listening point. In other words, they should be the same distance apart from each other as the distance from the listener to each speaker.
- Distance between speakers: For smaller bookshelf speakers, there should be roughly 4 feet of separation; for more prominent speakers like floor-standing speakers, there can be about 8 feet. Putting your speakers too close together will cause the sound to be muddy, and too far apart can create a gap between them in the audio image.
- Height of speakers: As for height, you should try to position the speakers so that the height of the tweeters is the same elevation as your ears. On a side note, having speaker stands is an excellent idea for bookshelf speakers. Proper isolation stands can significantly improve performance compared to placing them on a shelf or TV stand.
- Proximity to walls: You shouldn’t place any speakers closer than 2-3 feet away from a wall. This helps to reduce excessive vibration reflections.
- Toe-in: Once your speakers are in place, you can adjust the angle of the speakers or toe-in. Angle each speaker inward so that they point to a spot directly behind the listening area. Decreasing toe-in can help you achieve good sound quality across a wider area.
- Furnishings and obstacles: There shouldn’t be any objects between the speakers and the listening point. If needed, adjust your furniture to minimize sound reflections. Ideally, it would be best if you strive for symmetry.
- Testing: Throughout the entire process, pick a song you’re familiar with and listen from the listening point. Make minor adjustments and see if you can hear a difference. This will help you get a feel for the changes in the sound caused by speaker placement, and you can fine-tune the positioning to your liking.
Follow the same guidelines for each additional pair of speakers, such as rear speakers. For subwoofers, exact positioning is not as important. However, you should avoid placing subwoofers in a corner.
Wrapping it up
If you have a keen ear, you may notice the sound of your system change over time or in the first 100 hours of listening as the woofers loosen up.
But, of course, if you want to strive for perfection, you can always try adjusting the positioning after a while.
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