One of life’s great shames is seeing top-of-the-range equipment go to waste, from sports apparel to gardening paraphernalia. Nothing hurts us quite as much as seeing sound equipment gather dust in the corner of a room having never fulfilled its potential. Unfortunately, this is a story more common than we’d like to imagine, so we’re here to help you improve your home audio.
Many believe that it’s all in the gear, so if they buy the most expensive set possible it’ll instantly equate to the best sound experience – wrong. While it will almost always help to up your budget, it’s not as important as it may seem. As long as you’re sure you’re buying from high-quality, trusted brands like Bang & Olufsen, Ruark Audio, Vifa, Audio Pro or Urbanears, the world of great sound is your oyster and here are four tips to crack that oyster wide open.
Pick your location
The location of your speakers is as important as the speakers themselves so the first step to improve your home audio is to work out which is your sound room. Avoid rooms with lots of hard surfaces like kitchens as hard surfaces reflect sound waves, altering the sound of your output. Analyse the shape of your room, high or vaulted ceilings are a no-go because they’re unchangeable and will seriously affect the response from your sound equipment.
If you think you’ve found the right room but there are too many hard surfaces, introduce some softer textures, rugs and throws are a simple way to soften the sound in a room. Watch out though, don’t go too far the other way or your sound will be equally as affected.
Position your speakers
Finding the sweet spot for your speakers can transform the way they perform. You can experiment with your speakers’ positions for hours and go as far as rearranging your entire room if you feel so inclined but if not, here are a few quick wins:
- Raise your speakers from the ground
- Pull them away from the wall
A quick look at Bang & Olufsen’s signature Beoplay A9 Speaker shows all that you need to know: firmly raised from the ground and slightly tilted to fill the whole room.
While it does help to reposition your speakers, you can do a lot to help without touching them. Think about where you’re sitting or standing in relation to the speakers. If your setup involves a left and right speaker, a general rule of thumb is that you should sit at the tip of what would measure to be an equilateral triangle. If you’re listening through a single speaker just make sure you’re not sitting behind it or to the side of its sound scope – this should goes without saying…
Ruark AudioWalnut R7 High Fidelity Radiogram£2,300
Bang & OlufsenBlack / Rosewood Beoplay A9 Speaker£1,990
VifaSandstone Grey Helsinki Bluetooth Loudspeaker£349
Bang & OlufsenNatural Beolit 17 Portable Speaker£395
Ruark AudioSoft Black R4 Integrated Music System£700
UrbanearsIndigo Stammen Bluetooth Speaker£189
VifaPebble Grey Stockholm 2.0 Wireless Sound Bar£1,170
Adjust the levels
If you’re lucky enough to be using a speaker that allows you to equalise it, experiment with levels. Each room will require different tuning, so take some time to play around with the highs, mids and lows. That said, even if your speaker doesn’t offer the possibility of mixing, most music applications will give you the option to alter the mix in-app. Keep in mind that a setting that might sound perfect for one genre might be completely off-target for another genre because different genres look to emphasise different frequencies.
The revolution is beginning, no longer will great sound equipment be considered sub-par because of its misuse. Get your hands on a high-quality speaker and follow these steps for a surefire way to improve your home audio.