Everybody wants high-quality sound for their music listening and TV & movie watching experience. Buying that new surround system, soundbar or set of bookshelf speakers doesn’t always guarantee the best sound experience. There is a lot more that goes into ensuring that you get the best performance out of your home audio system.
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Some homeowners will spend an extraordinary amount of money to enjoy great sound quality. However, you can still get a fantastic home audio experience within your budget and make sure you get excellent performance in the right listening environment. Here are some simple tips to help you improve the performance of the audio system you already own.
Check Your Current Audio System
First, check the status of your current home audio system before taking any steps. If your audio system has not been sounding as it should or has been sounding bad, it’s time to have a look at it. Inspect your audio cables and wires to make sure they’re properly connected. Look out for any damaged or broken wires too.
Your next step is making sure that all speakers in your audio system are working as they should. If you can, remove the grills on the speakers to see if there is any problem with the speakers or some obstruction. Be sure to check that they have not burned out. If your speakers are old, it’s time you consider an upgrade, according to this buying guide from MusicAuthority
Choose a Room With Good Acoustics
In the same way that a speaker creates the foundation of great audio output, room acoustics play a huge role in determining the quality of sound you’ll get from your home audio system. In fact, the overall layout and space in your rooms can have a greater effect on the quality of music. Rooms with many hard surfaces such a hardwood floors, glass windows and bare walls can create a lot of sound reflections.
Vaulted ceilings are also known to contribute to a less than ideal audio environment. Any sound reverberation or resonance leads to unpleasant highs and mids, poor bass reproduction and blurred imaging. The interior outline of a room will also affect sound quality. Oddly or irregularly shaped rooms tend to do better than rectangle, square or multiple dimension rooms.
If you can’t select a room with better acoustics, what you’ll want to do is to soften the room up by adding some carpets, area rugs, curtains or drapes and cushioned furnishings. This will help dampen the sound and absorb any sound reflections, creating a more appealing listening environment. Even moving your furniture within a room can have a great effect.
Correct Speaker Placement
Whether you have a wireless audio system, a multi-room audio system or a full-blown surround system in your home, ensuring correct speaker placement is vital in determining the quality of sound you hear, according to an overview of whole house audio systems. You don’t want to have your listening spot right in the middle of a room. You want an ideal spot that results in a natural audio response from your audio system.
The wrong placement of your speakers may result in audio performance that might make you think that something is wrong with your speakers. Try placing your subwoofer in different locations to get the ideal bass. This may involve moving some furniture around. For multi-channel audio systems, optimal placement is critical. Instead of placing them on the floor, consider investing in affordable stands, at least up to five feet high.
For mounted speakers, ensure they’re firmly mounted to minimize unwanted noise caused by vibrations. Where you plan to enjoy your music or movies will also determine how you place your speakers. Most home audio systems come with recommended speaker placement. If you cannot find the right placement, check online guidelines.
Find the Ideal Spot
For perfect audio enjoyment, you have to find the best spot in your home. Consider standing to the side of your speakers and slightly behind them, and you should expect to hear the sound clearly. The perfect listening position should be that sweet spot in your room where you can appreciate your audio system’s performance at its best.
Finding that ideal spot is not easy. You may have to spend some time adjusting speakers, equipment or even some items like furniture in your house. For instance, if your two stereo speakers are about six feet apart, you should expect your sweet spot to also measure six feet directly to each stereo speaker. Once you have correctly set the speakers, angle them to face directly at your sweet spot. This will ensure the best listening experience.
Only Use Quality Wire for Your Audio System
It’s no secret that quality-made speaker cables can make all the difference when it comes to getting quality sound from your speakers. The most essential thing in audio cables is delivering adequate current. In most cases, thicker cables are better, with at least 12 gauge being recommended. Any number higher than that is a big andx resounding no.
When buying audio cables, make sure to look at their construction. You don’t want cheap cables that will need replacement after a few months of use. Check your receiver to check whether you can run other cables for your speakers. Bi-wiring is often an inexpensive way to customize and improve the sound quality of audio systems that come with two sets of binding posts on the rear.
Adjust Your Sound Settings
Almost all stereo systems and A/V receivers come with a menu system that allows users to adjust various sound features and functions. The most important are speaker volume, bass output and speaker size. The speaker size function is limited by the audio system’s capabilities. Bass output settings can be used to determine whether the lows will be produced by the subwoofer alone or even the left/right speakers.
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Having different sound setting adjustments enables you to fine-tune your audio experience to your personal preferences. Many home audio systems also come with different advanced audio decoding features such as Dolby, THX and DTS. You can choose from these to create the best virtual surround sound effect experience at home. You can also use your stereo equalizer controls or a selection of presets to customize the sound from your speakers.
The Bottom Line
You don’t have to rely on a professional to set up your home audio system. Understanding these simple tweaks can help you get the most out of your home audio system, according to an online guide on improving your home theater. Even the smallest changes can make all the difference in delivering the highest quality audio and video you paid for.