Make the most of your space How to best configure your sound system

Set-up makes all the difference

The way that your speaker system is configured can make a world of difference when it comes to sound quality. Room shape, speaker placement, and speaker type greatly influence the way your sound is experienced, so here are some things to keep in mind when in comes to your speakers.

Are you using the right room?

Unless you're starting from scratch, you can't just change the size or shape of your rooms to create the perfect sound environment, but there are certain things you can keep in mind to get the most out of what you have.

Some room shapes are much worse than others from a listening standpoint. A cube for example is one of the worst shapes for a room — each resonance mode gets triple emphasis. You'll also hear more standing wave distortion in rooms with two equal dimensions, or rooms with dimensions that are multiples (8' x 16' x 24'). Standing waves are created when sounds reflect off a surface and collide with the waves from the speaker.

Also remember that every item in that room reflects sound differently. Carpets and upholstery absorb much more sound than hard surfaces do, so try to find a room where there is a balance between the two.

Speaker Placement

Once you have decided on the right room, positioning is key. Most people's first instinct is to place the speakers against the wall. This can increase the bass response, but it will also decrease the mid-range sound quality. If you have enough room, try to place them about a foot away from the wall if possible. Another thing you can do to improve sound is place a small layer of padding behind any heavy furniture that is directly up against the wall. This will decrease the amount of reflection in the bass.

If you have two speakers, they should be placed at an equal distance from where you will be seated and form a triangle with that spot. Make sure that they are angled in towards the listener rather than lined up horizontally with the wall.

This triangular configuration sends sound directly to the listener

Bookshelf Speakers

If you are using smaller bookshelf speakers, we recommend you place them on speaker stands. It is a simple step that can drastically improve quality by shifting the direction that sound waves travel. Despite their name, we actually recommend that you don't place your speakers on a bookshelf. The material from the shelves and the wall will reflect sound waves and distort the sound. If you don't have another place to put them, just bring your speakers to the front of your shelf and avoid crowding them with other objects. For the best results, always keep your speakers as close to ear level as possible.

AUDIOENGINE A5+ powered speaker pair

If you have any questions about how to configure your system or about which speakers are best for your space, be sure to contact us and we'll work with you to find the ideal solution for your space.

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