Maximise the Audio Experience

These days we spend a fortune on entertainment. On our phone and broadband packages we spend upwards of £50 per month and add to this TV, music downloads and everything else, and a hefty chunk of our annual earnings is spent keeping ourselves entertained.

With the development of broadband, and the rich media that we can now download, we spend more and more time engaging with digital files on smart phones, tablets and our smart TVs.

So how do we actually get the most out of the audio experience?  By the end of this piece you should have a better idea of how to get the maximum enjoyment from the wonders of today’s modern entertainment systems.

How do we make our rooms sound better?

Sometimes small changes to your room can make a massive impact on the quality of audio that travels around. You don’t need to jump in and make any drastic changes. It’s important that your room doesn’t dampen down the sound too much. The simplest way to check the audio in your room is to speak to a friend from one side to the other. If you have to raise your voice then the chances are that your room is absorbing too many sonic waves. If there are echoes then the room is not doing enough.

Tips for Dampening Rooms

If you find that too much sound is being absorbed in your room then you should consider reducing the amount of soft furnishings in it. You could remove a rug, or reduce the thickness of the curtains.

On the other hand, of course if you’re finding echoes, than the simple process of adding a rug could make a huge difference. It is easy to detect the extremes of under or over-dampened rooms. Try and get a handle on how your room is performing in this regard.

In recording studios polyurethane foam is placed in the walls to reduce echo. Our curtains, rugs and hanging drapes are our polyurethane foam equivalent in the home.

Ceiling Height

Contrary to popular belief there is no ideal height for receiving when it comes to audio quality. Higher ceilings are not necessarily better. It’s important we get the right power to systems in order to match the size of the room. The dimensions of the room can be worked upon by manipulating the furniture locations, and using your furnishings. You don’t need to go to the dramatic step of reducing, or even more dramatic step of increasing your ceiling height.

Where Should My Speakers Be Placed?

Experts suggest that the ideal placement of speakers is around 30 cm from a back wall. The tweeter should be level with one’s ear when in a listening position. The practice of wall mounting speakers is not actually very good. It saves on footprint in the home, getting the speakers out of the way, but it also energises the walls from the forces within the speaker which can have a detrimental effect on the sound quality overall.

Get Decent Speakers

Experts suggest that you spend 10% of the value of your audio system on the speakers. When you’re getting systems that require powerful speakers you need to be spending sufficient to get the most out of the system.

To get the best out of the systems you do need to have cables with decent girth. It’s possible to hide your cables as much as possible, but there is some payoff in terms of visual appeal of a system when you are going from maximum quality sound.

You can also get decent quality stands, which are designed for certain types of speakers. The frames of these stands are an ideal hiding place for unsightly cables.

Appropriate Speakers

As well as getting good quality speakers, you need to get appropriate speakers. We’ve already seen the need to get appropriate speakers for your room, but you also need to get appropriate speakers for the kind of listening that you’re going to be doing. The optimal speakers for listening to reggae music, will not be the optimal speakers for watching high-definition thriller movies.

Different speakers are geared towards different specialities. A good generalist speaker will give you a good performance on just about every type of acoustic experience. However, if you are discerning in your acoustic experience, as you should be, then you need to make sure that you get the best possible performance on your most favourite listening activities.

You can assess which brands are best for which type of listening. Read some forums, read some reviews, and read about the speakers and systems themselves on online stores. However, the best way to really get a handle on whether a speaker and system is appropriate to your home, is to listen to it. You won’t get the full experience if you listen in a store, however you will get a feel for the positives and negatives of listening to different types of media on the system. You will also have the benefit of the experience of the acoustic guest expert in store; you’ll quickly know whether the person helping you is an expert, or knows nothing about sound technology.

The New Wave Of Media

The way we access our audio and visual files has changed dramatically over the last decade. CDs are almost gone. We now have radio charts that are fully based on downloads. Blockbusters, and other video rental stores are also gone or going. We now watch more content from the Internet than ever before.

Broadband is getting faster and faster. The average city-based broadband connection these days is around 30 Mb per second. That’s enough to get extremely high definition content onto our devices. As speeds increase with the infrastructure improvements, we’re going to see the possibility to get even higher quality audio and visual content onto our devices. This is given mean that we can enjoy even better experience, as long as we set up our rooms correctly, and as long as we get the right devices to present us with the sound and the pictures.

Audio in Every Room

Russound CA4 Multizone Controller Amplifier System/Kit
Amazon Price: $1,100.00 $599.95 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 3, 2014)