Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Mar 12

Simple ways to get the best speaker sound

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This might be a little too close to your speakers. . .

You’ve mounted and calibrated your flat screen TV. Your cables are all in place. And, you’ve got your best speakers at hand for the final games this March.

But what about your speaker sound? Even with the magic that is auto-calibration from your receiver, your speakers may not be living up to their full potential. But, with these four tips for the best speaker sound, that’s about to change.

Rel subwoofer

How could your room hate a speaker like this?

Your room hates your subwoofer

If your room is pretty square (the shape, that is, not the decor), you may be losing some frequencies at around 37Hz from your subwoofer. This happens because of standing sound waves in your room, which can cause frequencies around that low (but still audible) range cancel each other out. So how do you deal with it? One of the easiest ways is to move your subwoofer, and put it at an odd angle, or you can break up the acoustics in your room — open a door, or add something large and sound dampening to the middle of a wall. While you may feel like you’re messing up your feng shui, it’s better than messing with your sound.

What size are these? Surprisingly both would be small.

Suspicious speaker size selection

How big your speakers are matters — at least when it comes to calibrating them. Most receivers recognize two sizes of speakers: large and small. While physical size is sometimes a good indicator of which speaker is which, what the large and small designations refer to is actually their frequency range. When your speakers are set to small, bass is re-routed through your subwoofers, while when they’re set to large, only low frequency effects (the boom in an explosion, for example) will go to the subwoofer. Speakers that can handle low bass (usually down to around 35Hz), and that have dedicated drivers to handle it, should be set to large, while other types should be set to small. If you’ve got a really great subwoofer, like the Rel T2, your best speaker sound may be achieved by setting your speakers to small — regardless of their actual size.

Improper speaker placement

Looks comfortable, right? It's also all wrong!

Keep your calibration mic around

I know, I know. . . keeping one more small piece of speaker equipment in your home may make you feel like you’re one step closer to being featured on A&E, but calibration isn’t a one time thing. Rooms and speakers change over time, and even if you only tend to make small changes to your room, those can add up over time. While you shouldn’t be recalibrating every day, doing it once every year or two can help make sure you’re always getting the best possible sound. Now about all that other stuff you’ve got lying around. . .


Okay... maybe you'll use something a little bigger for the calculations.

Pulling out the protractor

While fine-tuning your speakers might require some pretty funky equipment, hanging them just requires a little knowhow and maybe a protractor. Setting up a 7.1? Imagine your listening area as a circle (with the TV at the top) and make sure your rear speakers sit at around a 95-degree angle and rest above your ear level — from where you sit that is, just in case you’re of the height class that could have been playing this March — for the best speaker sound. Make sure your center is center, and put your front speakers at around 25 degrees. For your rear speakers, the 145-degree mark (facing forward, sitting about at the same, but opposite, angle of your front speakers). Once you’ve got it done on one side, go down the other side.

Do you have any other tips for getting a good speaker calibration? Share them with us in the comments!

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