How to Optimize Speaker Performance

(Last Updated On: June 18, 2018)

If you have thought that sound quality of your speakers depends only on the quality of construction, you’ve been wrong. Every speaker can sound better or worse, depending on the room where it is held. There are many things you can do to improve your speaker performance and this article will explain them thoroughly.

When it comes to speaker performance, it’s not all about buying them, bringing them home and turning them on (especially if you have a speaker system or a home theater system). No matter how much you pay for them, they may not work perfectly in your house unless you make some adjustments. There are so many things you can do and it takes some time and experimenting to achieve the best possible results.

The most important things in those situations are the acoustic properties of the room where the speakers are located as well as their position in that room. It may sound strange, but that’s the fact. Of course, we will also deal with the alternative ways of improving the sound quality in your home, office, etc.

1. Finding the right place for your speakers

Many people aren’t aware of the fact that sound interacts with everything in the room where the speakers are located. It interacts with the walls, the ceiling, the floor but also with every little piece of furniture. This is why it is so important to pay attention to achieving the harmony between your room and your speakers. Here are some things you could do to improve the performance of your equipment depending on the speaker specifications and room characteristics.

Positioning the speakers correctly

One of the things you can do is to try to find the best place for your speakers depending on the furniture arrangement.

When it comes to speaker positioning, there are two main expressions you have to learn and understand their meaning – “sweet spot” and “equilateral triangle”. We assume that you haven’t heard about these so we will explain them in detail.

Sweet spot is your position in the room in regard to the position of the speakers while the equilateral triangle refers to the form of the triangle you and your speakers have to create when listening to audio content.

The important thing is that the distance between the speakers is the same and that it equals your distance from the speakers. Of course, we are aware that not all of you have the rooms that allow forming that perfect triangle, but you should try to do it the best you can. If you have 2.1 speaker system, forming this triangle should be easy, but if you have 5.1 system or 7.1 system, you have to pay attention that the speakers next to you and behind you are nicely arranged so the distance between them is also equal and that you are in the center of the system.

The distance between the speakers and the walls is also very important. You should never forget that wall proximity affects the sound, so if your room has good acoustics, you shouldn’t place the subwoofer close to the wall as the bass will be too boomy and unpleasant. However, if the room has poor acoustics, sticking the subwoofer in the corner will improve the bass significantly.

Improving room acoustics

In case you can’t or don’t want to move your speakers, you can always do something about the furniture arrangement in the room. The important thing to remember is that every little detail can affect the performance. By every little thing, we mean walls, furniture, curtains, even cushions on the couch. The rooms with many bare walls and windows or glass doors have negative effect on the speaker performance because they reflect the sound. Arched rooms and wooden floors won’t help either. They create annoying vibrations and echo – the bass won’t be great, the mids and highs will be too sharp and the sound, in general, will be muffled. The square-shaped rooms with perfect proportions also won’t make the speakers sound better. On the other hand, the rooms with uneven dimensions will make them sound better.

Every piece of furniture or accessories can improve the speaker performance because they absorb the sound. Curtains, cushions on the couches and carpets on the floors will soak up the sound that is reflected from the walls, floor or ceiling. However, you should be careful because too many absorbents will lead to completely unnatural sound.

The point is, try to maintain the balance between the reflecting and absorbing elements but bear in mind that the reflecting part should be in front of you while the absorbing part should definitely stay behind your back.

Using stands

Depending on the type of speakers you have, you should consider using stands in order to improve the performance. Every speaker will perform better if it’s not placed directly on the floor, no matter what kind of floor you have and this especially refers to the front speakers and surround speakers.

In case you have bookshelf speakers, stands are obligatory. They are easy to get as there are so many good and inexpensive versions of stands and the speaker performance will be improved no matter which stand you pick. You can pick regular stands, stands that can be filled up with sand that should reduce the resonance or you can buy the so-called IsoAcoustics isolation stands. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that all the speakers are at the same height and at the same distance from each other and from you.

2. Using the right wires

Believe it or not, quality wires can benefit your speaker performance. Some people claim they can, while the others claim they can’t hear the difference in the sound quality with different wires. However, thicker and more durable wires should last longer and be able to deliver the necessary amount of power to your speakers. After all, you don’t want some poor-quality wires that will fall apart in no time.

In addition, make sure you have connected all the wires correctly to the amplifier/receiver. The black terminal on the speaker has to be connected to the black terminal on the amp. You do the same thing with the red terminal (connect the red to the red). If you connect them correctly, the speakers will be in phase, the left speaker will receive left signal while the right will receive right signal and their diaphragms will move simultaneously. Otherwise, they won’t be synchronized and the sound quality will be poor.  

3. Adjusting the amplifier/receiver

If you’re using a speaker system, you’re probably using some kind of amplifier/receiver. In case you didn’t know, they can also be adjusted in order to improve the sound quality. For example, you can play with the equalizer and color the sound the way you like it best. Also, you can adjust the bass output. That means the bass doesn’t have to be delivered only by subwoofer or only by the speakers. They all can participate in case you really love strong punchy bass. In case you don’t like a lot of bass or if your speakers don’t have great bass response, you can always stick to the subwoofer.

What can we say in the end? We have tried to help you and give you some pieces of advice. The rest is up to you. You have to discover the secrets of your devices and your apartment/house. You have to explore and keep trying until you get the best possible result.

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