Turn the Beat Around: What Not to Do for Optimizing Your Stereo System for Music

Certain media technologies, like surround sound, are typically thought of as relatively modern inventions. Surprisingly, the first developed surround sound system was actually unveiled in the 1940’s, during World War II. As time progressed, innovations were made, most notably the introduction of Dolby surround sound in the 1970’s. Listening to music at home these days can almost capture the experience of seeing a live concert performance. If your sound set-up isn’t quite up to par, there are a number of things you can do to improve it. In the same vein, however, there are some things you do not need to do for optimal listening at home.

Don’t Shelve Your Bookshelf Speakers

Ok, you’ve spent time researching, comparing, and customizing your home sound system. Now- have you optimized your speaker arrangement? A very common mistake people tend to make is placing their “bookshelf speakers” on an actual enclosed bookshelf. Sure, they’re called bookshelf speakers, but maybe it’s irony. Placing speakers on a shelf can trap and muffle the sound, or worse yet, cause annoying vibrations from redirecting the sound in a partially enclosed space. If you want the best listening experience, consider stands or even wall mounts. This allows the music to be projected outward and directly into the room, versus bouncing on interfering surfaces. Another way to improve the sound visa vie arrangement is by angling your speakers. Aiming your speakers in the direction of your seating will allow a clear path for the sound to reach you. For your subwoofer, it’s a little different. Bass sound is less about the direction of travel, and a bit more about where in the room the subwoofer produces the best bass. Play around with your subwoofer location to find the best sound for it specifically.

Ditch Unnecessary Speakers 

Music is most often recorded with stereo listening in mind, and the common stereo set-up actually only uses a right channel, left channel, and a subwoofer (if you like the bass down low). That’s 2 or 2.1 for channels. Implementing a stereo system with any more than that, like the typical surround sound set-up with 5.1 to 7.1, won’t really benefit you or improve the sound quality in any way. Instead of tacking on extra speakers (useful only for movie-watching), invest that money in a higher quality 2 or 2.1 channel equipment for your system. Unless your focus is on a movie experience, you also don’t need to incorporate a sound bar for your set. These are optimized for movies and television as an alternative to a multi-speaker system by compacting multiple speakers into one unit. While they can deliver clear audio for dialogue, the clarity of music tends to get muddled.

In a world where music has never been more accessible or simpler to listen to, the demand for better sound quality is at an all-time high. You don’t always need top-of-the-line high fidelity equipment to have a good listening experience at home. Sure, it can certainly help, but with a little thought and consideration to your set-up, you can drastically improve your arrangement without breaking the bank.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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