Whether you’re a hopeless audiophile with a designated listening room or you just want consistently good sound for your movie nights, one of the most important factors in sound quality is always going to be the acoustics of your room.
You can invest in the most cutting-edge equipment to get high end HIFI in Chicago, IL, but if the conditions of your room aren’t optimal or the setup of your equipment is poor, you won’t get the sound you’re paying for. If you’re designing your own listening room for a new home or remodel, or if you’re just willing to make a few changes to your existing room, these are the key principles of good room acoustics:
While the ideal dimensions vary depending on your listening preferences and musical tastes, among other factors, it’s imperative that your listening room isn’t square- or cube-shaped. The similarity of wall spaces in boxy rooms create all sorts of reflection and corruption, delaying the decay rate, interfering with pressure modes and generating deviations in your frequency response, particularly in the mid-bass and bass ranges. Instead, a fairly rectangular room will offer less interference and much better soundstaging.
While there are some speaker designs that specifically allow for placement right against the wall, in most cases, it’s important for the speakers to be placed at least a few feet away from the wall to prevent the drywall and sheetrock material from corrupting the sound.
Your location in the room is almost as important as that of your speakers, and depends upon their placement. If you opt for speakers that use electrostatics and planar magnetics, you may want to place them against one of the shorter walls in the room for better first bounce timing, which gives you plenty of space to situate your seating arrangement. If you need to place your speakers along the long wall, however, make sure your chairs or sofa have enough room to maintain an optimal listening distance from the speakers, both to get good imaging and to allow easy access, reducing the risk of damaging your equipment that tight spaces can present.
While listening rooms with bare floors and plenty of empty space may look sleek and enhance the upscale design of your sound equipment, they also provide horrible acoustics. With nothing to absorb it, the sound will bounce first off the floor and then off the ceiling, resulting in poor soundstaging and inconsistent resonance. Instead, try laying area rugs in front of the speakers and hanging the walls with some kind of textured artwork to reduce first bounce reflections, and decorate with plants to balance tone and absorb low or diffuse low or high frequencies.
While you may not have much say in your room’s configuration, just working with what you’ve got by improving the placement of your equipment, furniture and décor can dramatically improve the acoustics for your high end HIFI in Chicago, IL.