You will surely like to listen to your favorite music with the best possible sound, and you already have a stereo. If you don't want to have to buy new components, or make sure you're going to make the most of them when you buy them, this interests you. We'll see five tricks that won't cost you a euro and with which your team will sound much better. Before you start, anyway, a sixth free trick: listen to a lot of music. Listen to it on your computer, but listen to it in a store or at the home of a friend or acquaintance amateur. Listening to other teams you will learn tricks and you will discover "other sounds" that will open … your ears.


1: Speakers at ear level

All speaker manufacturers design them so that they emit frequencies in a linear fashion on their axis. That is, looking them straight ahead, at the height of the tweeter or midway between that (tweeter) and the woofer or midwoofer. They do it this way so that let's place them at a height that matches that of our ears when we listen to them And normally directed towards us (don't put them "parallel").

5 free tricks to improve the sound of your stereo 3

The tweeter should be at ear level.

Here is the first free trick: never put us speakers on top of a bookshelf. It is something we have seen many times, to prevent them from aesthetically interfering (do you think so?) And destroys the sound they emit. No speaker manufacturer or designer expects to have a ceiling (or wall) so close. In doing so, especially they lose treble because we listen at an extreme angle to the axis of the speaker. But all frequencies suffer, and also the expected musical coherence. Remember: put the speakers at the height of your ears.

2: Leave the speakers free

The following is related to the previous one: “boxing” a speaker is the best way to sound fatal! The speakers and with few exceptions they are designed to sound in free space. That is, without having walls or other surfaces nearby. Even the so-called "shelving boxes" should never be placed on a shelf. They sound best placed on dedicated feet (minimum support surface), not on a piece of furniture or shelf. And also, apart from both the back wall and the side walls.

Best stereo sound (4)

Not that way! It's fine for the photo … but nothing more.

Those speakers that have rear bass reflex output are usually placed as far apart as possible from the rear wall. But the truth is that it does not depend on that: everyone benefits from a minimum “air” behind. That prevents serious frequencies from being amplified too much by the proximity of walls (yes). But above all it eliminates interference from early rebounds of the sound with the speaker itself. The sound will be cleaner and more expansive and "open."

3: Match distances

This trick may seem obvious, but I assure you that few teams do it. The two speakers of a stereo system they must be the same distance from the main listening point. Do not rely on doing it by eye: take a measuring tape (or a rope) and fix it where you usually sit. Pull up to a box, measuring at the height of the tweeter (tweeter), and then the other. They must be identical, and when we say identical is that a difference of less than one centimeter it shows!

Best stereo sound (1)

The speakers at the same distance from the listener, forming an equilateral triangle.

For the stereo effect to "work," the sound of the two boxes must reach our ears at the same time. When this is the case, the magic is completely recreated, which consists in showing the musicians in front of us in a three-dimensional sound scene. Just as seeing with two eyes allows us to see in three dimensions, listening with two ears allows that effect (without needing more than two speakers). The perfect fit allows you to appreciate it better, and also avoid lack of coherence between channels. Centered voices, for example, will sound better and clearer and more defined..

4: What do you have around?

The room where we have the equipment and its acoustics are as much, or more, important than the equipment itself. We have heard "basic" equipment in well-equipped rooms sounding better than millionaire equipment badly located … and not a few times. We have already pointed out the importance of placing the boxes (height and distances) but what else is in the room? It should not be bare: the smooth walls reflect the sound generating reverberation. Bookstores, shelves with discs, plants … the more surfaces, the better. The crystals do not cover the same, so if you have large windows or doors, prepare thick curtains.

Nude room

This room would sound fatal! Too naked and with many smooth surfaces.

Also the floor and ceiling affect: on the floor it is common or it will be easy to place a carpet. The ceiling may be more complicated to treat naturally but it may not be so critical, and it is not about "over-killing" the acoustics. That sometimes happens if the living room has large and dense sofas, and lots of absorbent material. Y if there is furniture in the path of sound, put them aside when you listen (from the boxes to your ears, free). The typical low table, or a piece of furniture between the boxes (the old tube TVs were a problem), do not help.

5: Check the amplifier settings

Almost any stereo amplifier (new or old) allows some adjustments. With the speakers properly positioned, the “balance” must be centered or disconnected. And input tone controls ("bass" and "treble") also centered. Activate the "pure direct" mode or similar, if available. So you will hear the source signal without changes… that is, no more changes than the boxes and your room make. If despite placing them spaced your speakers tend to sound too serious (resonances) for example, it will be good to lower that control somewhat to avoid it. If the room has a lot of absorption (sofas, fabrics), you may need to raise the treble somewhat to compensate. When the room is bright (poor absorption) and the music sounds squeaky, you will have to lower something sharp. Try not to play too much with these controls, or exaggerate: the best chef (or musician) would not like you to go with salt or spicy …

5 free tricks to improve the sound of your stereo 4We cannot forget to check the amplifier settings.

If your amplifier is for home theater, the good news is that you will have more adjustments. Even so, the distance between the main boxes (left and right stereo) is still “sacred”… But it will be possible to compensate for imbalances because, with digital processing, delays apply, especially for the rest of the speakers (effects). Even with their own measuring microphones, they adjust the response by compensating (in part) the acoustic defects of the room. But that is another story.

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