You must pay attention to this when setting up the stereo

For rich sound at home, many people like to spend a little more money. Home audio products worth more than 1.1 billion euros were sold in 2018 in Germany, as shown by the Home Electronics Market Index Germany (HEMIX).

But whether they sound good, it is not only the quality of the systems, components and speakers that is responsible. An important point is the placement of the speakers. “You can not hear stereo if you do not care about the installation,” says Ralph Werner, editor of the online hi-fi magazine “Fairaudio”. Sound character and precision of the music reproduction are clearly influenced.

Big and airy sound space

There are clear basic rules: If the speakers are a little farther apart, the sound will be more airy and lighter. If they were closer to each other, voices in the middle seemed more solid and physical. “Here, the personal taste may decide,” says the expert.

The same applies to the orientation. If the loudspeakers are aligned in parallel, the sound space becomes larger and more airy, according to Werner. By contrast, if the speakers are aimed at the ears, a higher imaging precision is created, and the distribution of voices and instruments in the sound space becomes clearer. Possible disadvantage: Heights could play aggressively exaggerated.

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Loudspeaker “angle”

Malte Ruhnke, editor-in-chief of the journal “Stereoplay”, gives an additional tip: You can “angle” the speakers so that the sound paths of the two speakers cross in front of the listening position. Effect: The heights are softer again, but the imaging precision is nevertheless promoted.

In the basic setup hi-fi fans have to experiment much less. High and midrange should be placed as close as possible to ear level, speakers and listeners as points always form an equilateral triangle.

The distance from the listener’s seat to the speakers should not be too large, Ruhnke recommends: “The correct listening distance to the speakers in most combinations is between two and two and a half meters, not more.” Then the sound is “more dynamic, neutral and clearer” ,

Good placement

The quality of a box is not the only key to good sound, its placement and room acoustics are just as important.
Photo: Florian shoe

A question of placement

Both experts also mention the distance to the walls behind and next to the speakers. If they are too close to the wall, the bass can be overemphasized. Ideal distances do not call them, as they depended on the box models. Bass weaker versions may benefit even from a close placement, so Werner.

A factor that the specialists attach great importance to is the room acoustics: “It is as important as the loudspeaker model”, emphasizes Werner and states: “A normally furnished living room is a good basis.” A sober interior design style with a lot of window area is more likely problematic.

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Too much room reverb

Ruhnke further clarifies this: “So-called reverberant surfaces produce too much room reverb, the hi-fi playback then sounds diffuse, aggressive, clattering or shrill.” Walls, windows or tables, which stand between loudspeaker and handset, were one of them.

Fabrics, carpets and the like dampened the sound, especially the heights. For the midrange, upholstered furniture is suitable as a sound absorber. Werner holds voluminous, L-shaped arranged in the corners sofas for excellent bass sound, if it booms too much. If there is a wall directly behind the Hrerplatz, he advises to place a slightly wider bookshelf there.

Sound in portions

Ultimately, a fitting room setup serves as what professionals otherwise make extravagant and sometimes costly extra: diffusers that divide the sound in portions and scatter in the room. This role is fulfilled by all roughened and irregular structures, such as a bookshelf, fabric pictures or a larger standing plant. And absorbers such as heavy curtains or curtains, which take energy to the sound – which makes the music more subdued and basses more precise.

Ruhnke summarizes: “It depends on a healthy relationship between absorption, reflection and diffusion.”