As an audiophile, the quality of your favourite music – be it Led Zeppelin or Mozart – is paramount. With a little care, you can turn the living room in your semi-detached house into an acoustical paradise that makes every note and every beat sound as though you were listening live.It all comes down to good speaker placement. Hide expensive speakers behind furniture and they’ll sound muffled; put a set of budget speakers in just the right place and they’ll sound like they are worth twice the price. The average home though, is not a concert hall, so how do you overcome odd-shaped walls and furniture to guarantee yourself the best sound?
So you had to be awkward and choose an abode where the rooms are odd shapes. All those little nooks and crannies suddenly become unappealing when you’re after the best sound. Avoid corners by arranging your audio/visual equipment and your seating in a rectangle. Although this will obviously mean that you have to arrange the rest of your furniture around them in the space left. But the sound is worth it!
Sound in an L-shaped room:
The trick here is first to not think about the room as one L-shaped room, but as two rectangular rooms. Ensure your sofa is positioned close to the TV/speakers and not on the other side of the room from them. Inevitably part of the room is going to suffer from poor sound, so make sure it is not the part you predominantly listen to music in. Position your sofa against one long wall and the TV and main speakers opposite it. One surround speaker will be set off from one side wall, but the other will be in the middle of the room. You may have to move it back against the wall to avoid kicking it every time you walk past, although putting it against the wall will minimise its sound quality.
The surprisingly awkward square-shaped room:
Square rooms are bad for getting great sound from your speakers. The walls are all equidistant, so waves of sound reflect from the walls and end up favouring one frequency over others, affecting the tonal quality of the sound. If you put your TV/stereo speakers into a corner at a 45-degree angle, away from reflective walls with the speakers at least 30-inches in front of the TV, that can help. Speakers are best placed in an equilateral triangle arrangement with the listener at the tip of the triangle.
Why reflective surfaces are bad:
All rooms are reflective, with sound waves reverberating from flat surfaces such as walls, tables and counters. These reflections work against the sound quality of your music or the television to varying degrees, depending upon the shape of the room and the presence of other factors, such as furniture and carpets, which can absorb sound (known as damping). While damping can nullify standing waves, which cancel certain frequencies when they reflect off a wall, damping can also significantly lower the volume of your music. Although this may be to the delight of your neighbours, it isn’t ideal for music lovers who enjoy listening to their tracks with audio clarity.