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post #1 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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10 Ways to Improve Your Sound System



Achieving high fidelity sound reproduction requires proper gear and a good environment. Here are 10 tips to make your system sound sweet.

Improving the performance of your stereo or surround system is a process that requires time, knowledge, and in some cases, money. Here are 10 ideas to get you started on the path to audio nirvana.

1. Optimize speaker placement and seating position—it's free and highly effective. Pull your speakers a few feet out from the wall. Don't sit up against the back wall. Set speaker levels and distances based on your primary listening position. To fully appreciate a 2-channel rig, try listening while precisely centered between the speakers.

2. Improve room acoustics—the room is a part of your system. Use sound absorbing and diffusing materials to tune your listening space. Add a rug between your seat and the speakers. Hang drapes in front of large windows. Bass traps help tame the peaks and nulls known as room modes.

3. Add multiple subwoofers—for better bass, nothing beats using several subs. This is not a trivial upgrade; it can be quite pricey. Also, it's tricky to position, EQ, and time-align multiple subs. The reward is smooth, deep, and powerful bass sound throughout the room.

4. Use room correction and EQ—if your gear's got it, you might as well try it. Many AVRs and pre/pros—as well as standalone processors such as the miniDSP DDRC-88A with Dirac Live—have sophisticated bass management, EQ, and room correction built in. It's no substitute for proper room setup, but when combined with the previous three items in this list, the results can be compelling.

5. Upgrade your speakers—not free, but speakers are the acknowledged bang-for-the-buck leaders when it comes to equipment upgrades. There are many styles of speakers out there; find out which ones suit your application best and try them out.

6. Add external amplification—modern AVRs are figurative powerhouses, but you can't beat dedicated amplification if you want to take full advantage of your speakers. This is especially true for speakers with low sensitivity and for surround systems in which the AVR has to spread it's limited power supply out over many channels.

7. Lower the noise floor in your room—turn off fans, air conditioners, and anything else in the room that creates white noise. To further drop the noise floor, you can seal the door to the room, add sound insulation to ceilings and walls, and buy high-flow vents for the HVAC system.

8. Add a dedicated power line—if you have big amps, a dedicated power line can make sure those amps get the juice they need when you turn up the dial.

9. Use cables that are up to the task—you don't need to spend a lot on speaker wires, but make sure they are of adequate gauge relative to length and maximum wattage. Analog interconnects should be well shielded. Avoid using HDMI cables over 25 feet in length—use an extender balun (HDMI to Cat5/6 or fiber-optic cable) for long runs.

10. Get rid of the coffee table—if there's a coffee table sitting in between you and your system, this tip is free: Move it out of the way for critical listening.



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Last edited by imagic; 08-15-2015 at 09:52 AM.
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post #2 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 09:45 AM
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I have an AVR that supplies power to my speakers, I was told there is something you can buy that will strip out that extra bit of power so you could then feed it to an amp to give more/better power to your speakers. I want to do this from my front stage, left, center, right speakers. Do you recall what that part is that does this? and does it degrade the sound or is it even worth doing?

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post #3 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 10:55 AM
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Awesome list. The only thing I'd add to the speaker placement one is to play around with toe-in with the front L/R speakers. Starting from zero to extreme toe-in one should be able to find what sounds best for the listening environment.
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post #4 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 11:15 AM
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Adding to Mark's #7 point on closing the door - if you have an open walk-through, consider adding a door or partition to close off the area - to keep the room pressurized.
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post #5 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 12:14 PM
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Mark: excellent list, especially #'s 6 and 8. My monoblocks are a nice wow factor, explaining to guests that each front speaker has its own amplifier. Also dedicated circuits are a must as you point out in #8
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post #6 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 12:59 PM
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When you start with your number 1 listed above you have to at least make one of those items include getting a measurement capability such as REW, OmniMic, XTZ, etc. Many spend more a few HDMI cables than it would cost to open the door to REW!

Room correct devices are great, but they only work with the starting point you give them... Adjusting the location of subwoofers, speakers, listening and measurement positions is often the difference between good and great results!

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post #7 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
10. Get rid of the coffee table—if there's a coffee table sitting in between you and your system, this tip is free: Move it out of the way for critical listening.
If your significant other does not approve of nixing the coffee table, just put a big bear rug on it.
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post #8 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel Chaves View Post
I have an AVR that supplies power to my speakers, I was told there is something you can buy that will strip out that extra bit of power so you could then feed it to an amp to give more/better power to your speakers. I want to do this from my front stage, left, center, right speakers. Do you recall what that part is that does this? and does it degrade the sound or is it even worth doing?
Line Output Converter. I'm sure some are more accurate than others.
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post #9 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
Line Output Converter. I'm sure some are more accurate than others.
So I would be looking for something like this?
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_161LC8I...y.html?tp=2001
Im able to find the same unit for half the price, looks like its more geared towards car stereo system verses AVR but it states it can handle up to 400watts rms being sent into it where as most of the others I have seen is like 30watts so if it can handle stripping that much power should be good for an AVR, but I could be misunderstanding this a bit.

I also value your opinion highly and many others here so you can see my signature for the AVR I use and the front stage I use and you can be honest and tell me if putting them on an amp would be worth it or not. If not then hey I saved some money, if it is then great I will start making plans

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post #10 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Kuester View Post
If your significant other does not approve of nixing the coffee table, just put a big bear rug on it.
Or swap it out for a cloth upholstered ottoman, and set a tray on top of it when you need to use it as a table.

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post #11 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 07:06 PM
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Thanks Mike. Very good thread. One question, you said never run HDMI over 20 ft, any reason? I am using Monoprice redmere HDMI between projector and oppo over 50ft. The image quality is still very good. Do you see anything wrong with it? If I use HDMI to Cat5/6 , what wires do I need ? I just don't know how to do it? Thanks.
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post #12 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Roudan View Post
Thanks Mike. Very good thread. One question, you said never run HDMI over 20 ft, any reason? I am using Monoprice redmere HDMI between projector and oppo over 50ft. The image quality is still very good. Do you see anything wrong with it? If I use HDMI to Cat5/6 , what wires do I need ? I just don't know how to do it? Thanks.
Iif HDMI works, it works. I use 25-foot HDMI cables, no issues. I probably should have mentioned "active" HDMI cables as an option.
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So I would be looking for something like this?
http://www.crutchfield.com/p_161LC8I...y.html?tp=2001
The real question is what would you power it with? Since it's made for cars they don't list the required amperage of whatever 12v ac adapter. You definitely could use pretty much any desktop pc power supply but that surely wouldn't be the most efficient route.

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post #14 of 106 Old 08-15-2015, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by ikkuranus View Post
The real question is what would you power it with? Since it's made for cars they don't list the required amperage of whatever 12v ac adapter. You definitely could use pretty much any desktop pc power supply but that surely wouldn't be the most efficient route.
Oh thats not a problem, I would match it up with an ac adapter and hard wire it in, nothing new for me, done that plenty of times

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikkuranus View Post
The real question is what would you power it with? Since it's made for cars they don't list the required amperage of whatever 12v ac adapter. You definitely could use pretty much any desktop pc power supply but that surely wouldn't be the most efficient route.
i love using atx power supplies to power things.
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post #16 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post


Achieving high fidelity sound reproduction requires proper gear and a good environment. Here are 10 tips to make your system sound sweet.

Improving the performance of your stereo or surround system is a process that requires time, knowledge, and in some cases, money. Here are 10 ideas to get you started on the path to audio nirvana.

1. Optimize speaker placement and seating position—it's free and highly effective. Pull your speakers a few feet out from the wall. Don't sit up against the back wall. Set speaker levels and distances based on your primary listening position. To fully appreciate a 2-channel rig, try listening while precisely centered between the speakers.

2. Improve room acoustics—the room is a part of your system. Use sound absorbing and diffusing materials to tune your listening space. Add a rug between your seat and the speakers. Hang drapes in front of large windows. Bass traps help tame the peaks and nulls known as room modes.[/URL]
Thanks for all the tips! I did a big 8 months lasting overhaul of my cinema and respected most of these mentioned in thr list it it help increibly.

I gor two tips in regards to the first rwo topics.

1) i bought cheap LCD TV holders and attached a piece of wood to the front. On this I attched the speakers. This way I could try different angles left and right but also up and down. Very good result.

2) for all Eiropean users, I very good company to get acustic treatment consolutation and very good quality products for a fair price is Auxfoam. I am very happy with their service!
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post #17 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 10:34 AM
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This is interesting. I relate to #2 most of all. I was considering moving the couch out from the front wall despite the fact that it isn't practical perhaps to move it more than a few inches. That runs into #10 ; there is a coffee table that I was planning to replace, or get rid of completely if I couldn't find one I like. So far I haven't. Maybe get a custom-built one if I decide for replacing the current one.

There's a definite room mode here—bass drops off significantly when one stands up—and there are speakers with different radiation patterns that may help address the issue, but for now I'll settle for working on the couch and coffee table angles.

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post #18 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 02:15 PM
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Will you stop with the corporate multiple-subwoofer propaganda already?! Funny how this so-called "necessity" was unheard of before approximately 2005!

Just like no one ever needed or even imagined bacon with their eggs until the pork industry started saying it's a must in the early 1900's!

Back to the subwoofers. Here is how the marketing meeting probably sounded:
"Well, guys, people are buying multiple speakers and never replacing them with new ones. They are also buying one subwoofer, which they upgrade even less often than the speakers. All sources from audio experts, to calibration software, to Reader's Digest have told people that soundtracks need one subwoofer, if any at all. We need to change this perception and create incentive to buy more than one subwoofer. We did it with speakers, we can do it with subwoofers! Let's do this, people!"

Last edited by WebEffect; 08-16-2015 at 02:29 PM.
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post #19 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Will you stop with the corporate multiple subwoofer propaganda already?! Funny how this so-called "necessity" never existed before approximately 2005!

Just like no one ever needed or even imagined bacon with their eggs until the pork industry started saying it's a must in the early 1900's. LOL!
Propaganda? Most certainly not. There's plenty of good science behind my suggestion. It's strictly optional, as are all audio upgrades. However in this case were talking about fact, not an opinion: the benefits of using multiple subs - smoother response and lower distortion not to mention higher output and more extension - are easily demonstrable.

The deliciousness of bacon is also easily demonstrated with science!

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post #20 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 02:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Will you stop with the corporate multiple-subwoofer propaganda already?! Funny how this so-called "necessity" was unheard of before approximately 2005!

Just like no one ever needed or even imagined bacon with their eggs until the pork industry started saying it's a must in the early 1900's!
This is crazy talk. Knocking both bacon and multiple subs together in one post is just....wrong. I think I'll put something on to give my multiple subs a bit of a workout while I grill up some pork belly....
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post #21 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 02:52 PM
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This is crazy talk. Knocking both bacon and multiple subs together in one post is just....wrong. I think I'll put something on to give my multiple subs a bit of a workout while I grill up some pork belly....
My subs always sound better with a bacon and egg sandwich.
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post #22 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 03:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Just like no one ever needed or even imagined bacon with their eggs until the pork industry started saying it's a must in the early 1900's!
Are you a nutritional anthropologist or were you there at the time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Back to the subwoofers. Here is how the marketing meeting probably sounded:
"Well, guys, people are buying multiple speakers and never replacing them with new ones. They are also buying one subwoofer, which they upgrade even less often than the speakers. All sources from audio experts, to calibration software, to Reader's Digest have told people that soundtracks need one subwoofer, if any at all. We need to change this perception and create incentive to buy more than one subwoofer. We did it with speakers, we can do it with subwoofers! Let's do this, people!"
So going from mono to stereo sound is corporate propaganda and Reader's Digest is the source you're going to cite for the need (or lack) of a subwoofer?

Your thinking is coudy at best, you might be suffering from hyponatremia (low blood sodium) have some bacon and relax.
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post #23 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Will you stop with the corporate multiple-subwoofer propaganda already?! Funny how this so-called "necessity" was unheard of before approximately 2005!

Just like no one ever needed or even imagined bacon with their eggs until the pork industry started saying it's a must in the early 1900's!

Back to the subwoofers. Here is how the marketing meeting probably sounded:
"Well, guys, people are buying multiple speakers and never replacing them with new ones. They are also buying one subwoofer, which they upgrade even less often than the speakers. All sources from audio experts, to calibration software, to Reader's Digest have told people that soundtracks need one subwoofer, if any at all. We need to change this perception and create incentive to buy more than one subwoofer. We did it with speakers, we can do it with subwoofers! Let's do this, people!"
It's easily measurable. All you need is a mic and REW, and you can easily see the increase in spl and taming of room issues. Now, placement is critical...there are exactly 2 places in my room where the sub works. Each has its benefits. Can't know this unless you have the ability to measure. And, bacon is wonderful with eggs, or on a BLT, or by itself. Why do you have to insult bacon, cmon man.. Totally uncalled for
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post #24 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 05:34 PM
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Hey subwoofer companies, if we need two subwoofers, give a significant discount on the second one (right now you provide none).

I have to admit, the multiple subwoofer campaign is a brilliant way of doubling a product's sales and the guy who thought of it probably got promoted big time. Especially since there is no way to really prove that you DON'T need a second one, because placebo effect will make sure that people "hear" a difference in demo rooms and feel a need. Yes...even with non-directional bass that already fills a room. Even better when you can show a difference on a graph which the ear won't hear anyway.

Brilliant, just brilliant.
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post #25 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Hey subwoofer companies, if we need two subwoofers, give a significant discount on the second one (right now you provide none).

I have to admit, the multiple subwoofer campaign is a brilliant way of doubling a product's sales and the guy who thought of it probably got promoted big time. Especially since there is no way to really prove that you DON'T need a second one, because placebo effect will make sure that people "hear" a difference in demo rooms and feel a need. Yes...even with non-directional bass that already fills a room. Even better when you can show a difference on a graph which the ear won't hear anyway.

Brilliant, just brilliant.
LOL... Nike made a killing convincing consumers they needed a runner for each foot.
How crazy is that, right ?
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post #27 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Will you stop with the corporate multiple-subwoofer propaganda already?! Funny how this so-called "necessity" was unheard of before approximately 2005!

Just like no one ever needed or even imagined bacon with their eggs until the pork industry started saying it's a must in the early 1900's!

Back to the subwoofers. Here is how the marketing meeting probably sounded:
"Well, guys, people are buying multiple speakers and never replacing them with new ones. They are also buying one subwoofer, which they upgrade even less often than the speakers. All sources from audio experts, to calibration software, to Reader's Digest have told people that soundtracks need one subwoofer, if any at all. We need to change this perception and create incentive to buy more than one subwoofer. We did it with speakers, we can do it with subwoofers! Let's do this, people!"
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post #28 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by prepress View Post
there is a coffee table that I was planning to replace, or get rid of completely if I couldn't find one I like. So far I haven't. Maybe get a custom-built one if I decide for replacing the current one.
Here's one you'll like:
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-di...ble-build.html
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post #29 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 08:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by WebEffect View Post
Hey subwoofer companies, if we need two subwoofers, give a significant discount on the second one (right now you provide none).

.
You obviously aren't paying attention, or shopping the wrong sub companies, as this is easily done. Haven't run into a decent demo in a store of a sub, though.
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post #30 of 106 Old 08-16-2015, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post
Haven't run into a decent demo in a store of a sub, though.
Or of much else, for that matter.
But we've got Reader's Digest for that, after all.
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