STEP 1: Keep cables short
Keep cable runs short if they are unbalanced.
Long unbalanced cables invite noise.
STEP 2: Position speakers
Measure speaker placement so that your listening position is the third
point of a triangle. The high-frequency drivers, or tweeters, should be
approximately the same listening height as your ears.
STEP 3: Isolate your speakers
Move speakers away from the wall. Air, and the isolation around a
speaker it creates, is your friend. Speakers should never be closer
than 6 inches; 12 inches is even better. If you can’t do this, try
steps 4 and 5.
STEP 4: Soften it with foam
Put your speakers on a set of Auralex MoPads or extremely dense, medical-rated foam (Auralex is less expensive).
STEP 5: Reduce reflections from the wall
Put acoustic foam squares behind speakers, mounted to the wall. This
will reduce reflections from the wall, giving you more accurate sound.
STEP 6: Soften your listening space
Put a pattern of foam squares behind your listening space to kill
reflections from behind your head. Never, ever use egg crate foam
intended for bedding. It’s highly flammable and illegal in all 50
states. After a few weeks, it starts to break down when exposed to
sunlight and can leave debris in your computer and other equipment.
STEP 7: Drape your walls
Consider putting heavy drapes on the back wall. Or, build soffits or
cornices made from insulation and acoustically transparent fabric.
STEP 8: Keep the awards in the lobby
Avoid putting glassed picture frames in the listening area. Your award certificates need to go somewhere else.
STEP 9: Add acoustic ceiling tiles
Suspend flags, moving blankets or other non-reflective material from
the ceiling. Auralex and Sonex make great acoustic tile replacements
that are very inexpensive.
STEP 10: Fill up the corners
In corners of the room, put plants or other absorptive/diffusive
materials, such as an Auralex LENRD-a low-end noise reduction device-to
reduce bass reflection and trap low frequencies.
Douglas Spotted Eagle, Managing Producer, Sundance Media Group
Douglas Spotted Eagle, producer and founder of the VASST (www.vasst.com) training series, is the author or co-author of several digital media books, including HDV: What You NEED to Know ( VASST, also available on Amazon.com). His music and media production have earned him Grammy, DuPont, Peabody, Telly and Nammy awards.
Spot says keep in mind…
Audio reflects differently at various frequencies. Imagine a pool ball
bouncing off the sides of a pool table. This is similar to what’s
happening in your room, though it’s not quite the same with sound
waves: Imagine the ball being split into different pieces at various
velocities, depending on their mass.
There’s more to consider: Sound coming from the audio speaker is
positive energy, while sound reflecting off of a wall is negative
energy. At some point, they will collide with each other. These
out-of-phase waves, called "nodes," are no big deal and are part of any
room/speaker combination. It’s where the nodes occur that can be a
There is virtually no such thing as a "flat" room or a room that’s
balanced across the entire frequency spectrum, excluding test
facilities and special designs. Know that your room will have spaces
that are louder and softer at various frequencies.
Sundance Media Group
Stockton, Utah 84071