Sonic coloring to the rescue of musical serenity.


You really like your audio system.
It delivers music.
And you love music.
Choosing and assembling your audio system was a challenging quest.
Now your audio guru friend steps in and wants to assess and improve your room acoustics.
You say, “Stop, I just want to sit in my comfy chair and listen to my music.

I get it.
Even many audio enthusiasts avoid acoustics.
The audio term conjures visions of complicated physics.
It creates images of an expensive and chaotic room remodel.

But you didn’t get it.

Your audio guru’s concern is sound.
Your room can kidnap musical goose-bump thrills and serenity.
Sound you dearly paid for.
But here’s the good news.
You can reclaim much of it without mind-bending physics or that costly chaotic remodel.

Yes, you can.

But first, let’s dump that intimidating word — acoustics.
Let’s call this sonic coloring.
Ah, can you feel the anxiety and dread float away?

Sonic Coloring

Sonic coloring is easy entry-level room tuning.
It’s comprised of four sonic color adjustments.
1. Speaker placement
2. Floor covering
3. Noise
4. Component menus

1. Speaker Placement.

Low-frequency sound (bass) from an audio system agitates the air in a room. It creates undesirable resonating low-frequency waves of sound that distort the music. Audio engineers define the distorting waves as room modes. Speaker placement can minimize room mode distortion. Good placement produces tighter bass and warmer vocals. It’s easy. This LINK outlines how.

2. The Floor

Sound reflects off room boundaries – walls, ceiling, floor.
Our sonic color concern is the 1st arriving floor reflections at your listening position from your front speakers.
The first reflections can distort vocals, high-frequency sound, and sound field impression.
Carpet or a large floor rug between your front speakers and your comfy chair minimizes the distortion.
Additional carpet/rug padding further improves the result.
The carpet/rug produces warmer vocals and improved sound-field imaging.

3. Noise

Competing unwanted sound (noise) threatens a musical experience.
Noise springs from within and without your room.

To start, close your windows to reduce the outdoor noise of loud neighbors and traffic.
I know it’s obvious.
Your audio system may share space with other living areas that create noise.
Kitchen appliances and water pouring from a faucet are an example.
Then noisy guests may inhabit a dining area.
If you can, place your system in another room.
A quieter room improves musical enjoyment.

4. Component Menus

Audio/video components include menu settings that can improve or compromise performance.
Many include a labyrinth menu within menus.
Confront this challenge.
Review your menu instructions.
Here are two menu examples to look for.

1. Speaker Setting – Small vs Large
The small speaker menu setting engages a high-pass filter that protects a small speaker from loud bass.
However, the small setting compromises a full-range speaker’s performance.
Select the large setting for a high-fidelity full-range speaker.

2. Digital Setting – Bitstream vs PCM
Digital sources (such as BluRay disc players) include the option of selecting Bitstream or PCM.
Bitstream delivers decoded digital audio files such as Dolby Surround to an AV receiver HDMI input.
PCM permits the connected receiver or a preamp to handle the digital decoding.
Choose PCM unless the connected receiver includes an outdated digital decoder.

That’s it for today

Wait, this just in!

Your audio-guru-friend found at the side of the road choking on this blog.
Console his concern. You will still contact him when you’re prepared for that remodel.

Links for the brave.

AV Room Service
Auralex Acoustics 101
Ed’s AV Handbook

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