Room for change

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It is comforting to feel our rooms are fixed and it’s our equipment that must change. And while it’s true that changing equipment has an immediate impact on what we hear, I am not always convinced it’s in our best interest to let our guard down where the room is concerned.

Our stereo system and our rooms work together in a kind of unwitting partnership. We need our rooms for their reflective support yet it is that very support that gets in the way of perfect sound. Walls, ceilings, and floors promote unwanted standing waves: bass frequency that bunch up near the room boundaries, and makes audio trouble. Truth is, most of us haven’t taken the time to get our rooms and systems as right as they could be. That takes time, patience, and a bit of knowledge.

I am certainly not putting myself up as a shining example of how great rooms should sound. Heck, I am as lazy as the next when it comes to working with the room. Maybe lazier. But, at least I have an excuse. Moving 1.2 tons of speakers around for best position in the room is not a project one takes on lightly.

For most of us, however, it’s not such a big deal to reposition our listening position or where our speakers sit in the room.

One of the easiest ways of determining how well your system works is through the bass. How even are the bass frequencies at your listening position? Easy enough to put on a Rob Wasserman track and walk the room listening for evenness.

There’s likely room for change with any of our systems if we’re looking for an easy improvement.