Everybody likes music. It’s an inherent thing – since humankind first learned to beat out a basic rhythm on an stretched-out mammoth skin, or twang the dried gizzard of a lizard, we all seem to derive any pleasure from melodic, and rhythmic, stimulation.
There are those who simply ‘like’ music. It provides a pleasant distraction, something to sing along with or tap a foot to. Chris de Burgh, or Nickleback fans perhaps. Others, however, are deeply passionate about music. Playing it, creating it, or listening to it. For many people, their choice of music defines them as individuals. It can say who you are, to others. It can bring people close together or it can tear people apart.
And if you are one of those dedicated audiophiles, whose greatest pleasure is derived from sitting back and letting pre-recorded sounds wash over you, you will doubtless cherish your state-of-the-art equipment. But, even with the best turntable, amplifier, speakers, compact disc and MP3 player in the world, if your gear is not set up just right, you could be missing out on numerous intended nuances and enticing intonations.
The most important thing, without doubt, is speaker placement. It is advisable, when practical, to keep speakers away from walls, as this can audibly affect bass sounds. When it comes to arranging your speakers, the simplest and most effective way to maximize stereo sounds is to first, imagine a triangle. Place yourself at the upper point of the shape, and then ensure that the two speakers are put where the remaining two points would be, slightly angled in and facing toward you. This might seem obvious – it is! But it is surprising how many speakers are set up at different heights and angles, and consequently deliver an inconsistent sound to the listener. After all, it is worth bearing in mind that studio technicians and producers have spent many hours perfecting the balance of the music you will be listening to. To disregard their, any may say nerdy, toil is frankly, an insult. Not that they’d ever find out, of course. But just imagine how George Martin would feel if he knew that all those hours spent burning the midnight oil in Abbey Road, once the Fab Four had finally cleared off, were all for nothing.
The shape and size of a room will affect the acoustic response too, and music played in a room full of furniture will sound significantly different when played in the same space, with the furniture removed. To put it simply, sound waves emanating from your speakers, will bounce off the different surfaces they come into contact with and depending on the absorbency of the materials, they will affect the overall sound. Anyone who has ever performed on a stage will know that an empty room, at sound check, sounds way different to that same space when it’s full of people.
As long as your speakers are directed toward you, at your optimum listening position, with no physical interference, you should get a true representative of the intended stereo sound. So, now you can recline, and relax to the sonic beauty of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, get hip to the strains of Miles Davies’ Kind Of Blue, or rock out to Kiss Alive 2 (if you really must).