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Where should I place my Airsound speakers?

24 June 2018

If you've invested time and money an Orbitsound Airsound-enabled speaker, we think it only fair you know how to make the most of it. Here are our pro-tips for choosing the placement of your speaker.

So we like to talk about Airsound around here. Why? Well, if you've invested time and money in your own Airsound enabled speaker, we think it only fair you know how to make the most of it. Plus, it’s the only technology of its kind on the market. You may not be sure the extent of its capabilities or how to get the best from its one-of-a-kind design.

With that in mind, we thought we’d shed some light on optimising your Airsound speaker placement. While the premise of the technology is that this is far less of an issue with Airsound enabled speakers, there are still ways to make sure your output is the best it can be.

Why does speaker placement affect your sound?

Though Airsound produces a perfect stereo image wherever you are in the room, this sound image is still vulnerable to the absorptive and reflective properties of your room and whatever objects within it.

When you listen to your speaker, you're actually hearing two things. First, the sound coming directly from the speakers; the second is the room itself. To explain, the reflection of the sound off of the various surfaces in the room. The more you can reduce these reflections, the better and more authentic your sound will be.

Of course, in an ideal world, every room would be perfectly designed for listening. However, the reality is that this is not the case, but you don't have to drastically overhaul your room to get a better listening experience. In fact, just a few simple tweaks can help to make a noticeable difference.

And it doesn't have to cost you a penny.

Style choices

Your interior design has a marked effect on your sonic space. Minimalist environments may find themselves more prone to reflections, as there's less 'stuff' in the way of the walls. Busier homes may actually be better for dampening these reflections (but not if there's anything blocking your speaker, as we shall discuss shortly).

These rules around objects apply for whichever room you choose to place your speaker - kitchen, living room, bedroom or anywhere else. That said, in a room with a central point of focus (such as the TV in your living room), it can help to place your speaker where you (and your ears) are most likely to be facing.

First: test your sound

Note, you don't have to be an audio engineer or an expert to test your sound.

To make sure you’re improving your sound, you have to first establish a baseline to improve upon. The premise is simple, you want to take a track or recording that you already know very well, and use it as your reference point. It helps if this track has plenty of bass in the mix.

Change something - such as where you place your speaker - and see if there's any noticeable difference in the sound. If it sounds better, great - now change something else and try and improve it further. If it sounds worse or there's no change, return to what you were doing before.

Keep making incremental changes like this over time and you’ll vastly improve upon your sound. Easy.

Speaker placement fixes

Unblock your speakers

As obvious as it sounds, try to make sure that there's nothing blocking your speakers in any direction. As well as front facing speaker drivers, Airsound uses side firing speakers to create the full stereo image, and if they are blocked, this effect is dampened. Keeping the front and sides of the speaker clear will net you the best experience.

Shelves

If you have placed your Airsound speaker on a shelf, bring it right to the front. The shelf itself is a reflective surface, and the more of it that there is in the way of your speaker, the more reflections will hinder your sound. Try to get your speaker as clear of any surfaces or restrictions as you can.

Wall mounting, walls and corners

The current range of Orbitsound products can all be wall-mounted and come with the required fixings. If you choose to wall mount your speaker please ensure the centre speakers and side Airsound speakers are free from obstacles. It allows the Airsound audio to pump freely into the room unhindered.

If you want to place your Airsound speaker near a wall but not mount it the same principle behind reducing the reflections from a shelf will apply. By moving your Airsound device away from the wall, you reduce the amount of sound reflecting or being absorbed by your walls. Placing speakers too close to your walls tends to result in muddy, over-emphasized bass, and mid reflections.

And whilst we're avoiding walls, we definitely want to stay away from corners, as they tend to affect the sound even more than walls. If you can't avoid a corner, try to make sure that your speaker isn't placed symmetrically between the two overlapping walls, which amplifies these reflections even further.

Every room is different, which means your mileage will vary. However, we’d ideally want a 6" of minimum clearance is usually a good place to start. And if you can, the further away from the wall the better.

Min-Maxing

There are a few other simple things you can do that don't involve physically moving your speakers.

1. EQ to your taste

As with any speaker system, a little EQ can go a long way. Of course, the same EQ caveats apply too - try subtle amounts of boost to the frequency range at a time, and if you find it's 'gone too far', just reset your EQ and start again.

2. 'Run in' your speaker

If you've been using your Airsound speaker regularly for a few months, this probably doesn't apply to you. 'Running in' is a little like breaking in shoes - except with speaker drivers. The idea is that, once a speaker has had some use, the material supporting the movement of the driver 'loosens up', allowing for freer movement and a better sound.

That said, there's really no harm in not running your speakers in, as the process tends to occur naturally over the course of a few hundred hours of normal use. This is simply a way to speed up the process if you want that 'broken in' sound sooner.

The take home

And our final piece of advice? Don't worry about this too much.

There are some things you can do to get more out of your system, that’s true. But Airsound was designed to improve your listening experience by taking away the problem of the ‘stereo sweet spot’. This means that, out of the box, you already possess a speaker system that is easier to set up, and provides an amazing full stereo experience, wherever you are in the room.

This means that even if your placement is sub-optimal or your room is an unconventional shape, the effect it’ll have on your listening experience is vastly reduced.

That said, don't afraid to experiment with the placement of your speakers. These are guidelines based on our experience, but every room, every house and every Airsound listener is different. Tinker and explore to your heart’s content until you find the configuration for you. If you’ve still got some further questions about Airsound, then feel free to check out our articles here for extra insights into your Airsound product. Or just get in touch with us -- we’re always happy to gush about sound!

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