Categories: Applied Science

Audiophile 101 (for two speakers)

The single most important difference you can make in your music listening experience for the low, low cost of zero cents is geometry. If you haven’t tried optimizing the geometry before, I promise you’ll be totally astonished–it only takes a few minutes to check it out, it’s totally free, and the leverage is precisely as large for crappy plastic PC speakers as it is for professional studio monitors.

Here’s the basic recipe:

  1. The two speakers and your listening position should be the corners of an equilateral triangle; “listening position” means the center of your head when you’re focused on listening to music; check this with a ruler;
  2. Both speakers should be oriented directly towards your head; check this visually–you shouldn’t be able to see any of the sides of either speaker from your listening position; adjust as needed;
  3. As much as possible, try to keep the speakers level with your listening position: neither higher, not lower;
  4. The smaller the speakers, the smaller the triangle–and the lower the optimal listening volume;
  5. Do your best to avoid placing the speakers just in front of massive objects; both “massive objects” and “just behind” should be scaled with the speakers–for room-sized speakers, “massive objects” are walls, and “just behind” is less than 30-100 cm away; for PC speakers, “massive objects” are the PC itself (or larger), and “just behind” is less than 15-25 cm away.

Try it, I promise it’s going to be a more meaningful experience than buying gold-plated connectors for $200 speakers!

Article info

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *