Table of contents:
- Where to put the boxes?
- Bass: the third in the league
- Hollywood sound
- Where to with the cables?
- Bushings over bushings
- Pinch or plug in?
- Which plug is suitable for what?
- Space-saving: Soundbar instead of surround boxes
- Headphones & plugs
Put an end to the sound of porridge: Here you will find tips on how to enjoy music from the hi-fi system in your own four walls.
Hi-fi systems and surround systems - in the brochure they are all world champions. But which product you finally buy depends on the price, trusting an eloquent seller or a friend who recommends. And at home? It does not necessarily sound as exhilarating as one imagined. Often, however, it is not the brand and technology of the new acquisition, but the fact that one does not master the basic rules of good sound, with which the existing system can often be properly optimized.
Where to put the boxes?
Speakers belong together. If they are too close together, there is no spatial impression with the best will in the world, they practically sound like one. But what does that mean: apart? The small boxes on the PC are not a meter apart and sound like stereo! Reason: Because your ears are about as far away from the speakers as they are from each other. That should also be the case on a large scale - you can sit closer, but not further away.
Second condition: midrange and treble speakers (i.e. the normal ones) should be at the ear level of the listener when you are sitting comfortably in the armchair. The boxes are on the floor with you? Up with it, if necessary on a stand!
Third condition: Usually you hide the speakers in some corners, possibly behind the curtain. Out with it, distance from the walls - sound needs air! His death: when the boxes are on the shelf. What do you want from a sound that has to curve around your books, flower pots and wedding photos before it reaches your eardrum?
Bass: the third in the league
It is the other way around with the bass box. For some years now, people have been filtering out the deepest sounds and reproducing them in a separate, large bass speaker. The practical thing about it: Because the human ear can hardly localize low frequencies, it doesn't matter where you place the subwoofer - somewhere in the room it will be buzzing to itself.
Stereo sound may be enough for pure music reproduction - as a movie fan you are not yet in the middle of the action. With Dolby Surround, of course: This technology, which was developed by Dolby Laboratories, extends the system to a multi-channel system. Surround needs at least five speakers: front left and front right, the center signal (center) and surround left and right, as the sixth often the woofer (the bass). In order to be able to enjoy the multi-channel surround sound, these sound sources must be arranged in a square, ideally again at ear level, with the listener's optimal sitting position in the middle. This is the only way the sound moves when watching a film in the direction in which the getaway car is moving.
Where to with the cables?
The more boxes, the more cables - every speaker wants to be connected to the central control unit. Especially for the rear speakers you have to come up with an invisible variant that does not hinder the vacuum cleaner. As the owner of a new house, you can have empty pipes installed in the walls, into which you will later pull in the box strips.
In general, you should not be satisfied with the enclosed cables. These rarely correspond to the level of the hi-fi components and the loudspeakers and should rather be replaced by well-shielded cables that you can buy from specialist dealers. Skirting boards offer a way of optically disappearing cables afterwards. Or you can immediately choose a system that sends the signals to the loudspeakers by radio. The whole thing is called Dolby Surround Wireless.
Bushings over bushings
If you buy a new amplifier (i.e. the central control unit, which generates the multi-channel sound from existing sources and passes it on to the loudspeakers), the seller will give you a detailed lecture on the advantages of the different models. This gives you the opportunity to take a long look at the back of the devices. Because with all due respect to technical subtleties and expertise: In the end, all components that you already have at home must be able to be connected to the part - and a few more that may also be added: TV, Blu-Ray player, tuner (radio), possibly a mini projector or an old cassette deck, possibly the vinyl record player. The more sockets the device has in reverse, the less likely you are to face a problem when you want to add to the system, for example with an MP3 player or an Internet radio. Or what the future of hi-fi and home cinema has in store for us.
Pinch or plug in?
You should pay particular attention to firm and hard-wearing connections for the speaker cables. Especially on cheap devices, there are no plug connections in the form of sockets, but only clips in which you can clamp the stripped cable ends - more than good. If the lines are exposed to a train (for example when vacuuming), the connection can easily break. Solid plug-in connections that can withstand even a slight pull are better.
Which plug is suitable for what?
Cinch connector: Cinch connections are widely used in the audio / video sector. Color coding: For audio, white applies to the left channel and red applies to the right. For videos, yellow means composite video
Jack plug: Mainly for connecting wired headphones and for audio connections on the computer (sound card). Shaft diameter different, most common: 3.5 mm
HDMI connector: For the transmission of digital audio and video signals. HDMI is the digital successor to the Scart sockets. Since the video data is not compressed, lossless transmissions are possible.
Optical connector: In the video and audio sector, data is often transmitted via light waves. Two standards have been established for this - the Sony / Philips Digital Interface (SPDIF) and the Toslink developed by Toshiba.
Space-saving: Soundbar instead of surround boxes
A soundbar can be a space-saving alternative to the surround sound system. With special effects, it imitates the surround sound of a surround accusation with a single speaker box - one speaks of virtual surround sound. Although the sound is generally not as good as that of good speaker systems, it is usually better than the sound that the TV sets bring.
The Samsung HW-K335 / ZG soundbar with subwoofer.
The devices are connected via the HDMI interface or via a digital optical connection. In addition to saving space, a major advantage of sound bars is that there is no need to lay cables across the room. The sound from smartphones or tablet PCs can also be transmitted via the Bluetooth interface, and many also have a USB interface. Another option is to record audio streams from a sound server via WLAN.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones II is a popular headphone model with Bluetooth and noise-canceling technology.
Headphones & plugs
The hi-fi system is up? Headphones are recommended for undisturbed listening to the sounds. The most important factors in headphones are good sound and pleasant wearing comfort. Current models can be connected by cable, but often also work wirelessly, mostly via Bluetooth. Other features include digital noice canceling, a technology that can filter out ambient noise, or the connection to virtual voice assistants such as Google's Assistant or Amazon's Alexa.
Photo: iStock / serezniy