Getting good HT sound in small spaces and placing speakers on a console

 It is my observation in recent times that when some of the new people to the fun world of HT have asked for advice in setting up their new HT den and systems,they are considering placing their front speakers onto their new consoles.

We don't really have a choice for the centre speaker, it has to sit somewhere central, and that's usually where the console is.

But bear in mind, that the average console that your contractor / ID uses, is made out of plywood, MDF or some similar material. All these will resonate like a drum. So unless you are willing to invest in some isolation or dampening material, you won't be getting the best out of your speakers.

If you really need to put the centre speaker on a console, use good solid wood for the console, like Teak, Mahogany etc. And use dampeners like Auralex Mopads under them.

The name "bookshelf speakers" is a true misnomer. Bookshelf speakers are not meant to be on bookshelves, cabinets, or the like. Standmount is a better name.

So to place those fancy front speakers on a console surface is simply asking for trouble.

No space? Aesthetic reasons you say?

Well be prepared for a compromise in sound then.

Placing the subwoofer onto the console or even inside the console is another really bad idea..

And if you place the centre speaker high up above the TV, it won't allow a coherent soundfield. Ideally the tweeters of the speakers should be around the same height for the front three.

So if you picked that 2m wide spot for your HT setup, slow a step down and think a little about the physics and having large bookshelf speakers planted at the two corners of this space just doesn't make sense. And it should not surprise you and it's pointless to think of an amp with 'tight bass' if you have a concrete wall and a glass panel next to this space.

A mid-level set of satellites, a subwoofer sited in a better spot make give you a better yield, especially if you can align the front three speakers.The smaller speakers will have less room interactions than their larger counterparts in a smaller space.

So at the end of the day as our living space decreases in size, our choice of speakers may need to be ameliorated too. You can't expect a floorstander to sound good in a tiny space, just as you can't make a small standmount speaker fill a hall.

Just my 2cents worth...

I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.


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