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How to set up a Hifi System by Mind Map: How to set up a Hifi System
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How to set up a Hifi System

components

Speakers

different types require different treatment

types, dipole, radiate to the front and back, should be placed some certain way off the back wall, "shelf" speaker, often sound better, if arranged in a bookshelf with using the surrounding to build a big plain area (widening the front panel with books e.g.), floorstanding speaker

Amplification

Source

setups

step 1

place your speakers, for serious listening symmetry is very important, space to back and side walls should be the same for each speaker, placement solves booming bass problems if properly done, try out different positions, certain space should be omitted - about 80cm to each wall leads to clearer sound, reflections are not seen as same sound source, so speaker is responsible for stereo location of instruments, not speaker+wall

choose your listening position, symmetry is important, no surfaces near listening position as they will introduce reflections, Back wall, obey the stereo triangle, place speakers in a triangle, where space between speakers and speaker(s) and listener is the same, vary by taste, more stereo basis (space btw. speakers) gives wider and airier image, could lead to "hole in the middle", use a less broad basis when this appears, less stereo basis leads to a more compact and more energetic image

check room acoustics, A boomy room makes boomy music, Use big furniture if possible, Bass absorbers are a possible solution if it is optically acceptable, add carpet between speakers and listening position, An echoic room will imprint its acourstic signature on the whole sound, use curtains, room tratment for leveling reverberation may be a solution if acceptable, if severe problems occur, ask an acoustics speacialist, do not spend tons of bucks for tuning of any kind until this is not fixed or at least ok

listen to music!

step 2

think about electronic room equalization, if in focus, there are some systems which literally "transform" the sound of already good sounding equipment, it is the best solution to achieve speakers to sound as equal as possible, even more symmetry

listen to music!

step 3

zero money tuning, wisely place equipment, speakers, speakers should stand very firm, "spikes" or hard supports like wooden blocks can help in better stereoimage, Spikes could lead to a hard or harsh sound, Use hard material which does not sound harsh, in some situations a soft or floating placement, mostly of bass replroducing cabinets, helps the system to sound less boomy, Use blue-tac for a start, holds firm, children approved, cannot move speakers anymore, reason, tweeters e.g. move only a little bit, imagine the cabinet moves (as placed wobbly) because of a bass slam while the tweeter tries to create a fine sound, tweeter will move (by cabinet) more that own sound creation would cause it, Modulation smears and distorts wanted result, speaker should be placed very accourate, symmetry according to sound reproduction is better when speaker placement is accourate in the mm region!, components, components should stand firm, Do not stack!, optical drives should be placed levelled, if a component crated vibration, try to get it absorbed somehow, bluetac or bluetac like material on housing screws does some interesting effect, except of looking ugly, seems to damp higher frequency vibration possible in screwed connections, a bit bluetac changes - mostly improves - the sound for nearly no cost, power, Disclaimer: Don't mess with power! Mains power is lethal! You should know what you are doing, otherwise ask somebody who does!, always use 1 wall outlet, if you use several devices use 1 power strip, check component mains "phase", it is a fact, that most components sound different regarding of power-plug direction, power flow through transformer creates current in housings, leads to voltage potential on housing, optimize phase for best sound, you can measure voltage between unconnected components by measuring between the housings, different potential causes current flowing through connection you do not want, the less potential difference, the better the sound, check positions in powerstrip for best sound, amp at first or amp at last position are mostly different sounding, better sound means mostly less harsh or irritating, this seems to be correct for most real improvements in sound, hint: more real refinement e.g. does not really come of annoying highs

listen to music!

step 4

tuning for bucks, First of all, There are many things that 'change' the sound of your System, What is really better?, What does achieve your 'taste' of sound?, What is spending large amounts of money for minimal improvements, more expensive is not always better, Think wisely if you want to buy _any_ hifi equipment, evaluate at home, in your system, if possible ling term (2-3 weeks), speakers, to change the speakers is the maybe most affecting part in a system, remember you have to start over at step 1, It seems that speakers get expensive when they..., produce real bass, down to 20Hz or below, can get loud and stay controlled, can do both, First think about what you really want, can you listen that loud, everybody "needs" bass, but most not extreme loud bass, Then try to find some speaker which does what you want, If you do not know, listen to different system, before final decision listen at home, start at step 1 for proper evaluation, remove your old speakers as they interact uncontrollable when in room, components, Amps, Amps should suit to the Speakers, Not all amps can drive all speakers, too less power is more dangerous (to the tweeters if there are any) than too much power, Think about the enviroment, Valve amps and Class-A are great, But they suck large amounts of power, even they are in "hot stand by", e.g. 250 Watts hot standby Power for a 2*100 Watts Class AB valve amp, e.g. 250 Watts hot standby Power for a 2*30 Watts solid state Class-A amp, Modern "Digital Amps" waste quite low amounts of power and some sound very good, e.g. 12 Wats hot standby Power for a 2*250 Watts switching amp, about 90% efficiency when power is needed, now there are quite some very cheap modern switching amps who sound better than many older solid state designs - mostly in terms of definition, It may be a good starting point beginning (if beginng) here and to think about overall better amps later, there are even modern (but a bit more expensive) switching amps which may be considered as world class side by side to common designs, again this is partly or mainly about taste, power, cabling, "esoteric"

to be continued soon...