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A new sound room

Writer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Room: ~3.5 x 8m

Don't do in 10 days what you could do in a month. That's one solid takeaway from our recent house move chronicled here. Another more pertinent one to hifi is, assemble a system correctly and it will transfer intact without any fuss. That statement could flare up tempers. Correct? What's the man on about? Stating the bleedingly obvious?

Quite so; except that to some, it could be far from obvious. Let's then break the egg of obviousness to make an omelette: the sub/sat threesome hi/lo-passed at 80Hz with a quality fixed analog filter. Keeping the main speakers compact and not tasked with low bass automatically integrates them more predictably with far more rooms than big passive speakers meant to mine the depths. Those are far more likely to cause problems because their low-end response isn't adjustable unless we use an EQ or plug-in of some sort.

An active sealed and force-cancelling subwoofer like our Dyaudio S18 is very much adjustable so scalable from location to location. That's it. That's the full 3-egg hifi omelette. Season to taste with various furnishings and art objects. Make it visually whatever feels home to you. Bon appetite.

Partners in successful sonic crime are a few ultra basics which I've nonetheless found to travel exceptionally well. Keep your speakers at least 1-2 meters from the front wall. More tends to be merrier. Angle them in so you don't see any of their sidewalls. Sit reasonably close but have sufficient space behind the chair. Voilà, minimized room interactions. My 2021 Kilrush upstairs room is 3.5 meters wide in the front, then narrows to 3 meters behind the chair past the short alcove to the door at the left. The back wall is 2.5 meters past the chair for a total room length of 8 meters. The ceilings are standard height. Because this lives under a roof, the front and real walls slope inward. Obviously this is a short-wall setup.

This hifi hardware is exactly the same as before, the sound very similar indeed if a bit more lively because the diffuse elements of the prior built-in front-wall shelving have gone. In short, the 'dialing in' process here was rather short and sweet. Have hifi, will travel where there's Internet... the words of an audio journeyman. For my reviewing career, that now clocks three homes in Taos/NM, one in Coral Bay/Cyprus, three in Switzerland and now the 3rd in Ireland. With the last three digs hosting two rooms each, this becomes the 13th overall. That counts for some experience on the subject. So I'm quite serious. Do this division of labor between sub and mains and virtually future-proof sonic success wherever life might move you next – to a McMansion in the hills or a tight inner-city flat. The only hifi even more universal would be headfi or squat on a desktop like below, as compact active speakers à la Fram.

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Sundry wall art painted or textile by my wife, Ivette.

Upstairs headfi station.