High End Audio Design
Choosing equipment for your listening room, home theater, or home recording studio can be challenging. With our help, you’ll select the right speakers, subwoofers, and audio electronics for your system.
The DIY Approach To Audio Room Design
Picking the right electronics for your system is critical, though before we discuss our process, let’s start with some of the less successful approaches we’ve seen over the years. Some folks rely on online or magazine reviews, trying to piece together a system from ‘best of’ lists. Some swear by the brands pushed by their local dealer. Others make up their system with bargains they find online. The consequences of these unsystematic methods can be severe.
- Speaker choice (radiation pattern, SPL capabilities) not optimized for room usage
- Speakers sound harsh and fail at high SPLs
- Amplifiers clip, damaging speakers
- Subwoofers distort and fail to reproduce subterranean bass
- Audible hum and buzz due to ground loops
- Power line surges fry electronics
- Subs poorly integrated due to lack of signal-processing tools
Whether you end up suffering from humming or harsh audio, the result of these arbitrary approaches is usually disappointment. Regret in spending your budget on the wrong products, and frustration that your system’s performance doesn’t meet your expectations.
Professional Audio Design Consulting
Acoustic Frontiers’ Audio Design services helps you choose the right speakers, subwoofers, and electronics for your listening room, home theater, or home recording studio. We’re not just trying to sell you boxes—we have an objective and comprehensive approach to assemble the ideal audio system for your room, needs, performance aspirations, and budget.
Our philosophy is that the most important determinants of final sound quality are the speakers and the room. In the mid and high frequencies,
above 200Hz, what you hear is dominated by the off-axis response of the speakers and acoustic treatment of your room.
It’s obvious to most listeners that your speakers should sound good, but few people realize that the choice of speaker must also reflect the functional needs of your application in terms of listening distance, audience coverage, SPL levels, bass response, and form factor.
The right speaker for a dedicated, heavily treated home theater will be different than the right speaker for stereo listening in a spacious Manhattan loft. Once the speakers are finalized, we can optimize the speaker/room interface through our Acoustic Treatment Design service.
In the low frequencies, below 200Hz, the influence of room modes dominates what you hear. Room dimensions and shape play an important role, as do the locations of speakers and listeners, because the frequency response changes significantly from place to place within the room. Our Low Frequency Optimization service will tell you where to position speakers, subwoofers, and listeners for the best bass.
Finally, we also specify the supporting cast: sources, amplifiers, signal processors, electrical and low voltage wiring, as well as power conditioning and protection equipment.
Audio Design Deliverables
- Speaker specifications: directivity, power handling, impedance, max SPL capabilities, frequency response
- Subwoofer specifications: max SPL capabilities, frequency response
- Amplifier specifications: power
- Signal processing requirements: bass management, crossovers, delays, equalization
- Low voltage wiring: speaker wire gauge, use of balanced vs. unbalanced interconnects and signal isolation transformers
- Electrical wiring: surge protection, power conditioning, circuit layout, wire gauge
The Benefits To High End Audio Design
- Audio system professionally designed to meet industry standards
- Ideal speakers selected, balancing radiation pattern, sound quality, SPL capability, and budgetary requirements
- Speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers reliably deliver desired SPLs
- Consistent sound across all seats
- No hum and buzz from ground loops
- Electronics protected from power line surges
Case Studies and Articles
A question that frequently comes up when designing a home theater is ‘how powerful an amplifier do I need?’. The answer to the question depends on a few things, in particular how sensitive your speakers are and how far you sit away from them. When we design a home theater we want it to meet [...]
What is ‘THX Reference Level’? Reference level is a calibrated volume setting used for both movie production (in dubbing stages and post production houses) and reproduction (in screening rooms and theaters). The human hearing system is non-linear, especially in the bass, so having a consistent playback level – a reference – is critical if the [...]