A lot of the fun of the audiophile hobby is finding that next level of performance be it a component upgrade, re-arranging your room or finding ways to make your system look better. There are millions of ways to upgrade your sound but often some of the least expensive solutions are also the most effective.
With over 30 years of audiophile and professional audio experience, we want to bring you some of our favorite (and easiest) upgrades.
Audiophile Speaker Upgrade No. 1: Kill Your Coffee Table
Have you ever seen on of my favorite architecture and design websites called Fuck Your Noguchi Table? Noguchi Tables are a staple of trendy, mid-century and this site on Tumbler GOES OFF on the design cliché found is so many homes trying to follow the mid-century trend. It is a good place to click 100 times when you need a break from the serious Internet.
My hatred for coffee tables comes from the effect that they have on acoustics in an audiophile system. Yes, I understand the importance of having somewhere to park your Macallan 18 so you don’t spill a drop but those are called side tables. Wanna know why? Because the coffee table is a hard and reflective surface between you and your speakers (link to front page with keyword – audiophile speaker reviews – we will change when the site goes live). Just physically removing a big, flat reflective surface will improve your stereo imaging immediately. Many audiophiles who worry about that area for reflections will put a big, fluffy carpet there and that could be audible as well.
Use side tables for your cocktails and remote parking and DUMP your coffee table for better sound.
Audiophile Speaker Upgrade No. 2: Try A Pair (or two) of Bass Traps
Bass traps aren’t the most pretty acoustical treatment but these often round and tall towers can go in each of the four corners of your room for maybe $200 per corner. Expect them to “eat standing waves” which is the audible distortion in the corners of your room created by your subwoofer(s) (link text “audiophile subwoofer reviews” and-or the performance of your speakers. The positive effect on your audio system is gigantic.
Hiding bass traps, like those from ASC Tube Traps (no follow link) can he physically hard but they do come in various acoustically transparent fabrics which can help. If you just can’t live with the look of these often-ugly, tall tubes – then look into a more expensive and more labor intensive product from the pro audio’s leading company, RPG called a Modex Plate (no follow link) which are built into the stud bay of your room and covered with fabric. They do an even better job and use up literally ZERO floor space. They do require making a mess of your room but it is WELL worth the time, energy and cost.
Your bass is about to sound SO MUCH BETTER. Don’t believe me – buy some traps. Listen to a song for 1:30 and then (without saying anything) remove them and play the same song without them. It is scary how much of a difference bass treatments make for your loudspeakers (link to the front page but we will link to the small speaker page. Link text “audiophile bookshelf speaker reviews”). You will be shocked!!!
Audiophile Speaker Upgrade No. 3: Make Like A Millennial And Buy Some House Plants
House plants are all the rage with the post-COVID-19 hipster set. Millennials can’t get enough of them. They don’t talk but are living objects so that makes the introverts happy (which is rare).
For audiophiles looking to make their speakers sound better – house plants help a lot because of diffusion. They redirect and redirect sound in key places like your back wall or in your corners. They also physically help mask the visual impact of other ugly room treatments. A string of battery powered LED lights often can make a plant like a Fig Tree (so trendy, it could be on F-your Noguchi Table) can look cool.
Not only will your listening room look better – it will improve your sound.
Audiophile Speaker Upgrade No. 4: Call Your Electrician
This one is going to sound crazy but it isn’t.
Have your electrician run dedicated AC power circuits for your audio electronics and amplifiers. Have him check the connections in your AC outlets for shorts and-or noise (it is often easily fixed). For about $100 a pop, you can buy a heavy duty, hospital grade AC power outlet that your audio gear will truly benefit from. Reducing noise in your AC power can be a HUGE audio upgrade.
Before your electrician leaves your house, have them replace your lights with ultra-quiet but VERY low-dimmable LED lights. Philips makes some that screw in and can be controlled from your audio system’s iPad or an iPhone etc… Getting your lights dim in your audio room can be a gigantic advantage to your phyco-acoustics in that you will not be focusing your eyes on your equipment rack and other details.
Audiophile Speaker Upgrade No. 5: Move Your Equipment Rack
Never EVER-EVER put your equipment rack between your speakers. Think about reflections and stereo imaging. Physically, how can your system overcome having big, bulky crap in between your speakers. Move your equipment rack to one of the other walls or the rear of your room. A closet or another room is even better as the gear itself makes SOME noise.
We hope these five tips help you get more audiophile performance from your audiophile music playback system without costing you’re a fortune and-or making a mess in your home. Enjoy!