How to improve the sound of speakers

How to improve the sound of speakers

Vania Technic / 
18-03-2017 / 
Audio  / 

Methods for improving the sound of speakers are often mentioned in glossy hi-fi publications and on the Internet. This article examines not only the already known methods of improving the sound, but also methods previously never unpublished, which can significantly change the nature of the sound of even a budget speaker system.

Improving the sound of acoustics through reconstruction

Dali Ikon 6 inside

Acoustics system consists entirely of components, each of which plays a specific role in the final construction sound, this is the case, the bass reflex port, speakers, internal wiring and crossover. By replacing any of these components with a higher quality one, you can get positive changes in a certain area of sound.

The first thing you need to pay attention to in the design of acoustics is the quality of the case. Quite often, and not only in budget acoustics system, the manufacturer saves on the quality of the case, making the case of thin chipboard, which increases the transmitted parasitic vibrations created by the low-frequency speaker, from the case back to the speakers, crossover and internal wiring, which significantly distorts the original sound.

You can reduce the resonance of the housing by strengthening the housing with internal ties and smearing the inner walls of the housing with a viscous material, such as bitumen. Also, you can reduce the resonances of the housing by installing ballast on the bottom of the acoustics system, such as shot. In addition to reducing the mutually transmitted resonances of speaker components, you can use pads made of viscous rubber or silicone between the drivers, the crossover and the case.

B&W DM600 S3 - special structure of the front panel and bass port

In addition to reducing resonances, the case must be properly silenced, preferably with special materials available for this purpose, which will reduce standing waves inside the case, eliminate from internal humming and improve sound insulation like in the "Ikon 6" from Dali (Pic.). If a separate mid-range speaker with an open basket is installed in the acoustics, then the open part of the basket must be muffled, in order to avoid spurious vibrations of the mid-range driver diffuser by air waves created in the case by a low-frequency driver.

It is useful to mute and the front panel of the speaker case to reduce the reflection of sound waves, which will add to the sound of concentration and clarity. For example, consider the front panel of the B&W DM600 S3, where the front panel is made of plastic with special structure, specifically serves this purpose. You can use a special acoustic fabric.

Low frequency humming or distortion of low frequencies in the sound, can also be caused by an Incorrect design of the phase inverter port. The phase inverter port is preferred with a design for optimal damping of air vortices (turbulence). For example, let's go back to B&W DM600 S3 (Pic.), where a special coating structure is used to reduce parasitic turbulence. You also need to calculate the correct length and diameter of the phase inverter port, taking into account the volume of the case and the parameters of the low-frequency speaker.

Bi-Amping - dual connection to amplifier

A few more details on which the manufacturer can save money and which should be reviewed, is the replacement of the internal wiring and crossover. To change the internal wiring, each audiophile usually selects the cables to their taste. One believes that the best option will be a copper cable from a many cross-section of strands, and others what silver single-core cable. But in any case, a thin cable will "cut the bass" and the cable must match the sound level of the drivers and be well soldered at the contact points to avoid possible rattling when the volume is increased.

The crossover can be replaced with a higher-quality one, or the used capacitors can be revised. Or add a circuit that can be connected using Bi-Wiring or Bi-Amping. Bi-Amping (double amplifier) is the preferred option, since it allows you to send a signal to the speakers from two amplifiers, bypassing the crossover circuitry (Pic.). Connecting using the bi-amping scheme significantly smoothes the frequency response and is mandatory in professional sound.

Improving the sound of acoustics in other ways

Floor speakers on marble slabs

Elimination of vibrations audio components, is one of the important keys in building a high-quality sound of any audio system. Using the correct vibration isolation of audio components, you can get an improved in sound up to 40 percent, depending on their level. Also, in the sound of acoustics system, a large role is played by the vibration isolation acoustics with the surface on which it is installed.

Vibration isolation of acoustics is performed using accessories designed for this purpose: spikes, dampers, cones, etc., by installing on three or four supports. But these accessories will be almost useless on the resonating surface. The surface on which the acoustics are installed should be as damped as possible. Therefore, shelf acoustics must be installed on the special stands intended for this purpose (Pic.), floor speakers can be installed on a concrete floor or on marble slabs (Pic.).

You can also significantly change the sound by replacing the speaker cable. If the acoustics system are top-class, then the acoustic cable may need to be vibration isolation with help a special cable channel. At the same time, the optimal cable length for connecting will be more than four meters. This cable length is due to better damping of parasitic vibrations.

In cases of possible interference from nearby electronic devices, you can also pay attention to the noise immunity (shielding) of the cable. The oxidation of the cable contacts, drivers terminals, and amplifier can also reduce the level of the original sound of the over time.

In addition to improving the acoustics system, for optimal sound enhancement, you need to pay attention to the correct placement of acoustics in the room and the acoustic properties of the room. But this is a separate topic...

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