Escape to Your Own Private Listening Room
Music is everywhere these days, from elevators to the background music in the grocery store. Chances are you pay little attention to it, and never mind that the playback quality is unlikely to move you.
If you love great sound and music, you’d likely prefer listening to music in a more immersive fashion. Headphones are an option, but not everyone likes to wear them for extended listening sessions. Your car, if equipped with a high-end audio system, might be another, but you should really focus on driving.
For aficionados of high-end home audio in Steamboat Springs, CO, there is a new immersive audio trend – the listening room. While this could be a well-equipped media room or home theater, the listening room concept is more about two-channel stereo audio, with a focus on sound quality and an intimate experience with the music. Read on to see if a listening room is right for you.
Where to Place a Listening Room
Does the listening room have to be a dedicated space? In some cases, yes, but not necessarily – it depends on your preferences. The best listening room location is the one you will actually use for losing yourself in music. It could be your home office, a living area, a bedroom, or a purpose-built space.
Some spaces will have advantages over others for listening room duty. Open design spaces may present acoustic challenges less than ideal for immersive listening. Too much sound bleeding to other rooms could be an annoyance to other family members, and very high ceilings and other architectural features could lessen the impact of the music.
While open spaces and challenging rooms are less than ideal, careful equipment selection, speaker placement, and acoustic treatments could ameliorate these issues.
Custom Listening Rooms
If you are into high-end audio, you know what the “sweet spot” is. For stereo listening, the classic triangle formed by two speakers equidistant from the perfect listening point tends to yield the best sound. For the ultimate in audio quality, you can set up your room with this approach, optimizing speaker locations, seating, and distances.
Beyond the layout, audio quality can be affected by furnishings and walls. Hard surfaces will bounce sound more, while softer materials – like rugs and drapes – reflect sound less and can have a dramatic effect. If your décor or room includes more hard surfaces, acoustic treatment can be applied to tune the sound of the speakers to the space and your preferences. These treatments can go in or on walls, can be selected with décor choices in mind, or a combination of it all. Acoustic treatment can also be accomplished with special construction like double studding and in-wall sound absorption materials.
Speaker and Equipment Choices
The speaker choices for a listening room are manifold. You can go with full-range tower speakers or high-end bookshelf models; and you can add a subwoofer if you prefer more bass punch. You can even go with built-in architectural speakers for a custom, minimalist approach. The speaker types will heavily influence the choice of electronics to go with them, especially amplification. The size of your room and the sound levels you prefer significantly influence the power requirements to drive your speakers. Also, it’s an important point to note that accommodating many high-end tower and bookshelf speakers requires spacing away from back walls for the bass to sound its best. High-end in-wall models may have specific wall depth needs as well.
For the best experience in a listening room, you will want to choose high-end components that match well. This may mean a media player/streamer with high-resolution audio capability to get the most out of the best-quality digital music sources. If you maintain an extensive vinyl collection, a preamp with a high-quality phone input, or a separate phono amplifier altogether, might be a critical choice.
Regardless of how you roll with your music – digital, analog, rock, or classical – Cloud 9 Integrated Systems can design the perfect listening room that fits your lifestyle. We are proud to serve clients in the Vail Valley and Steamboat Springs areas with the best custom home audio solutions. Contact us using our online form or click below to connect with our team quickly. We look forward to working with you!