First! How does the room sound acoustically?
My first initial test of what a room will sound like with a sound system happens during my site survey; At my site survey I walk the space and listen to our conversations travel in the room where the sound system will eventually be installed. This test gives me a good idea of all the reflections and overall what to expect when our voices are amplified.
As you may know “The Room” is sometimes a major obstacle to good sound. Sometimes it’s the first thing we can’t do anything about because of budget limitations. This leads me to my next point in making sure that we create improvements in the Sonos Playbar and overall sound by optimal speaker placement.
My short list for placing speakers:
- Make sure you keep reflected sounds off the walls and other surfaces. Reducing the level of reflected sound will help with the original sound and its intelligibility.
- Once we have the above handled, another major point in positioning and placing the speakers is to make sure the speakers are in front of the microphones. We want to keep all direct sound away from the microphones to ensure and or reduce feedback in the system.
- Speakers should be placed so that all audience members have a direct sight line to the speaker.
- Now the fun part! I want what comes out the speakers both tone and level to be as constant as possible throughout the room. Remember that your overall level and frequency content can affect intelligibility. We want the vocalist to be heard clearly and understood near the stage area and also at the back of the room. Easier said than done! For achieving constant level it will be easier done if you can get a hold of an array design software. Usually I use the software that each manufacturer provides with the system. An extremely popular array design software is EASE which stands for Enhanced Acoustic Simulator for Engineers. I believe it’s worth mentioning considering it’s the industry standard and can be used with a wide range of loudspeaker systems.
Overall, placing speakers in a space can be a tricky job because of all the factors in play. Everything matters! Speaker location, speaker type, room size, room surfaces, empty vs full space (with people vs no people will affect the overall sound), the amount of speakers, and so much more are all essential factors. I believe the above will get you started and in a good place. Keep in mind we are all learning here so feel free to send or post your thoughts and approaches to ensuring the optimal speaker placement or position!