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Listening Area

When we listen to an audio system, we hear the combination of the audio system and its surroundings. In the audio world, the surroundings are referred to as “the room”. It doesn’t really matter what the surroundings are, living room, auditorium, car, we still call it “the room”.

When sound leaves an audio system it interacts with the room and this changes the sound. This interaction is complex. It depends on the frequency of the sound, the dimensions of the room and how the room is constructed. In addition, and most importantly, it depends on the location in the room.

The first step in tuning an audio system is to establish a listening area. Where in “the room” do you want it to sound good? This could be a couch, a desk, or a kitchen. Think about where the listeners ears will be most of the time. This is the listening area.

A single measurement represents how the audio system sounds at a single location. To get a realistic measurement of the listening area, it is important to average measurements from several locations. Averaging will cancel small variances making it possible to find a “best fit” tune for a given listening area. For a desk (near field), try measuring from 2-3 locations. For a living room, try 3-5 locations.

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