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15 tips for better sound from your home audio system

I edit the home A/V and pro audio articles on Crutchfield.com. It's a cool gig for a guy who's been seriously into audio since way before 1974. I started buying records, guitars, and gear with the money I made mowing lawns and delivering newspapers. Now the way I earn my money has changed for the better, but where it goes hasn't changed too much. Just give me the proverbial three chords and the truth. I'll do my best to help you feel it, too.

More from Jim Richardson

  • brian from minnesota

    Posted on 6/19/2015

    I have 4 binding posts on each speaker. how do I hook up to my receiver?

  • Jim Richardson from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/14/2015

    Brian, Sorry, but this isn't the place to get help with your installation. If you purchased your gear from Crutchfield, please call for tech support.

  • chet sky from Oakland

    Posted on 7/20/2015

    Not much helpful information for the average Joe. How can you measure a speaker's range? and whether such colors the music? Does one need a loudness contour control? I Tune compression unclear as to avoidance,especially if burning to a CD. Any digital speakers? thanks for the info as for brian--the answer is "carefully"

  • Arnold Bradley from waterford

    Posted on 8/11/2015

    not only do you have affordable prices, I love the fact that your phones are always open to any questions or problems I have for equipment I've purchased from you.

  • Melissa from Toledo

    Posted on 8/23/2015

    Your prices are amazing and the service you provide customers is unrivaled. I'm a Crutchfield customer for life.

  • ROy from Monterey

    Posted on 9/20/2016

    Don't make me go through slides. The title got me here but I'm not even going to bother. It's annoying.

  • Dana from Madison, WI

    Posted on 11/17/2016

    Some of the lowest quality sound I've ever heard has been at live music performances. Where the sound mixer is set way, way off. Poor acoustics, speakers which are much worse than I have in my living room, muddy bass, etc.

  • Mike Pettit from Colorado Springs

    Posted on 12/1/2016

    7. Bi-amping your speakers does indeed increase their available power, but more importantly, it separates the bass and treble signals so they don't magnetically interact within the cable (this is one of the most common forms of distortion in a system).

  • Steve from Woodlands

    Posted on 12/24/2016

    If you want good sound you won't get it from a receiver designed to do home theatre. But something like a Classe processor or Primare the using separate amps will get you there.

  • Paul from Raleigh, NC

    Posted on 12/26/2016

    The comment from Mike P about biamping speakers in the manner mentioned here and in "Dave's post", having the benefit of separating bass and treble in the cable, is NOT true unless you are using an external crossover. You might get a bit more power overall but both cables are going to carry the full range signal up to the speaker's built in crossover. Simply put - aside from a little extra power, passive biamping does not provide much benefit.

  • Aurell Cater from Oakland

    Posted on 1/7/2017

    Thank you, excellent starting information. I am looking to do a serious upgrade to ALL my components. I have a lot to learn. ????????????

  • Wayne lee from Philadelphia pa 1906

    Posted on 1/9/2017

    What is the best way to use my iPadpro to get good music from iPad Pro to my system thank you for your input

  • Andrea Johnson from Sedro-Woolley WA

    Posted on 1/19/2017

    I have a stereo that is about 25 years or so. It is a good condition system, just old and we can't even figure out how to set stations. But our question is how do get a less scratchy sound out of it.

  • Robert Thompson from Saint Louis Missouri

    Posted on 2/24/2017

    I have kept my home stereo system simple. A pair of speakers with a subwoofer and a receiver and a cd player is perfect for me. Also since I love music cds I don't use music streaming services.

  • David from Arlington

    Posted on 3/15/2017

    I second that on seeking GOOD recordings. The majority of CDs and other digital formats made in the last 15 to 20 years have been mastered using hyper compression, brick wall limiting, and even intentional clipping in order to make them sound louder overall. This isn't just with newer stuff either, I have come across many reissues of older recordings that have gotten this treatment as well during remastering.

  • roque valcarcel from new york

    Posted on 3/16/2017

    im interested in buying a new cd player im considering the nad 166be or the Yamaha 300 both are priced the same I play lots of cdr s which machine do you prefer since im going to buy it from you folks any way thanx

  • William of WBs sound from upper sandusky

    Posted on 4/4/2017

    I tri amp and good equalization is a very important factor when the room isn't very listener friendly. Great mids and high frequency drivers are essential for good sound always connect your speakers in phase +to + and of - to - or you will have loss of bass and weird sounding effect

  • Tom from Clinton

    Posted on 7/6/2017

    The Onkyo and Yamaha receivers look very much alike. I am wondering if they are made by he same company or companies.

  • Alan from The Edge of the World from Dacula

    Posted on 7/29/2017

    You know, my ears over the years have lost a lot of the "audiophile" ability that they once had. It's from playing my music way too loud, and now I'm paying the price. What my friends say is spot-on sounds to me to be heavy on the base side. Now I use a set of over-the-ears headphones that cancel out any outside sounds and allows me to taylor the bass and treble to suit my needs. The closeness of the speakers greatly reduces my need to turn up my tunes to "eleven"... Having said that, I do have a few questions. How far is the ideal distance to sit from my speakers? How important is the angle of the speakers, as in should they angle up or should they be straight up and down? What about size of tweeters and woofers? Are midranges that important?

  • Jim Richardson from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/18/2017

    Thanks for your comment. You'll find lots of great tips on how to position your speakers and your furniture in our article about stereo speaker placement: https://www.crutchfield.com/learn/learningcenter/home/nonHTspeak.html. Hope this helps.

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