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How to design the perfect home audio setup

Tired of poor TV speaker sound and poor music playback in your living room? It sounds like you need to invest in a “proper” home audio setup, but with the sheer number of options available it can get overwhelming.

We’ve put together this guide to two different types of home audio setups – stereo and multiroom – to give you the essential knowledge you need to make your audio dreams come true. We’re not going to get super technical here or recommend too many specific products; You should instead look at this as a primer that provides a foundation, allowing you to determine what you actually want and need in a home before you start spending your money.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a home cinema sound setup to make your movies, TV shows, and video games sing, check out the articles below.

1) Stereo sound

Traditional stereo setup with speakers, turntable and tweeter

The simplest kind of “serious” home audio setup: two channels, left and right. Ideal for listening to recorded music (the vast majority of which is presented in two-channel stereo) in one room.

A basic stereo setup consists of three elements: an audio source, speakers, and something to drive them. The source can be a turntable, CD player, or music streaming device; The speakers can be anything from a simple pair of bookshelf speakers to a couple of towering stands on the floor; And the power can come from a stereo speaker.

For the above type of system (let’s call it a traditional system), you will also need cables to connect the source to the amplifier and the amplifier to the speakers. You will also need enough space in the house to hold all of the ingredients. However, the advantage of a traditional system like this is that it’s reliable (being wired, you don’t have to worry too much about interference affecting wireless performance) and expandable. Stereo speakers usually have enough input space to connect several different sources (start with a CD player, add a turntable later), while it’s easy to swap one item out of your home audio setup at any time.

Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin

Alternatively, if space is at a premium and/or the idea of ​​wires trailing around your room isn’t appealing, you can purchase a single box with all of the above built in (something like a Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin, a high-quality Bluetooth stereo speaker that plays music directly from your phone or streaming services). Another option is to pair two wireless power speakers (such as the Denon Home 150) for a similarly simple setup that provides better stereo separation (the perceived distance between the left and right channels).

Outside of the hardware, you need to think carefully about speaker placement. For separate stereo speakers, try setting them up in an equilateral triangle with the standard listening position and the subwoofers as three points. Also (and we appreciate that this isn’t always easy) try to keep your speakers away from the walls, as they can lead to unwanted reflections. Having soft furniture and thick curtains in your room can help improve sound quality as well, by dampening extra reflections.

2) Multi-room audio

HomePod based app

Multi-room audio was the preserve of wealthy enthusiasts willing to run cables through walls and under floors. Not anymore, fortunately: Wireless technology has made the whole thing so much easier, with no more drills, dust papers, and precious contractors to spread around. As long as you have a strong Wi-Fi setup at home, you’re good to go.

While you can still opt for a wired multi-room system if you really want to go wild with it, for the vast majority of people a wireless system is perfectly acceptable and easy to live with.

Buying multiple wireless speakers and placing them in rooms where you want sound is the move here, and speaker selection is vast: You can use smart speakers like the Amazon Echo Studio, Google Nest Audio, or Apple HomePod Mini, or single speakers from the likes of Denon, Yamaha, Audio Pro, and Sonos and KEF.

Audio Pro Link 2 Wireless Bridge

If you already own a traditional stereo setup (as described in Section 1 above), you can integrate it into your multiroom system via an add-on such as Audio Pro Link 1 or Link 2, which are wireless devices that bridge between you amplifier and your home network.

So there you have it: a basic getting started guide to what’s on the list when it comes to home audio setups for music. You can start small and grow later with a traditional, expandable component-based system, or alternatively, you can opt for a setup consisting of compact all-in-one wireless speakers, which can easily be expanded into a multi-room system by adding more units. Or you can go broke and mix the two by integrating your traditional system into a multi-room setup. Happy listening!