hifi sound problems

cuxtondave

Novice Member
Hello all
Just joined this forum to offer my recent findings on my system not sounding as it should,sorry if this has been brought up before.
I had been having problems with my fairly new set up not sounding right,some days ok, other days sh*t .Took the system back to the store and set it up in their listening room where it was fine .Also tried numerous other things to find the cause of the problem to the point where i was considering upgrading again!!.Then the penny finally dropped one day ,HUMIDITY!!!
You see we live in an old house in a valley which at this time of year is always damp .So i set up an electric dehumidifier and a couple of the small units that take the tablets and hey presto my system is sounding great again .

I hope this helps other people as this was driving me nuts to the point where i didnt even want to listen to music anymore as it was that bad.

Dave
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Certainly weather can effect how a system sounds, and you seem to have found a solution to your problem, but I will point out a few other things, if they are not helpful to you, they might be helpful to others.

- Make Sure the Speakers are Wired Correctly
- This is a far easier mistake than you might think, and it will take more than a casual look to resolve. You have to ABSOLUTELY VERIFY that in every case the Amp(RED+) goes to the Speaker(RED+). Nothing will suck the life out of a speaker like one of them being wired backwards.

- Consider Speaker Placement - I'm stunned at how many people have very nice expensive systems with the speaker shoved back against the wall. Close placement ...close to boundary layers - wall, floor, ceiling - will boost the bass, but what you hear is the Mid/High becoming more recessed and muddy. To test this, temporarily pull the speakers out into the room ...say a meter of so (3 to 4 feet) and see if the sound clears up. If it does, then start working the speakers back until you find a compromise position.

In your case, it seems humidity was more unusual than the average home. Glad you found a solution that works for you. I can see how it might have taken some people a very long time to come to that conclusion, if they ever got it figured out.

But the above two that I suggested are the most often problems people encounter. Typically a floorstanding speaker will need to be between 12 inches and 16 inches forward of the wall as measured from the back of the speaker to the wall. This varies from speaker to speaker though. In my case, my previous speaker would not be happy with 2 feet behind them. The more bass a speaker has, the more space it needs.

Of course, some times circumstances force us to do what is less than ideal. Not much we can do about that. And again, More Bass = More Space, which then implies, and is true, bookshelf speaker need considerably less space. Typically in the 4" to 10" range, though again it varies with the specific speaker.

Indeed your suggest will be helpful to some people.

Steve/bluewizard
 

oldcootstereo

Active Member
The humidity issue may not be quite as obvious as one might expect. In older houses wooden joists, floors, studs in walls and drywall/plaster will absorb and shed surprising amounts of moisture as the weather cycles through the seasons. More moisture swells wood slightly and so will also tighten up fastened joints, changing responsiveness to vibration.

The room structure is a significant part of the resulting sound, so as the moisture changes, so does the ability of the wood-framed structures to absorb or transmit sound. In Ontario, we get both extreme humidity and extreme dry conditions during summer/winter respectively, so I have heard the same thing, though not to the extent where it sounds bad, just definitely not as good sometimes. Those who own an older acoustic piano will notice the tuning changing as the seasons roll by. (One trick is to get the piano tuned in the spring or fall, when the piano is halfway through its drying/absorption cycle. That way the piano isn't as grossly out-of-tune at either peak humidity or dryness.)

So while humidity somewhat affects sound transmission in air, I doubt air humidity is the main culprit, unless it is so damp there is almost moisture condensing on room-temperature surfaces. All consumer electronics are designed to operate in non-condensing conditions (if the published specs don't state it, the mfr should be able to supply RH specs), so should not be an issue. Modern speakers may be moderately drying/absorbing, but doubtful they will be as affected as older plywood/particleboard and paper-cone gear.

The changing room structural responsiveness may play into the placement issue Steve/blue wizard mentioned, because the walls/floor/ceiling may react differently, affecting the boundary layer responses.

So ya, you're not crazy... at least not about this anyway! ;)
 
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