The Box of Tricks

Usually putting speakers in a cabinet is a real no no, it simply compromises sound quality too much. But with the right type of speaker and the right design, great sound quality can be achieved.

We talked with Martin Redwood from the London Home Cinema company to ask for his tips on how to keep designers and audiophiles happy.

“Obviously the starting point is keeping sufficient width between the main speakers to achieve the desired front soundstage. One of the main benefits of using a centre channel is to allow the front speakers to be spread further apart than a stereo system – provided the cabinet is wide enough. As this cabinet had to conceal an 85″ drop down screen and the room was so big it wasn’t a problem.”

“Because of the quality of sound that the client had heard at our listening rooms, the choice of front speakers that we could use was very limited. Whenever you place a speaker in a cabinet, resonances will occur from the energy leaving the side and rear of the speaker. The only practical way to reduce these unwelcome resonances is to use satellite speakers. A satellite speaker is designed to play no bass which means that it’s much smaller than a conventional speaker and all the sound it produces comes from the front of the enclosure.”

“All MK loudspeakers are satellite speakers which makes them incredibly consistent wherever they are placed. In this type of system the bass will be played by the subwoofer which can be kept away from cabinetry and placed wherever it will produce the smoothest in room response. But in this most MK loudspeakers still wouldn’t have given good results.”

“If you take a look at the room, you’ll see a beautiful hardwood floor. With this type of highly reflective floor and the primary listening position 13 foot away you’d be hearing far too much reflected sound from the first reflection off the floor. All you’d be hearing would be echoes from the room! Although the room looks great it’s actually far too live for good results from most speakers so in this instance the only MK speakers that would provide great sound were the S150’s.”

“The 150 range of front speakers all use three stacked tweeters; this is a very unusual driver layout that creates a number of useful benefits for the system designer. In the Studio where the front monitors will be placed behind a mixing desk, the radiation pattern this configuration creates is very narrow height-wise and very wide breadth-wise. This stops reflections off the mixing desk that often compromises the performance of other monitors used in this position. Used in the home it means that with the longer listening distances required for viewing projection systems, first reflections that would typically be an issue when speakers are placed closed to a hard floor or a low ceiling are dramatically reduced.”

“The speakers were placed on Studiospares Monitor Isolation pads to help decouple from the cabinet and with wadding tightly packed around the rear of the enclosure the system was ready for calibration.”

In this installation two pairs of IW95 in ceiling rear speakers were used for surround sound for their excellent off axis response, with bass provided by a pair of MX350THX subwoofers.

Usually we spend 30 minutes listening to a range of well know recordings to assess systems. In front of this system minutes turned in to hours as the picture and sound quality were so stunning.

If you’re looking for a dealer who genuinely knows how to deliver Studio quality sound discretely to the home, give the London Home cinema company a call on 0208 370 1825.