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Where to put the stereo? And all the wires, records, tapes, speakers that go with it?

Your stereo is meant to be heard, but not necessarily seen. The real trick is arranging or concealing all those components, wires, records, tapes, headphones, and speakers so they're still easy to get at and produce the best sound. As illustrated on these pages, thoughtful storage design and component placement can make the most of your system's potential.

What goes where?

Common sense should tell you a lot about where to put your equipment: separate the speakers, don't block the lift-up cover on the turntable. But let's take a closer look. Start with the heart of your system--whether it's a self-contained receiver or a combination of separate amplifiers, tuners, equalizers, and other gear. Place the receiver and other components so they're easy to read and operate.

Also remember that they generate heat, so provide at least the amount of surrounding airspace that the manufacturer recommends. An average receiver gives off more than enough heat to warp a record, so don't set records on it.

Turntables need to be absolutely level and as isolated from vibration as possible, including from your speakers. All turntables have built-in suspension systems that dampen vibration, but the more stable your platform, the better.

Sliding platforms work well only if the mounting hardware is sturdy enough, like the heavy-duty drawer glides used in the unit shown at right. Keep your installation away from springy floors and high-traffic areas. Also keep your turntable and records away from sources of heat, including the sun.

To reduce the chance of record warpage, store them vertically and fairly tightly packed. If you have a vast record collection, use dividers to reduce sideways pressure and keep disks neatly arranged.

Speakers: placement makes a big difference

All the components are important, of course, but you don't hear them. The voice of your system, the speakers, should be given special consideration. You'll still hear sound from poorly placed speakers, but you'll appreciate the difference proper positioning can make.

Besides simply spreading them apart, you should put your speakers where you can hear each one clearly. Face them toward the listening area and keep furniture, large planters, and other things out of their broadcast path.

One way to achieve this is to raise the speakers, as shown above. Raising them will also give you brighter, truer sound reproduction. Low, bass tones won't be muffled by carpeting or overpower you as they resound off bare floors. High notes won't deflect off floor-level objects. The goal is good "stereo imaging," in electronics store jargon: the optimum blending of sound from both speakers right where you have your favorite easy chair.

If you don't want speakers dangling on your walls, you can choose from a number of small pedestals (like the one shown above) that will raise and tilt speakers to a better broadcast angle. These cost from $10 to $200. Or you can build your own.

Hiding all those wires

As shown in our examples, thoughtful planning can keep the jumble of wires out of view. If you're building special storage for several components, be sure to leave ample room for wires; don't force them into a twisted, tangled mass.

Since they're generally longest, speaker wires are hardest to conceal. Try hiding them in walls, as above. If that's not possible, look for ways to thread them along the bases of walls, around door or window trim, or under rugs and carpets.

You should give special care to the antenna. If you have a wire antenna, install it as instructions direct, but keep it away from other appliances or high-traffic areas; outside interference or passing bodies can hurt reception.

If you have a roof antenna for your television, try hooking up a splitter, a device that adds the antenna's pulling power to your stereo; the improvement can be dramatic. Splitters are available at electronic supply stores and cost about $6. If you have cable TV, check with your cable company for splitters for their units.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:May 1, 1985
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