Room Acoustics

You Recommended Speakers to Your Friend and They Hate Them – Why and How Can You Fix It?

In your social group, you’re the “AV nerd.” Everyone knows you know more about audio and home theater than they do. If they want advice, they come to you. So far, your track record has been impeccable. People love the TVs you’ve recommended, adored the subwoofers, and even appreciated when you talked them down from overspending on cables. But it’s finally happened. You’ve struck out. You recommended your speakers to your friend. They got them and they sound like crap. Not just to them, but to you as well. Why? How? They sounded great in your home! You need a fix for the speakers your recommended to your friend that they hate. Let’s discuss.


Before we go forward, we are going to assume something. We must assume that you did, in fact, recommend good speakers. If you are not sure, it is time to go out and read some reviews and double-check. If you recommended speakers that you like simply based on the fact that you think they sound good in your room (or they sounded good at the store), then you may, in fact, have recommended bad speakers. Time to help your friend pack them back up and send those speakers in for a refund.

Why They Sound Bad and What To Do About It

Good speakers can sound bad for a lot of reasons. There is no real way to know for sure what is the real problem. We can, however, make a few guesses.

Placement Issues

One easy-to-check culprit is poor placement. If your friend hates the speakers your recommended and you haven’t tried to fix their placement, then you need to take that first step. Take a look at the numerous setup guides out there (we have a few) and compare them to your friend’s room.

It’s important that you approach their setup with a soft hand. Many people have outdated or simply wrong ideas of where speakers should be placed. It’s not their fault. They are also working within a room that usually has other uses. You can’t just go in there and suggest that they reorganize everything. You can get good sound without having perfectly optimal placement. Work within their restrictions.

Calibration Issues

Did they run their room correction? More importantly, did they run it correctly? Even if they think (or are sure) that they did, do it again. Make sure they have their microphone placed properly. Then it is time to check their room correction settings. Don’t forget to double-check the speaker and crossover settings as well.

Room Acoustics

Honestly, this one should have been number one on this list. If there is a real problem with your friend hating your recommended speakers, the problem (and fix) is the room. The big hurdle is that this is the hardest thing to fix! Room acoustics can wreak havoc with your speakers’ output to the point where a speaker can sound completely different from room to room. This is unintuitive to people who expect that a speaker will sound the same.

The real problem is that the fix requires changes to the room. From adding a door to placing acoustic panels, no one really wants to make the changes necessary to address room acoustics. The “fix” here might be too much for your friend. If it is, there really is nothing you can do. The problem isn’t the speakers, it is the room. Your recommendations can’t help them now. If they want a home theater speaker system and won’t change the room, then any speaker they buy will be a roll of the die. They might be better off with a soundbar, to be honest.

Wrap Up

It’s extremely hard to tell someone else which speakers to buy. If they have a similar room as yours, you can recommend with more confidence. But the room, in particular, has a massive effect on how speakers sound. Sure, careful placement and calibration can help, but nothing will fix an extremely reflective or acoustically problematic room.

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