Published May 2018
Erik Söderman is project manager at Solutions Hi-Fi Club, where his work involves installing audio and video systems in Swedish homes – increasingly often in bathrooms. We asked him about the best way to ensure optimal audio experiences in wet rooms.
Bathroom, Estetic, Design, Inspiration, HIFI
Think about: the right element
The element is the sensitive ‘membrane’ inside the loudspeaker, which vibrates to generate the actual sound. The quality of the element has a huge influence on the audio quality, but unfortunately, many of the best materials are the ones that are most vulnerable to moisture. So choose the right material: polypropylene (plastic) and fibreglass mesh produce good audio and function perfectly in bathrooms. The latter is best in good ceiling-mounted loudspeakers.
Think about: the ceiling
“Walls are ‘sacred’ in bathrooms, which means they’re difficult to work with,” Erik explains. He is referring to the damp course, which cannot be put in any old how. “When planning your installation, make sure to work with a skilled and experienced damp course provider.” Erik recommends that you position the sound system in the ceiling, given that both water droplets and moisture move downwards. Make sure to seal the installation tightly to avoid the risk of damp traps. Special equipment is available for precisely this issue.
Think about: correct placement
In bathrooms, people typically want what Erik terms ‘general sound’. Make sure to maintain a uniform distance between the loudspeakers to cover the entire area where you want the audio experience. In a large bathroom, it is best to think in terms of zones. Where in the room do you want the best sound?
Think about: soft materials
The hard surfaces in a typical bathroom are not the best solution for good audio. You can improve the acoustic environment with a bathroom mat, hand towels and other soft materials on the walls and shelves. Ideally, include some plants and a seating area if you have enough space. You can also compensate by turning up the bass a little, and by mounting large – 8-inch, for example – loudspeakers in the ceiling.
Think about: extra wall outlets
Active loudspeakers facilitate audio installations throughout the home, but they require their own power supply and amplifiers. For reasons of safety, however, there are seldom multiple electrical sockets in bathrooms. Bear this in mind when planning where to place your loudspeakers. Work with a qualified builder/electrician to come up with viable solutions.
Planning and installing an audio system in the bathroom – or in any other room in the home – will be a lot easier if you do it before the room is finished. The result will be neater, better and cheaper
Walls are ‘sacred’ in bathrooms, which means they’re difficult to work with.
The bathroom is the place where you charge for the party.
There you want to be able to listen to good music.
You also want it when you lie in the bathtub and relax.