Humidity and Sonics

So I’m wondering with folks talking about SQ going off etc. It seems that Humidity either too low or too high can have adverse effects on electronics! 45-55% is optimum… any one here use a whole home Humidifier in the cold dry months? I only ask because mine is worn out (can only get about 35%) so am having a new one installed next week

To be honest, I’ve always wondered about this but never known. That and air pressure.

In my current location, it’s extremes. Half a year at >80% and half a year <25%. I’ve never noticed an issue though I have wondered how paper cones are affected. One very humid year (100% for months on end) the veneer on my Qacoustics bubbled.

Air pressure is more interesting. Does low pressure make speakers more or less efficient. Doesn’t seem to stop very arid high altitude places like Denver having lots of audiophiles though.

Something that I’ll do at some point; for now I just use room humidifiers in various parts of the house.

You don’t live in the UK, do you?! We have 2 DE-humidifiers running.

Nope - New England at the moment and the furnace has been running for over a month already this year.

I used dehumidifiers when living in the UK as well; that said, in January a humidifier would have been useful.

Sound does travel faster through humid air.

We are about ready to start using our humidifiers here outside of Boston. Forced hot air heat really does dry out the air. It’s bad for skin, wooden furniture, and just uncomfortable.

The answer is yes humidity will have an effect, as will temperature, primarily because they affect the density of air, and hence the speed of sound. And with the change in speed of sound room effects (in particular peaks and troughs), and the tuning of reflex speakers will change proportionately.

At 20C the change in speed of sound from bone dry (when you’d suffer mucous membrane irritation) to 100% relative humidity would be about 0.4%, - so a room node at 50Hz at 50%RH would rise to about 50.1 at 100%RH and lower to about 49.9 at 0%RH. - which in practical terms even at these extremes is negligible, so I think it is unlikely you would notice changes within normal fluctuation.

However, the higher the temperature the more moisture the air can carry, so at a higher room temperature the effect would be greater, and likelihood of audibility increases. At 35C the difference between humidity extremes would make around 1% difference to resonances.

Temperature is more significant, with the difference between, say 15C and 35C at 50% humidity giving about a 3% change - more likely to be audible than. The two would combine if both temperature and humidity change, adding if humidity changes as well from 100% at 15C to bone dry at 35C, the total difference being around 4%.

Of course other effects are possible if any mechanical materials are affected by the humidity - E.g. once upon a time paper cones of loudspeakers could change significantly with humidity, but I think these days the treatment of paper cones will have reduced to negligible except possibly in very extreme conditions. And I don’t know if there is any physiological effect in the ears as humidity varies.


Cool, I’m also in the Boston area. Good to know there are more folks with an interest in Naim around.

I got my start with Naim shopping at Goodwins, but they do not emphasize the brand at all these days. So it’s a bit lonely locally :slight_smile:

I’ve been in Boston for less than two months, so haven’t seen any of the local places yet.

I bought all my Naim stuff from Cymbiosis over the past 10 years (I started when I was living in the UK) and intend to continue doing that. :wink:

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