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Simple yet effective way to improve iPad 2 audio

This simplest of simple tricks redirects the sound of the iPad 2's rear-firing speaker.

A wise man once said, "Sometimes the simplest how-to is the best how-to." Or maybe it was a blogger who uttered those words. Regardless, I have the simplest of ways to improve the audio output of an iPad 2, thanks to a blog post I stumbled upon at iPad Academy. The tip is so simple I can't believe I hadn't thought of it myself. And after trying it, I can't believe how effective it is. All you will need for this tutorial is a hand.

For all the design praise heaped on the iPad 2, Apple's positioning of the speaker rarely garners compliments. The rear-firing speaker projects sound in the wrong direction, and your right hand can obscure the sound when gripping the iPad. The solution? Cup your hand around the speaker in the bottom-right corner of the iPad 2, and the sound bounces off of your palm and toward you and your ears. Don't put your hand too close to the speaker, or the sound degrades, losing its depth. At the right distance, however, a cupped hand markedly improves the sound.

Use a cupped hand to redirect the sound of the iPad 2's rear-facing speaker. Matt Elliott/CNET

I don't expect you to listen to an entire album holding the iPad 2 in this manner, but who listens to albums anymore? For a song or two and particularly YouTube videos where you are looking at the screen and can't just turn the tablet around to improve the sound, you'll find that this simple tip does the trick.