Affordable Sound Deadening

Jeff

New member
Nov 7, 2015
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I have read the theoretical articles. Now I need practical advice from real world experience. I need to reduce the echo in my living room. The room itself does not lend itself to being a sound studio, but it should be possible to set up a pleasant listening environment without breaking the bank.

Rug: We touched on this before. I know I need to have rug or carpet on the floor between me and the speakers. But, does it also help for the rug to extend behind me or wider than the speakers?

Wall covering: I am hoping to avoid buying expensive accoustic panels. I need less expensive alternatives. I am asking for examples of your real life experience here.

Drapes: I don't know to what extent I want to line the walls with drapes, but if I use this option for at less part of my solution, do I have to buy the expensive thicker plusher drapes, or can I benefit from the cheap flimsy drapes you buy at the big box store? I would like to think that cheap drapes will absorb most of the high frequency sound. But if it doesn't, what happens? Will high frequency sound bounce off cheap drapes, or will it penetrate them, hit the wall, and then penetrate the drapes after bouncing off the wall?

Canvas Paintings: Definitely not the cheapest option, but how well does canvas stretched out on wood frame absorb sound? If I could find some affordable art it would certainly be an attractive solution.

Plants: How effective can larger potted plants dampen sound in a room?

Homasote Board: Has anyone here covered homasote board with fabric and put this on the wall? How well has this worked? It would even be possible to put art work over it.

What other affordable, effective, and aesthetically pleasing options have you benefited from?

Remember, this is my living room. I am not hanging pillows on the wall. I am living in this room. People are coming over. It needs to look good.
 

RobinKidderminster

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May 27, 2009
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If you have done the research then you will understand that good acoustics and living lounge decor are at opposite sides of the spectrum. The size, shape and decor of the room leads to different options and IMO you need to determine where you wish to improve the sound. Rugs, side wall treatments and ceiling treatments are primarily aimed at higher frequencies whilst bass traps will improve in that range. I think you know all this. Rugs, heavy curtains etc., are relatively easy to integrate into a living space and you seem to know where best to place them. My DIY bass traps are inconspicuous and seem to help but I am in no illusion that benefits are most likely small - but I don't want a recording studio either! My recommendation has previously been to buy some Rockwool sheets (£20) and experiment..If it works then consider the options in this position (be it on side walls or elsewhere).

Someone may give you some answers but I suspect experimentation is the only way to understand the benefits of any room treatment against the aesthetic considerations. I would not waste money on adding, for example, artwork panels unless I was convinced of its benefit in your unique environment.

Anyway - DIY is fun. Good luck.

PS. Sound deadening is not really an adequate description for acoustic treatment which as you know involves far more than isolation of sound. :)
 

Jeff

New member
Nov 7, 2015
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That may be true but I would still like to avoid spending money on stuff that doesn't work, or spend more than I have to if savings can be had.
 

Rethep

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
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18,520
I have hung some sheets from the ceiling which dampens just a tiny bit from reverb. In your case you could consider hanging pieces of cloth (30 cm width or so) straight from the ceiling, like 3, just breaking the soundwaves.

One completely other thing is choosing your listening position closer to your speakers. You will hear less influence from the room then.
 

Jeff

New member
Nov 7, 2015
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I found this:

http://www.atsacoustics.com/item--Roxul-Rockboard-60-Single-Pieces--RB60-S.html?d=GPGEN01&kw=RB60-S-RB60-S

This is just what I need!
 

Al ears

Well-known member
rainsoothe said:
I think if you just wanna get rid of echo, carpet, sofa, curtains on windows, bookshelf with books in it and irregularly placed furniture should be enough.

Ultimately, as you are probably aware you can spend a fair bit trying to get a room to sound acceptable, fully carpeted, drapes on rear wall, tall plants in corners etc, I have tried them all at some point but eventually it comes down to either change your speakers, change your room, or lastly, buy a pair of headphones. And no, I an not being facetious, sometimes it is the only way without spending a fortune. Good room treatment costs and bodged attempt still cost.
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
179
52
18,670
I have a very reflective room with mainly bare plaster walls and a large 8ft wide floor to ceiling mirror on one of the side walls. A few large wall hanging framed photos don't really help because they are glass fronted. A large L-shaped sofa and large shaggy rug (all that match the decor) have started to redress the balance.

I then started to think about what else I could do to reduce the reflection. I took an old 1970's wooden sideboard and re-furbished it, including re-staining it and waxing it, in a more appropriate colour (black). It now sits along the right-hand side wall directly along the main reflection point. In it are two cupboards that I store CD's/DVD's and in the middle is an open area where I store LP's. On top at the moment are some loosely placed cushions (well actually very precisely placed) that are directly at the main reflection point. When I have time, I am going to add another part of the side-board that will sit on top and create something similar to a bed head-board. I am going to cover it with accoustic foam and cover it with fabric. Hopefully it will look fine, and visitors will just think it is a piece of furniture.

Along the other wall in front of the mirror at the main reflection point are two DVD/CD towers. I have plans to use the remaining wooden sheets from what's left of the sideboard and create a floorstanding shelf unit that has as part of the design some accoustic foam covered in fabric. The wood will be re-stained/waxed and match the furniture the other side of the room.

I'm also thinking of maybe making some corner shelf units that can incorporate bass traps, and maybe some shelf units (again with accoustic foam or maybe egg cartons or some other form of diffusive material) to go on the walls behind my speakers.

Well it might all help and it's fun to have these grand plans. *smile*
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
891
432
19,270
Al ears said:
rainsoothe said:
I think if you just wanna get rid of echo, carpet, sofa, curtains on windows, bookshelf with books in it and irregularly placed furniture should be enough.

Ultimately, as you are probably aware you can spend a fair bit trying to get a room to sound acceptable, fully carpeted, drapes on rear wall, tall plants in corners etc, I have tried them all at some point but eventually it comes down to either change your speakers, change your room, or lastly, buy a pair of headphones. And no, I an not being facetious, sometimes it is the only way without spending a fortune. Good room treatment costs and bodged attempt still cost.

He's just trying to get rid of echo, though, not fine tune the sound as in reducing bass bloom or getting rid of sybillants. For this purpose alone, I think furnishing is enough. No matter what speakers he gets, there'll still be reverb because the room is empty.
 

Al ears

Well-known member
rainsoothe said:
Al ears said:
rainsoothe said:
I think if you just wanna get rid of echo, carpet, sofa, curtains on windows, bookshelf with books in it and irregularly placed furniture should be enough.

Ultimately, as you are probably aware you can spend a fair bit trying to get a room to sound acceptable, fully carpeted, drapes on rear wall, tall plants in corners etc, I have tried them all at some point but eventually it comes down to either change your speakers, change your room, or lastly, buy a pair of headphones. And no, I an not being facetious, sometimes it is the only way without spending a fortune. Good room treatment costs and bodged attempt still cost.

He's just trying to get rid of echo, though, not fine tune the sound as in reducing bass bloom or getting rid of sybillants. For this purpose alone, I think furnishing is enough. No matter what speakers he gets, there'll still be reverb because the room is empty.

Yes I did read his post and he doesn't mention empty. He states it's his living room. Have you ever seen an empty living room.

He states echo, and that means room treatment to me which, to be effective, and cheap, is not possible. This is why I mentioned headphones but I guess these are out as he mentions people coming over presumably to listen to music.
 

Jota180

Well-known member
May 14, 2010
27
3
18,545
I'm getting more bass where the green plus sign is than I am where I'm sitting on the couch. Between the speakers (the black squares) is a 50 inch TV on a table.

Anyone think bass traps or big pot plants in those corners by the fire place (between speakers) would tame this a bit?

http://i.imgur.com/jIry9JJ.jpg
 

jonathanRD

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2011
179
52
18,670
Jota180 said:
I'm getting more bass where the green plus sign is than I am where I'm sitting on the couch. Between the speakers (the black squares) is a 50 inch TV on a table.

Anyone think bass traps or big pot plants in those corners by the fire place (between speakers) would tame this a bit?

http://i.imgur.com/jIry9JJ.jpg

Can you change your layout so that the speakers are firing from right to left in your diagram? (that's assuming it is to scale)
 

RobinKidderminster

New member
May 27, 2009
582
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RobinKidderminster said:
If you have done the research then you will understand that good acoustics and living lounge decor are at opposite sides of the spectrum. The size, shape and decor of the room leads to different options and IMO you need to determine where you wish to improve the sound. Rugs, side wall treatments and ceiling treatments are primarily aimed at higher frequencies whilst bass traps will improve in that range. I think you know all this. Rugs, heavy curtains etc., are relatively easy to integrate into a living space and you seem to know where best to place them. My DIY bass traps are inconspicuous and seem to help but I am in no illusion that benefits are most likely small - but I don't want a recording studio either! My recommendation has previously been to buy some Rockwool sheets (£20) and experiment..If it works then consider the options in this position (be it on side walls or elsewhere).

Someone may give you some answers but I suspect experimentation is the only way to understand the benefits of any room treatment against the aesthetic considerations. I would not waste money on adding, for example, artwork panels unless I was convinced of its benefit in your unique environment.

Anyway - DIY is fun. Good luck.

PS. Sound deadening is not really an adequate description for acoustic treatment which as you know involves far more than isolation of sound. :)

Jota or Jeff? Same answers
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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So I guess empty egg cartons on the wall and ceiling are out of the question then?

You could paint them to match the decor :p
 

Jota180

Well-known member
May 14, 2010
27
3
18,545
jonathanRD said:
Jota180 said:
I'm getting more bass where the green plus sign is than I am where I'm sitting on the couch. Between the speakers (the black squares) is a 50 inch TV on a table.

Anyone think bass traps or big pot plants in those corners by the fire place (between speakers) would tame this a bit?

http://i.imgur.com/jIry9JJ.jpg

Can you change your layout so that the speakers are firing from right to left in your diagram? (that's assuming it is to scale)

That's not an exact scale image but not far off it. I can change the layout either, stuck with that.
 

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