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room accoustics....

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
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just wondering what peoples views may be as to how much room accoustics impact on the sound one hears ?

my lounge is 4.4 metres by 4.1 ..

my front speakers are about 800mm from the front wall which includes a window , and no nearer than the same to the closest side wall..

opposite them is a largish leather couch positioned in front of the rear wall , and a smaller one to one side , the whole room is tiled over a solid concrete floor , no curtains , rugs , or much else really , just a small coffee table in front of the couch ..

any views on whether that layout is ideal or not , for music ?? cheers ...
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
390
206
19,270
The simple answer is that room acoustics have a massive impact - as much as the equipment you choose IMO - and it is the reason why I advocate home demonstrations so strongly. Listening to something in a dealer's dem room tells you nothing about how it will sound once you get it home.

Your room will be 'live'. It sounds like there are quite a lot of reflective surfaces and with no curtains and no rugs over that concrete floor, the room will be exacerbating the hardness that you have occasionally been experiencing.

Before spending more money on upgrading your amplifier I would be inclined to experiment with ways of softening your room. Hanging some sort of tapestry on the wall opposite the speakers, placing a nice big soft rug on the floor between your sofa and the speakers.... This could be all that is needed to get things sorted. A better amplifier will then show its true worth even more.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
cheers mathew , i must admit ive done a bit of googling on the subject this morning , and what you have said ties in perfectly with others views too


my room is quite bare , i think its no coincidence that the only harshness ive found was at high volume , if im understanding things correctly , the sound is reverberating of the walls , floor and ceiling , thus distorting at high frequencies ?

ill get a few cushions and stick em in the corners , and a rug too (arent mums great) , see if that makes a difference , ill also see if i can find anything that i can put up on the wall behind me , im guessing pictures, prints etc will still reflect sound , so yea maybe a tapestry of some sort ..

looks like ive possibly been selling my little nad short
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
390
206
19,270
At present you are not far off playing your hi-fi in a room that is almost like a big bathroom so yes, the higher the volume the more the sound will be reflecting off the hard surfaces and distorting. This will also affect the overall timing - sort out the room and I think you'll find the whole thing sounds tighter and more rhythmic.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
yes , ill do that mathew , it makes total sense , thanks again
 

idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,039
10
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This should be the most discussed topic on all hifi forums as it has the biggest influence of all, not "will this cable make the treble brighter?" questions we usually get.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I utterley agree that not enough weight and importance is given to room acoustics.I wish I'd known how important before I brought my latest kit and before I let wife make me change thick carpet to wooden floors. in my insect lifespan knowledge i think its more important than the actual kit you buy if you dont have good acoustics and how do you know. cant speakers have a hard floor rating ( wooden or concrete )

Room acoustics and Wooden/concrete floors deserve there own support group-maybe there own charity.

Thick soft rugs are better than cheap thin ones-I tried several. framed fabrics on back wall-like wot they have at recording studio's-get some nice fabric-make a box frame-makes a nice picture and helps loads with acoustics, thick heavy curtains made a big diff.

any other advise I'd also appreciatte

cheers

pedro
 
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Anonymous

Guest
igglebert:This guide by Audio Physic might interest you.

had a read of that iggie , moved a few things around a bit , well as much as i can anyway , some interesting results , ill have to give this whole accoustic / positioning thing some more thought ....
 

Craig M.

New member
Mar 20, 2008
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as the others have said, max. your system will sound so much better if you can damp the room. a loud clap in the centre of the room, will give an idea of just how reverberant it is. if you have any bass issues as well, some large, empty boxes (like what your speakers came in) in corners can let you know if it might be worth putting something there. i have rugs, bookcases and beanbags dotted about my room - it's definitely helped.

there's plenty of stuff on the 'net about diy room treatment, or i've found gik acoustics to be reasonably priced. you can get stuff that looks very nice, almost like artwork, but it tends to be expensive. play around, you might be suprised at the changes you can make to improve the sound.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
yes ill certainly experiment with a few things craig , as i said , just from moving the speakers around earlier , i could hear a different sound , like idc said , im surprised there arent more posts / questions regarding accoustics ,it quite clearly plays a big part in hifi sound quality ...
 

Craig M.

New member
Mar 20, 2008
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if whf ran an article about how much you could improve the sound in your room through the use of acoustic treatment, there would be a lot more threads about it as people became more aware. either that, or no-one would buy the mag 'cos it was full of foam panels!

most folks i guess just want to stick a system in their room, and live with the sound. my room is set up around where the speakers sound best.
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
780
177
19,070
Yes, that was a great article, that gave a pretty clear statement of the basic issues regarding acoustics and stereo sound - usually such articles either get way too technical or slightly trite.

I agree with idc, room acoustics are probably have the biggest impact on how our systems sound. (Unless, like idc you're a major headphone fan - in which case room acoustics go out of the window!) It doesn't matter how much you spend on you're uber-hi-fi set up if you plonk it in your concrete and stripped wood floor minimalist loft apartment. It's more as likely to sound like the station announcements at Waterloo station. Yes, I have carpet in my lounge - no it's not "trendy", but my speakers sound great. The large, heavy curtains covering the window across most of one end of my room (opposite the speakers) give a great opportunity to tweak the acoustics. Yes - there should be more on acoustics on these forums and I don't mean stapling egg-boxes to the walls. Speaker positioning is an art and can make mediocre speakers sing or great speakers sound dull and inncoherent.

Maybe we as posters can point people in the right direction - when they ask "would my system sound better with different speaker cables or interconnects", we should ask: "what is it you don't like about your existing sound?" and, having got an answer - if it seems that it could be a positioning / acoustics issue, we could ask "have you tried moving your speakers", send a photo of your room from the listening position to the speakers and vice versa and look at the results than can be got, rather than arguing the relative merits of Chord Crimsons vs. Merlin Mozarts or QED Silver Anniversary vs. Chord Carnival Silverscreen. We've all done it.

Maybe WHFS&V could run a few articles where they go to a reader's house with issues with their set up and see what can be done without changing the set-up - i.e. get the best out of the existing kit, maybe just by tweaking positioning or doing some simple room treatments...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
scene:Speaker positioning is an art and can make mediocre speakers sing or great speakers sound dull and inncoherent.

...this is a very good point and should never be underestimated. Further, the stands you place a speaker on will have their impact too, surprisingly so.

In all my years of owning and tweaking hifi, the best advice I ever received was to pick a speaker that many would consider too small for the room. This can provide far more flexibility to place it well, bringing huge gains in all areas.

These days my worst nightmare is a pair of floorstanders in a small, square room with wooden floorboards and an amp that can't grip the drive units! Well, that and slow sub-woofers...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
hi maxflinn,room accoustics are a great topic for his forum indeed,the advice you have been given is all relevant,the room you use for your hifi and music reproduction ABSOLUTELY HAS THE BIGGEST AFFECT ON YOUR SOUND,more so than any piece of hifi equipment,unfortunately i believe most people are perhaps not aware of this,(appologies to all that are - you will more than likely have better sound than most),your hifi is in a lively environment maxflinn,regarding rugs try to get wool,it is a great natural sound absorber,speaker positioning can also have a dramatic effect in this type of room also,there is a book if your interested,check it at getbettersound.com,which is very useful for you.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Am in total agreement, tuning the room accoustics
is essential for getting a balanced sound.

So many people nowadays have wood flooring, blinds and a minimum ammout of furnishings.

Not conducive to a good sound as the room is too reflective with hard surfaces. Going to the other extreme leads to the room sounding dead or dull as it absorbs the sound waves.

Takes experimentation to get it right, also finding the sweet spots for speaker position along with equipment placement.

One trick if you find the treble a bit harsh in the room is to turn the speakers (standmounts) upside down so the tweeter is near the floor.
Get the room right is my advice before you start thinking about changing / upgrading equipment / cables etc.
Then upgrade the mains supply by installing a 40A wire radial spur.
 

scene

Moderator
Sep 25, 2008
780
177
19,070
trevor79:Am in total agreement, tuning the room accoustics
is essential for getting a balanced sound.

So many people nowadays have wood flooring, blinds and a minimum ammout of furnishings.

Not conducive to a good sound as the room is too reflective with hard surfaces. Going to the other extreme leads to the room sounding dead or dull as it absorbs the sound waves.

Takes experimentation to get it right, also finding the sweet spots for speaker position along with equipment placement.

One trick if you find the treble a bit harsh in the room is to turn the speakers (standmounts) upside down so the tweeter is near the floor.
Get the room right is my advice before you start thinking about changing / upgrading equipment / cables etc.
Then upgrade the mains supply by installing a 40A wire radial spur.

Yes - I've heard of the trick of inverting your speakers (doesn't really apply to me though - don't think my floorstanding MAs would appreciate it!) - never actually experienced the impact.

As for installing a radial spur: Yep - I'm potentially looking at doing this, as at the moment my alternative is 2x6-way extension cords, which is all very messy and not conducive to a clean power supply. I do wonder if there's merit in having a separate spur for your amp, due to the large current draw (mine's 1000W!) and then another spur for all the lower current devices...
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Scene, I have everything running off the one spur (30A draw). More than enough to handle current peaks.
My Amp and Sub add up to 1900 watts.

The spur feed runs into a extension then onto 2 BT MTU's. Makes a huge difference to both sound and picture quality.

I try to keep wiring and connections as simple as can be using quality fittings. I don't see any advantage in running two radials, the important thing is to have ample headroom for the draw.

Further mains conditioning off the spur will ensure each appliance gets its clean draw. Remember to put the high current draw items at the top of the tree.

Going back to the room accoustics I would sort out the mains as the 1st thing to do before tuning the room. You will likely find the addition of sound absorbing materials and drastic room alterations is less if your equipment is working at its best.
 

Cass

New member
Mar 31, 2008
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Tell me about it. I'm having an absolute nightmare trying to sort out my sound since I got the NAD 326 amp, due to excessive bass swamping everything else. I don't believe it is purely a problem with the amp, as the sound is fine when you listen from another room - but I'm not going to move my favourite armchair into the kitchen in order to enjoy my music! All was fine with the less bassy Cambridge A5 I had before, so I think my set-up (including the room) is just NAD-unfriendly. Another illustration of the folly of not home demo-ing before a purchase, methinks...
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
340
17
18,895
igglebert:This guide by Audio Physic might interest you.
This is an excellent guide!

I thought I had a reasonable understanding of speaker placement, but this has definitely added to my knowledge. Had a play about last night and the results are a cleaner sound, wider sound-stage and better separation between instruments. Brilliant!
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
340
17
18,895
igglebert:In all my years of owning and tweaking hifi, the best advice I ever received was to pick a speaker that many would consider too small for the room. This can provide far more flexibility to place it well, bringing huge gains in all areas.

These days my worst nightmare is a pair of floorstanders in a small, square room with wooden floorboards and an amp that can't grip the drive units! Well, that and slow sub-woofers...

Out of curiosity, how does your Spendor / Sub sound compared to similar floor standers (say Spendor A5's)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I've not had a chance to make a fair comparison so I'm not really sure. I have my sub turned down very low and I'm still not happy with it's timing. Since getting the SA stands I'm finding the improved bass makes the sub almost redundant. It's handy for films and TV but generally doesn't do much now. I was tempted to home demo the A5s but I love the presentation of these too much to bother now!
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
340
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18,895
Good point. If your happy why change


I suppose the speakers are in a different league to the Sub. Not that the sub is bad, it's just that they are very good speakers...Glad your enjoying them!
 

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