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Room acoustics and room treatment

Pedro

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May 31, 2016
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Respect for creating this thread.

I think a good place to start getting some information is Ethan Winer's The Audio Expert.
 

MajorFubar

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Pull up any laminate flooring you may have in your listening room, put it outside and burn it. Buy a carpet. Any further treatments you may use like wall panels and bass traps are the equivalent of bailing out a sinking ship with a spoon if you don't at least get the very basics right, one of them being dampening the vertical sound waves. It's not just my opinion, just check out how recording studio control rooms are put together, or refer back to your high school physics classes. Of course forget all that if you routinely carpet your ceiling...
 

Electro

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Mar 30, 2011
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I have played around with room acoustics over the last few months doing my own thing using some second hand acoustic panels and some I made myself .

Bearing in mind my system sounded very good with no treatment at all, the improvement with my unusual acoustic treatment is huge and very worthwhile.

A HiFi enthusiast recently came to look at some speakers I am selling, he has a valve hybrid amp and sonus faber speakers and uses a modified Cd player with a valve output stage.

He had a breif listen to my system and within a minute of the first song he turned to me with a shocked expression on his face and said, " I have never heard a system ever in my entire life in which the speakers completely dissapear and leave a three dimensional image of just the music, real music right in front of me wow, I have read about this sort of sound in HiFi magazines but have never experienced it not even at hi end HiFi shows, can I take your system home with me PLEASE."

To say I was chuffed would be an understatement. *biggrin*

Some pictures of my latest treatment positioning.



 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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MajorFubar said:
Pull up any laminate flooring you may have in your listening room, put it outside and burn it. Buy a carpet.  Any further treatments you may use like wall panels and bass traps are the equivalent of bailing out a sinking ship with a spoon if you don't at least get the very basics right, one of them being dampening the vertical sound waves. It's not just my opinion, just check out how recording studio control rooms are put together, or refer back to your high school physics classes. Of course forget all that if you routinely carpet your ceiling...
Good point Major. I do have a carpet, thank heavens. And I intend to be treating first reflections on the ceiling as well.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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That's excellent I've yet to experience that. If I could achieve only the transparency without the 3D to start with I'd be chuffed. I've heard it before and love it when speakers disappear.

I'm interested to DIY some panels and bass traps. Any tips you could give would be great. I was thinking about using 100mm Rockwool or Knauff mineral wool. Haven't decided on textile yet.
 

MajorFubar

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insider9 said:
Good point Major. I do have a carpet, thank heavens. And I intend to be treating first reflections on the ceiling as well.
Certainly give it a go, but if you're using other techniques as well like wall panels and bass traps you might find it over-dampens the place. But hey you can always take them off, and the experimentation is 3/4s of the fun.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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MajorFubar said:
insider9 said:
Good point Major. I do have a carpet, thank heavens. And I intend to be treating first reflections on the ceiling as well.
Certainly give it a go, but if you're using other techniques as well like wall panels and bass traps you might find it over-dampens the place. But hey you can always take them off, and the experimentation is 3/4s of the fun.
Absolutely. The cost is well worth the effort. I should be able to diy all the room room treatment for under £150. I'm aware it can be overdone but was I to sell them on I won't lose any money and might even turn a profit :)
 

MajorFubar

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Threads like this are great and some really good ideas and suggestions may come out of them, but without the ability to make something as crucially important as room acoustics a 'sticky' at the top of the forum, the message soon gets forgotten.

Increasingly, more and more living spaces just sound awful. 'Increasingly' because everyday things like soft furnishinngs, carpets, and thick curtains, which (by accident more than planning) helped to control lively acoustics in average living rooms, are being abandoned in place of starker minimalist living spaces with an overdose of reflective surfaces, like wooden floors, bare painted walls with huge glass-fronted pictures, less soft furniture, all of which destroys acoustics. Then the occupants of these man-made reverb chambers join here and ask why their £2,000 hifi sounds pants and which component is the weakest.
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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Old audiphile wives tale that you overdampen the sound - thats rubbish

Read my comments in the other thread you are more likely to do that with soft furnishings than actual broadband products.
 

MajorFubar

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ellisdj said:
Old audiphile wives tale that you overdampen the sound - thats rubbish

Read my comments in the other thread you are more likely to do that with soft furnishings than actual broadband products.
I take your point in the literal sense but more broadly speaking most people don't want to listen to their hifi in something approaching the acoustics of an anechoic chamber, which is why I would advise controlling room acoustics rather than try to remove them completely. Which is usually impossible in anything but a purpose-designed room anyway.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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The unfortunate reason why a thread like this will not be a sticky is of a very obvious nature. There is more interest in selling componenets than in happy enthusiasts.

I have been considering starting a thread like this for a while. It's only after I had enough balls to "empty" the room from all non essential furniture I've decided the next logical step would be room treatment. My listening room is actually half of my master bedroom and as such is a small space. It is though fully commited to listening.

By it's own virtue I should not be able to successfully use floorstanders in such restricted space. But because that floorspace is committed to just hifi I've had good results with no DSP at all at present. And we're talking nearly 30kg per speakers that go down cleanly to 30Hz in room with no EQ :) I'm quite confident that with room treatment and when I turn them active with DSP I will have them down to 20 Hz.
 

ellisdj

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You have no chance of achieving an anachoic chamber with normal domestic conditions so thats not something to worry about.

There are different stategies or ideas or ways of approaching things but all of them will be better than nothing.

Over damping the room comes from the old days of people using 1inch foam everywhere and absorbing only high freqs.

This doesnt over dampen it just reduces the high freq decay times Much faster than the rest so you get an unbalanced sounding room.

Hence the suggestion do bass first as this is the biggest challenge.

The more treatment you add in my opinion the better the system sounds providing its the right products
 

MajorFubar

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insider9 said:
I'm quite confident that with room treatment and when I turn them active with DSP I will have them down to 20 Hz.
You may even find you don't want or need it. We all agree that DSP can't make crap speakers sound good, or make tiny 4" woofers sound like they're a 12" sub, you can't defy physics. So basically when all's said and done DSP is there to 'de-compromise' your listening environment and allow whatever equipment you have sound as best as it can. So having optimised the acoustics of your listening environment to begin with (or personalised to your taste, depending on your aim or viewpoint), you may find DSP superfluous.
 

ellisdj

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Electro said:
I have played around with room acoustics over the last few months doing my own thing using some second hand acoustic panels and some I made myself .

Bearing in mind my system sounded very good with no treatment at all, the improvement with my unusual acoustic treatment is huge and very worthwhile.

A HiFi enthusiast recently came to look at some speakers I am selling, he has a valve hybrid amp and sonus faber speakers and uses a modified Cd player with a valve output stage.

He had a breif listen to my system and within a minute of the first song he turned to me with a shocked expression on his face and said, " I have never heard a system ever in my entire life in which the speakers completely dissapear and leave a three dimensional image of just the music, real music right in front of me wow, I have read about this sort of sound in HiFi magazines but have never experienced it not even at hi end HiFi shows, can I take your system home with me PLEASE."

To say I was chuffed would be an understatement. *biggrin*

Some pictures of my latest treatment positioning.
Electro what is the wooded slat things in the corners? Whats your goal with them?

All your mid range and high freq fire forward only and by the time the reflect back in your size room they will be well down of volume mate??

Thats where your bass collects as thats omnidirectional from the speaker ??
 

ellisdj

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MajorFubar said:
So having optimised the acoustics of your listening environment to begin with (or personalised to your taste, depending on your aim or viewpoint), you may find DSP superfluous.
You would think that would be the case - but you will never get it nailed down as tight with room treatments as you can with modern dsp.

They work differently in my mind - room treatment on its own would be enough if you had the right room to start with - but we dont ever have that.

In fact the room can make the sound so bad its scary - 20+ db variance or more in places.

I bet people buy products to try and counteract these issues without really knowing the cause of their issues - I am very guilty of doing this hands very much held up - when if you fix the issue you can buy whatever you want / is best.
 

ellisdj

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This is a great Video to show many things for acoustics

1. a strategy to a room acoutic approach from scratch

2. just how comprehensive it needs to be to make an actual signficant difference - even then miles from perfect, but miles better

3. how it clearly doesnt deaden the room even though there is a ton of treatment in the room

4. it looks cool (dedicated room)

5. you can hear the difference in treated vs untreated clear as day

EDIT - whats really funny is listening to the demos now I can hear this system is in desperate need of some dirac treatment :)

I couldnt tell that before, been a while since I listened
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Even if it's to correct phase only. I still think there will be some corrections to magnitude. The speakers I will be turning active next are actually not bad speakers.
 

Gazzip

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Either my DAC or DSP has developed a fault (diagnosis day tomorrow), but what is certain to me is just how much of a positive influence the DSP has had on my system. Now it is not there I am truly shocked. What I heard today when I took it out of the chain made my jaw hit the floor. I cannot believe I used to listen to that.
 

Electro

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Mar 30, 2011
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ellisdj said:
Electro said:
I have played around with room acoustics over the last few months doing my own thing using some second hand acoustic panels and some I made myself .

Bearing in mind my system sounded very good with no treatment at all, the improvement with my unusual acoustic treatment is huge and very worthwhile.

A HiFi enthusiast recently came to look at some speakers I am selling, he has a valve hybrid amp and sonus faber speakers and uses a modified Cd player with a valve output stage.

He had a breif listen to my system and within a minute of the first song he turned to me with a shocked expression on his face and said, " I have never heard a system ever in my entire life in which the speakers completely dissapear and leave a three dimensional image of just the music, real music right in front of me wow, I have read about this sort of sound in HiFi magazines but have never experienced it not even at hi end HiFi shows, can I take your system home with me PLEASE."

To say I was chuffed would be an understatement. *biggrin*

Some pictures of my latest treatment positioning.
Electro what is the wooded slat things in the corners? Whats your goal with them?

All your mid range and high freq fire forward only and by the time the reflect back in your size room they will be well down of volume mate??

Thats where your bass collects as thats omnidirectional from the speaker ??
I guessed you might ask me that *smile*

As you know when you came round some months ago there was a large bass null in the middle of the room and much of the bass was collecting in the corners of the room behind the speakers .

Logic dictates that bass traps in the corners would make a substantial improvement but when tried it the sound was far worse, the image dissapeared and the bass was thin and weedy in comparison. So I tried floor to ceiling bass traps, even worse.

So I scratched my head for While took the whole lot away and started again.

It then struck me that low bass frequencies are very large so if I put the traps either side of the corner and not directly in the corner the bass would not fit into the void and it would be forced out into the room rather than absorbing it.

The results were stunning, huge powerful, even, clean deep bass spread all round the room and the image came back with a vengance.

I then added the panels back in at the first relection points and a couple more bass traps to the left and right of my listening position which made a subtle but worthwhile improvement.

The treatment on the floor came about by accident after my wonderful sons thought it would be great fun to run into my room and push over my cylindrical traps and after shouting at them I realised that the sound was better with four of them on the floor next to the wall so after a bit of moving about and fine tuning that is where they stayed.

The next step was to hang heavy curtains over the wood and glass bi folding doors that are 7 to 8 feet behind my listening chair, this really cleaned things up and the imaging was vastly improved.

Finally after looking at pictures of treated room I noticed that many rooms have diffusers on the wall behind the speakers so I thought I would bodge some up out of some old louvre doors in the garage.

I put them in the usual place and they made little or no difference which dissapointed me so I slid them across the wall stage by stage into the corners and suddenly the whole sound sprung up into a new level of detail and focus, I then took the apart and made them floor to ceiling which was the icing on the cake and that is where they stayed.

I am sure you think I am totally mad and unscientific but the sound speaks volumes. *good*
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Great for you to share this. It only shows how much effort went into it and how much work I'm going to have to put in. It doesn't bother me it actually sounds like a lot of fun.

Am I correct in saying you've done this all by ear? No measurement mic at all?
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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Is a bit mental mate for sure, i thought i was bad. Why dont you try some proper diffusors you would like them.

Putting traps in the front corner shouldn't reduce your bass like what you said mate. Thats very odd. I have a theory as to why but its long winded to write it all out.

You will never stop the middle of the room being a bass lean place in the room can work around that.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
739
298
5,270
ellisdj said:
This is a great Video to show many things for acoustics

1. a strategy to a room acoutic approach from scratch

2. just how comprehensive it needs to be to make an actual signficant difference - even then miles from perfect, but miles better

3. how it clearly doesnt deaden the room even though there is a ton of treatment in the room

4. it looks cool (dedicated room)

5. you can hear the difference in treated vs untreated clear as day

EDIT - whats really funny is listening to the demos now I can hear this system is in desperate need of some dirac treatment :)

I couldnt tell that before, been a while since I listened
Thanks for posting this. Yes, the difference is staggering. You can quite clearly hear it in dialogue pre/post treatment. Don't even need to hear the music playing. I'll be honest and say if my room was as bad as this I'd be using headphones. Christ, that waterfall after is worse than mine before :)
 

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