About to invest in room treatments; GIK, RealTraps, DIY -- what is your experience?


I'm reaching the point soon where I'll invest in some treatments for my two channel listening room. Standmount speakers with tube amps. Room about 28x14ft with low ceilings, 6.5ft. Probably different kinds of treatments are needed. I'm not exactly sure yet what I'll need or how much to spend. This is not my final listening room, but I won't be able to configure another one for a few years.

I've seen many people tout GIK on this forum and I'm already communicating with them a bit. I will also reach out to Real Traps and possibly others. I do not feel bound to go with just one company or solution, so if you've mixed and matched, I'm curious about that, too.

Any recent comparisons between these two, or others? Do you have stories of good or not so good products or service? Any comments about the value of competing products? I'm not super handy or have a lot of free time, but DIY is also considered. 

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What speakers do you have again?
They're Salk SS 6M stand mounts. They go down to around 35 hz (really do).
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With that low a ceiling you would have had better dispersion with the Salk BMR if you're on the long wall.  Where are you having problems?
@ebm  Can't quite make out what you're saying. Are GIK/Tube traps better than Stillpoints? 

@djones I was on the long wall and had good results but the short wall (now that I've rearranged the room) offers a much deeper sound stage. Speakers can come  as far as 6.5 feet off front wall if I wish and I can treat some of the first reflection points  which are now more prominent than before (on long wall). Bass is a bit crisper now.
My GIK panels have outlasted every other piece of equipment I own. Of course, they are not the only good brand out there.

ATS also makes quality products at even more reasonable prices

https://www.atsacoustics.com/

My suggestion with those speakers is to add enough room damping to the mid-treble so that the bass can shine through.  Include your ceiling between listener and speaker.  Try diffusion between the speakers.

I also always use GIK Soffit traps as close to the speakers as I can and the end results are always very smooth bass with my 2-way monitors.
Find or build Argent Rooms Lenses these allow you to capture and reshape the sound waves to your listening chair. Natural lambs wool is a great material to construct your own panels and cover to your liking. Tom
A quick look at the "Argent Room Lens" indicates they are no more than a method of diffuser panel.  Would need more detail on the dimension to know what the effective frequency range would be.  I am not saying that is a bad thing, just pointing out what the effectively are.

I don't see them "reshaping" the sound waves to your listening chair per se, so much as diffusing the side emissions from your speakers in what appears to be a recommended placement, which again, is not bad thing, or providing diffusion wherever they happen to be.
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Find or build Argent Rooms Lenses
Thanks i will try to replicate this interesting device....I already make my own Helmholtz resonators but those are beautiful indeed....

My best to you.....
You can find more out about the Argent on DIY copy cat threads.
The tubes are spaced apart from each other at different distances and a tuned at different resonant frequencies. They are a modified Helmholtz resonators..and by their placement they do re-conform the soundstage. I know this to be true because I moved one last evening in front of and then behind my latest version of my room air conditioner. Tom
They seem to have helmholz resonators built in as well. That strikes me as a bad but not awful integration idea as the best position of a diffuser and a bass resonator would rarely be the same spot.  Some comments from people with them recently:   https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/argent-room-lens-2



Oh and they sound much better on Audiopoints after the maker told me they would not..He said to use only, the as supplied carpet gliders..wrong. Couple don't decouple. Tom
Thanks, Erik.

Otherwise, interesting discussion, albeit not what I was asking about.  Helmholtz resonators are not the first thing I'll consider.
If you're looking for the best solution, cost no object, Stillpoints Aperture.

As  @ebm said.
For those who like Stillpoints, WHY do you like them?
My strongest recommendation goes to acoustic sciences tube traps .
https://www.acousticsciences.com/products/tube-trap
their products, customer care and approach to your room is beyond compare.
I have contacted gik and have stillpoints in my system.
IMO the best in this business is asc. I would strongly encourage you to give them a call . Their room treatment makes the room musical not just damp resonance. Had the magico rep come to my house last week, he had only one thing to say “he has never heard the magico m3 sound better than in my room incl his showroom where they r partnered with Boulder electronics “ . All credit to the room treatment by asc. They r worth a phone call .


6.5 foot ceilings, you have a difficult situation to say the least. Could be very difficult to manage p. Major bass absorption in great magnitudes, not inexpensive.   Please don’t make the the mistake of buying anything without knowing what issues you are trying to solve. You need data. Understand your rooms fundamentals regarding 30, 40, 50 cycle responses.  All harmonics blossom ( or not ) from there. These fundamentals, if not managed will distort the octaves above. You will never hear the true electronics, speakers that you own. Free education on acoustic fields web site. 
The Stillpoints Aperture is the only acoustical product that will give you both absorption and diffusion at the first reflection points of a system. And you want both!


- The Stillpoints Aperture have been found effective from 40 HZ to 40K HZ.

- DIMENSIONS: 22" high x 22" wide x 3 1/8" deep



These two statements are in conflict. Define "effective". I am guessing that was an incredible stretch for effective at 40Hz


3. Unevenly control one frequency over another. (This is often the case with traditional room treatments)



Well I am going to call BS on that one. Simply their size says this is actually impossible, but when has that stopped audio companies from claiming things impossible or unrealistic.


Sure, they probably do something. However, where are the performance graphs ... you know like real acoustics companies provide?  They don't work equally well at all frequencies, so what do they really do?   It is hard to take a companies products seriously when they make such claims.

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I just purchased all the materials from ATS Acoustics and built everything myself. The finished products are great and my listening room is a whole new animal, now. It really changed the room for the better. For just over $200, I was able to make (8) 2' x 4' x 2" thick panels.  Any room treatment brand you choose should yield excellent results since anything will be an improvement. 
I appreciate the suggestions so far. I have taken hundreds of scans with room EQ Wizard and have someone very experienced helping me look over and analyze the scans. I am managing to deal with the low frequencies pretty well and have optimized listening position and speaker placement. After a lot of experimentation I reorganized my room and set up along the short wall rather than the long wall. I understand that a variety of different treatments are likely necessary and the stillpoints product sounds almost too good to be true, because from what I have heard most rooms need to be mostly covered. Low frequencies have a lot of energy and need either a very deep trap or some kind of a dense trap that is a bit less deep. I have never heard of a product that absorbs from 40 to 40,000. 
I bought a pair of GIK self-standing panels.
They are 24 x 60 inches in dimension and 4 inches thick.
I found experimenting with different room placements was a worthwhile education.

Now that you have rearranged such that your speaker placed along the short wall I agree that the reflection points along the long walls are the 1st place for treatment. 

I made DIY panels from ATS Acoustics. They have a nice web site. They served me well as I live in Illinois and have visited their place. Saves on shipping costs. The Roxul Rockboard 60 I used probably could be found local to you.

You might build a couple 2' by 2' panels and place them diagonally against the ceiling at the corners of the front wall. I used this approach using 2'x4' panels however my ceiling height was ~8.5' 

I can't help to think you will like your new placement better. How far from speakers are you sitting? 
I also had a good experience with ATS and also Audiomute (if you do not want DIY).
Might suggest starting with first reflection point treatments--especially your low ceiling.
Check out my virtual system page and you can see my DIY efforts, especially my bass trap.  A commerical product of that magnitude would cost thousands of dollars.  My cost was probably $300 in materials for the trap.  
These room treatments took my room from pretty good to excellent.
Lots of GIK purchases over 5 years, eg traps, panels, etc. Highly variable build quality ranging from no imperfections to corners not square, loose tacking of fabrics, and non-flat surfaces. Responsive and easy to work with customer service that always accepted returns. Their products make a strikingly audible improvement, but their quality control is disappointing (~25% construction failures). Good luck achieving your Audio Nirvana!
Also GIK will give you different advice depending which advisor you talk to. One will push you into going heavy with absorbing treatment, while another will recommend more diffusing. All that for the same room. At least it was my experience. Got conflicting opinions, granted it was a couple years apart. The first advice with more diffusion turned out best for my house of stereo system, but of course I bought the first set up from the second guy's advice lol. It is definitely a time consuming and error prone process. And with your low ceiling you need to be ready for a serious challenge.
Here is a really interesting video on DIY panels made from towels. The guy tests several different materials and cotton towels work the best. I haven't built any yet but I'm going to try it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pABvTWSxOes&t=29s
Just note that his test is technically incorrect. He is testing for sound blocking, not sound absorption though given the density of towels, I have to expect they would still work well especially at high frequencies. It's a cool hack.

"Honey, where are all the towels?"
Have you tried doing the MMM with REW in your primary listening position? I would concentrate on the problems you find that result from tests obtained in the primary listening position. Once you have fixed as many as possible with acoustic treatments use some room correction. I know everyone has differences in their preference but I don't like dead rooms I like them a bit lively. 
Excellent experience with ATS. I had a GIK order in place for a couple weeks then they told me it was going to like 8 more weeks. Canceled it and placed an order with ATS. Fast shipping and I actually saved some money and got the upgraded Gilford cloth. Quality was excellent and all the mounting hardware was perfect, plus they also provide a really nice template to tape on the wall and mark the holes. Easy.
I have experimented with pillows in the corners and also foam on panel.

The pillows in the corner were to simulate a bass trap and they work quite well. I think purchased GIK Impressions bass traps and they were a mild improvement over the pillows.

As for the foam, everywhere I tried it the sound got worse.

I've also tried pillows in the rear and along the rear side walls. No noticeable audible effect.

I've also experimented with the Stillpoints Aperture. In my room, they did nearly nothing. At my dealers, they provide minimal/moderate help on the front wall. I'd want to experiment first before commiting to $750/panel.
Having a busy week. Here are some replies.

Thanks, newtoncr for the tip about ASC. I have read that whether treatments are tubes or panels, it doesn't really matter, but I'll read some more. Some of the photos of a room filled with tubes seems more spoof than proof.

bigwave1, yes, I'm doing extensive analysis first.

@mesch 
mesch, I've played with my OC 703 at the side walls and ceiling and I definitely heard an improvement. I am looking at some kits from ATS. The shipping is a killer! I like the idea of the 2' x 2' corner placement. I could cut a panel and try it up there. I don't need to frame these to try things. Just covering in fabric for now and then will put in a frame if they have a good effect.
After a lot of room measurement and listening, the optimal placement is: tweeter to ear, 8'7"; speaker baffle to front wall, 5'10"; listening position to front wall, 13'10"

corelli (a great composer!) thank you for the recommendation. I'll go look at Audiomute. I love your room -- so organized and modern-beautiful! Are the side wall reflection points that wide so they deal with reflections from *both* speakers? Also, what's on the front wall?

@wfowenmd 
thanks wfowendmd for the head's up about GIK. People do love them, but the time consumed by sending stuff back and forth is a real negative. Time is my most precious resource at this point in my life.

thanks baylinor for your experience, too. My room is so odd that I'm taking a stepwise approach, not just throwing my situation at an expert also paid to get product out the door. Given the complexity of acoustics and the likelihood of mis-treatment, and the profit motive, I will likely buy a couple things, add them, measure and listen, and then move to the next step.

8th-note, thanks. I saw that and we do have some towels. ;-) But as audio2design notes, I have lower frequency challenges, too.

@djones MMM? Not sure I have.

@jmphotography 
@jmphotography I've already had a long delay with GIK and now am back in touch, but I had a great response from ATS. GIK is warning about huge waits. Perhaps they're too successful for their own good (can't keep up)? Still, I'll work with more than one if it seems helpful.

@pokey77
 
@pokey thanks. Pillows do nothing in my room. Stillpoints is just expensive enough that I would worry that once I buy them, there would be too much cognitive dissonance to say they're bad. I suspect there's some "margin" in their products that doesn't smell kosher.
The "man cave" in my former home had terrible bass.  No matter what the bass line was in the music, the room added a single loud note.  I bought a miniDSP UMIK-1 USB connected microphone and REW (roomeqwizard.com) to help me position the bass traps I purchased from ATS Acoustics, eventually installing 10 of them to mostly tame the errant bass response.  My wife referred to my "man cave" as my "padded cell".
Sorry, MMM = Moving Microphone Method. 

https://youtu.be/2i5QU8__mq4
There was someone on AudioCircle complaining about very long delays in order fulfilment from GIK.  No idea if they're swamped or may be having supply chain problems.
Or they are having problems working at full capacity while keeping people safe. Not exactly an essential business.
mmm -- thank you djones. I'll take a look.
@hilde45   Thank you for your kind words.  I do love having a dedicated room--really gives you a lot of freedom.

The generous side wall panels just allowed me some latitude for future movement of speakers or seat position if desired.  A single 2x4' panel just seemed like not enough.  Also helped tame slap echo I noted.  

The front of the room has mdf columns which of varying width and depth that help to diffuse the sound.  I will probably add a few more DIY diffusers on the front side walls and maybe even the ceiling.  I did backlight the mdf columns with incandescent night light bulbs which created a very cool subdued lighting for when I listen.  It's been a fun project. 

Did you post a pic of your recent set up/room?  Maybe I missed it, but what is your current acoustic impression of the sound/imaging you are achieving and your end goals after treatment?
@corelli I posted a photo but it's old. It's on the long wall. I've moved to the short wall and everything is in measurement Hell. Moving the sub, taking measurements on listening position, speaker position, room modes, etc. I have not done treatments yet because until I have a very firm sense of what my room's actual, physical limitations are, I won't be sure where to plant my flag, so to speak. 

My current impression of my setup is that it's quite good to excellent. But I know it has issues and I want to address them. Just need to be sure what they are. I do not want to buy lots of treatments unnecessarily.



Try my last experiment... Cost: nothing...
Reward: a totally new system....

"Helmholtz-Fibonacci silent organ" A room tuner i devised myself with bricks and plumber pipes in one hour...If you have crafty hands you can make them esthetically beautiful.....

They work with a group of three bricks of three pipes inserted in three holes in each of the 3 bricks; 9 pipes all in all, which have each three set a lenght approximating the golden ratio, then changing the way sound waves react to the normal pressure of the room...

Helmholtz is the father of room correction and the golden ratio optimize the working of the resonators on all frequencies....You must choose the lenght of the first 2 sets not too distant from one another and the last set must be with more distance in lenght compared to the first 2....i located 2 sets laterally to each one of the speakers at some short distance and the bigger set behind my listening position... 😉

Experiment with your room it is fun.....

I sell creativity not products....No cost....

Audio cost nothing if we know what we are doing, and if  we dont know, it cost also nothing  we experiment,  we learn how to do it....

 Dont fall for the upgrading obsession...


Acoustic is the main working dimension of audio system, their electronical design cannot beat a bad room....
In a very good room only very, very bad system sound bad.....
I'm not against the idea of a Helmholtz resonator type of solution, but I'm not yet sure which frequencies are most problematic. I do not have too many peaks, the greater problem is with nulls. 
My Helmholtz-Fibonacci resonators are not ordinary Helmholtz resonators... I use many ordinary one i created myself but this one is more powerful....

The most important factor is the ratio 1.618...between pipes



The series of proportionate lenght between this "silent organ" like set of pipes cleaned most frequencies ....It takes me one hour to make them with some 3 bricks in my basement and unused copper regular plumber pipes of 1 centimeter1/2 diameter....

They act marvellously at one condition: the ratio must be respected to not impair the balance between interacting frequencies...

Only one or 2 inches, too much or too less, on only one pipe, will produce a not well balance sound very audible...Approximate measure around 1 centimeter will do no audible harm tough ...

My idea come from the best Book ever about the mathematics of the golden ratio....Then i coupled the ratio idea with Helmholtz idea....The golden ratio, like pi or the number e pilot the universe at all scale....

https://www.amazon.com/Mathematics-Harmony-Contemporary-Computer-Everything/dp/981277582X

By the way the key to Greek acoustic and Egyptian acoustic is this ratio...I read a book about that 45 years ago....I remember the price of the book : 125 dollars in 1977.... A very great book i never regret it....In french or in english it is sold today at the same price than 45 years ago, a real bargain today in relation to inflation....😁 It was an analysis of the Karnak temple in 2 volumes in Egypt by Schwaller de Lubicz..." The temple of Man"...
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=schwaller+de+lubicz&i=stripbooks-intl-ship&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

But these 2 books are 1000 pages each almost and not easy reading.... 😁



«Did you know that branches dance around the trunk in a spiral which is the golden number? For sure my wife also dance always like this around men»-Groucho Marx
One thought as well, before investing anything, spend $100 on a measurement microphone and learn how to use REW or something similar.  We are not talking cables here where the difference if at all is debatable. Acoustics can provide measurable improvements and a good place to start is knowing where you are starting from.
I have ASC, GIK, Michael Greene, and acoustic field products in my room. I have anywhere from sub-bass absorbers to diffusers. Both GIK and acoustic field offer diy products and videos to build your pieces. I bought the 8 dvd set from acoustic fields to build pieces. Any of the above mentioned companies will work with you on what you need to treat your room. Also, I think argent is no longer in business. 
Check out Acoustic Sciences Corp ..  https://www.acousticsciences.com/   Their stuff has been an integral part of my system since 1993.  https://www.martindareff.com/Other/HDR-Treated-Images/i-ZmLg23s/A
With regard to diffusion vs absorption with GIK panels, it costs only a little more to hedge your bets. I was initially skeptical about diffusion, since I was trying to tame a very bright room. I ordered Alpha panels with the optional cloth finished back so that they can be used for diffusion + some absorption or pure absorption, depending on which side faces into the room. I found that, in my room, the diffusion was noticeably better.

I have a total of nine GIK panels (3 Alphas, 3 non-membrane bass traps, 3 membrane bass traps) and haven’t encountered any QA issues, other than the little adhesive backed GIK labels eventually falling off the cloth covered panels.

I initially sent room measurements taken with a calibrated USB microphone and REW to GIK for recommendations to start off the process.

As expected, the improved reverberation time makes the room act as if it is much larger. Speakers (Sony ES SS-M7) generally considered to need lots of space to work well never sounded better...
I have a similar ceiling height.  I got Vicoustic bass traps and ceiling panels at first.  I was ready to get some wall panels, but Vicoustic kept changing their design for hanging/adhering to the wall.  After 4 months of waiting my dealer gave me a refund and so I bought directly from GIK.  I agree with martin0820 - the diffusion is just a little upcharge over absorption.  If I could do it all over again I would have gone with all GIK.
I had a great experience with GIK. I chose them as well-established science based and reasonably priced but was tempted by synergistic research stuff. GIK = good tools, good advice, and great results. I have a vaulted ceiling with speakers along long wall and top of vault along center of room in long direction. Ended up with 2 244s on ceiling, soffit traps stacked in front corners, etc. 14 piece total but only used 12. Dealer said he couldn't hear my room at all which was great. Not dead sounding at all.