Take a look at GIK Acoustics. The website is pretty informative and the folks there are very responsive to questions.
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I second GIK very helpful site. Very helpful people. Good affordable products. Here are some other links that were useful to me. One thing I wish I had known before finishing my basement is that room dimensions can make a passive difference in how a room can sound. If you can optimize room dimensions problems can be minimized and or avoided.
Anyway I hope these are of some help.
In addition to the aforementioned, also look up ATS acoustics. I have purchased supplies from them and built my own panels. Very inexpensive.
In general panels are often placed behind the speakers and at the primary reflection points on walls to the right and left of speakers. Corner bass traps on wall behind speakers. As a place to start I have done this in a basement room 12' x 15' with 8.5' ceilings.
What is the size of your basement room?
I have used the GIK Acoustic approach to improving room acoustics. They are good people to work with, the products work, but I think there is a much better approach. Especially in your situation of treating two different rooms. I would use the Synergistic HRT + Frequency Energy Equalizer (FEQ) approach. Why? Easy to install- Maybe 1-2 hours. No marks on wall. Nearly invisable. Can move the system to a different room easily and obtain good results. 30 day money back trial. Final results are supperior to using acoustic pannels in the two rooms I have treated.
Hi guys, thanks so much for your suggestions. I'll look into the GIK and ATS acoustics. My hifi is currently set up in the living room where there're hangings (pictures, mirrors, flowers, curtains) on the walls.
I might just get a few acoustic foam and put them behind the speakers for now. When I'm ready to move down to the basement, I'll get the bass traps and other panels.
I use GIK. You can start with two 2X4 on the first reflection points (1 on left and one on right) and another two in between the speakers. In my room, the 2X4 made a huge difference for sound staging and focus. The 244 from GIK will work fine for you.
Mcloughlin's links above are very useful. Wish I had found them earlier. I had to spend so many hours to get my speaker placement correct. But they are very well in line with that those models suggest.
Mcloughlin, thanks so much for the many helpful links. I'll read through and see if I can apply it to my listening room.
Everyone - my living room is not a perfect rectangular shape. It's more like a rectangular section (with speakers placed on the long wall) with extended dining area and kitchen on the right-rear side. It's a open floor plan. On the left is the balcony door/window with curtains (one of the first reflection point). On the right is a side table with picture frames hanging on the wall.
There isn't much I can do about placing a 2x4 there. Also, between the speakers I have a 55 inch flat panel TV. I usually use a blanket to cover it when listening. And I pull the speakers away from the back wall so that they're about 1-2 feet to the left and right of the TV and in front of the plain of the TV. Not sure where I can place the 2x4 since the TV is only one foot away from the back wall.
Treating the room is always a good idea. But sometimes it is not an option ("No dear, of course I won't be putting that there!")
Another solution is to utilize room correction, either software or appliance based. My experiences with products from Dirac Research (software) and DSPeaker (appliance) have been very positive. There are some differences between the products and how they can be used. I can elaborate more if you are interested.
BTW - I have no affiliation with either company.
OK, here goes:
Dirac Research's RCS is a software application that runs on a mac or PC and includes tools for room analysis and room correction based one or more analyses. The software is available in two versions, 2-channel and multi-channel (up to 8, as I recall). A calibration microphone is required to measure the room. Dirac offers a mic as an option, but in my testing a better (not necessarily more expensive) mic made a noticeable difference.
DSPeaker Anti-mode 2.0 is an "appliance" and does not require the use of a mac or PC. Actually, the unit is a USB DAC w/ active room correction. The user interface is via a small (but adequate) LCD panel on the appliance. DSPeaker does include a calibration microphone with the device, but IMO the attached cord is too short for meaningful measurements of all but the smallest rooms.
While both units pretty much do the same thing, measure your room and actively correct the playback, there are some significant differences between these products, based on design. Dirac requires a computer and (in it's current iteration) does not support analog input from the source. So while the product is great for playback of digital music files, there is no practical way to use it for analog sources. The DSPeaker appliance includes both analog and digital inputs, and although you can only use one at a time per profile this is a minor inconvenience.
Both units perform well and are easy to use, and will provide correct for all but the most egregious room problems and provide a greatly enhanced listening experience. I think that most users would be happy with either unit. The DSPeaker unit has an obvious advantage for vinyl affectionados (more about that below). But to my ears and in the opinion of my listening companions the Dirac product provides a somewhat better overall room correction experience, for the following reasons:
1- The DSPeaker includes a DAC, and I tested it this way because I believe that this is how most users will use the product. The Dirac application on a mac used an external DAC, in my case an Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold. DSPeaker's DAC was just not equal to the Zodiac Gold, as expected. But when we also tested Dirac with a Meridian Explorer DAC I still preferred the Dirac presentation to the DSPeaker. It wasn't a night and day difference, but it was noticeable.
2- DSPeaker currently supports hi-res (24/96kHz) input via S/PDIF (Toslink) only. USB input is limited to 16/44.1. I routinely play 192kHz files from my mac through Dirac RCS.
3- In the three rooms I tested (small, medium and large) Dirac provided a better overall room correction experience; at least to my ears. The sweet spot was wider and deeper and the sound more focused. One reason for this could be that way that the two products measure room response and compute room nodes, which is slightly different.
Having that, I think that the DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 is a very good product, especially at it's price point, and will certainly meet or exceed the expectations of the average user. And the analog inputs are a big advantage for those of us who favor the vinyl god.
Note that Dirac announced late last year that they were going to release the DHP (Dirac Hardware Processor) appliances. These are standalone units, similar in function to the DSPeaker but running the Dirac application. The announcement specifically mentioned separate versions (DHP-A & DHP-D) for analog and digital inputs, and my understanding is that the devices will not include the Dirac software license, which must be added separately. As far as I can tell, this product has not yet been released and there is no mention of it on Dirac's web site.