Acoustic treatment question: do you agree with Dennis Foley that $46k to $65k is required?


In a video from 1/29/2021 (yesterday) Dennis Foley, Acoustic Fields warns people about acoustic treatment budgets. He asserts in this video that treatment will likely require (summing up the transcript):

Low end treatment: $5-10k

Middle-high frequency: $1-1.5k

Diffusion: Walls $10-15k, Ceiling: $30, 40, 50k

https://youtu.be/6YnBn1maTTM?t=160

Ostensibly, this is done in the spirit of educating people who think they can do treatment for less than this.

People here have warned about some of his advice. Is this more troubling information or is he on target?

For those here who have treated their rooms to their own satisfaction, what do you think of his numbers?


8700e65e 845e 4b1b 91cc df27687f9454hilde45
I’m sure it can cost that much. Like most things of course it depends. Big time. 
I agree with Mapman.

I think overall those prices are too high, but it depends.  If you are building a room from scratch, and looking to incorporate bass traps in it, and the like, then those prices are right. 

However, no, GIK makes great products including absolutely wonderful bass traps that you'd be hard pressed to treat a modest living room and spending more than $10K.
My own living room will end up being around $3K, see pictures in my system.
Not unless you're building a mastering studio. 
I've measured speakers in my living room flat down to 100hz using no room treatments other than sofa ,  drapes, bookcases etc.. room treatments are necessary in some spaces but I think people overdo I don't like a dead room some reflection adds spaciousness. 
Thanks, guys. This video is indicating that these ranges are designating the *minimum* amounts one needs to spend to get any real improvement.

I’m trying to read between the lines, here. I suspect that Foley is either (a) tired of dealing with customers not willing to spend much at all or have unreasonable expectations or (b) is trying to acclimate his potential clientele to spending a lot of money with his company. Or both.
I suspect with your low ceiling the biggest problem is ceiling and floor bounce/reflection. We tend to hear those as unpleasant more than wall reflection. Instead of trying absorption on the ceiling try diffraction and as strange as it sounds try putting a coffee table between you and the speakers. 
Thanks, djones. I'm going to try your suggestion now and see how it measures and sounds.
For those here who have treated their rooms to their own satisfaction, what do you think of his numbers?
Perfectly sound and at the same times rubbish....

Sound if you wanted a PERFECT pro treatment ...

Rubbish for me....I need only a relatively good one for my perceiving ears...

I create mine at no cost....By the way his video explanation are very good... I dont doubt his competence... I had no competence in acoustic....But....

The goal is the vibraphone and piano sound must be simultaneously distinctly perceived in their own space with a distinct timbral tone and his aural varying colors and hues and his decreasing decays, all that filling the room 3-d and not coming from the speakers.... Now i have it with a 500 bucks system ....Could it be better? yes...Does i wanted to pay for an improvement? are you silly? Never....I am too busy listening music now.... 😁


It cost me 2 years of listening experiments but it was fun....

He sells his product.... It is Ok.... It is a pro and must be paid...But who can afford 45 thousand dollars for room only ? And how for the system? 😁

Audio is more a snake pit for money when you dont know how to do than it is a snake oil problem ....

But is all the truth contained in this advertisement? No....

By the way we can use non orthodox acoustical tools that are not even in his box tool...And i use some at no cost....


The truth is this: i could create my thing BECAUSE i could afford one room only for audio use... That is the main factor....without this specialized room i could not have made a so good result.... some of my device are awful or not convenient in a common room....

Then a room is the main important factor in audio for me not the dac or the turntable or even the speakers.... Sad truth for many.... But the good news is acoustic controls could be low cost....
I suspect with your low ceiling the biggest problem is ceiling and floor bounce/reflection.
i think so also... try a diffusive element like big green plant....
Acoustic treatment question: do you agree with Dennis Foley that $46k to $65k is required?

Absolutely!!  Can't wait to drop $46K to $65K in my man cave. 

To a near certainty, I expect that when my wife see what I did (or propose to do) to my sound room (in HER house) and how much it will cost, ... she'll drop me, my stereo and the room treatments on the sidewalk and change the locks.  :) 

When my children and wife look at my room they refrain themselves to call a psychiatric unit, but when they listen to my music, they forgot to call the medic and thyy "this is so good"... Then this is the reason i walk free....But she dislike my audio room....But she like the fact that no more costly upgrades  are in my backhead at all...She keep me...

😊
IF it did cost that much to get great or even good sound, I'd be on a headphone rampage.. 

I want to add some heavy HEAVY curtains the full width of my room in front of 2 36" french door..  It was close to 5K for really good curtains runners, motors, the whole shabang.. I think it will take an honest 7-8k so I can stand to look at it..  Two more curtains on the long walls. In my room.

The better sounding rooms to me use curtains, Easy to over dampen a room. Some music needs more than others.. A friend of mine set his room up that way.. Just open or close the curtains.. Easy to clean..
He has 15k in his set up... about 70 feet of full length curtains.. Ceiling treatment and moves a heavy  bear skin rug in front of him.. Staring at that bear while listening, kinda weird.. Sure works good though..

The only problem WAS line of sight remotes and equipment behind curtains..He has it all figured out now..

The weird, block diffusers, YUK..
I like beautiful things.. curves.. Not spectral decay charts on the walls.. :-)

Regards
Post removed 
Well, I have made the point in this very forum that there is a minimum amount of critical mass needed before you take a live room and tame it enough to get real improvements.  Four 2'x4' panels?  Probably not a lot of benefit.  Maybe 6-8 panels plus some serious bass traps... now we are talking!

I should point out that while I am a big fan of GIK, especially for their advice services, ATS acoustics is also very good and even more reasonable.
Oldhvymec
He has - Ceiling treatment and moves a heavy bear skin rug in front of him.. Staring at that bear while listening, kinda weird.. Sure works good though..
A new excitement in your listening environment, when you nod off a little after a hard day at work, and you open those eyes see that bear staring at you for split second your heart races and you attribute it to your sound system. Cool
I like Dennis, and appreciate his knowledge, especially regarding room issues, and what to look for, or, look out for. But understand, his career has mostly been in high end design, fabrication, and installations. As I understand, he is getting out of the absolute designing and installing a complete room as a turn key solution (mostly due to health issues). He is concentrating on on making and selling his products going forward.

Obviously he believes in a quality level for his products and services that will solve issues in they way he thinks they should be solved. Fine. I’m in the design/build field and understand that desire as long as there are clients to spend money and pay the bills, but understand, his products are not for any or everybody. But I’m sure they work, and work very well. I would certainly trust his knowledge, expertise, and his products. But could I afford them. Again, as I am in the design/build business, you would probably be shocked at what some clients are willing to spend on a single room vs the ‘norm’. Some would say ‘that’s crazy’ and another ‘that’s what I want and I’ll spend the money to get it’. Geez, we have some in this hobby we who will spend $60,000+ for speakers or an amplifier, so why not the same or similar on room treatment? Most folks will think it’s crazy to spend even $1,000 for speakers, let alone a phono cartridge.

Are there cheaper solutions? Yes, just as there are cheaper speakers. Will they be as good as his products? Well, he doesn’t think so, so is only going to cater to those clients who believe in him, his products, and that comes with a certain cost.

If you can’t afford Dennis’ products and solutions, go elsewhere. But if you want his products, expect to pay a premium for them.

I’m certainly not going to beat him up for that, nor believing in his products and knowledge. 


Oh, not sure who brought this  up but yes, floor and ceiling are hugely important places to consider room treatment.

Also, keep in mind that even if you can't get everything where you want it, room acoustics are statistical, not absolutes.  You can make up for deficiencies in one spot by adding more in another.  More or less. Of course, early reflections are hard to compensate for if you can't fix them, but they are only a small part of the story. Controlling bass modes, and the overall decay of signals in the room is as if not more important.

GIK makes art panels and I am thinking of having ceiling panels that look like a night sky.  Or white to disappear on the ceiling.
You can reconstruct acoustically a room at high price...

Or create for example at low cost a grid of different Helmoltz resonators and solve the problem of room bass modes...

You can use cheap Schumann generators and small passive resonators and ionizer to act more on the high frequencies...

You can use cheap materials well chosen to treat.... You ears will say if it is good or not....

But it will takes time and experiments.... But it is way more fun than buying anything costly...

It cannot work only in my room ! 😁 but it is not easy in a living room ... I always forgot that cheap solutions are ugly.... Sorry i will mute myself....




No, I don't agree. I've had a recording engineer and the owner of a high end stereo salon over to my humble one bedroom apartment and they both loved the acoustics and my set up. When asked, they both said not to bother with any room treatment as I listen in a somewhat, near field perspective. One even walked around, clapping to see if there's any bad echos and couldn't elicit one.

It could be that I'm lucky with the room dimensions. Who knows. But to spend that kind of money is going way overboard, IMHO. At the high end salon owners house, his listening room is large and at first glance, you don't see any treatment, anywhere and yet, he told me it took awhile before he got it to where he likes it. The first thing you notice is there's lots of space around the speakers.

After a long listening session at his place, I come home to hear mostly the same thing. Goes to show you that nothing is an absolute. If I ever get lucky enough to have a larger place, with a dedicated listening area, I'd try this out first: http://www.mother-of-tone.com/acoustic_panel.htm to see if it works. It's relatively cheap and can be done by oneself, or by someone who can put it up for not much. The use of the organic lacquer used to treat the wood reminds me of what that recording engineer told me of what he offered to Disney Hall to improve the sound there: some kind of treatment to the panels they use being all it would take. They never took him up on it.

All the best,
Nonoise
It is categorically impossible to adequately acoustically treat a high end listening environment for less than $65k. I can tell you precisely what it will cost. PM me your complete financial statement and I will get right on it.
@ Organic Liquor?

Rather save for special listening session’s.

I believe his low end absorption 30hz to 100 hz is second to none.  I prefer GIK for 100hz on up for the price.  I will have spent a total of $7,500 on absorption in my small room.  Dennis actually said diffusion wouldn't work in my HT/Music room.  I am.only going to get 60-75% treatment which was enough for me.

That YouTube video made it clear that diffusion is the real high cost of treatment.
Try 6 to 8 Stillpoint Apature panels that should do the trick in most rooms.
Dennis is a snake oil salesman. Go watch videos of professional studio tours and you’ll see nothing close to that. In fact, one I just saw yesterday they even joked about the fact that the acoustics company proposed a budget that was literally the same as the cost of the building. They laughed at them and then just did it themselves with some internet research and using their own ears. 
That’s insane ,if you can afford a custom built Audio room
and $1000s for Sonus or other brands fine but 90% of Audiophiles 
try to smartly damp there room ,first reflection , bass ,corner panels, Equipment isolation, vibrations, you can truly get your room to sound very respectable for minimal monies with just some research and follow others proven methods,and experimentation.
I got to $4,000 in acoustic treatment in my house of stereo system.  I can't imagine improving on it. I will leave it at that since obscene numbers don't interest me. 
It cost me nothing but nobody believe it ..... 😁

They think it is a joke and that are valid only what is sold officially by an acoustic company....

The true point is without room controls most system could not work at their optimal level....

 Many  system very costly i listen to youtube are fatiguing with harsness, and people are not conscious at all about acoustic....I prefer my 500 bucks one.... What does it say about acoustic?
I can’t even imagine the smell of all that foam. I have a foam pit at my indoor bike park and it cost us 20,000 worth of foam blocks to fill an area 4 foot tall by 16 feet wide by 24 feet long. The smell of the form fills the building I can’t imagine what it’s got to do to our normal size house.
$46 large? He is nuts.

I just spent $500 on 5 GIK Acoustic panels. 2 Bass traps for corners and 3 panels on the wall behind my couch. As Borat would say, That's a nice....

What do you expect a guy who's business is soley to sell acoustics to say.
Makes sense if you are insane...
@bkeske I wasn’t beating up on him. He may cater to high end clients and that’s fine. I took note of this video because it was explicitly aimed at what a minimum budget would require. In other words, this is not a video aimed at movie studios or yacht owners. It was that framing — which he chose — which called the question. I’m just asking it. 
Sound waves really don't care if you're a certified room treatment product.
So you can be sneaky with room treatments:

No on glass-framed artworkYes on framed canvas paintings
Yes on wood carvings and tapestries
Yes on balancing the left and right side...
Yes on drapes and house plants in textured potsNo on glass coffee tablesYes on strategically placed rugsYes on fewest things between the speakers
See where I'm going where this?


For $65k you can buy a small house, and that is not in the middle of Alaska. But then again, some buy $10k cables. I don't go over $1k with cables, used. Anyway, I listen almost near field too.
I’m going with a few dozen of those magic dots and something like a DSPeaker Anti-mode. Betcha I’ll save at least $43.5k and probably even more than that. Then, I’ll go on YouTube and sell secret sauce.
@hilde45

@bkeske I wasn’t beating up on him. He may cater to high end clients and that’s fine. I took note of this video because it was explicitly aimed at what a minimum budget would require. In other words, this is not a video aimed at movie studios or yacht owners. It was that framing — which he chose — which called the question. I’m just asking it.

No, it was aimed at his products and his solutions. He isn’t recommending that kind of money on a generic product, or speaking in general. Again, I’m sure his products work, the question is, do you want to spend money on it. If not, don’t buy his products. Pretty simple.
I think I sent you some links on Foley. You have your answer. He does not have a lot of respect in the industry.
Dennis seems to have knowledge. I spoke with him once about my room - he basically said the dimensions and layout are both unfixable ("Don't bother trying to fix it, buy a different house."). His systems probably work quite well. Maybe the cost vs effectiveness is merited in some instances for some people. I suspect there are diminishing returns at play, and like most endeavors, 80% effectiveness can be achieved with 20% effort/materials. I plan to do what I can with my room using panels from Music City Acoustics - they sell a whole studio kit for $1500, and that's probably what I'll use (no affiliation - not even a customer yet). That and the right choice of speakers (LXmini and Martin Logan e-stats aren't arguing with my room) and Dirac. So, I'm addressing room interaction from every aspect; speakers, DSP and treatment - to lessen the burden on each. Will it be perfect - probably not by Dennis' standards; however, for the fraction of time I spend critically listening to music in that space, it should be plenty. For those who are spending $80k for room treatments... if you have the cash (or business need), go for it! If I had $80k laying around un-invested, I'd buy another Porsche - to each their own.
@bkeske
He isn’t recommending that kind of money on a generic product, or speaking in general. Again, I’m sure his products work, the question is, do you want to spend money on it. If not, don’t buy his products. Pretty simple.

Fair enough. I realize that when he talks about "budget" in his video, he’s talking about "budget for my products" rather than "budget for someone wanting to address their bass, midrange etc. issues." Got it.

In eliciting opinions, I’ve learned something. Some here found that going with his approach is worth extra money; others found solutions at other, lower prices.

I am new to shopping for acoustic treatments. I thought that Foley’s company was a competitor to GIK, ATS, etc. (which are "generic" products, in your terms). But now I understand Foley aims at a clientele that wants to pay his prices for his solutions. I misread the intent in his video, which I thought was aimed at a wider audience. I appreciate your comments. Thank you.
You pick your authority/mentor, you get your results.  
Not sure I get your point. 
In this new robber barons age there are always insecure and/or lazy people with lots of moola that are prone to serious minded uber professionals. That’s okay if you’re building a new mega house or a studio and like knowing you have the “ best”, but most of us are not going to hire a formula one Ferrari mechanic to tune our old VW.

I am new to shopping for acoustic treatments. I thought that Foley’s company was a competitor to GIK, ATS, etc. (which are "generic" products, in your terms). But now I understand Foley aims at a clientele that wants to pay his prices for his solutions. I misread the intent in his video, which I thought was aimed at a wider audience. I appreciate your comments. Thank you.



His target market is people willing to pay the prices he charges, not people who need to pay the prices he charges.  Most people's acoustics are poor enough that almost anything is an improvement and will elicit a positive response.
This seems to be the biggest issue I find with audiophiles.  Many think their system is closed and only somewhat dependent on their room.  Some will will throw thousands of dollars at magical cables and power conditioners while applying wall treatment like it was art, with a few 1" thick absorbent panels.  It's all so silly.

I have spent 30+ years as a recording/ mix engineer and have built 4 studios in that time.  The first two were DIY and sounded like it.  The 3rd and 4th were both designed by Francis Manzella who really knew how to get the most out of a room.  Without a purpose-built listening room it's unlikely most homes have a floating room with very good ratios and built with multi-layer, heavy, damped construction.  My current listening room has those qualities and it still required 32 tuned Helmholtz resonators in the corners, broadband membrane traps against the front wall, RPG Diffractal arrays across most of the back wall, and 4" 703 clouds over about 80% of the ceiling and 70% of the side walls.  That treatment takes into consideration that the low frequency modes will already be well spaced and the treatment only enhances what is already a very even room.  Much of it is invisible.  It's not speaker wire lifted off the ground.   It doesn't look like I tweaked it.  It's only a starting point.  To sweat microscopic details in a room fundamentally poor at reproducing a flat frequency response is sort of a hallmark of the audiophile community and is the reason folks poke fun at it.  The dollar amount tossed around in the video sounds conservative for a really good room and has to assume symmetry, good ratios and dimensions, and really good building technique.  But people would rather argue about what kind of wood makes an amplifier rack sound best.
In all fairness to Dennis Foley, he clearly makes the point that the most expensive part of room treatment is bass management. He clearly states that managing fundamental frequencies, in the 30 , 40, 50 cycle range is the name of the game or the higher multiple harmonics will not be correct. I would bet, that most readers of this discussion have not addressed their own issues in this range and to do so, will realize that expenditures can be substantial. 


I had a free phone consultation with him a couple months back.  He is abrasive to say the least.  Turned me off so much I couldn’t wait to get off the phone. 
@eganmedia I very much appreciate hearing from someone with expertise. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

To sweat microscopic details in a room fundamentally poor at reproducing a flat frequency response is sort of a hallmark of the audiophile community and is the reason folks poke fun at it.

This makes a lot of sense to me, and I have seen many on this forum make this point and indicate where a genuine difference could be made. So, not all here are poke-worthy.

In the context of your other sensible remarks, all I can say is this: I do not have a great room, but it’s not terrible. (That’s ok. I’m a college teacher, not a recording/ mix engineer. When it comes to teaching and research tools, I spend what’s necessary on travel, books, journals, bibliography tools, etc. Audio is a hobby so I do not need to spend as if it was my profession. I have no desire to put )

By the use of REW and a lot (lot!) of measuring and listening, I’ve shifted everything in the room to cooperate to be much, much better. At this point, there are a couple of options -- either (a) I realize that my room can never be great, and I do nothing more to it, or (b) I seek out treatment proportionate to my room’s (limited) potential which could make a noticeable impact. I’ve embarked on (b) because other hobbyists have indicated they made improvements which mattered. So finding a company that can address that more limited ambition is my goal and I appreciate your help in helping me refine my options a bit more. 
I spoke with him once about my room - he basically said the dimensions and layout are both unfixable ("Don’t bother trying to fix it, buy a different house.").
I am not an acoustician...

BUT

if i read this advise coming from an acoustician, i doubt a lot... "This is a Bad room sell your house" or next customer please!

That gives me doubts....

No room is unfixable, some room are very difficult...Yes...

My room is a 2 litlle rectangulars in a square central puzzle piece geometry, 13x 13 feet x 8 1/2 height , one of the speaker is almost glued in a corner the other not... 2 windows, one door...

I succeed to compensate completely for the distortion of the soundstage caused by the very bad location of the speakers...

The bass for a 7 inches drivers touch my stomach with punch....The highs are very good in the 2 positions of listenings...Timbre distinction is very good and vibraphone notes decay with changing colors hues is an experience to live....

All my gear are on my desk between the speakers, i succeed to relatively isolate them...

My imaging is stellar in 2 listening positions, and the timbre natural in the 2 positions...

The reason why some professional say this about "impossible" room to fix is simple: they work with standard regular methods, mostly some specific materials, applicable in most case to some degree and not in all case... They want to spare them the big trouble because it is one trouble... You cannot fix a difficult room with simple passive materials means only , even many simple one....it is not like reconstructing the room, it is a work piece by piece in the frequencies range with many devices to compensate.... It is not an easy job... More hours less money....

I spend 2 years with incremental experiments and UNORTHODOX devices to fix it, ( 3 different sets of Helmholtz resonators among others means ) i succeed, using my ears and remember that i optimized my room for 2 POSITIONS of listening not one.... I am in love with the 2 position, one is more detailed, the other more alive, but the 2 are almost perfect.... Impossible to chose....

I am not an acoustician at all.... I am ignorant in acoustic but less than some.... I just discovered that my ears are better acoustician than me....

I know nothing, i just try one step at a time.... I learn little but little may be big, compared to nothing....Is my room perfect? Hell no... Is it a marvel to listen music here? Hell yess... A relative optimization is not perfection but you can live with it without looking back...

i just post that, because some may think to sell their house after this advice by a pro....Or enter into despair and resignation...

My best to all...






By the way thinking like some that "near listening" spare for them the necessity of an acoustical treatment in a small room, is true to a very small degree only....In a small room the reflected waves comes very swiftly into play.... I know then very well by experience that acoustical treatment will change the near listening timbre perception and imaging and soundstage....
Except for rare case of some miraculously well set room already good acoustically this is the rule for me....



The only question is NOT to know if the room is good or too difficult to use..... The only difficult question is :

Do you have a room ONLY for audio purpose? Anything is acoustically workable...At peanuts cost and i proved it for myself... Is it not good news? The ONLY COSTLY thing will be discount your ears advice from the work to be done... Acoustic in its "basic" form is only learning to hear....Read also the basic about waves....

Then saying to someone "too bad room", next customer, speak less about acoustic science than about simplification of work by business methods....Business management it is called not acoustic at all....
Without a purpose-built listening room it's unlikely most homes have a floating room with very good ratios and built with multi-layer, heavy, damped construction. My current listening room has those qualities and it still required 32 tuned Helmholtz resonators in the corners, broadband membrane traps against the front wall, RPG Diffractal arrays across most of the back wall, and 4" 703 clouds over about 80% of the ceiling and 70% of the side walls. That treatment takes into consideration that the low frequency modes will already be well spaced and the treatment only enhances what is already a very even room.


What is required in a recording studio though is different from a listening room.  A listening room has the benefit of fixed speaker position and listener.

In a listening room as well, and as it suits personal preference, some reflections are a good thing to enhance sense of space that is often preferred over what can be a flat presentation from the recording. To that end, I would expect most people would not find ideal to have 70% of their side walls covered with thick absorption and probably not 80% of the ceiling, though you have not described the floors.  Covering that much ceiling but leaving the floors "live" can create an unnatural presentation depending on the speakers.

Your implementation of the 32 Helmholtz resonators really speaks to the alternate implementation of a bass array for controlling the lowest nodes. For most users and their rooms, when cost, looks, space, etc. is taken into account, a bass array will be a better, more cost effective implementation. 


Dennis Foley runs a business. He has a business model and a target demographic for his clientele.. My entire system, including room treatments, is under 50K. On the whole, my system/room is to my ears the best I have ever personally heard, and I’ve auditioned systems that retailed for over 200K in rooms that were well set up and treated. He has some products that are very intriguing. I don’t discount him as a complete quack. I don’t agree with everything he says, but that doesn’t make him a charlatan. There can be a number of effective solutions to any problem. Some are more efficient and cost effective than others.

GIK has a different model and different target clientele demographic than Foley does. They also have some worthwhile products, and I’ve got over 2K invested in GIK products.

RealTraps falls somewhere in between GIK and Foley models. Their limp membrane traps are very good, and I have about 1.5K invested in them. I wish I had used more of them and fewer of the velocity traps sold by GIK.

This stuff is not so much a buyer beware situation as it is a buyer be informed situation. These guys are going to sell you what they make. GIK won’t tell you when RealTraps makes a better product for your need.  The buyer has to figure that out himself.

Being ill informed and unwilling to learn about room acoustics and treatment designs is costly. As always, stupid is expensive.

I know from experience!
I have watched maybe 10 of his vids.  It was worth the time and provided food for thought.  But he completely lost me when in the last one I watched he went off on the "industry" selling extremely harmful substances like fiberglass and Roksul.  He was claiming that they are as harmful as asbestos.  Went on to say that playing music would shake fibers loose (even if covered) and of course you would breath them.

He stated that he uses granulated charcoal as a sound barrier between walls.  I will admit if you are soundproofing his wall design did look very well thought out and of course uber $$$$.

Regards,
barts