A very recent thread asked the same question.
Many great responses already there.
Many great responses already there.
Thanks Zenblaster......I'm not sure how all of this relates to my situation. I'm in Colorado in a very dry climate. My new slab is very insulated and actually contains in floor heating. Like the poster in the other thread I do not want Carpet and pad. I was considering either going with the stained concrete floors with area rugs or possibly using either a glued down hardwood or an engineered floating hardwood. From the other thread I am assuming that the engineered hardwood would be the way to go. My present floor is a concrete slab with a Pergo type floating floor. It sounds ok but seems a bit "spongy" to me. Do you think that going with the stained concrete and area rugs would be a bad idea?
I'm sure they put a vapor barrier under the concrete with the 'in floor' heating present. Any hard flat surface will reflect the sound waves rather than absorb and create distortion so the rugs should tame some of that.
Plan your room before sealing up the walls so you can run chases for the wiring. If you have a turntable this a good time to 'let in' a half sheet of 3/4 plywood into the studs before sheetrock. Then you can wall mount the turntable shelf and it will be solid as a rock and completely isolated from vibrations.
If your laying hardwood over concrete, then I would put down cork as a barrier between the concrete and the wood. Can you raise your ceiling; this would open up the sound, giving it room to travel. What about your walls? Are you using electrostatic panels?
Here's an interesting read about acoustics in Boston's Symphony Hall;
Zenblaster.......Yes they poured the floor over what looked like 2 inches of foam insulation. I assume that you a floor with the most absorption the best. I wonder about the very hard finishes of the new hardwood floors. If this would be detrimental. Good idea about the plywood for a TT stand. Yes we are planning the wiring. Thanks.
Goofyfoot......We had to actually sink the floor to give us sufficient ceiling height. I'm thinking of doing a double sheetrock wall with "Greenglue" between the sheets. No I am not using electrostatic panels. the article was very interesting. It actually scared the heck out of me!
What about tile? Any soft surface, like floating wood flooring cannot be improved upon or "tuned" once installed. Yes, tile is hard, but is a good, solid, surface that can be "tuned" with area rugs to your liking. Nothing wrong with the raw stained concrete though for the same reason. You are on the right track with doubling up the sheet rock. You want a solid non spongy wall, and the floor is no different. I'd rather start with a solid, hard room that I could tune than with something already spongy.
Before yo start just make out 2 inch deep and 4 inch wide grooves into the concrete floor to use it for future cable laying . Use cutter for making these gooves or chanels . I would buy aluminum rectangular chanels to lay them into the grooves and provide 8x8 inch opening at all places needed . I would say go for 12 mm plywood fixed on to the concrete floor and fix it to the concerete floor using screws. This will completely cover the floor and alu chanels are under the plywood . then over the plywood , lay solid hard wood about about 1/2 inch thickness and fix it using adhesive and very small headless nails . Provide 8x8 inch wood tile ( removable with easy lift ) at each opening for cable laying .
Do not varnish or wax the wood top surface , just use some mild oil and water to improve the look, but leave the pores open for good absorption.
Hifiharv....I might have to do as you suggest. The area lends itself to something durable like tile. we had to actually sink the room over 12" to get a decent ceiling height. I was looking at it with the contractor today and realized we didnt have any method to drain it if we had a burst pipe or some other mishap.
(http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/manufacture/0502/) The effects that are experienced while recording(do to floor bounce), will affect your listening room's presentation: (http://www.synaudcon.com/site/author/pat-brown/the-floor-bounce-effect-mic-placement-for-equalization/) You may find this helpful: (http://mehlau.net/audio/floorbounce/)
You do not want to put any wood in contact with concrete. Plastic vapor barrier, filled with holes, will not prevent the wood from quickly rotting. Sleepers over sill seal, then you could put the plywood on the sleepers. This would eat up precious floor/ceiling height in your case and dramatically decrease your in floor heating efficiency.
Tile is an excellent finish product over concrete but it could effect the efficiency of your in floor heating, especially if you use a thick Mexican tile.
Stained concrete is a wonderful product, looks nice, easy to clean, durable and environmentally friendly and in your case, maintains the ceiling height.
If I were going to place in a wood floor, then I would try finding used planks from an earlier estate. Used wood will typically sound more organic and less shrill. And I totally agree with not putting the flooring directly over the concrete, meaning without some sort of a barrier.
Cork sheet that's 1/4 to 1/2 inch in thickness will be comfortable to walk on and it will provide an acoustic barrier. Any hard surface flooring like tile or concrete will cause sound waves to ricochet. This will also be a problem if the wood flooring is placed directly on top of concrete. As a hypothesis, I'm referring to decoupling the cement floor from the wood flooring above it, while allowing the acoustic presence of the wood to resonate. You definitely don't want to soundproof your floor or anything else, as this will totally kill your sound. However placing rugs on top of wood can stabilize acoustics without killing sonic presence.
I had radiant floor heating in my house in Germany and the specifically chose tile flooring for the music room. The radiant floor heating is much more efficient with tile and wood. I treated the area in front of the speakers with area carpets and used room treatment to tame any reflections.
Fast forward to my return to the states a 1 1/2 ago, we built another home, except I chose wooden floors this time and no radiant heat. It seams Europe and radiant heat are synonymous with house building, not here in the states. Anyway, I treated the floors with area carpets and added room treatment, measured the room and all is well in the music room. I used bamboo flooring, one of the hardest versions that is a click fit and floating version. I used the best Bellawood under floor barrier, which serves to shield moisture from seeping through and to provide a better fitment for the flooring to attach to the cement floor. With lots of equipment, heavy equipment at that, some 285 pounds (speakers) and turntable with 275 pounds of mass with the rack, and subs, and racks, and large couch, the floor does not vibrate nor does it resonate, it is affixed firmly to the ground. I highly recommend going either tile or bamboo (harder than most other woods) for your floor. That has been my experience.
Thanks for your replies......It seems the consensus is for a hard floor. I might just go with the concrete and then if i want something different later i could tile or even go with the bamboo. I love bamboo and have a grove at my other home but I've heard mixed reviews about the flooring. But in this case it would probably work just fine. I was doing some measuring today and it looks like I have only 8 ft of clearance before finishing the ceiling or the floor. I'll probably go with double sheet rock on the ceiling so the lees flooring the better.
"I treated the area in front of the speakers with area carpets and used room treatment to tame any reflections."
Catfishbob, This is what you will be facing with concrete, tile or hardwood floors. If you carpet the listening room floor you will eliminate spending a fortune on room treatment and you will be much happier with the sound. Walk into any room without carpet, clap your hands and listen to the echo. This is what you don't want in your listening room.
Covering the floor entirely with carpet will be sure a much cheaper option compared to wooden floor . But acoustic will not be same . Also carpet is not a substitute for wall treatment and bass traps in corners , etc.
If one's budget is permitting , wooden floor will be better choice . But carpet would provide easy quick solution . IMHO .
Just one thing I can say : it is fine that you are going for concrete floor as I think solid rigid floor is better than floating one . Keep upper level of concrete such that in future , whenever your time and budget permits , you can just remove the carpet and put wooden floor of 3/4 inch thick on the concrete. S keep concrete level lower by 3/4 inch to take wooden floor in future , just in case! I find wooden floor ( plus small rugs) as the best for room acoustics .
Sometimes I wonder if aging audiophiles all have high frequency hearing loss. Exposed concrete and wood floors all sound bright to me and these hard surfaces cause added reflections. The solution is to spend a fortune on room treatment or you can carpet the floor.
I often visit my friend who always has a great sounding system. While remodeling his home the carpet was removed and replaced with bamboo flooring. The sound became hard and edgy. My friend thought it sounded better because imaging improved, but everything else in the sound was degraded and this is with room treatment.
Catfishbob, A good solution I think. I've used concrete and carpet as well as suspended wood floors (3/4 in over 2" sub on 16 in spaced 2x12's) covered by a 9x12 thick rug w/pad. While the bass was not as tight with the suspended wood floor it sure looks a lot better! Acoustics aren't always everything. :-)
Rrog, re old folks loss of hearing of high frequencies and its effects is an interesting subject. I suspect that often younger folks may mistake the upper mids from the highs when they are fantasizing what the effect of loss of highs might mean for an old man (or woman).
IMHO, while this loss of high frequency information may reduce some of the highs needed for optimum hearing it also shifts the focus on sound to the upper mids and low highs. The net result is that old folks don't need to worry so much about high frequency reflections but take on dealing with the now more apparent mids/low highs. This could explain why so many old folks still have a pretty good sense of mid-range resolution and still appreciate the value found in good components not withstanding the loss of some highs. They may, I think, be confused by this apparent oxymoron, 'now that they have lost some HF hearing they still hear harsh 'high's and find it objectionable'. Just an idle thought..........
In terms of room acoustics, I've found my current thin+ dense carpet + padding over concrete foundation in my two basement rooms I use for serious listening to be ideal. Bass is mostly what you want it to be, not what the room makes it. That provides a lot of flexibility in terms of overall sound quality + tweaks. I would not want to go back to anything else. Maybe the best + most effective tweak I've ever had.
Don't mean to steal thread however I have a similar situation. Concrete floor currently covered by carpet and pad. Considering covering concrete with plywood floor. Have considered 2 options for this. 1) Lay plywood directly on concrete; 2) Lay plywood over 1 1/2 inch closed cell insulation. Thoughts?
I use both bottom ported OHM Walsh speakers and rear ported Dynaudio monitors. The thin carpet and pad over concrete floor prevents a lot of bass interaction with the floor, especially with the bottom ports. When I use same speakers on the floor above with typical modern plywood flooring under similar carpet, bass can be overwhelming and harder to get under control.
I've also used front ported B&W P6 floorstanders and Magnepan planars in same rooms. Maggies were the least sensitive to flooring type sound wise for sure, but harder to get clean full extended bass out of. Much less interaction with the floor acoustics it seemed with those.