Basic Room Tuning for Dummies

I appreciate the tips many of you have given on cost effective room tuning tweaks.

This business seems to be going the way of power conditioners however.

Just when someone tries to clear the mist and propose some Home Depot type solutions, someone else tries to convince you that you need to spend thousands or it is all a waste of time - or of course will make your system even worse.

So I would love to hear more from anyone who has tamed an overly reflective room or just enormously improved their system and room without breaking the bank.

In my listening room, my Magneplanar Tympanis fire across the room, to a long, cotton velvet sofa. The sofa backs up against an 8 x 15 ish sliding pocket door which has panes but is mostly glass.

I assume this must be causing less than desirable reflections just behind my head when I am in the listening position?

On the opposite wall, or as some say "front" wall, the Tympanis are pulled out about 4-5 feet and have about 8ish feet in between them, so the mid/tweeter panels are still 5-6 feet from the side walls. But there is a mirror on the front wall in between them.

After years of listening with Magnepans in a horizontal plane, I have now canted the mid/tweeter panels in considerably - nearly 45 degrees - to fire the ribbons more on axis with my ears while seated in the listening position.

The bass wings of the speakers are crowded a bit more closely to the side walls and into the corners which I have found gives a bit more full, if a bit more boomy sound.

And they sound more coherent to me when the bass and mid/tweeter panels are all on a horizontal plane, but this is difficult as it takes much more room.

By the way, thanks for listening and obviously this would be a lot easier with photos which I will try to post later.

But what is curious is that I described just what I described above to a couple of vendors on the telephone who insisted that they knew exactly what was needed.

In the end, however, this was primarily my credit card details and over $1000.00 which I would rather spend progressively rather than on a failed experiment.

Is it possible that these room tuning "packages" would improve just about any room?

Can I assume that I need some aborption type device behind my head to tame the sliding glass doors? (Here, I might just hang curtains, but I am not opposed to putting a big sound panel just behind my head.)

Is it safe to assume that a side wall absorbing advice would tame side wall reflections from the tweeters/mids and improve imaging? (There are pictures on the side wall.)

As mentioned above, there is also a mirror behind the speakers (front wall) the room has a hardwood on concrete slab floor, sturdy walls and 13' ceilings.

Thanks for any ideas off the top of your head or how I might approach this without getting taken to the cleaners or wasting time or money.

I would especially appreciate any ideas on universally applicable bass ideas, as anything to improve, tighten bass etc with Magneplanars is usually a good thing.

Thanks for any ideas, thoughts or additional questions I might ask to the room tuning types.


Simple. No need for thousands of $. Send a layout of the room to and they'll give you suggestion.

All levels and kinds of solutions to deal with anyone's level and kinds of asthetics.
This is not necessarily an answer to your question, but is my experience. I spent years listening to what I'm sure was room problems.... boomy bass, poor imaging, etc., in my living room full of drywall and windows. One day I took the whole system down to the unfinished basement. Down there is insulation on a couple of the walls, cement floor with some carpet, and exposed floor joists. The difference listening down there is amazing. All of the things that were bugging me are gone. It's a crude example, but it proved to me that I need to either learn about treating my living room, or stay in the basement. As of today, I'm still in the basement, till I figure out how to slove the problem without spending big money on acoustic panels.
Well the advice that I preach is to buy an RTA first so that you really know what your proplem areas are. You can sell it when you are done with it. There is a Behringer DEQ2496 with Mic on here right now for $275. That being said, treatments are not that expensive to make on your own if you are willing to DIY. The one area that really suprises me is that sometimes alot of low freq traps are required to smooth out the bottom end. Just keep in mind that fiberglass will soak up the top end too. Wrap at least one side of you DIY traps with a plastic covering. It will still absorb the lows while diffusing the highs. I've got my bastard L shaped room responce from 20hz to 16khz + or - 2DB per 1/3 octave measurements. There is alot of info over at the Asylum in the Tweak and Rives forums. I hope this helps.
Not to downplay proper room acoustic treatments, the very first thing I suggest doing is investing lots of time with speaker placement.

When it comes to room acoustic basics, speaker placement within the room is by far the most significant factor. Even when it's only an inch here or there at a time.

That's assuming of course that your room already has a few basics like wall-to-wall carpeting, carpet padding, and window coverings and most reflective surfaces like tables, glass covered pictures, etc.. have already been removed from the room. Leather furnishings don't help much either.

I just bought a set of RoomTunes for $200 from michael green audio...i'm blown away at the improvement. Never tried a panel system, RoomTunes looks WAY better, and for $200 its a bargain. Another poster stated speaker position is key, and it is in my experience. My floorstanders are now at a 45 degree angle to all the walls and this solved a few issues prior to Tuning the Room. Start w/ a kit, then buy or make a few bass traps, and you're done.