Bright room, help

I'm relatively new to high end and need some help.

I have my set up in a vaulted living room with hardwood floors and lots of sheetrock (damn those parallel walls!). Not a lot of furniture and what I do have is leather. I need some simple inexpensive ideas to warm the room up a bit, without detracting from the decor. It's very bright and brings on fatigue sooner than I'd like.

Any ideas Audiogonners???


You can hang rug on the wall behind where the speakers stand.
Also placing a rug on the floor where the rig stands will be also as helpful.
Owens Corning 703 fiber board covered in fabric. You can make it look nice (any fabric you pick). You only have to use flame retardant like Guilford if it is permanently mounted to the walls. You may choose the Guilford anyway, but it is a little more expensive. This is a great absorber, broad band, and relatively inexpensive. Be sure to use it at the first reflection points and then you can experiment. Behind the listener often needs diffusion and/or absorbtion.
place a rug between the speakers and your listening position to eliminate floor reflections of the uppermids and high frequencies. adjust toe in to avoid side wall reflections or add deadening materiel on the side wall reflection points, including book cases, plants etc. don't be afraid to put the speaker axis's crossed in front of the listening position. adjust speaker heighth. you might list your equipment as some may be able to comment on ways to tame the equipment itself.
Typically, you want some very thick berber type carpeting with thick quality oriented pad underneath.

Sell the leather and purchase a cloth sofa and/or chairs (cotton is nice and cool to the touch like leather). And clothe ottomans. Leather will reflect sound.

I sold my leather sofa for some cloth chairs and ottomans and noticed a decent improvement in the bass region. The cloth material and cushions certainly act as an absorber.

Cover any windows with soft/thick draperies. Maybe even some parts of walls.

Remove any wall pictures especially if they have glass fronts.

Install large bookcases (no doors, no glass) with not so nicely kept books on shelves. The less orderly the shelves, the better the defraction.

Get rid of any tables and floor or table lamps and install some recessed lighting.

Move the speakers away from side and back walls.

Ensure that your listening chair is at least 4 to 6 feet away from the wall behind it.

I had a similar problem with the exact room type and furniture. I also thought I needed to deaden the room and reduce echo. But then I replaced my $2500 "mid-fi" amp with a BAT VK-6200 and suddenly the "bright" room sounded sonically neutral. No echo, no brightness, no fatigue - just an amazing, realistic, detailed sound with a thinner wallet trade-off.
live in your room don't strip it... do as rives says and get the first reflection point on the damn parallel walls and lay a carpet with underlay for the first floor reflection at the minimum.

Leave the pictures on the walls as they will absorb some sound and more importantly diffuse sound. Leather sofa will absorb similar to cloth.

if the vaulted ceilings are high enough and the look is acceptable get some fibre board and fly them off the ceiling to absorb and diffuse.

if you do all of this the room will go from "Live" to more neutral and allow for more relaxed listening. Enjoy the music!
You should be glad that your room is "bright" and not "dead". It is far easier to absorb high frequencies using simplistic tools and materials than it is to try to make up for them.

Check out the various room treatment products from RPG, Sonex, etc... You can learn a LOT about how they will affect the tonal balance of your room by studying the frequency response curves i.e. "absorbtion ratios" that they display for some of their products. While i don't know if RPG, Sonex, etc.. have the info that you would need to do this on their website, Audio Advisor does. Simply click on the product that you are interested in and then click on the link for "specifications", etc...

If you have more time than money, you can take their research and duplicate their products for pennies on the dollar. There are also some excellent DIY designs on Jon Risch's website that he was kind enough to share with the public.

Before doing ANY of this though, you might want to check out some books by F. Alton Everest on acoustics. Not only will these give you a better idea of why you are experiencing the problems that you are, it will give you a better understanding of how you can correct it and make use of the other designs previously mentioned.

While it may be slightly more costly in the long run, you can also consult a professional. Rives Audio can assist you in resolving your problems in a manner that is very specific to your individual installation. Rather than taking an "edjimuhkated guess" at what should go where and how much you should use ( reading one of Everest's books will give you an idea, but... ), Rives ( or other "acoustic professionals" ) can do all of the legwork for you and give you the results that you are looking for without the trial and error approach.

Hope this helps and good luck with your system & room. Sean
Don't do anything to your room until you've found the right
position for your speakers(?).

If you can get them well out into the room, and angled toward your listening postion, you might not need any damping material. See the Cardas website for room placement
Your source is probably the culprit more than the room. It would help to know what your gear is. is very competitive and may be some help, Good luck.
Hang some nice decorative rugs on the wall. Kana813 offers good advice. Here's another great site on positioning

Also try a rug on the floor, (with non-slip backing of course). Rugs on the front and back walls will tame brightness and on the side walls will improve imaging.
That is a good point Natalie. While sparsely furnished rooms with highly reflective acoustics can play havoc with what we hear, treating a room of this nature would only help to band-aid or cover up what might be a system that suffered from severe tonal imbalance. Knowing what components made up the system might give us more to work with. Sean
I'm not good at plant names, but large, leafy plants do a great job of acting as diffusers while they purify your air and give your room a little more "soul".
Rule #1

The best equipment can and typically will sound like sh!t with a poor room. Acoustics of a room come before gear.
J A Pan gear can sound better than the most expensive gear if it has a great room and the best not.

I like the leafy plant idea given above as the plants will absorb AND add humidity, which also helps to remove some of the liveness of a room.

Sayas, the moral is the following:

if you do not have a room relocate to the better one :^)
Wow! Thanks for all the ideas. I didn't expect such a good response. You've certainly given me some ideas to work with. I especially appreciate the DIY tips. Gonna look for some rugs to hang and to put under the speakers. Also going to check out some of the DIY guides like Jon Rish.

Since a couple of you asked about my gear, here's what I have.

Denon DCM 340 CD Player
Music Hall MM7 Turntable
Monolithic PS-1 Phono Stage
Audio Magic X Stream Interconnects
Manley Labs Stingray Integrated Amp
Analysis Plus Oval 9 Speaker Cables
Harbeth Compact 7ES Speakers

Clearly the CD is the wink link in my system. I've been thinking of upgrading it, but don't have the cash at this time. Does anyone have experience with the Taddeo Passive Antidote. Good Sound gave a pretty good review and it sounds like it could reduce some of the harshness. Any other suggestions on CD players would be helpful, as this likely to be my next significant purchase.

Any other ideas or suggestions?

Do not spend one cent on anything untill you get rid of the Player.
As i thought it is your problem and 10K on that room wont do what 500.00 in a new source will.

I can hear your Manley's crying from all the way over here.

You should invest 50% of what you spent on the Stingrays on a SOurce to do your great amps justice.

The amps are a lifetime purchase and make for a great foundation.

Good luck. Fix the source then work on the room.
Thanks Natalie! I thought that might be the case. Any recommendations in the under $1,000 range?

One more thing. If I follow Natalie's advice and upgrade the CD player, should I also go with separates (transport and DAC) or spend my money on a single unit. Could I use my Denon as a transport and just upgrade the DAC?

Remember, some of this is rather new to me.

THanks for your help!

Steve, I think separates are a waste of money. A top notch tweaked CDP should beat a dual box setup. But they are always many ways to attack a problem and achieve the same results.
Yes, treat the sidewalls and floor first, and REGARDLESS of what you buy, but then run out and buy a decent front end!
Cheap: NAD C541i at $400-500.
Mid: Warm: Rega Planet 2000; Lean: Nait CD5; Neutral: ARCAM FMJ
$$: Electrocompaniet EMC0-1 MkII (like mine...GREAT!)
$$$: Audio Aero Capitole seems to be a favorite around here.
Good Luck!
Thanks for the help everyone. I just purchased the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb. And I'm also continuing to work on the room enhancements. I've put down a couple rugs and some stuff on the walls and already the sound is getting better.


Try Frank's( interconnect and bi-wire speaker cable. I bought some cable from him and boy, my bright KEF 4.2s sounded superb!!!!...My speaker now sounded
very smooth and clear!!!...His cable is very cheap compare
to all the expensive ones buy why pay more when you don't have too..:-)...I compare his cable to the cardas neutral
reference interconnect and the monster m2.4s bi-wire speaker cable and favor his cable alot more!!!....signal interconnect is $29 vs $500 cardas. Give it a try, its 30 day risk free..:-)..

Good Luck
another tweak for the bright room:
use blinds and shades.
you can get desingers blinds$$$ or just by visiting HD:^)
My room is similar. Going to NOS tubes in the pre-amp helped tremendously (Amperex replacing Sovtek 6922 in an Anthem Pre-1L). I'm not sure what the Manley uses for tubes.

As mentioned before, try adjusting toe-in to see if side reflections are a problem.

Also, I throw large pillows (30" x 30") in front of the speakers to reduce floor bounce during listening sessions. This will tell you how much floor reflection you have.

Just remember - it's all good.
Walker Audio High Definition Links, Mk. II version, should help tame some high frequency harshness. Did your new Ah! player help out a lot?
I'd like to hear what improvement your found with your player. Here's a cheap one: have about a dozen or more of your friends park themselves around the room. Works for my just about everytime!