DIY Room Acoustics

I've now done about every tweak I can think of to my system, so I'm thinking about low cost Acoustic techniques. I have done some things but would like to hear your ideas and tricks you've had success with. My room is 20'x 14'x 8' and has a wood floor with an 15' x 10' wool rug in the middle. One side wall is a large window with a curtain, the other side wall is floor to ceiling book shelves full of books. The front wall (behind the speakers) is a fireplace, and the back wall (behind me) has french doors with a hutch in each corner. The sound (of the room, without music)in the middle and front of the room is fairly quite, on the dead side. The area behind my listening position, between me and the french doors is quite lively, almost bright. My listening position is somewhere in between. I have very good focus within the sound stage both wide and deep. The sound stage tends to extend a couple of feet beyond the speakers. The treble has at times been a very slight bit bright, but I've controlled it with furniture re-positioning, set at a angle to the wall. The bass has had extremely good focus at times, but right now is just a bit murky. All in all the sound is very natural and if I could just get that little bit of base focus back it would be the best in all categories that I've ever had. I do not have any "room acoustics products" incorporated and would like to stay away from them if possible. Cost and aesthetics are both strong constraints for me. Thank-you for your great input on my other questions, I look forward to both your facts and your voodoo, it's all good here! J.D.
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First read F. Alton Everest's "Sound Studio Construction on a Budget", which deals with listening rooms too and contains many DIY ideas. You need to understand things like resonant modes (and calculate them for your room), reflections, decay time, and so on. In my experience (with a room roughly like yours), it took a long time to feel that I'd "arrived": you can put in crucial bits of room treatment that don't show their full value until ALL the needed bits are in place. If you have a table saw and are really a DIY type, I have free (except for $1 for postage and printing if you want hard copy) instructions for DIY RPG-style quadratic and primitive root diffusors (read about them in Everest) and Argent Room Lens imitations, which I'd be glad to send. Email me at if you're interested. Everest also has a 4th edition of "Master Handbook of Acoustics", which should be very useful--but I haven't seen it myself.
Everything that Tom states is a "sound idea" : ) You can also check into Jon Risch's website for other DIY absorption devices that can be built for very reasonable costs. Sean
I should have paid more attention to your not wanting to use acoustic treatment devices. Would you be willing to use some in disguised form? E.g. a perforated panel absorber (which could help your bass) wall-mounted but covered with something that looks like a decoration? It sounds as if you are in pretty good shape regarding all-important lateral reflections (though I thought I was, but recently improved my sound a lot by using three Room Lens clones on one side). A painting (no glass) could cover a Fiberglas board stood off from the wall a couple of inches, if more absorption is needed. With a little ingenuity, devices intended to help sound can be made to look okay--well, I have a tolerant wife so don't judge by me. She even thinks of my RPG-style diffusors as pieces of far out modern sculpture, bless her.
Tom I would be willing to concider anything I guess. Two of my major concern points are 1) the side wall with the large window and 2) the front wall behind the speakers. Those have the greatest aesthetic inpact. The rear wall, behind me if tough only because that's the rooms entry if through the french doors. Something "acoustic could be moved into place during listening I think. ideas?
Some thoughts:
1)The side wall I've been concidering finding two salvage wood columns cut to 4 foot tall and placing them at the side wall reflection points. I would then place hanging plants on the columns, or teady bears, I collect them, yea I know, I know.
2)The front wall I'm thinking of building a cherry wood lattice. It would be 8'x 4'x 21/2" deep with a accoustic fabric attached to the back. The boards would be 3/4"x 21/2" at a 4" spacing. I would cover my fireplace with it which is also just behind my componants that sit on the raised hearth. My thought is the lattices' 4"x 4" boxes would break-up sound and the firebox (behind), 3'-6" x 3'x 2' would act as a base trap?
I would concider DIY Room Lens in that I like the theory, if you have info for that I'd love to see it. Can they be made with say a wood veneer over the pvc tube? That might be cool. I'd also like your thoughts on the wall or area behind me. I would like to keep the flow of ideas on this thread so others can learn, but if you have detail you can send it via e-mail Thank-you so much for your help Tom, this is a topic I believe is sorely over looked, and it's time we at Audiogon begin some experiments. J.D.
How is it I have a -1,0 on this post. I would like to know who voted and what on the original post ofended you. HEY AUDIOGON, LET'S GET RID OF THIS BULL AREADY!