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In my room it is all about the cornersIt is always about the corners.....
It is a many bodied problem with multiple interactions, inputs, and outputs, which is why it can be so difficult to get a handle on it.
Audio gear is the same. The interactions inside the ’black box’ (the device in situ) are complex so the capacity for misunderstanding input as measured to output... are manifold - when it comes to attempts at rigor and simplification.
Hi MC,as I'm on a budget,I only have funds for GIK this go round. As much as I would like to try something different,it's just not in the cards at this point. After watching the YouTube clips,are the HFT's some sort of mini tuning bowl? ( for lack of better term) I'm not going to totally rule them out at some point,just not at this time.
Room corners are where all the super-high sound pressure is located. Up to 3 times higher than the average sound pressure in the room. Hel-loo! There are any number of audiophile products that knock down this sound pressure or neutralize the sound pressure in the room; to whit, tiny little bowl resonators, Corner Tunes, Acoustic Discs from Golden Sound, and Large Brilliant Pebbles from you know who.
If you are not using REW software, do yourself a favor and take the time to download and learn to use and interpret the data. Use REW to optimize the speaker and primary listening position before adding room treatments. Very likely you will see profound changes in the room frequency response as a consequence of speaker placement (sometimes just 3-4 inches) and the location and height of the primary listening position. After speaker and chair locations are optimized begin to introduce room treatments addressing specific issues revealed by REW measurements. Focus on treating the front wall/side wall corners first, and possibly back corners as well. You really want to improve low frequency decay times with these traps. The range limited GIK soffit traps mentioned by @erik_squires are ideal for this purpose. My advice is to avoid full range soffits. You can easily deaden the room with these traps used full range. It is likely you will hear improved vocal articulation after introducing soffits in the corners. Next most important is mitigating early reflections (< 10-15 milliseconds) revealed by the REW impulse graphs. Treating rear wall, side wall, ceiling, and floor (depending on existing floor covering) is imperative if you want to realize decent imaging. Ceiling first reflections points are also important. Doing this much may get you to the point of diminishing returns.
Do not fail to take advantage of the GIK consulting service. They can help a lot especially with graph interpretation. The purpose of the service is to facilitate sales and not to teach, but they know a lot, and if you persist in asking questions, you will learn much about how to do your room without spending more money than you need to.
BTW, my room is 20x15x8 and I have 3 Soffit traps, two monster traps, two 6 alphas, and 6 home made traps using Owens Corning fiberglass panels. I also have 3 Real Traps Mondo traps. I still consider my room somewhat under treated, but I am now at the point of diminishing returns.
I was an audiophile for 40 years before I understood the importance of room set up and treatment. As a consequence, I wasted a lot of money chasing cables, PCs, and other tweaks, most of which didn't offer 10% of the return on investment I got from room set up and treatment. If you don't address the room, you can't do more than extract a fraction of what decent equipment can deliver.
My biggest concern is over dampening. Remember folks,this is a 9'x13'x8' room. This is strictly a listening room. The reading I've done suggests that bass treatment is going to be the most important issue. In addition to the 244 bass traps,I also picked up a pair of 16x16x16 tri corner traps for the front wall. This should help a bit.
brownsfan,you bring up excellent advice with using software to "read" the room. I really struggle with technology,however if my ears don't like the sound,I may have to bite the bullet on that one. I have very basic room treatments now,with the exception of some boomy bass,and a little bit of echo,I think I have decent placement of my makeshift treatments. The 3D imaging,which I really enjoy,is excellent. Of course, this is to my ears. I'm hoping that this purchase will "tighten" everything up. I wish technology didn't frustrate me so much!
Rocray, For the most part, I bought my room treatments one or two at a time, and a fair amount of what I bought was range limited so as not to rob the room of air and sparkle.
I was also a bit reluctant to dive into the REW software at first. It looks kind of intimidating, but it really is pretty simple. Very simple after you first get it working. There is an REW users group associated with the software, and there are experts there who can help you get set up. The software is free, and the only thing you need to buy is a microphone or Radio Shack SPL meter.
Your ear should be the final arbiter on how things sound. But understanding the room and figuring out which problems to solve is slow, laborious, and imprecise if you don't measure. Measurement software speeds up the process of getting the room right by two orders of magnitude, maybe more. My guess is if you try REW and invest some time in understanding what it reveals, you will regret not having done so previously.
Thanks for the response tuberist. The modest treatments I have,have definitely improved the sound. The reason it has taken me so long to finally get real treatments,is plain and simple. New speakers,or a new preamp are far sexier than some acoustical panels.
However,the reality is,my system will sound so much better in a well treated room. Now those sexy pieces of equipment will sound as sexy as they look. I hope....
Just a little update. Last week my order from GIK arrived,and I have them installed. They really have transformed my listening pleasure. The bass has tightened up considerably. The imaging which I thought was pretty good already,has even improved. The soundstage has widened and deepened more. Although I would say the width is more pronounced. I'm very happy with the results both sonically and visually.
What have I learned from this? If you haven't treated your room,chances are you are leaving better sound on the table.