Curious as to why the underlayment. Is the finished hardwood a "floating" floor, or does it get fastened somehow? It's my understanding that the "floating" engineered hardwood could go directly over concrete. You might save some$$$$
by not installing the underlayment.
In my experience, I was way more successful and had better results in terms of musical enjoyemnt laying tile over concrete . I was going to do a wood floor in my basement but changed my mind when a neighbor who had wooden floors over concrete in his basement started to get rises, bows, and seams splitting in certain areas. He had the wooden floring for about 5 years, so, perhaps some of this is wear and tear, but, it was noticeable, and a persone could trip or something could get caught in the areas of the floor where it was rising. If done right, I am sure you may not have problems, but wood will always need to be treated.
I used ceramic tiles over radiant floor heating system and could not be happier. I used throw rugs in strategic locations in front of the speakers to reduce unwanted echoes. No problems after 5 years in my house with a full tile basement, just musical bliss. Good luck,
In the place I lived in before this one, I had a carpet on the hardwood floor between the listening chair and the speakers. Same thing in the place I was in before that one. However, I've got nothing at all on the wood floor in my current home. I tried putting down that very same (very nice) carpet, but it completely sucked the life out of the stereo, deadening, muffling everything. My room is mostly untreated -- and my system has never sounded better. Go figure.
In other words, I'm not sure you'll know until you try it out. If the wood doesn't work, you can always cover some of it with a carpet.
I have an opinion based upon a friends experience and my own regarding wood floors. Rigid floors improve bass and clarity. My own floor, suspended on joists, was carpeted and I replaced that with 3/4" Hickory tongue and groove boards. The floor is of course much stiffer now. I added area rugs which I'm sure help reflections. In your case, going from carpeting to wood on concrete will not change the stiffness. The big change will be reflections. Maybe you could try laying out some cardboard over the carpeting to get some idea of the potential change
Good selection...try also sealing the concrete floor before installing underlayment. If using cork floor you still need 6 ml ply for mositure control.
I dislike any highly reflective surfaces in my music room. Stay with the carpet.
Thanks so much for all the great advice, I guess what I'm confused and concerned about is that I always hear how carpet over concrete is not good for sound and the best way to go is to build a wood riser and install your hardwood on top of that or install a wood subfloor first, but this room is already completely finished and if I build a riser or subfloor I would have to cut all my doors at the bottom and because of a bulkhead I would have ceiling height issues. I assumed from reading if I install hardwood it could and would improve the sound.If I do install hardwood floors because it's below grade (no-water issues)I still need to glue down some sort of vapor barrier or underlayment material and then I'm thinking I should glue the tongue & groove hardwood to that, just to keep everything tight and solid. Please give me any thoughts you may have on this and thank you.
I'm no expert, but I would think carpet over thick pad over concrete would be ideal. Adding wood, especially if it's raised, could introduce quite a bit of unwanted vibrations.
Never hardwood, carpet gets you a level playing field to get the other acoustics right. Go with a very heavy padding. Get a carpet with a 'cut pile', not a 'loop'.
I have a 17.5w x 26L x 9h dedicated basement room and my flooring is heavy carpet and pad over concrete. When I built the room I decided to use the 2x2 drop ceiling; I used a top quality ceiling tile. End result was that the room was too 'dead' overall. So, I removed approx. 30% of the ceiling tiles and inserted 2x2 cut-out plywood panels which I covered with nice speaker grill cloth. The grill cloth hides the unsightly floor joists, plumbing, and a/c duct work but allows the sound to pass right through. This was a major improvement. With this arrangement I don't think that I would want or need a hardwood or tile floor. Cheaper and easier than a new floor too. Another plus is that you can install the replacement ceiling tiles a few at a time and experiment with their positioning, effectively fine-tuning the live/dead balance of the room.
Hi Tatool, I think I can sympathise with your plight, but the main sonic advantage in having a wood floor to begin with is indeed the air cavity created by the riser. A concrete slab will at least tend to cause unwanted bass reflections. If you have some cinderblock walls to contend with as well you're in a bit of a pickle...and I guess if you also happen to be in a square shaped room, then you may as well hang a sign on the door that sez: 'abandon all musical hope ye who enter' ;P But, I'm serious when I say the air gap will help blunt and diffuse the bass reflection. Bass traps IME and IMO are rather largely overrated for perhaps an inexhaustable number of reasons. EQ is recommendable if you can work it into your system, particularly if it's digital. And for that matter don't overlook the importance of good power conditioning which can be especially benificial to someone dealing with bass problems like this, more than you might suspect. Sounds like you're already onto the right information, it's just that the how-to of the construction of the floor itself is one problem I haven't actually had to solve. I know in your case it's probably fraught with impracticalities to say the least, but I suspect sonically it's worth considering what it would take to solve the problem. Actually this is something you can very likely google. If you take the time with it I bet you'll come up with a good number of detailed enough examples of how others have solved this very issue. Hope this helps.
It is not uncommon acoustical option to use a hardwood floor section at the front of the listening room where the equipment is located and use carpet in the listening portion of the room. Glued down or nailed down hardwood over underlayment would be a better choice than a floating hardwood floor.
I have most of my gear on concrete foundation in lower level with dense thin carpeting and padding.
I think this to be close to ideal, at least to my tastes. Feedback and vibrations are a non-issue even with vinyl for perhaps the first time ever for me. I would not want hardwood floors for fear changing the acoustics. I've had my gear in several rooms with hardwood floors (albeit not over a concrete foundation) and the sound was some of the worst I have ever had.
I guess it depends on the long term plan. Hardwood foors might work well in your case, but if things sound good already, expect a change and having to tweak further to some degree afterwards. If things do not sound so good, then nothing to loose.
In general I would prefer what you have over hardwood floors for the purpose of having the best sound. Hardwood floors look nice though! Its all a matter of priorities and budget to accomplish your goals.
I have built floor risers on and above concrete floors. You don't want to leave the cavity hollow but fill with rock and then vent or port the riser. This method diffuses and breaks up standing waves that tend to travel along large flat surfaces. You have to step up into a room such as this via a step or two . The other way that has worked well for myself would be to put down a vapor barrier and then jute fiber pad with a real or high content wool fiber. Natural fibers sound better even underneath a wool rug. The wool seems as if its more of a comb filter and the resulting highs are better and more linear and extended. Foam under man made fibers has more bounce and seems to have more of a resonant peak. That's been my experience. Tom
The room I am finishing off right now has plywood floors and carpet on top of that. This room is on the first floor and there is basement underneath. So of course, there is no concrete at this level. What opinions do you guys have on this setup?
I never actually though about this before, since I have always had concrete floor (with carpet on top) in the apartments that I have been living. First floor was always my preference and hence always concrete.
Please share some thoughts.