Hardwood floors Sound treatments

I just moved in a condo with hardwood floors and wood shutters on the windows. There is not a lot of furniture in the condo yet but I definately notice the sound change, a lot brighter, echo etc. I am also married so putting strange sound treatments on the wall or ceiling is not an option. I know an area rug will help things but I am looking for tweaks that I can use with real objects..anything but plants as I have cats :) or any other suggestions to help matters. If I cant solve the problem it looks like a good pair of headphones may be the only option.

Steve in San Diego
Headphones is the way to go. They have the highest acceptance factor with the wife, and the neighbors not to mention the cats. Save you money for the day you have the ability to build a dedicated listen room. For now put your money into the software.
If it is possible to suspend speakers from ceiling you'll be surprised at how the sound gets cleaner. I did mine, you can see it on my systems.

You don't realize the gift that you have been given here.

I have a 3 cats and live in a 2 bedroom coop in NYC. I have 3 systems and I get very good sound out of all 3 of them, I just do not get too hung up with things like sound staging and so on. I focus on getting the best sound that I can in my set-up.

Adding window treatments and area rugs will deaden things a bit. Also, placing your speakers out of harms way will work in your favor, as well. Placing speakers on shelves or inside of bookcases is not as world ending as others would lead to you believe, if done with a little common sense.

Be willing to experiment a bit.

What equipment, room size, etc., are we talking about?


Start with a nice thick area rug (go shopping with your wife tomorrow!). The next move I would make is putting some upholstered furniture in the room. THird step (before sound treatment "products") would be to add some wall hangings to absorb HF sound at first reflection points. Then if you can put some diffusion behind you (bookshelves w/books work) you should be on your way.

Please see link below


Here is the deal...the room is basically 12 x 17 feet. The problem is the living room is connected to a long hallway and to the kitchen with no walls in between and is all done in hardwood floors..echo..echo..echo :(

The equipment is
Sonus Faber Concertos (On Sand Filled Stands)
Vandersteen Sub
B and K PTIII Series Two Preamp
B and K 2220 Amp
VPI Scout/Sig Arm with Cloud 9 Isolation
Tube Box II with Mullard NOS

Put down some area rugs and use rug padding to keep the rugs from slipping. Put up some drapes. Put up some pictures. Buy some chairs and couches. Put the stereo up against the long wall, as opposed to the short wall. It will warm up the apartment and kill any echo. I did the same in my apartment.

When you walk into my apartment there is a 4 X 7 foyer that leads into a 13 X 15 dining room that leads into a 15 X 23 living room. No walls in-between and hardwood floors throughout. The only way to tune the room is by furnishing it, otherwise it would turn into a great big echo filled room.

Nice furnishings will look a lot nicer than sound traps, etc. From a decorator's point of view though, the room is never going to have that sleek Scandinavian look.

What are your wife's tastes like?

Regards, Rich
You might try some of the products found on the following site. They offer traps with artwork or pictures that you personally provide to them: (http://www.asc-hifi.com/picture-panel.htm). The sound panels that mount along the top of the walls could actually enhance the room decor as well. happy listening!
I have a lot of rooms that were acoustically acceptable with very minimal "treatment." Where audiophiles are involved, rooms can easily be overtreated and sound unnatural and sterile. So, generally speaking, go slowly with any approach to treatment and don't doubt your ears when something seemingly minor does the trick (it could be as little as moving a stuffed chair into the right spot).

I would advice starting with what you have and concentrate on placement of the speakers. Proper placement can take a lot of time and juggling of tradeoffs, both in terms of sonic result and lifestyle/room decor. Generally speaking, the further you can place the speakers into the room the better. Also, if you sit fairly close to the speakers (say 6' to 8' away), most of the sound will be coming to you directly from the drivers which reduces the relative contribution of the room itself. This is "nearfield" listening, which is generally preferable where room acoustics is a problem. Similarly, a lot of toe-in to point the speakers toward the listening position also reduces room effects. However, one of the tradeoff with both toe-in and nearfield listening is that the ideal listening spot can be extremely small.

As far as treatment of the room is concerned, some kind of rug on the hardwood floor would probably be helpful. Decorative wall hangings/rugs on the walls can do wonders to kill high frequency echoes. I think you would be surprised by how helpful even a single, small fabric wallhanging helps with acoustics.

In most cases with hardwood floors, and particularly with suspended floors in an apartment, the speaker and stand should NOT be coupled to the floor with cones or sharp feet. These couplers transmit sound to the wooden floor (and to neighbors below) and also acts as a large radiator of sound. I would look at devices that absorb the vibrations from the stand and turn that energy into heat. An example would be small Symposium Svelte Shelves. These are half-inch thick isolation shelves that have hard stainless steel outer layers and a soft foam core; vibration from the speaker is turned into heat by the molecules in the foam core rubbing against each other.

Good luck.
That ASC link might be good to look into,
My Old house had wood floors and wood paneling on the walls, with a large window of wood shutters on one side. I had a large area rug, and upholstered furniture, with some large artwork (canvas paintings) on the other large wall. The room was rectangular, although the back wall opened into the kitchen. I had no Echo, no brightness, even with Bryston Amp and Martin Logan speakers. That room, as rooms go,still did better than the room I'm in today (if you check my system.)
Thanks all for the feedback!