Have you treated your listening space?

I see lots of pictures of $$$ systems in bare rooms.
What are the barriers for you to treat your room, or if you have already what benefits have you rendered?
I have improved the sound more than any other way by addressing the reverberant space that my system occupies.

"I would rather listen to a midfi system in a hifi room than a hifi system in a mifi room."
Yes, see pictures of my room in system listing. Used Ready Acoustics panels, which I recommend.
Have not found the need to use very expensive treatments. by using area rugs and furnishings along with art work on the walls and floors seems to do the trick for me. I want good sound but realize I live with a family and can not have the room looking like a mad scientist lair.
I'll bite.
Having a dedicated music room that's fully treated has given my sound stage a true 3d image. I will state that before I put the treatments up and lazer aimed everything, the imaging and clairity was lacking.
I only thought I had a great system before.
You can't buy equipment that will come close to what treatments will do.
I am a big on just using the stuff one has in the room, naturally, to adjust the rooms acoustics.

I use floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with DVDs, and common drapes, and normal furnishings to alter the room corners..

Wierd stuff just makes it clear you are crazy. (as an audiophile the stuff makes perfect sense. To anyone else it is all psychotic madness you filled your home with)
So pick your poison carefully. Especially if you are single and wish to attract a mate at some point.
Ok, I have been offline for a while, because I was moving from New Jersey to Arizona. I just got my internet hooked up today, and of course the first place I wanted to go was here.
I think that I can give you an answer, at least from my point of view. I agree with Elizabeth and Glenfihi that normal furniture items and drapes can help, so that is one thing that I have always done. I do believe that the barrier for many audiophiles is confusion about which treatments of all the treatments available that they should use, and where they should place them. Of course there is professional help to be had, (like Rives) but it is very expensive for the average person.
I think that if the average audiophile knew what to do and how, he/she would be willing to spend a couple of grand to do it for improved sound. I know that I would. I would want to know for sure that it was going to work though, and that is the problem.
Yes hi,

I use the ASC Traps--full and half round--would'nt be without them.

Ha! Elizabeth you make me laugh--!!

The room, and the way you treat it, is everything. Until you get it 'right', you will never know how great your gear can sound. Only a dedicated listening room, properly treated will lead you to truly know what 'high fidelity' sound is all about. Strongly suggest that you read Toole's 'Sound Reproduction' book at least once each year, especially when you are thinking about spending another dollar on gear and not room treatments.
A comment on Roxy54's people will pay for room advice. Not so, and Jim Smith of 'Better Sound' can attest to that fact. Jim has found that many people with $100K systems will not invest a few thousand in 'professional help'. Those are the people that would do their own heart surgery, if possible. They leave so much 'sound' on the table, thinking the higher the cost of gear, the better the sound. Sad.
luckily, room treatments were one of the first things i bought into after asking for advise here on agon. only spent a few hundred bucks but the results were priceless. i'm still tinkering around with it all but am definitely headed in the right direction.

biggest improvement for me was from heavy curtains. $30 at target which i then had folded over to double the thickness (+$15 to have them stitched up). incredible improvement for $35!
I agree with Levy03, except for his math. ;)
But I think it also depends on the room. If you have your system in a room with only two chairs, as I do, then treatments are an absolute necessity. If you are using a living room or family room filled with furniture, then not so much.
I don't have a dedicated room but the largest improvement was when I installed 16" ASC Tube Traps in the front corners. No other traps dealt with the bass as well. A tightened bass resulted in big mid range improvements by removing the bass smear that affected definition there.
Thanks for your posts.
Buconero has it right. Many keep spending and spending on equipment and never address the room.
I had a bare room for years and always figured top equipment was the ticket. I'd spend hrs. listening for differences in cables, etc. Then I realised that my room could not resolve the differences.
I did some reading on acoustics (FUN!)
"Acoustic Design for the Home Studio" $15
"Critical Listening Skills for Audio Professionals"
"Master Handbook of Acoustics"
This was more fun than reading equipment reviews and helped me to see the issues that MUST be addressed in the room for a high performance system to sound great.

I don't disagree with you at all when you say that there are many well heeled audiophiles who would not spend the money even though they can afford to. I am just saying that audiophiles of all financial means feel intimidated about how to approach room treatments and what it might cost.
That's the really funny thing.
Room treatment costs less than a couple of cable upgrades!
I got some pretty expensive draperies (my wife likes them too), some bass traps and 2" and 4" wall panels that look ok for under two thousand dollars. How much have you spent recently on component upgrades? I bet plenty!
It's just a matter of education, it's not that complicated in its basics.
I tried a host of room treatments and achieved the best sound when I sold most of the stuff and used things like tall ficus trees, carpet, book shelves, proper speaker placement, etc...

I now have great sound and a great looking room.
look at my system pics.

my high dollar stereo would sound mid fi (and did) until i added the ASC traps and bass panels (DIY). diffusors on front wall helped as well.

IME, in a small - mid size room, they're a requirement.

the 2 most neglected factors in audio are room treatments & power conditioning. money spent here will yield bigger returns than in upgrading electronics.
I've treated rooms I've used for home recording studios for years, and worked in pro studios ad nauseum. That said, I'm firmly in the "no treatment needed in the hifi room" group...I like the ambient sound of a "living space" room, and find all I need to do is own normal furniture and move speakers around a little. My system sounds great, has standing waves here and there but not in my listening spot, and the bass is tuned by careful listening to a REL sub. When I record stuff and put it on in the "untreated" space, I hear it differently and that's a good thing.
Room treatments are not in the signal path so how can they possibly have any effect on the sound?

Geoffkait...I assume you're joking.
Geoffkait is the one at the parties end standing on the coffee table wearing the lampshade:)
BTW, I have a custom sized one that I bring to parties, and it matches my shoes

Most any room can benefit from bass traps, particularly in the corners. In addition, broad band absorption (which usually needs to be at least 4 inches thick) is also helpful in most rooms. One of the goals is to have frequency balance in the room. It was (and still is) amazing to me how much room treatments have improved my sound -- much more than any equipment that I have ever purchased or borrowed. There is no doubt that everyday room furnishings can help, but the idea that you can get the same frequency balance in a room using drapes, etc. is nonsense.

If you are serious about considering room treatments and do not want to spend alot of time reading books, I would suggest you contact GIK Acoustics (or one of their competitors). My experience with GIK has been terrific. You can send them pictures of your room, along with dimensions. They are very patient in answering questions and will recommend what they think will be most effective and their prices are very reasonable. My experience is that they are very low sell pressure and super helpful and patient. GIK has a very good return policy if it doesn't give you the results you were hoping for. I am in no way affiliated with GIK, just a happy customer. I was skeptical about the effectiveness of room treatments, but am now a believer and frankly was stunned at what a difference it made. I have also educated myself on this and now appreciate more the science behind why it works.

Good luck!
Headphones...get some headphones...wait...what about "head treatment"? I found that taping sponges and doll house mattresses to my head makes headphones sound better.
Edge22, I am currently renting a house for the next 6 months, but when I buy one, I am going to take your advice. Thanks!
I've heard a number of rooms with all sorts of treatment. A friend has a ground up special room that costs more than the average house (has the full design/build supervision by Rives). I like the room myself, but, a number of other friends find the result offputting (too cold and analytical sounding). This Rives room is actually one of the better full blown treatments I've heard; a number of other heavily treated, professionally designed rooms I've heard sound REALLY bad to me (they exaggerate the current audiophile trend toward lean, detailed and lifeless sound).

Many of the better rooms I've heard were normal rooms with a lot of "treatment" in the form of bookcases, art objects on the walls that act as diffusers, effective use of carpeting on the floor in front of the speaker, and most importantly--very carefully located speakers and listening position. I've even heard a room that is all masonary block that sounded great through the use of some very pleasing to look at tapestries.

Myself, I have a room with open spaces around the speakers, a lot of clutter around the perimeter, and tube traps in the corners--that is enough.

More than anything else, it is the proper location of speakers that matters--most rooms have at least one decent location. The trick is to find the proper location and to make the hard choices/compromises--aesthetics/space utilization vs. sound, decent sound for multiple listeners vs. ideal sound for one listener, etc.
I do treat my room....to great music.
Wolf, what initially drew you to doll house mattresses....?
In the 70's I covered a small basement room with mattresses so my band could rehearse without bothering neighbors. It worked very well, so duct taping doll house mattresses to my head just seems like an obvious sound absorbtion solution. That bad news is all the hair I lose when removing the tape.
Why, was it sick?:-)
Note that many respected gear reviewers don't "treat" their rooms with anything beyond furniture, rugs, and bookcases, although they go to great lengths to tweek things like speaker placement and isolation of components...maybe this is because they want the "real world" environment of the sound of the room. If you want to turn a living space into an anachoic chamber I suppose that's fine as nobody will hear you when you shoot yourself in the foot. I really do think the answer to the "treatment obsessed" is to use good headphones while sitting on a subwoofer.
Uh, of course no one is suggesting turning the room in an anecolic chamber. But there are standing waves and early reflections as well as echos and other effects that really do interfere with the sound. It's a question of how far one wishes to go in the pursuit of the best sound. If one wishes to ignore the problem, well, that's a different matter.
Anecolic chamber?
You must not have any experiance with room treatments and the wonderful sonic improvements that they can produce.
If you've ever heard the effects of a correctly treated room, you wouldn't say such things.
The quality of the room and treatments are roughly one-third of the sound quality. I never cease to be amazed at the high $$$ systems posted here with inappropriate listening environments. Seems such a waste to me.
I recently had an opportunity to set up a new room and was able to listen to it without treatment and with. I added 4 inch bass corner traps and then added some two inch panels on the wall behind the speakers. My room sounded pretty good without the treatments, since I took my time with the proper speaker placement. With treatments, the soundstage is better defined, and more open (larger). Also, I eliminated the bass spikes at certain frequencies near the walls and corners. This was not an expensive project. I got my panels from Acoustimac and they were really well made and shipped quickly. The "ready bags" from Ready Acoustics were a non starter. I ordered the bags in November of 2010 and finally just got a refund in August. Needless to say I will never use them again.
Treatment schmeatment. El redundo amundo. Case by case I say, and I think bass traps should look like faux marble Roman columns...right? And it's "anachoic" not "anecolic" which actually (if spelled correctly) is the art of soundproofing a grumpy baby. Strange but true.
Through the different evolutionary states of my room I have found there to be benefit from treatments in all aspects of my sound. Having the latest version professionally designed by Jeff Hedback really just took it to another place completely, I was really surprised at how much it improved over my self efforts. Didn't break the bank and big return on investment
I'll split the difference with you. It's actually spelled

Rug cores, are the poor audiophile's room treatment. Those tall hollow cylinders that are in the center of rugs work very well, even better than some corner bass traps that you pay good money for; they stopped the "booming" in my room. You simply use double stick tape, paint for invisibility, or decorate, and stick them in the corner behind the speakers.
Damn...anechoic it is! Also, I tried to speak to Jeff Hedback once and his voice was so muffled with so little siblance or bass impact I couldn't understand a thing.
Question: How do you soundproof a colicky baby? Wolf: Doll house mattresses, of course! HA
Another idea is coat your ears and face with foam insulation.
I used to think that room acoustic treatments were the last thing to do in a system....WRONG! They probably should be the 1st on the list! After I installed some Real Traps into my room, the system was just raised to another level.
My a'phile group and I now see what all the fuss is about....try it and you too will be a convert!
Good timing for this thread- I'm finally dipping into the world of treatments.

I've rearranged the furniture in my listening space, and the midrange is now killing me- it's much brighter than before. Unfortunately, the room is mostly plaster and lathe, and the left speaker is only about 2 feet from the wall. I've relied on the furnishings before, but now I need some panels!

I have a friend who didn't believe in treating a room, at least until I showed him an extreme example of just how important doing it is to do SOMETHING. When I moved into my house, the family room was completely empty. Just plaster walls and a hard wood floor. I tried to set up my new out going answering machine message while standing in that room- it was completely impossible! The room was so live that nothing I did worked. Even with my mouth pressed against the machine, you couldn't understand what I was saying.

After I threw down a carpet and moved a couch and piano into it, I was finally able to set the outgoing message. It was crazy!

I've already double hung curtains on the back wall which is a large grouping of windows, and there are a few pieces of puffy furniture as well as a book shelve, but the wall on the left is untouched. I'm confident that a few panels will take care of business and get the plaster out of my midrange.

Check ATS Acoustics for inexpensive panels and Sweetwater for bass traps.
Room sound is THE issue for professional studios. Some rooms are very famous for their specific sound such as the big room at East West, where Frank Sinatra recorded (with orchestra) or the "Pet Sounds" room (Beach Boys) at East West, or the big room at Abbey Road that is so much a part of the Beatles Sound on that record. Studios can work on acoustics a long time to get a control room to sound right so it "translates" (does not impart a sound that causes bad judgement by the mixer). All speakers are "changed" by the room.

If you do not address your playback room you are missing half the battle. You have no idea what its doing to your speakers. Hard plaster or wall board emphasizes midrange terribly (go up to your wall and knock on it-hear that ring? Parallel walls in rooms sets up standing waves, sound frequencies emphasized by the room itself, usually in the low end. Ever notice parts of the room where bass is just gone? Or where its so loud you can't stand it? All room modes. No speaker can fix them. When I read about people saying this speaker didn't sound like it did at so and so's listening room, you gotta wonder how they skipped over the issue of the room itself.

Dealing with first reflections is step one (absorption on the walls where the speakers first reflect off the wall itself).
I agree, I agree, I agree.
Did I say that I AGREE?
How can you be taken seriously if you obsess over your electronics and ignore the room?
It can be done in a way that is tasteful, but it still has to be done.
You can't ignore the PHYSICS of it.
I repeat,
"I would rather listen to mid-fi in a hi-fi room than hi-fi in a mid-fi room."
This fact can save you a lot of money - room treatment is relatively inexpensive compared to equipment.
"I would rather listen to mid-fi in a hi-fi room than hi-fi in a mid-fi room."

Couldn't have said it better Mr Werner! The mid fi system in the hi fi room will sound far better, image better.

Look at RPG panels, not those foam things. Get a mix of panels you hang flat against the wall (like a picture) and the ones that have an "L" shape (the leg of the L is sort of perpendicular to the wall, the top of L is against the wall, creating a small triangle space between the "L" and the wall).

Also, if you use speaker stands, getting mass under the speaker really help. Most cheapo stands ring horribly!



Our listening room is our untreated living room :-)
A lot of hard surfaces...our floor is natural stone.

I've only explored this a couple of times...it appears best sound is sometimes achieved when windows and sliding doors are opened.

Has anyone else experienced this?

Stone floors are gigantic audio reflectors. Throw a thick blanket or quilt over that floor just in front of your speakers (first reflections) and prepare to be amazed. Your windows and doors open = fewer reflections.