Help me tame my out of control bass

Hey all,

Hoping to get some advice on how to tame what appear to be some pretty bad room modes. See my system here:

I’m in a bit of a pickle for a few reasons. First, my NY apartment is on the small side and requires me to set up on the long wall with the listening position against the opposite wall. On top of that I upgraded to my dream speakers, Egglestonworks Kivas. They sound amazing but they’re big and have a lot of low end reach. The combination of these two factors leads to the waterfall you see in my system - a pretty massive bump in low end, particularly at 40-44hz and from 60-70hz.

There’s also a huge bump at 120hz, but I don’t understand how that one is possible. I think that might be a measurement or microphone error - I don’t hear that at all and it doesn’t go away even when I EQ 120hz out completely, but maybe it’s a resonance?

Things I’ve tried so far, each with modest success:
- Plugging the ports gave me about a -5db reduction in the trouble spots (all measurements are with the port blocked)
- I don’t have a ton of placement flexibility but moving them back from their original position gained me about a -3dB reduction in bass
- I added a pair of 5.5” thick GIK bass traps, but they didn’t do much that I’m seeing in the measurements. Maybe a -1-2dB reduction, tops. They honestly helped more with the mids and highs.
- Convolution curve in Roon - this works the best, but doesn’t solve the problem for home theater or vinyl

I’m pretty stumped as to what else I can do. I think that the amount of bass traps needed to fix this is more than my marriage can withstand. I’m considering the PSI AVAA active bass traps, but only if I can do a home trial of them first to see if they’ll actually help - I worry this 8-10dB bump I’m seeing will be too much for even a pair of those. I could get a DIRAC processor from miniDSP and that would at least then work for all digital sources. Vinyl is mostly not a problem since this is so low and most of my vinyl is rock and jazz.

Any other ideas? Rolling tubes that have less bass? Are there any less expensive EQs with digital in and out that I could use as an alternative to the DIRAC for home theater only?
Like many of us, I have also struggled with bass - too much, too little, uneven room response, etc. I recently purchased some Townshend Seismic Podium isolation devices. These are essentially steel platforms with spring loaded adjustable cylinders at each of the four corners of the platform. As much as I had followed somewhat conventional thinking and had spikes on my speakers I decided to give these things a try. I must say they positively transformed the performance of my speakers (Linn Akurate floor standers). The bass problems have been dramatically resolved. They are not cheap but they really do tame the bass and I could not recommend them more emphatically. Try an outboard bass equalizer along with these "podiums" which were reviewed in the Jan., 2021 issue of Absolute Sound. This article also contains contact information for the US distributor who is located in S. California and was very decent to deal with. 
This is a classic example of a system that can benefit from a properly integrated sub. In almost every room there will be a place where the speakers image best and have the most even natural response above 150Hz. There will also be a place where the speaker’s bass response will be the most even. I have yet to work in a room where those two places are the same. You likely don’t have the floor space to optimally place a sub, so there will be concessions.

In my experience, proper listener and speaker placement is always preferable to any amount/type of EQ, but your hands are tied. You’ll have to work with EQ to tame this, but try to use the absolute minimum that gets you an acceptable balance between engaging sound and a resonant mess.

And anything that you do to try to fill in dips in the response using EQ will be a disaster! What you’re seeing in that response curve is cancellations and emphases. If you can knock the peaks down, even by 1-2dB with better placement of speakers and listener (stay away from that back wall as much as possible), it should also bring many of the troughs up. You’ll be chasing a series of tiny victories that will add up to the best your system will get in that room.

I suggest that you try using a more acoustically transparent plug for the speaker ports, as the ones that come with most speakers are so dense that they create enough back pressure to stifle the natural sound of the driver(s) that share the port cavity. This won't help the excess bass but it will likely improve the overall sound.

I agree that the best way forward on the 120Hz issue is to do a nearfield measurement of each speaker separately to see if the issue is with your speakers, mic, or a room resonance. Common room resonances are often caused by light lamps, wall sconces and recessed light fixtures. If you have a signal generator, input a 120hz (+/- 5Hz) steady-state sine wave into the system and you’ll likely find the problem pretty quickly.
So an update here: nearfield measurement shows the speakers, unsurprisingly, have an almost flat response.

And massive kudos to those who said the 120hz spike was a harmonic - you win a prize for that one. When generating a 60hz tone, the spike at 120hz is visible on the analyzer. Very interesting!

For now, I’ve been able to do a little EQ’ing to address the problem, at least with music played from my music server. Interestingly I didn’t really like the results when using a convolution curve in Roon - it reduced the bass way too much - and I ended up just using Roon’s parametric EQ, using the room’s graph for reference.

Longer term, I’m arranging a demo of the PSI AVAA C20, and waiting to see what happens with our lease before deciding between that and more bass traps.