When you say drywall all around, does that inlcude the ceiling? If it doesn't and the ceiling is open joists that may be your problem. If the ceiling is finished and you can't remove the carpeting your best solution might be near field listening. It's also possible that you have a very long reverberation time and that's muddying the sound to the point it sounds dead but it's not. This would be a good post for Rives to step in and provide some ideas.
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Probably suspended ceiling too, with the fiberboard type panels? Those are sound suckers...
Can you try listening to your speakers near-field, like 5-6' away from your listening chair, also away from the side walls?
Or how about forgetting to liven up the room and play some Bob Marley:
Yeah, bad joke, but I'm not sorry!
Good luck - most of us have the opposite problem.
Slappy: it's possible that the basement is acoustically dead, but your impression of "deadness" may also be due to the fact that the room is large, L-shaped, and your bookshelf-style speakers simply don't fill the room. Large rooms with dry wall and the normal amount of wall-to-wall carpeting aren't overly "dead" as a rule.
I suggest you try a "slap echo" test by standing in the middle of the room and clap your hands together loudly. If there is no "echo" -- i.e., there is no reverberation and the sound dies away almost immediately -- then your room may be somewhat dead acoustically. If that is the case, then you should try adding some reflective surfaces at key points, such as the 90-degree angles formed between the listening spot and the speakers. (Try using a mirror on the wall -- if you can see the front of the speaker in the mirror you are seated in the listening spot, then there is a 90-degree angle.) You can use a number of different "hard surfaces" to liven the room, such as large pictures with glass-in-frame; sections of panelling; etc.
Room acoustics present real challenges, and you will probably have to do a fair amount of experimentation until you establish an acoustic environment that meets your tastes. I advise, however, that you not seek to make the room overly live or overly dead -- shoot for something in the middle.
The other issue that relates to room acoustics is how flat the frequency response is in your room. Reflections or absorption of the higher frequencies will produce the impression of more or less "liveliness". You might do a frequency analysis of your room, using a Radio Shack sound level meter with a test CD having frequency sweeps. There are a number of guys here on A-gon who can advise you on this process, including "Rives".
ceiling is finished, and it totally sucks because one of the support beams(which is also covered in the drywall) dips down and forms a frame it extends about 6 inches below the ceiling level and it sticks out about 2 inches on the walls. It kinda forms a ring. That part totally sucks.
Its drywall, and it looks like ti extends about 6 inches from the cement.
No echo, no nothing down there.
As for the bookshelf, they seem to be plenty big enough, i used to have some deftech bp2004tl towers that has the same problem. Then again, they arent much more than bookshelf speakers stuck on top of subwoofers.
I have a lart 3ft x 6ft mirror on the side wall, i was hoping it would liven it up a little bit, but it did not seem to do much.
I will only be in this house (im renting) for about 8 months, then i will be buying a new house that i will be buying with a basement i will finish myself. So i cant do anything costly, but man, its annoying dead.
Maybe i will just use the ZONE 2 capabilities and run my KEF's upstairs where they sound better....