No doubt,the room plays a major part in sound. Acoustic panels,and any other room treatment just aren’t sexy! Luckily for me, I’m married,so I don’t have to concern myself with sexy. I use GIK panels in my listening room. They may not look sexy, but they make my system sound sexier than ever before.
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While I'm a huge proponent of applying smart room treatments I don't believe the room should fail to influence the sound at all. That's what's implied by suggesting the best sound you can get from your room is benchmarked at extreme nearfield listening. Yes, get bass adsorption, yes get good diffusion, and eliminate wretched slap echo --- but it's OK to hear some influence by the room! We don't want to be listening in an anechoic chamber. It's pleasing for a little liveliness to enter the sonic picture...and yes, you can certainly overtreat a room.
I just put my Deutsche Grammophon Placido Domingo Carmen on the turntable. Sitting at 2 feet, soundstage is bigger and wider (as it should be). It's like I've just gotten a seat closer to the stage. Amazingly, I still get convincing center fill and even more 3D. Intriguing. I'll continue to experiment.
The two foot away position unfortunately flattened the three-dimensionality of my Harmonia Mundi Villancicos LP even if it did make the images larger. As for frequency balance, the moves haven't done a bloody thing. In any case, I guess I'm going to have to put my listening chair on some railroad track.
If you really want to make a name in the market, find a way to combine the technical aspects of sound acoustics with interior design. Trust me, for those of us who have significant others who like to have a say in the living room, play room, game room, etc. get someone to figure this out and you will double your sales. Man caves are great for personal entertainment and sound quality...but are you going to invite your guests and their wives to your man cave?
@phil55, it had been done. The business was called Rives. Unfortunately they are no longer, after 2015. You can spend tens of thousands on a room alone.
I recently started to look at the room as half of the system and learning to properly tune it is a skill. I am still learning and wish I had a cloud and more diffusion. My room at one point became overly damped so I started removing panels.
Getting a quiet room can be a curse though in that it made me hyper sensitive to untreated rooms and their horrible acoustics. When I see / hear a news reporter reporting from home and they have an overly live room with horrible echo, I immediately change the channel.
I was recently showing my system to my Brother and when he came into my room his first remark was “whoa, it’s so quiet in here”. I’m actually going to buy some absorption panels for my hallway outside my listening room and also for my bedroom. Sometimes I’ll come to my listening room and just relax with no music playing. It’s so peaceful, I love it!
It’s a small room and I have 6 244 Panels, 4 monster bass traps and 3 no name fiberglass panels (2”x2’x4’)
"The difference between what you hear sitting in front of the speaker like this, and what you hear at your normal location is all in the speaker dispersion and room acoustics."
I can go along with that.
So if the speaker’s off-axis response is poor, would you expect the room to fix it?
If so, how?
@erik_squires : "Oh, no, not me. :) That’s why I stated in the OP that the difference is in fact the combination of the room and speaker dispersion."
Thanks for replying; we’re on the same page there.
What I’m getting at is, in my opinion, sometimes the speakers’ off-axis response is either the main culprit or a significant contributor.
As a thought experiment, would an unamplified instrument such as piano or acoustic guitar suck in the same room? Would they significantly benefit from nearfield listening? If not, then perhaps the room is not the primary culprit; perhaps the speakers and/or setup are more at fault.
I'm not AGAINST improving the room's acoustics!! But I think the room gets blamed for problems which originate in the speaker's off-axis response, and which are therefore difficult to correct via acoustic treatment alone.
I'm going to throw this discussion back at you, @audiokinesis ...
My original point was to help audiophiles figure out if the direct speaker signal was making it well enough to their seat, without tools. Your question is, literally and figuratively, orthogonal to my own. ;-)
Lets say there is a speaker with good forward and poor off-axis response. How do you suggest an audiophile discover this with no tools but their ears?
" Lets say there is a speaker with good forward and poor off-axis response. How do you suggest an audiophile discover this with no tools but their ears?"
First, make your best estimate of what frequency region has a problem.
Second, look at the drivers and crossover points to see if there seems to be a correspondence with the problematic frequency region(s). Typically a direct-radiating speaker has extra-wide response at the bottom end of a driver’s frequency range (like at the bottom end of the tweeter’s range), and relatively narrow response at the top end of a driver’s range (like at the top end of the midwoofer’s range, and again at the top end of a dome tweeter’s range). Given that frequency response peaks are more likely to be audible (and objectionable) than frequency response dips, audible off-axis anomalies are most likely to be associated with the bottom end of a driver’s range.
Third, do YOUR suggested test to see if the "predicted" off-axis anomaly disappears in the nearfield.
This isn’t ironclad proof of course, but imo it can add up to an "educated guess".
Finally, here is a way to test the room independent of the speakers: With no music playing, walk from room to room in your house, speaking out loud and listening to the timbre of your voice. It is best to do this when nobody else is around; people tend to get the wrong idea. The other rooms are to give you some baselines; pay particular attention to the timbral quality of your voice in your listening room. IF you hear a timbral skewing which corresponds to the anomaly you hear when your speakers are playing, then the room is at least PART of the problem and may well be the ENTIRE problem. But if your voice sounds good and natural in your listening room, that points to the speakers (or sometimes something else in the signal chain) as the primary culprit.
So can unplugged subwoofers screw up the sound. Thanks to a fellow-phile on AA, who responded to my thread there where I stated that I was no longer using my 2 SVS subs (the tall ones), which are in the system picture that I provided.
He said unpowered subs, being used or not, will negatively affect the SQ. Late yesterday I removed them and was shocked. Where the SQ was on the thick side, post subs it dances like a butterfly
I agree that we are listening to our speakers and the response of the room in a locked relationship of excitation/response.
In an attempt to help a null around 85 Hz I got a bunch of GIK 244 series bass traps. Qty 4 24" x 24" squares (2 of those with flexrange), Qty 4 12x48, and Qty 2 freestanding panels. They work.
Too much will suck the life out of the sound, and a little goes a long way. They are very effective. I'm still experimenting with the GIK and Vicoustic placement (done by ear mostly as the attempts to carefully quantify with REW /capable mic only took me so far); It's definitely worth the time and energy and is a learning experience I highly recommend if you are looking to squeeze as much performance from your gear as possible.
I am amazed by how much potential exists in our gear that just needs to be unlocked!
Acoustic treatments and power (cords and conditioners) are two huge pillars i've learned a lot about the past many months. Room tuning is both fun and exhausting, but very much worth the effort.
Erik is right. You can dramatically reduce room effects by getting a line source bipolar ESL. Then you only need some acoustic tile behind the speaker nothing else. What you will notice is that the speaker sounds exactly the same at 12 feet as it does at 6 inches. Very spooky. The only manufacturer of this type of speaker now is Sound Labs.
ARC/DSP EQ are good tools.
They are not better alone, nor are they as good as room treatment. They are very complementary. For instance, it's much easier to treat room modes and nulls with than without room treatment.
Given no alternatives, you should use EQ. Given the choice of 1, room treatment. Given the ability to do both, do it!
My original point was to help audiophiles figure out if the direct speaker signal was making it well enough to their seat, without tools. Your question is, literally and figuratively, orthogonal to my own. ;-)Actually its spot on. Speakers radiate in three ways- on axis, off axis (whose response should be smooth) and total room energy. The latter is probably the least understood, and is where many speakers fall flat on their front baffles.
For more on this, here is Dr. Floyd Toole, using Science to show how this works:
The relevant information relating to this topic starts at 23 minutes. Pay attention to the comments about Sound Power. If in a hurry, skip to 31 minutes and you can see that the total energy in the room is the dominant factor but is actually to a large degree a function of the speaker rather than the room!
I rekindled my hobby. I first of all got it all hooked up. A buzz in the preamp. Got rid of it. Bought a new amp. Plugged my new streamer right into it. Walla! It worked. Then bought new speakers. Oh what a chore to set up. Large Crites speakers like Cornwalls. I have always had subs. Run in stereo from an amp. New wires and cords. I was lucky every step made an improvement in sound. My room is about a foot from being the Golden Rule room. Then I ordered 6 first reflection panels , two bass traps and 3 diffusion panels. And this was one of my biggest improvements. I am in a good place now!
humans are designed, from the ground up, to have the space intrude on and integrate with the sound source.
It’s the native environment of the human hearing system, in situ.
The question... is...: to what level, should that environment intrude and integrate. To what level is the intrusion found or felt to be best - for an audio set up, for the individual/group involved?
The advice of the OP is good, as long as you don't take into consideration the preferences of other audiophiles. :(
mijostyn, you are incorrect in your statement that Sound Lab is the only line source dipole. I reviewed for Dagogo.com two models of the Kingsound King line (the original and King III). Both are what I termed, LSESL, or "Line Source ESL," with an array of ESL panels. Quad also uses a concentric series of ESL drivers, I believe.
Technically, the Sound Lab is not an array, per se, but Roger at Sound Lab took pains to explain that the driver is a single sheet with a dampening system. When I reviewed the Sound Lab Ultimate 545 (at the time called the U4iA) for Dagogo.com, this was reinforced by Sound Lab several times such that I would get it correct for the article.
Has the technology of Sound Lab changed since then? Are some other models different? I do not know. I am not interested in arguing the point, however.
The use of an array for ESL does seem to be rare, but, imo is tremendously satisfying form of panel sound. :)
I don't. My speakers sound a lot better at the listening chair.
Which is in agreement with:
The difference between what you hear sitting in front of the speaker like this, and what you hear at your normal location is all in the speaker dispersion and room acoustics.
And based on the conditional recommendation:
If you feel mesmerized, entranced, and wowed by your speaker at 2' but not 8' you really should consider improving the room
This method does not demonstrate a need for you to improve the room. You pass.
" This method does not demonstrate a need for you to improve the room. "
Looking at Ralph’s observation that his speakers sound better at the listening chair through an alternative lens:
Ralph’s Classic Audio T-3 horn loudspeakers generate a spectrally correct reverberant field, which makes a beneficial contribution at the listening chair.
I’m not saying this is the ONLY beneficial thing going on at a normal listening distance in this case, but imo it is one of them.
I think my room above the garage sounds pretty good, but I'm not thrilled that my listening couch is up against the knee wall with a sloped ceiling above my head. But I can set up my Maggies 4 feet from the wall, 8 feet apart and 11 feet from my listeni couch. All things considered it still sound pretty good
Watch "Magnepan .7's & audio system" on YouTube
Room treatment... oh what a can of worms this forum has opened upon me. I spend hours researching this topic now, so many varied opinions.
I’ve spent hours already at a friends cabinet making factory, cutting up logs of cherry wood and gluing them together and planing them down to 5 foot long sheets of 1/2" x 8 sides, 4 tops and 4 bottoms, and 60 x 1/4" sheets.. and another 60 x 1/2" to cap the wells. All of which I haven’t even assembled yet. To make just 4 of these QRD17 diffusers, and I’ve never in my life even heard what a QRD diffuser does!
This is a crazy experiment...
Has anyone here used Stillpoints - Aperture II Acoustic Panel ??
Before I go experimenting some more... aaagh
And by the way, this has been a fun and witty thread, without getting aggressive.