If you have a nice system why do you really need room treatments?

Yeah you may need an absorption panel if your room is completely open, ie. No rug or furniture, ie just lonely single chair. But if your system can't cut it in any room then it's a system problem and you should be able to discern a good system regardless of the room.  Unless you put it on the roof of your apartment building but the Beatles seemed to have survived that effort

I think people go nuts with all this absorption acoustical room treatment stuff and it looks kind of awful.  Once in a while you see a really cool looking diffuser panel and I would definitely want one. But to have a system that works really well without any of the acoustical panel distractions is a wonderful thing.


Because you need to think of the room as another component in your system. Except this component is “unwanted” and, yet, inescapable regardless of how much “stuff” you have or don’t have in it. There are different ways to manage the room—speaker placement, acoustic treatments, a distributed bass array. One may have a nice system and think it sounds great but if one hasn’t tackled the room then one will never know who good it could be.

Cause it corrects the way the room is interacting negatively with your system.  I like the look of my treatments and they are functional.  As @jpan states, you won’t know till you measure and fix things.

Have you ever listened in an acoustically ideal room? Think about why some people use headphones exclusively. A properly treated room will make your speakers sound like giant headphones. You'll hear the sound field embedded in the recording instead of the one in your room. 

Not terribly long ago, there was a thread posted in "misc" by @calvinj pertaining to this very subject. The question was basically "can a good system sound good in a bad room?"

And I would say that basically it can, but I have no doubt that it would sound better in a good room. But I don’t see how a good room can make a bad system sound good.

I am also kind of getting out of the reading on this site that near-field set up starts to take the room out of it, and maybe that’s my saving grace, because with good source material I do feel my "good"system" (which is relative) sounds good (also relative) in a bad room.

I wish I had a better listening room.  If you have a good room you are blessed. Makes it a whole lot easier. 

Unfriendly people lurking about.

It’s about a really nice system in a room and you should be able to discern the qualities of a really nice system in room. And then you have all the furniture in the room and often times all the bookshelves and sofas and rugs make the room sound amazing and lots of peoples rooms are like this.

There’s a lot of people with really nice rooms who have really amazing sounding systems all the acoustical stuff and that’s a wonderful thing

I imagine there’s a lot of people out there with complicated furniture set ups and maybe they throw on some acoustical panels and most of us have no clue if it sounds any better or not we just do it. How many people really do a good job with acoustical panels and then choosing between absorption and diffusing who knows if people are getting it right and most times they probably aren’t and after all there is no right answer is there?

It’s about a really nice system in a room and you should be able to discern the qualities of a really nice system in room.

Sure. But if you had the wherewithal to scientifically tune the room I am sure that would make the great sound of a great system sound even better. However, to say that the differences in a good system and a not-as-good system cannot be discerned in an untreated room is not true.

I dont agree. Without a decent room you cant discern, effectively, what differentiates good from not so good. I think the room is more important than the components assuming the system is of sufficient quality. 

Forgot to add that I have a dedicated room, but the dimensions are about as bad as can be. A bit more complicated to deal with these types of problems. 

I dont agree. Without a decent room you cant discern, effectively, what differentiates good from not so good.

Of course you can.  For example: in a bad room you have one amp hooked up and the soundstage is confined to an area around the speakers--you upgrade to a better amp and the sound becomes "bigger" and fuller.  You upgrade to a better preamp and you note that the imaging is greatly improved and therefore the soundstage is better defined.  The improvements you note would probably be enhanced in a tuned room, but it's not like you won't hear them even in a bad room.



I noticed you start a lot of discussions. But do not have your system shown. It would be very helpful to see your system.

Yes, system posted and a picture of your room so that we can see your acoustic treatment.


Absolutely right I should provide details on my system. I think it would look OK if I took a picture of it but there’s certain things I wanna move around and I lack the energy and physical abilities to do it since my health is challenging right now. Further, id like to provide a decent listing of all the gear but since I have trouble typing and have to dictate everything it would be a major major project. Editing is really uncomfortable to do. I’m very grateful so many other people do it because it’s one of the best things about this forum to see all those amazing Systems set up incredibly well. I bought the system I have without listening to it before I bought it and since I’m not able to leave the house very easily I have not heard any other system except my own for really long time. When I’m better I really want to visit a decent room to hear what it sounds like. I have played in a number of bands in the past so I know Live music. I played in a 21 piece jazz Group in the World Trade Centre lobby back in 1976. Got a free trip to the Observatory and a free meal at the restaurant way up close to the top.

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I’ll give it some thought thanks for the encouragement. Keep in mind every time I touch an iPad screen to do this it creates a lot of discomfort that continues to get worse and if I touch the screen more than four or five times while I do this it’s too much I’m able to get by with limited touching of the screen. I appreciate your comments

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Sorry op, but your premise is beyond absurd. No rugs or any absorption alone with cause all sorts of reflection to the point that it is obvious within 5 seconds of critical listening, not even critical listening actually.

No such thing as a system, including the room, that doesn't need some help. Whether it is DSP, or treatments, it helps.

@emergingsoul in 3.5 years you started 225 discussions. If touching an ipad screen creates extreme discomfort, forget about figuring out how you’re managing this, but I am curious how have you set up your system? Dictate your components here into this thread. 

An acoustically well treated room can make a much less expensive system sound far better than a much more expensive system in an untreated room. Acoustic treatment, done properly, can leave you wondering why you thought what you listened to before sounded good.  Most of us must be satisfied with less than ideal room acoustics for a plethora of reasons, but appreciating the essential principles of room acoustics can improve the comprimises necessary. 

hint… the ear / brain NEEDs the room….

Most zealots… overtreat….

Zenlike balance

And while you are at it…. get all that €£¥!????? off to the side….

RT-60 is a place to start…

Homework ; look at photos of 10 mastering labs…. see much wall to wall carpet ? …..

@emergingsoul …sorry you are suffering…. let’s try this… dictate the big components of your system. the speakers and placement being #1. Distance to adjacent surfaces and the basic room dimensions, including any openings. A general description of contents / makeup of materials important. The distance between speakers, to ear, ear ht. and tweeter ht also important. Distance from ear to back wall, ceiling height…. i work is 25+ rooms a year…. i dont need a photo ….

iF helpful i can send you a Leica or Bosch laser tape… all, emphasis ALL my services are free


For your info I voice control my iPad I can get by with minimal touching. I also control what I watch on TV using voice control for the Apple TV box. Unfortunately the remote is too difficult to use and every time I am using an app i have have to scroll through it by repeating a number over and over again until I find what I’m wanting to find it I can’t through things by swiping my finger across the screen. Is it very frustrating way to search for something. I have my limitations but many people have a whole lot worse and the awful development of voice control technology for desktop and even watching TV is horrible. Although I’m very grateful for what has been done it’s like they should’ve spent more effort in the final 10% of the journey and because of that not as good as it should be. People take for granted the ease which they use computers and they’re smart phones. It’s absolutely remarkable how complicated the process is and all the pressure going on with very delicate tissues in your arm to Press and swipe a device.

Especially controlling a mouse on a computer it’s incredibly awkward and should be a hell of a lot easier than it is it’s clear that Microsoft and Apple really could give a crap about people with disability. Windows 11 is awful. Technologically it’s not very difficult to do but they choose not to devote much effort to improving it.

As far as me getting by with all my audio equipment I certainly don’t do it myself.


There are two aspects to room treatment. One is to improve the balance of the frequency response and minimize room modes, mostly on the low end. This generally requires both diffusion and absorption. Not all rooms need this, and it can be addressed in different ways.

The other, and more important one is to reduce room reverberations in the mid and high frequencies that smear the sound, and add the sound of your room to the sound coming out of your speakers. This can be accomplished with absorbent materials. Most rooms can benefit from this and can take your sound quality to another level. It doesn't have to be complicated. Furniture, carpet, can help but placing 4-6" deep absorbent panels strategically works wonders. And they can found with all sorts of decorative looks. 

You missed the very important time element….. the ear - brain needs X ms to ID….

RT where T = Time

Many of the Products produced to be used in a Audio System are tried during R&D stages in dedicated demonstration spaces.

These Spaces are all about not producing sound that is being corrupted by the types of condition that are to be met in a Typical Listening Environment used by a purchaser of goods.

Once a Product is purchased, there are some products that are not designed to be at their best presentation when used in their new environment. As the end sound can't deliver as it had at the stages during the design, due to the influences caused by the Room and Set Up within the Room.  

Room Treatment is a simple method to attempt to enable a end sound be produced that is a resemblance of a Sound be created during the design stage.

Note: resemblance to the produced sound is the key word not, a match for the sound produced during R&D Stages. 

To not attempt to optimise the room for the audio equipment in use is absolutely fine, music is still being produced.

To attempt to optimise the room for the audio equipment being used is also absolutely fine, music is still being produced, but possibly ? with less influences produced by the room and room set up.

Reflections , I have 10 , 1st reflections from the front, in corners Bass traps which can create boominess ,then directly behind ,carpeting Always recommended in front at least for slap echo off floor onto ceilings . Some people with $$ like my brother have the whole room treated and looks neat it’s a dedicated multimedia room but that’s over $10 k . 2x4 room panels are under $100 each 2x2 behind on walls is good also. They come in different  color fabrics , even with art work on them ,which I plan on buying to make the man cave more presentable to the Mrs..

the room is more calm and refined , plants too help as defusers ,you see them at shows.

Here's a very basic analogy: you'll easily see the difference between a mediocre tv and a state-of-the-art tv. But if the light in the room is subpar and the sun is shining directly on your fancy tv, its image won't be as good as it is capable of being. Room treatment helps your system to live up to its full potential.


If you have a nice system why do you really need room treatments?

to make it sound even better, to make it eveneasier to get great sound. 

Translation: "I'm really lazy and treatments are a hassle so I think I'll just pretend that room treatments can never matter if you have the right system."

The room is half the equation. Ignore it and you will get the sound you deserve.

I see I see yes 

the earth is also flat because I see it is flat in my little world!

I was surprised to see that so many members here with six figure systems and decades of experience don’t have dedicated rooms. Most actually. 

The room is part of the "system".  How can you have a "nice system" if you don't understand that?

If you can't get a dedicated listening room or install acoustic treatment, whatever the reasons may be, then by all means, try to make it up with equipment alone. However to try to talk yourself in believing that a properly setup room is unecessary because of esthetics is laughable at best. It's like preferring wall "art" that matches your furniture. I'm all about substance over fluff, but it's just me. Obviously everybody is different. What matters most is to enjoy your system no matter how you do it. My house of stereo may look like a mess to some, but it's a beauty to me.

@emergingsoul ,

I am sorry for the difficulties you are experiencing at present and I mean no disrespect, but you keep writing really long posts explaining why it's difficult to write really long posts.

To say the room is not important is like saying the croissant is not important- its all about the butter.

Hi - I assume you are not out to take the mickey out of the rest of us so,

It’s about a really nice system in a room and you should be able to discern the qualities of a really nice system in room.

in order to do that, you have to hear the qualities of the system. Not all closed spaces are ideal for music --

It has to do with the acoustics of the venue - but then, you are a musician so you know that! Concert halls are "treated", often to great expense, in order to improve acoustics - no doubt you know only too well how much better some venues sound than others!

Your listening room is a mini concert hall; the recording (and mastering thereof) and the system reproducing said recording, try to provide a sonic simulation of the recorded (and mastered) musical event. I am sure you realise that too.

If the room acoustics aren’t good, you won’t hear the system as well and won’t perceive what the system’s real performance can be. (Likewise, if your speakers placement is mediocre.).

Your statement seems to be more a personal philosophy than anecdotal or otherwise :). Regards.

It would be sheer luck to have a room that doesn't need treatment, unless a person doesn't care, or doesn't know.

The cost of room treatment for me was $1100.  

It is hard to integrate room treatment with living areas. I have a room that I can do what I want.

Okay. I'll give this a shot:

As long as our ears are still analog, we'll need to deliver music via mechanical means.  These changes in sound pressure, essential for the reproduction of music, are projected into a space and interact with anything and everything they come in contact with.  These objects create additional in and out of phase signals (coloration) and refraction/reflection (blurring) and other artifacts.  A quick demonstration of basic acoustic principals could involve: 1) speaking normally, then 2) cupping your hands around your mouth and speaking the same information.  A more advanced and room specific demonstration would be to position yourself in the center of the room and speak normally.  Then, position yourself next to a wall and repeat.  And perceived differences would demonstrate how "the room" is affecting the sound.