While I completely agree that an untreated room is a killer to great sound I have to disagree about the difficulty in actually performing the act of treating.
Using the live end/dead end philosophy of treating It's VERY easy to walk around a room,claping loudly to determine echo points.Upper& lower corner traps will be mandatory as will first points of reflection,lastly behind speakers to deepen sound stage & your all set!
I think that WAF is the #1 reason many systems are left untreated.The real laugher for me is seeing a beautiful system stuck in a hardwood floor,drywall,glass room with NO treatments,must be like listening to breaking glass all day...
My room is treated and my wife loves it.
WAF factor ! Someone once posted about having Magnepan 20's in a living room and not having the wives approval to hang some treatments on the walls . Almost died laughing . Having giant maggie speakers Taking up valuable floor space out in the room was o.k. , but something on the walls . no way . Treatments have been better than most electronic upgrades for myself .
You can do whatever you want with a room. When the electronics sounds awful, the result will not become better. Audiophiles with cash still believe that a dead cow can be transformed to a race horse... each his own.
My room has no treatment and it sounds fine. I listen in the near field with my head’s distance to the rear wall less than the circumference of said head, minimizing any reflections, obviating the need for sound absorption panels, which wouldn’t fit kindly in my room anyways.
It’s what spelunkers do when lost in a cavern; put your back up against the nearest wall and it becomes easier to locate the source of the sound. The ear/mind device ignores the secondary and tertiary reflections. It’s one aspect of the Haas Effect.
It’s a compromise but one I can live with. Besides, as syntax said, a bad system will remain so despite the endeavor.
All the best,
I have had 5 different rooms over the years and never used treatments and always got superb sound. I find that people who try treatments almost always over damp there rooms. Not a fan of room treatment
I would agree with Alan here. I suppose if you had a dedicated listening room that was never used for anything else, then it might be worth exploring some treatment. But for most of us, our systems are in our living rooms. Usually, just playing around with where the rest of the furniture is located, and making sure there are no blank walls, etc. will do the trick, and adding room treatments to an already crowded room almost always deaden the room too much. I will also add that in many cases, people who have resorted to room treatments in a living room could have solved the problem with trying a different set of speakers.
Agree with ahendler and learsfool. I do have a listening room which was engineered from the ground up. There are other tweaks out there that are non-traditional and a little woo-woo to some that may be worth looking at:http://http//www.stereotimes.com/post/stillpoints-aperture-acoustic-panels/ http://http//www.6moons.com/audioreviews/3tweaks/1.html
I think there are countless ways for audiophiles to both wander into, and out of, the many pitfalls involved with the subject of room treatment, but I would agree with others here that it's very easy to overdo it and you usually have to find some suitable, and mostly subjective, method for finding your way through it, assuming treatment is needed at all. If you're intent on going a strictly objective route to be sure, then I'd say consulting a pro may be the best way to go.
I made my own treatments and put them at the 1st and 2nd reflection points. Built frames to go around them and voilà.
In a small room, treatments are critical. In a large room where you can set up a near field listening system, it's not as critical.
Based on my experience, room treatments have bettered every room so far.
I would rather hear a mid-fi system in a well treated room than a hi-fi system in an un-treated room. My $0.02 worth.
I have a small (~12 x 15 ft.) dedicated audio room. I also made my own treatments. Treat corners, 1st reflections and behind listening position. I agree that it is easy to over treat, however my approach was to over treat then back off as a way to tune the room.
Always wise to take the room into consideration in that it always determines resulting sound. Buying speakers in particular without considering room acoustics is probably foolish.
Ironically perhaps is the rather odd factoid that high end systems at the shows such as CES rarely used room treatments. Of course there are a lot of reasons why the exhibitors wouldn’t use room treatments such as they don’t wish to detract from the main event - the speakers and the amps, for example. Or they don’t wish to get all wrapped around the axle playing around with proper placement of room treatements. Or they can’t find a room treatment manufacturer who’s willing to pony up some of the cost for the room, especially if it's a big one, ain’t cheap. Even the small rooms ain't cheap. Of course the other possibility is the exhibitors don’t actually think room treatments are going to make much difference.
Before we moved in we did renovations on this house. I used to often walk around warming up on my violin in the open area where the stereo is now. It sounded fantastic. I first set up my stereo in my teaching studio, a small, nearly square room. It sounded horrible. I moved it to the open, common area and it sounds great with no treatments, just a rug and furniture. Luck of the draw, I suppose.
If a good job is done matching speakers to room acoustics, need for treatments can be minimized. Sometime not even needed. You might even find less is more in some cases.
I did a lot of upgrades in 2015, in a new "man cave". When I got a new pair of speakers, got them "dialed in" to the room with just a few bass traps, the sound was just great! But when I added a pair of excellent subs, that last octave of bass has been really difficult to incorporate into my system. Over time I've added more bass traps and have most of the "boominess" out, but it's been a struggle!
Fwiw, I went to to an audio show last year and the best sound my friend and I both heard was in a room that had room treatments. (Von-schweikert)
I read a post here lately where the poster provided some great advice. Put pillows in the corners and hang blankets on the walls at the first reflection point as a test. Then go from there. No real cost in doing this and then see what happens. Experiment some to see if your room perhaps needs some help.
I tried pillows in the corners and it works nice; just one on the floor worked well and more pillows pilled up did not help further. When I'm done, I just put the pillows back on the sofa and so my cost is in the few moments to move the pillows to or from the corners. I may look at trying the blanket experiment next.
I can't believe that someone's spouse felt that Maggies were ugly. I feel that they are beautiful. When my lady friend first saw my Martin Logan Monolith IIIs speaker, she actually said that they were pretty. now the hugh Mark Levinson 23.5 amps on the other hand, she didn't care for them at all. Cables? nope. Rosewood Sota Turntable? yep. Cabinet? yep.
I live in a 1930s style house with lathe and thick plaster walls. Shutters behind the speakers and on the side walls and art on the rear walls, and I can tell you that walking around my room when the music is playing, there are spots that I feel need some sort of treatment. My floor is hardwood with a large, thick area run from the speakers to the back wall, so that first reflection point is minimized. I have wonderful sound (to me and others), but yeah, I do think that I may need some sort of room treatment. Just don't want to throw money at a problem without knowing exactly what I'm doing.
Today I installed the 7th & 8th bass trap in my "man cave" and I’m close to being "done" struggling to control the "boominess" in the 24x26’ room. It was so bad that, even with a half-dozen traps, and using the room eq feature built into my JL Audio F113V2 subs, the "boominess" was just uncontrollable, until I moved the subs to behind the sofa. Don’t tell my wife, but I might order two more 2x4’ traps and move the subs back to being besides my speakers. I have placed multiple orders with ATS Acoustics, first trying two pair of traps, adding another pair and finally the pair I installed today, for both the side, back and front walls, with two suspended from the ceiling. I'm "almost there"!
I agree with zmanastonomy that treating a small room is critical. Mesch has a good idea as well. I did the same thing but it wasn't intentional.
I started out with several 4x8 bass traps from Ready Acoustics. In the big scheme of things, these are relatively inexpensive and allow the user to modify if they have the time and tools. I started out from the recommendations of the manufacturer at first and then played around with positioning. ( I'm lucky that I don't mind putting holes in my walls and the WAF isn't a factor at the moment). This is informative as it gives one real time experience in how they interact with your room. As my system has progressed through the years, I've found that better sound has come from removing, adjusting and repositioning as well as modifying.
I've been reading and learning about acoustics over the past year or so...just because I like to learn new stuff. Got Room EQ Wizard (free), a mic and cheap ADC, and I've had a great time learning to use the software. It's complex at first, but after a little while, the various graphs start to mean something...mostly frequency response of the room, reverberation, and modal ringing. Now it's time to try my hand at treating the room problems...in my case very noticeable 130 hertz peak that makes bass notes boomy and indistinct. First few base traps have definitely helped, but they also are affecting the higher frequencies, especially above 10K. Seems base traps can be "tuned" to avoid absorbing high frequencies. I've been making mine out of Roxul, covered with a thin material that is easy to blow through. Anyone have any suggestions about better targeting of bass, while leaving the higher frequencies alone?
Most of the comments here are made in regard to the treatment of midrange and high frequencies. The real serious problem in a small space is in the bass frequencies, the result of room dimensions. A very good explanation and discussion of that subject by the designer of Real Traps can be found on the net. Sorry, I don’t have a link or site, but a Google search should bring it up. The interviewer is that annoying guy (he's a little "show biz", and phony sounding) with a white beard and glasses (Audioholics, I believe).