Is carpet on wall behind speakers counter productive?


When we installed a projection screen we installed dark carpet on the wall.  That wall is behind the speakers.  Sound quality seems very good, but I wonder if it might be even better if the carpet were removed.  The new Stewart screen has wide black borders so may not need the wall darkened, but the wall could be painted if needed.  Advice please.
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If you have some boards you could put up in front of the carpet, temporarily, even to cover a fair portion or half the space, you could quickly and easily observe what happens to the sound. Many people do dampen that front wall, but carpet is a clumsy and awkward absorber.

"If you stick carpet directly to a wall, it isn't thick enough to affect more than the very highest frequencies, thus throwing your whole room out of balance! The lows and mids will continue to bounce around as before, and only the extreme highs will be soaked, leaving you with a boxy, dull-sounding room. However, if you hang the carpet a distance from the wall, it will start to have a more beneficial effect. Providing the carpet is porous (not one with a sealed rubber backing), it can be used to cover a cheap absorbing material such as medium density Rockwool (mineral wool) slab 50 to 100 mm thick, to create an effective mid/high absorber with an attractive cosmetic finish that also prevents the mineral wool fibres from escaping."
https://www.soundonsound.com/sound-advice/q-can-use-carpet-acoustic-treatment
Probably not. See my system. A deflector behind the speakers is a very common acoustical treatment. It improved my system sound quite a bit.
Not a problem. I have set up systems with a carpeted front walls. Saves you from having to find reflections and dampen them. The carpet is not as good as 4 inch acoustic foam but if you are not using dipoles you probably do not need it. Leave the carpet up!
i prefer heavy curtains... looks a little nicer imho
Just because something is soft, and therefore might seem absorptive to sound, does not mean it is.

There is no way, without doing some pretty extensive tests, to see at what frequencies the specific carpet you have, will absorb.

And maybe, your particular room does not need absorption at those frequencies.

And finally, deflection may be better (and usually is) behind the speakers, where absorption is usually better on side walls and ceiling.

You are just rolling the dice, with the odds against you, that some random carpet will help in your particular room.


simonmoon, the carpet is already inplace and has been for years. It was aimed at splash-over from projection, a problem I no longer have. I think I’ll follow mijostyn’s suggestion and leave it up. Above 2’ most of the wall between the speakers is covered by a Stewart 100" screen.

I’ll concentrate instead on relocating the equipment rack from between the speakers to an adjacent wall. As has been my usual practice, only the amp will sit on the floor between the speakers.