Think again, nothing will equal carpeting to get the max out of your room
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I have wine room with cork floor and one wall all cork....it does NOT pass the "clap" test ....cork may be better than tile (for sure) but it is still reflective in the upper frequencies.
If you go wood then put in an underlay of acoustic absorption rubber - it will increase the cost by 2 $ sq/ft but it will help in lower frequencies a bit and then place a large rug in the middle of the room.
If you can treat the ceiling with extensive acoustic panels then a "live" floor is not so much of a problem.
Cork flooring can be really cool stuff but based on my audio experience I would pass over this softer material for the media room opting instead for a very hard flooring system with either one quite large or several smaller area rugs (and carpet pads underneath) in all the right places.
In this scenario I would also consider having plenty of overly large loose decorative pillow cushions available to potentially address hot spots.
I would have thought cork would be pretty good at damping the high frequencies. But since some people say that it doesn't, it is probably due to the harder finish that is now being put on cork to help with its durability.
When you say that you don't want carpeting, does that include the occasional scattermat or area rug? The first reflection from speakers is actually from the floor between the listener and the speaker. A small mat in this location does wonders for an otherwise hard, reflective floor. If you don't want anything permanent, you can always just quickly roll/unroll a small mat when you want to listen.
Shadorne, is this underlayment OK to put under hardwood (not engineered, Pergo, floating, etc.) floors?
Not going into my listening room, which we already put hardwood 2 years ago, but I'm going to do my family room next month, and have been wondering about what would be the best thing to put under the 3/4" maple. Last time, I used 1/4" luan on top of the existing plywood, covered by "rose paper", then the maple. But, I want to investigate something a bit more along the lines of "acoustic stuff".