New Place - What Would You Do?


Caution: Epic novella.


Just as I was about to downsize, I’ve decided to move back to a larger place. I will be getting my gear/software back from my ex in about a month or so. What I need to do is plan where I’m setting up, and how. I need to budget to tame the rooms sound-wise (curtains, rugs, panels if needed...). The house layout is insanely open, great for your feng shui, terrible for sound.


Here's a link to the floor plan of the house. with measurements and a few photos to give you an idea of what I'm up against. These are old photos. The place has zero furniture at the moment and all of downstairs is now hardwood (you'll see carpet in living room photos).


The house is a nightmare for audio. I’m familiar with this floor plan from a former life, and this is the worst version possible. You’ll notice there’s markings for speaker cable access as well as built in speakers (JBL I think). This can all be accessed by the coat closet next to the downstairs bathroom. I think the original owner had his gear rack in there. At one point I was considering using the master bedroom – which would be perfect, but I’ve been domesticated so I think I’ll keep it as a bedroom. Anyway, I’ve got 3 potential listening rooms.


1) Family room. It includes the kitchen, and really, entry area. Besides the kitchen and catwalk, it’s a 20’ ceiling. The upper rooms form a circle around the perimeter. While it’s the largest room, it’s also one I don’t think I can tame, even dedicating more money than I’d like for sound treatment. Additionally, the idiotic placement of the office doors, and almost floor to ceiling windows on one side make placing a tv a daunting task. About the only thing I’ve figured is just put it in front of the window. Sadly, it’s a room I’ll hang in a lot, so maybe the TV will still be there and some stand-mounts.


2) Living room. I’m 90% sure this is the room to use. It’s relatively contained, although about 70% of one wall is open, to the dining area and the 20’ entry ceiling. The guy that built the place fancied himself an AV buff, so there’s speaker wire running to the green X’s. The living room is where he’d obviously set up his screen and projector and “surround” system. The ceiling is tiered, and 12’ high in the center. Same w/dining. Also the room that sadly makes the most sense for a screen.


3) Bed 2. In my old similar layout, I had this room extended over the wasted space entry, it was about 12x19, with reinforced joists and dedicated panel. It was awesome. This room however is about 10x12, has 2 poorly placed doors, but is at least carpeted and contained with a 10’ ceiling. So, tiny. Welcome to the SF Bay Area!


As mentioned, my ex has had my gear for 5 years, but I’m getting it back – woo-hoo! Plus, about 2k LPs and 1.5k CDs. I’m assuming it’s all in working order but who knows. Fingers crossed!


Current Gear:
- BAT VK-220 amp
- BAT VK 3Xi pre
- Oppo BDP-105? CD/DVD (Been so long I don’t remember)
- Music Hall MMF 7.x turntable
- Thiel 2 2 speakers
Also:
- Adcom GFA-555 II amp
- Adcom GFP-585 pre


Yes, it's all just mid-fi but might start building as I put my life back together again. I'm 20 years behind the curve. I'm also really a 2-channel music person first and foremost. I'd like to get my digital collection on an NAS, but not a priority. I'd also like to figure out this streaming thing. I'm 100% clueless. I'd love to keep my current gear and just add on. 5 weeks ago I was looking at getting some bookshelf speakers for my townhouse, but now? I'm considering some KEF R700/7's, as I'm not sure what shape the Thiels are still in.


So, you can recommend what you think I should do, or what you'd do for you! There's a lot of things I'm just not aware of on the market. I'd love a 75" TV but where would I put it? How?  Feel free to ask questions, this already got too long! I appreciate any of your thoughts on this.
A671df8d e581 447a 8b8f a150ba2eebd7uncle_monkey
You're not the guy I was reading about the other day where the ex wife took a bunch of LP's and embedded them in her new kitchen floor? Might want to count them.
Fingers cross you ex hasn't hurt your records. Seems like a great space for a live sound. If it were me, I'd set up a small test rig in different locations to try out the space before the main build.
Re-read your post. Put it where you're going to enjoy it and use it the most. Go with the big space. Fill it with music while cooking and entertaining. 
Open is actually better for bass. I would put the speakers on the window wall in the family room about 12 feet apart centered on that wall. Is there a basement under that room and if so is it finished? 
I always try to keep the amps as near to the speakers as possible and the other electronics and TT as far away as is practical. Balanced connections are better for this.

Mike
Thanks for the thoughts!

Yikes on the LPs! Nothing she'd do would surprise me. I have no idea about their state, my ex is a miserable human being and I wouldn't put anything past her. But I swear, if she did something like embed the LP's into a kitchen floor, she'd be part of the new patio. I'm hoping being lazy, she never moved them from the stereo room and they're still in their installed shelves. I used to be so - um - OCD that I cataloged all of them on recipe cards. I probably stopped that practice in the 90's, but that would be a good 80%+ of my collection.

In my prior similar floor plan with my dedicated listening room - although the sound was perfect - I found I didn't listen nearly as often as I did when the system was in the main living area in my old, humble bungalow. So that's something I want to avoid. Turning the master into a dedicated room could be done - but I'd be faced with the same issue. I want to live with music like I used to 30 years ago.


Right now my current speaker cable is 12ft. The system as it sat had the rack between the 2 speakers. Balanced from pre to amp. I have a box full of MIT, audioquest, etc., but I think the longest run is 15 ft.


I guess my biggest concern with the family area is there's literally no place to put a $%#& TV. Except right in front of the giant picture window. In my other home with the same floor plan, there weren't office doors, the entry to that room was next to the bathroom (it was a proper bedroom) so that wall had a giant built in cabinet with the TV inside of it.

Yeah, the room I hang in makes the most sense - but taming it is going to be a daunting task. The beauty of the family room though is I can hear it fine in the office, and I can hear it fine in my studio (Bed 2). I suppose really if I want a movie room, that's what the living room could be used for. I don't have to worry about WAF any longer, and if I "entertain" it's going to be casual and probably outside by the BBQ.


A trial run is probably a good idea - at least to get an idea of what I'm facing. I do have the Adcoms right now. Maybe seeing if my old B+W DM14s still work would give me an idea of what I'm facing. The downstairs floors are hardwood on concrete slab, so vibration isn't much of an issue.
Thanks again!
noromance summed it up nicely. Forget about getting it "perfect". Put it where it will be used the most.

Next step is realizing that what was at some ex for five years is not that appealing anymore.
Sounds like a good time to upgrade you power supply. Hospital grade wall outlet (Furutech or Wattgate), perfect path contact enhancer (and a PPGate, if you’re flush enough)" , dedicated lines. That is what I’d do first if I was moving to a new house. No time like the present.
A big room you can always adjust, there’s less you can do to solve a small room’s acoustics. So I’d put it in the larger room.

my own attitude is that for heaven’s sake I live in this room. I read here, I entertain here, I nap here, and so on, besides playing music here. So I’ve made sure my speakers are perfectly located, and put a lot of thought into antivibration techniques, and I’ve placed furniture and bookcases and carpets to make the best of the space acoustically, but beyond that, I try not to obsess too much   over acoustics. 
Try placing a box of record albums in front of your component rack between the speakers. I stumbled onto that tweak, and was shocked by how much it improved the soundstage (in this room, with this system). Simple as that. 

Sounds like a good time to upgrade you power supply. Hospital grade wall outlet (Furutech or Wattgate), perfect path contact enhancer (and a PPGate, if you’re flush enough)" , dedicated lines. That is what I’d do first if I was moving to a new house. No time like the present.
A big room you can always adjust, there’s less you can do to solve a small room’s acoustics. So I’d put it in the larger room.

my own attitude is that for heaven’s sake I live in this room. I read here, I entertain here, I nap here, and so on, besides playing music here. So I’ve made sure my speakers are perfectly located, and put a lot of thought into antivibration techniques, and I’ve placed furniture and bookcases and carpets to make the best of the space acoustically, but beyond that, I try not to obsess too much   over acoustics. 
Try placing a box of record albums in front of your component rack between the speakers. I stumbled onto that tweak, and was shocked by how much it improved the soundstage (in this room, with this system). Simple as that. 

Looking at the plan and video, my initial thought would be the living room too. Personally I would want my listening room downstairs close to the other areas I will be using on a normal day/evening. The windows are a bit tough, as will be the large opening to the entry hall. But, that could/may also be a bit of a ‘plus’, especially if you could put the speakers on each side of the fireplace. Problem is, to move your speakers into the room 3 ft or so will begin to ‘push you out into that opening as far as seating (12’ will diminish fast). Or, speakers on the front wall with the window behind (with window treatment), but then the open ‘side wall’ will be a challenge while being more closed on the other (fireplace) wall.
The two story family looks like a nightmare for sound/acoustics, especially with all the other glass, openings, and kitchen beyond.

Good luck.
*S* First, congrats on your new home! Bigger than I’d contemplate, but I’ve always been ’big’ on smaller...;)

Instead of 2 cents, here’s my 2 bits...bytes, actually...;)

Master Bdrm - Nothing, save it for dreams of where you might go, system-wise...

Den/Office - Pair of small bookshelf units, perhaps with a small sub. It’s an office, a place for Deep Thoughts....*G*

Family ’Cavern’ - With the kitchen komplex at hand (which is where most gatherings flow about)...IMHO...I’d go for a flat screen in a ’lift’ cabinet, with the ability to rotate the screen 180. Flank it with a decent pair of omnis’, your choice of type. Placed between the X’s , somewhat below the balcony’s edge.
General good entertainment area; not so SOTA. This assumes the Dining is where group dining occurs...

Living Area - The SOTA Space. Flank the Fire with ’firepower’ (the main speakers); if back units are desired the wires are there. The ’X’ mid-side wall is where one could park the TT, CD, and whatever will float your future fancies...

Of course, this hinges on your....’scuse me, spouse’s dreams of furnishings. ;) *L* SAF in any new home is very important to you. Makes procuring later equipment potentially easier....not guaranteed, but... well, you know the drill....*G*

As for any ’room treatments’....let the Rx flow from the needs, the ’former’ living room would take precedence.

(IMHO, the above would be my approach in the same scenario...to each, and happy music to all...)


Room size has been investigated scientifically, and I can tell you that it works. I've built my own room to conform to scientifically determined specifications, 1/8" (3mm) tolerances, and it's the best room I've ever heard.

Precise room dimensions were obtained by conducting nearly a quarter million simulations. It turns out that most rooms are just plain bad. About a quarter are OK, and a few percent are good.

If you prefer science to snake oil, I suggest that you look up Salford University Acoustics. Among their subheadings is 'room dimensions'. Try to build to 1/8" tolerances, accept 1/2" errors, and enjoy. I used a superior acoustic drywall, Quietrock 545, which contains a steel sheet between 5 distinct layers of drywall, and elastomeric glues from Chemlink. Joints glued and screwed. It's worth it.

Good luck!
If you're going to use the double height space for audio (I happen to have high ceilings and love it) you could easily hide some sound absorption in the area where the plants are currently, and the flat surfaces above that.  Thats a lot of surface area and can be covered with fabric covered fiberglass - same color as the walls for a more seamless look.

The other thing is (and I didn't  see a pic of the ceiling) is to create some form of cloud up there.  You could get super creative and build one that looks like a piece of sculpture, or perhaps imagine a large white curve on its side hanging down vertical from the ceiling.  LED lighting could even be incorporated shooting up and down.  

Most importantly find a solution for as many of the corners, in the entire house as you can.  Even the tiny roomtunes triangle's I used to use,  tamed the echo-slap type reverb in a loft space with high ceilings I used to have them in.  (and that was with no rugs, upholstery or curtains!!!)

The corner trap can be fairly small in surface area (like 12" per side ) and still make a significant impact on the everyday acoustics for tv and conversations as well as music. I don't know who makes them that small today.

Theres a ton of windows so depending on what window treatment (if any) you choose, you may solve a lot of the problems.  If you went with thicker curtains however, then I might consider adding diffusion.  

In a space like that you may need extra bass so think about subs.  It would be perfect for a huge distributed bass swarm.    


Will read this soon(maybe).
For a different  approach I would look at the Ohm 5000 for the large open area. Just something to consider they are supposed to work good in large areas that aren't perfect. 
Check your enclosures (speakers, amps, etc) for dead animals/fish. I’m serious. A couple we were friends with split up. She wanted me to open their TV cabinet (back in the day prior to flat screens, he loved this TV, and she hated him for it, but was about to return it to him) and put a freshly run-over squirrel inside, then strip the screws on the back cover so he’d not be able to open it back up. Hoping it would take a few days of TV watching before it smelled up his new apartment. And, of course, ruin the TV.
I would put them where you are going to play them the most.  I would also add two large REL subwoofers.  That will help to fill in the space.

You are never going to make things perfect.  Just put them where you are most likely to listen to music and where you want to entertain guests.
@rockadanny.....but, did you do the deed? 

I can perhaps appreciate her motive(s)....glad I wasn't the recipient....;)

...or the target, even if spared....  Fortunately (I hope), that's not the OP's problem....*crossed digits*
@avsjerry ... nope ... even though he deserved it (jerk) ... "bro code" and all ... you just don't mess with another man's gear
Sounds like a good time to upgrade you power supply. Hospital grade wall outlet (Furutech or Wattgate), perfect path contact enhancer (and a PPGate, if you’re flush enough)" , dedicated lines. That is what I’d do first if I was moving to a new house. No time like the present.
I can’t say enough about a dedicated line, when I finally did it I was amazed at how black the background was. Didn’t need my power conditioner any longer. But a good point and one I’d considered - figuring out the electric schematic. I had one for my old place, but this one is different and I don’t have plans.

Lots of great ideas and some I hadn’t thought about. I didn’t mention but the photos were of tenants I had, this place is 100% stripped empty. The window treatments are hideous, so they go and I’ll get proper sound-absorbing drapes.
I’ll definitely look and see about something that hides and exposes the TV, I’m not at all familiar with what’s available these days.

Yes, this place is way too large for just me - my townhome was a bit too small but doable. My ex is rattling around the same size place, but with my furniture (not for long).

I’m hoping that the gear is in ok condition - it’s actually my LP’s I’m most concerned with. Those are irreplaceable. Unless her boyfriend could figure out how to use the stereo, I don’t think the ex could. Thank goodness the Thiels don’t have ports to shove anything into. But, if I need to get more gear, I’ll get more. I’m most excited about the software, I’ve been collecting LP’s since 1968.
Problem is, to move your speakers into the room 3 ft or so will begin to ‘push you out into that opening as far as seating (12’ will diminish fast). Or, speakers on the front wall with the window behind (with window treatment), but then the open ‘side wall’ will be a challenge while being more closed on the other (fireplace) wall.
The two story family looks like a nightmare for sound/acoustics, especially with all the other glass, openings, and kitchen beyond.
This. The echo is insane. The old place had a huge section of carpet, art everywhere and bookshelves breaking it up (tile floors though) I don’t remember as much echo in the great room. But, I didn’t have a stereo in it.

The Living makes the most sense as far as sound - but as everyone here is aware these aren’t big rooms (other than the master). My Thiels used to be 7’ away from the wall. Yeah, I don’t have to worry about WAF but still need to be able to walk around. 12-16’ shrinks pretty fast.

I’ve never been a sub guy, never really needed it. But a lot has changed since 2005! I guess I should start familiarizing myself with what’s out there and how it all works.
A lot to think about, thanks everybody for the input!