Re-arranged Room Sounds Awful...How to Improve?

You can click on my system below to see the old set up and the new setup of my room. My old setup was the only arrangement my system had ever known, and I didn't even realize how good it was until everything got rearranged. Now my imaging is all but gone, and a chunk has been taken out of the midrange.

Current constraints:

1.) The setup has to remain basically the same because of the girlfriend.

2.) Room treatments are limited to things that are aesthetically pleasing (yes, because of the girlfriend).

I need help with creative solutions! The room dimensions are listed in the pictures of my system, the ceilings are 10 feet high, the floor is hardwood, and there is a canvas curtain in front of the bay window. The bookshelf is full of books (which helps), and the couch and chair with the ottoman are leather (which doesn't help).

I'm open to anything that you think might bring back some of the musical characteristics that were lost.

Consider Room Correction devices like Tact or Lyngdorf.
The dreaded square room. Good luck!
Get rid of the girlfriend
Your original set-up is the recommended arrangement for a square room. Anything else will be a compromise, as you know.
3 walls with no openings are the beginning, minimum acoustic requirement to creating a more balanced sound room. Since you only have two such walls, then your original, diagonal setup would yield the more balanced acoustics. So I agree with Tvad.

I am married, so I also understand your scenario, and can offer you the following suggestions.

The RIGHT wall has a much shorter distance to your RIGHT speaker than the LEFT wall is to your LEFT speaker. If you have to make it work in your NEW setup, then you will have to apply some absorption/diffraction sound panels to the RIGHT wall first, matching the volume of reflected sound from the LEFT speaker by reducing the volume of that of the RIGHT speaker.

Be mindful that a single piece of acoustic treatment can sometimes tip the balance and over-diffuse the acoustic treatment on the RIGHT wall, then you may have to up the game by putting some on the LEFT wall in return as well. Your RIGHT speaker also looks too close to the corner behind it. A large ASC bass trap positioned not to absorb but to diffuse may also help in the corner behind the RIGHT speaker in cleaning up standing resonance which can wreak havoc on lower- to upper-midrange clarity.

Experiment with due diligence. Let us know if that works for you. Of course, a happy girlfriend makes for a more rewarding audiophile experience. Give her the freedom to shop around for fixtures, and work it in your mind to see if those fixtures, if strategically positioned, can help diffuse wall reflections, too. It doesn't have to be a lose-lose situation.

Constantine Soo
Acoustics is the biggest PITA out there and I am sure I speak for many folks on the forum, more steps are taken back wards than forwards when treating a room. I have spent many thousand on room treatments and still regularly go back and forth on treatments.

I will suggest doing some research on the net and looking at something like Masters Handbook of Acoustics by F Alton Everest as a start. You could also try asking some questions on the Audio Asylum acoustics board.

Good luck

BTW, what software did you use to draw the room dimensions?
You might ask the girlfriend to compromise. If she insists on such an arrangement then she should be flexible on room treatments, IMO.

I have a great wife. She is willing to compromise with me and I with her. Makes for a good relationship.

You might look at treatments that can be put in place when you are listening critically and put up when not. I would start with some treatments to go in the corners to start with.

Good luck.
What is that on the right most wall (looking at the drawing; i.e it's now the wall behind the listener)? If it's glass doors on a firepalce it might be ringing back to you, messing up things considerably. Maybe some diffusors on that back wall (wall hanging, etc.).
Place the speakers closer together (either side of the TV) and move your chair back a couple of feet. Don't toe in your speakers - this will create a confusion of left and right reflections and interference patterns (left channel reflects off rear right wall and confusing the stereo image). As a general rule it is never good to sit exactly in the middle of a room and especially a square room.
I don't think there is a 'general rule' regarding sitting in the middle of a room. Nor is it necessarily bad to toe speakers in. If I had to guess, I would have thought your "new" set up would sound much better than your "old". So much for that. No real suggestions except to move the speakers around as much as possible, searching for the better sound. Re your girlfriend--she's 'compromising' quite a bit (from my experience) in being ok with all that equipment in the room period. Good luck!
Cover the TV and anything else in the center between your speakers with any one of a number of specialty absorbers, or go cheap (like I did) and just get a nice comforter or something your girl will approve. Won't be perfect, but it'll help. Side wall reflections will also kill your imaging, so maybe some decorator absorbers, as many others have mentioned. Equidistance from all walls can certainly be a problem, but check for exact locations of modes and nodes by walking around and clapping or 'voweling' (as Mr. Wilson does when he sets up his mammoth speakers), or play test tones for low frequency and do the same. You'd be surprised about your room's response at various points; you can literally walk through the bass modes and feel them. Of course, a spectrum analyzer is always nice (but very pricey!), however, Radio Shack sells a decent dB meter, and armed with a 1/3 octave test tones CD (Stereophile and HiFi News and Record Review used to sell them) you'll know fairly well where your problem are. Watch out for ceiling reflections, too. They can smear the image as well.

Hope this helps. Happy listening!
I would move the speakers out more and further apart. Then I would toe them in so they cross right in front of the listening position. Keep moving them further apart til you lose the center fill.
first pull the speakers away from the back wall at least 12 inches. then play with moving them closer together. i put a grid on the floor with tape 1 inch apart. once you are satisfied with that then play with the toe in. most people toe in to much. the more you toe in the less sound stage you will have. the leather chairs will make no difference. good luck. once you get your speakers set corrcetly i think you girlfriend will like it better
Not sure how much lyngdorf is but TacT is $10K,Is you could swing $3K (less used) check out DEQX which is amazing.It not only corrects for room in digital domain but also can make most lowly speaker sound a like a competitor that costs ten times more.Made the little NHT Xd have everybody drop thier mouths open not believing small sub and 4.5" mid driver satellites sound huge and accurate.Will take equipment and room you have to deal with and optimize,again,not just room but feeds back the tonal characteristics of speakers drivers,cabinets,drivers work best they physically can.Also great for speaker builders as it means you can build a design and use x-over in DEQX.If your budget can handle it it will act like best set up of diffusers,reflectors,corner foam which breaks up standing waves.Doubt old lady would le that swing.See review at and Stereophile and NHT Xd reviews in both of those mags (at least Stereophle).Afetr I have revamped my system and will add thjis to optimze system at a level and cost effectiveness found in no other device though I know $3K isn't cheap.But if you put it in you'd never take it out.
You've gotten a lot of good advice from the group.

Before taking any action, it might be prudent to wait a while. How many hrs playing time do you have on your system since you rearranged it? I ask because, assuming you pulled all your i/cs, cables, etc., it can take time for everything to settle back in.

I have ripped apart my system several times in the last couple of years. On at least two of those occasions, my system sounded noticeably worse (for a couple of weeks). This phenomenon is probably cable and system dependent.

I think you should put at least 50 hrs on your system before you start changing things again. If you're already there, then nevermind!
A lot of great advice and opinions to consider so far.

Pauly -- I'm using a really cool little room organizer web application that I found on a furniture site. Here is the site:

If you register with them, you can save multiple room designs which is really cool. It's great that you can use it without downloading anything (it's a Flash application), and you can specify all of the dimensions of everything you put in the room down to the inch.

Ted M Brady -- That is a fireplace behind the listening position, no doors on it.

Winstonsmith -- I have definitely noticed the bass response being variant at different spots in the room. The listening position is currently a vacuum with no bass in it, and about 3 feet outside of the listening position in any direction the bass is very strong. It is a major problem.

Chronic -- There have been maybe 30 hours of listening on the system since it was re-arranged. I'm a little worried about the "settling in" effect, because I personally believe that the settling in may actually be me forgetting the great sound I had and just getting used to the new sound.

I like Eldarado's idea of having removable acoustic treatment. I'm considering putting small patches of self-adhesive velcro on the walls in spots where I need acoustic treatment, and put the other side of the self-adhesive velcro on the treatments themselves, so I can instantly put them up or take them down.

The listening position is currently a vacuum with no bass in it, and about 3 feet outside of the listening position in any direction the bass is very strong. It is a major problem.

I re-iterate that it is never a good idea to sit in the middle of a room (even worse if it is a square room)....37% from a wall is a general well-accepted rule of thumb.
Has anyone tried the room organizing web application I posted? I highly recommend everyone to create your room and post it in your system. I would like to see how other people are dealing with square rooms.