Requesting members' audits of my GIK room treatments placements


Hey guys,

     About a month ago, I decided to delve into the realm of room treatments for my 23'x14'x8' living room that I use for both 2-ch stereo music and 5.1 surround channel HT playback.  I have a fairly decent system and thought improving the acoustic conditions of my dual purpose room would likely be a better system upgrade than a marginal improvement provided by an upgraded component.
     Based on the significant improvement to the overall sound quality of my system on both music and HT, I have absolutely no doubts that the various GIK room treatments I recently purchased and had installed were well worth the fairly hefty investment (approx. $3,500).  I had the assistance of a GIK consultant, Mike Major, who provided a free room analysis and was very helpful and knowledgeable in assisting me with choosing the appropriate specific GIK products, sizes and quantities along with their proper positioning in my room.  I had a friend, and highly skillful local handyman, install all the treatments at my direction. 
     I know there are several Audiogon members that are big proponents of improving overall system sound quality by improving the acoustics of the room itself via clever selection and positioning of various types of room treatments.  I won't name all of you who I consider to have exceptionally good knowledge of the various types of room treatments and their proper applications, mainly because I know I'd unintentionally omit one of your user names and offend you.
     But I respect your experience and knowledge of room acoustics and room treatments.  One of the main reasons I decided to delve into the realm of room treatments, besides improving the overall sound quality of my system, is actually to begin acquiring and accumulating the personal experience and knowledge that many Audiogon members already possess but that I am just beginning to gain.
     The general purpose of my thread post is to request that any members, who self assess themselves as experienced and knowledgeable in the areas of room acoustics and the application of room acoustic treatments, review my recently updated pics and description of my current system, that includes all the recently installed GIK room treatments, and provide a quick audit of how and where I deployed these treatments in my room.  I'm hoping for constructive criticism and feedback from you all to verify I'm on the right track according to your knowledge and experience.  I realize the proof is in the sound quality improvements I perceive, but I still would like to have it confirmed I deployed these treatments properly and didn't overlook something important. 

Thank you in advance, 
         Tim

     Just for reference, here's a list of the GIK products utilized by wall:

Front 14'  short wall, behind speakers and hdtv- 
8 Tri- Trap triangular bass traps, 2 double stacked in each of the 4 corners in my room, 
6 242 acoustic absorption panels with Scatter Plates for diffusion as well, 4 regular sized at 2'wx4'h each and 2 thin-sized at 1'wx4'h, all in beige.
3 244 bass traps, at 2'w'x2'h each in a horizontal row at the centered on the bottom of the front wall,all in beige.

Right 21' side wall above the couch-
4 242 acoustic absorption panels with Scatter Plates for diffusion as well,  2 regular sized at 2'wx4'h each in beige and sandwiching 2 custom sized, at 2'wx3'h, and as side by side Art Panels with a covered cloth picture of the Greek island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea.  

Rear 14' rear wall, behind and above my listening seat-
2 244 bass traps with Flex Range, at 2'wx4'h, and as side by side Art Panels with a covered cloth picture of Trunk Bay in the U.S. Virgin Isles in the Caribbean Sea.
1 4" Impression Pro Series Bass Trap Diffuser/Absorber, at 2'wx4'h, in a Leafy Pattern. 

Left 21' side wall, with 8'wx6'h window section-
2  4" Impression Pro Series Bass Trap Diffuser/Absorber, at 2'wx4'h, in a Leafy Pattern with 1 on each side of the large window section.
noble100
I would have gone with Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Russell Crowe, or just about anyone else. Heck I would go with Mr Bean before that guy. (Or maybe that is Mr Bean?)

The beauty of doing GIK first is it looks all serious and professional, and you learn what $3500 of conventional acoustic treatment can do. Whatever you do first tends to become your yardstick for future comparison. So when you try $350 worth of HFT you will be all, "Holy.... what the.... how is that even possible???!" Whereas if you had done HFT first and then added GIK you would be all, "What? That’s it?"

Appearances aside, and it does look good, but how does it sound?
I am still on Rettinger - Acoustic Design and Noise Control ( in 2 volumes ) for the 3rd or 4th run thru because God is in the details and there is always more to be learned or derived.

but in short, good for you !!! How wonderful to share. I will have a look, mist ask for some data... hopefully you are recording your thoughts and impressions before we influence you... if that is possible...

best

enjoy the music !!!! 
Also did you do a noise floor measurement before hanging all the treatments?
 millercarbon:" I would have gone with Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood, Russell Crowe, or just about anyone else. Heck I would go with Mr Bean before that guy. (Or maybe that is Mr Bean?)"

Hello millercarbon,
     Are you talking about the guy on the tv in one of my system pics? That's John Oliver from the HBO show Last Week Tonight.  It just happened to be on when I took the pic, I didn't choose it wiseguy.

millercarbon:" Appearances aside, and it does look good, but how does it sound?"
      It was definitely a success.  The main improvements I noticed was an increase in detail on all recordings I played, not just on my best recordings like before the room treatments.  I also noticed a more solid and stable 3D sound stage illusion that was deeper and especially wider, again not just on my best recordings. 
     I'm thinking the improved detail is responsible for the improved realism of the sound staging, which is one of the aspects of high quality audio I enjoy the most.  I know it's not always true to life but I really enjoy it, anyways.
     We both use 4-5 sub swarm type bass systems in our rooms and are very familiar with the near sota bass performance these DBAs provide, even with zero room treatments or room correction equipment, at least in my room.  Going in, I wasn't planning on including any bass traps because I really couldn't imagine how the bass performance could be improved upon and I didn't want to jinx anything inadvertently.  But the bass sounds just as good, with perhaps a bit more detail and realism, with stacked bass traps in all 4 corners and about 8 bass trap panels/diffusers  of various types spread around the room.

   Definitely a worthwhile upgrade.

Later,
 Tim
Can you post this in pictures under your "system". Have to be honest, the ADD set in about 3 sentences in :-) ... and placement matters as much as "what" and w.r.t. what, most probably are not familiar enough with GIK models to translate what you typed into what the products are. First glance it looks like you have a reasonable balance w.r.t.


I can't agree much with millercarbon on the acoustic "toys", though I have had to tame a drywall resonance once or twice, but that takes mass.

$3,500 sounds like a lot, but really cheap for the most important (or 2nd most important) component in your system.


Dumb question, but how does it sound to you?   Just right, too bright, a little deader than you would like ... and importantly, what speakers are you using and what is their placement.
Hello tomic601,

       I didn't feel or think there was a pressing reason to acoustically treat my room. There were no nagging sonic artifacts I perceived. In fact, I thought my system sounded very good with literally zero room treatments employed besides wall to wall carpeting with an extra thick padding layer underneath, which I mainly chose for walking comfort and not system sq benefits.
      I'll try to check out Rettinger - Acoustic Design and Noise Control ( in 2 volumes ). I don't think I could avoid learning something reading 2 whole volumes. My reading has mainly been about attaining good bass performance in domestic sized rooms, specifically Earl Geddes, Floyd Toole and Todd Welti.
      " Also did you do a noise floor measurement before hanging all the treatments?"
     Unfortunately, I didn't perform any baseline measurements of my room before hanging all the treatments. I do understand the relevance and importance of obtaining baseline measurements of the complete audio spectrum in the room beforehand and the subsequent measurements to record progress attained as treatments are deployed.
      I regret not doing this but I had a lot going on when I began this project, a water leak in one of my bathrooms that required contacting my insurance company for cleanup and repairs.  I also wasn't exactly certain on how to correctly do this, what to measure and the equipment required. 
     I also made the mistake of making multiple system changes at the same time so I knew qualitative measurements of the improvements provided by a single change would not be possible with any precision.  I upgraded my preamp, main speakers and added a dac/streamer just before I had the room treatments installed. Kind of a jumble but my system's sounding better than ever.
      But I'm still very interested in using a more scientific approach to measure the quality of my system going forward.  Couldn't I just treat my current system's measurement data as my new baseline?  I have a laptop running Windows 10, an Android smart phone and heard about a free program called REW.  As I understand it, I would only need a good quality $50 mic to get started.  Am I correct?  Do you have the time and willingness to explain how to best go about these measurements?

Thanks,
   Tim
Tim, the guys at GIK definitely know their stuff and are correct with their product and placement suggestions almost always.The tweaking and variations that occur in our individual spaces have to do with the  structure and building materials in our homes,what's on the other side of the walls,etc.

I installed treatments before adding the swarm system and didn't measure either,but in hindsight it would have sped up the process.The corners where the walls meet the ceiling were my biggest problem,which I was skeptical of until I heard the difference myself.I was sure it was the windows causing problems,but I was wrong.I also balked at ceiling treatments but recently have been experimenting with a couple of 242s.It's made a noticeable very positive difference in clarity throughout the frequency range.John at GIK was right again concerning reflections.I guess my points are measurements are useful to actually see what's going on,the guys at GIK sincerely want to help you achieve your goals,and your ears are the ultimate judge.Enjoy!
heaudio123:
"Dumb question, but how does it sound to you?   Just right, too bright, a little deader than you would like ... and importantly, what speakers are you using and what is their placement."

Hello heaudio123,

     I'm using Magnepan 3.7i main speakers with a 4-sub distributed bass array system, similar to a Swarm system with all 4 passive 4 ohm subs powered by a separate 1K watt class AB amp, to supplement the bass from about 20 to 40 Hz.
     My room is 14' wide by 21' long with an 8' ceiling.  The 3.7is are positioned about 8' apart and about 4' away from the front 14' short wall.
Both ribbon treble sections are positioned vertically on the inside edge of each 6'x2' speaker panel.  Both are slightly toed-in and pointing to my listening seat positioned precisely between them and along the opposite 14' rear wall.
     As to the GIK room treatments in the room, there are stacked triangular bass traps in all 4 corners called Tri-Traps.  Here's a link to their description:
https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/tri-trap-corner-bass-trap-custom-sized/
     Along the front 14' short wall, behind the 3.7i speakers and tv, there are 6 GIK '242'  acoustic absorption panels with Scatter Plates for diffusion as well, 4 regular sized at 2'wx4'h each and 2 thin-sized at 1'wx4'h, all in beige.:
https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/gik-acoustics-242-acoustic-panel/

There are also 3 GIK '244' bass traps, at 2'w'x2'h each in a horizontal row and centered on the bottom of the front wall, all in beige:
https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/gik-acoustics-244-bass-trap-flexrange-technology/


     Along the right 21' side wall above the couch, there are 4 more GIK '242' acoustic absorption panels with Scatter Plates for diffusion as well, 2 regular sized at 2'wx4'h each in beige and sandwiching 2 custom sized, at 2'wx3'h, and as side by side Art Panels with a covered cloth picture of the Greek island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea:
https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/acoustic-art-panels-2-inch/

     Along the rear 14' rear wall, behind and above my listening seat, are
2 GIK '244' bass traps with Flex Range, at 2'wx4'h, and as side by side Art Panels with a covered cloth picture of Trunk Bay in the U.S. Virgin Isles in the Caribbean Sea:
https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/gik-acoustics-244-bass-trap-flexrange-technology/

There's also 1 GIK 4" Impression Pro Series Bass Trap Diffuser/Absorber, at 2'wx4'h, in a Wavy Leaf Pattern along this 14' rear wall and 2 along my left 21' side wall, 1 on each side of a 8'wx6'h window section:
https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/impression-4inch-bass-trap-diffusor-absorber/

     Overall, I was going for a balance of absorption and diffusion, with mainly diffusion at the front and rear of the room.  I perceive the sound as generally more detailed without sounding too dead, it sounds very natural to me with good tonal qualities, natural decay times on notes and a good sense of the recording venue.  I'm very pleased overall, which I realize is the most important result, but I still wanted to validate I made no obvious errors in treatment choices or positioning.
     Are you having any difficulty viewing my updated system/room pics?

Thanks,
  Tim
Hello jtcf,

     I'm also balking at adding any ceiling treatments.  I have difficulty figuring out how sound waves would be reflecting off my 8' ceilings with a fully carpeted floor, the radiation pattern of my Magnepans and all the new GIK diffusion and absorption treatments scattered about. 
      I've read about slap echo, where sound waves go from speaker to floor and then from floor to ceiling to listening seat, but I don't notice it if it's occurring.  But it's very interesting that the 242 panels helped in your room.  Are your floors carpeted or hard surfaced?  I'm starting to realize that there's probably a lot of things I don't know about room acoustics and the affects of various room treatments but I needed to start somewhere.
     I completely agree with you that our ears are the ultimate judge. I'm interested in measuring my room mainly to see if it measures as well as it sounds.  I like the idea of taking a more scientific approach to my system's performance and correlating objective room measurements with my perceptions of how it actually sounds. I also think it would be useful and interesting to know how future system changes objectively alter the performance of my system and how I subjectively perceive and judge these changes. 
     To start,  I'm just going to check out the free REW website and app and see where that leads.  Buying a good quality mic and measuring actually sounds interesting and fun to me.  I should get a life, right?

Later,
 Tim
Tim,we have perfectly fine lives,lol!I sort of want to measure too but if I were to see a dip or peak that never bothered me before on the plot I don't want to start obsessing over it sooo.....
Your room and speakers are so different from mine it's not really comparable.Mine is the dreaded square room 16x17 with laminate and thick area rug,7.5' ceiling.I used to have carpet but I don't remember it sounding better then.I'm very happy with the corner bass trapping.Panels on the walls or over the windows deadened the room,so cup hooks are easily patched if the ceiling experiment was a fail.
Anyway I just brought it up because it worked so much better than I expected and it doesn't look terrible like I expected.They are easy to put up and take down again so it's worth a try for anyone who is interested.
Your room looks great!
                                         Terry
Hello Terry,

    Where exactly did you position the 242 panels on your ceiling, in relation to your speakers and listening seat?  I think they are probably positioned on the ceiling a certain number of feet in front of the speakers but I'm unclear if they should be positioned as a pair and side by side between the speakers and directly in-line with the listening seat or separated with each ceiling panel in-line with each speaker.  The reason I ask is because my main speakers are about 8' apart from each other and about 18' each away from me.
     I think I should give them a try since they worked so well for you in your room.  Yes, we have different rooms and speakers but it's possible a pair or more of acoustic absorption panels mounted on the ceiling would be beneficial for both our rooms and possibly even most rooms.

Thanks,
  Tim
Tim,
The panels are positioned lengthwise (left to right) with the short sides touching centered on the ceiling exactly between myself and the front of the speakers.The Tektons are 9 feet apart toed in so the tweeters cross in front of me.
I'm also wondering if two more to go further across would be overkill.And would scatter plates be better(heavier!) or diffusion??John at GIK recommended scatter plates and just stick with two panels since there's only one listener and a two channel system.It only has to sound perfect(ha!) at my chair.
I tried one panel directly overhead and the other in the other position centered,but not good at all.Overhead muffled the sound.I took them down today to adjust the wire so they will hang perfectly level and immediately missed the clarity I was enjoying yesterday.
Anyway, I hope you'll keep posting your trials,thoughts and measurements.
Tim:
only dive into the black art and real science of acoustics and the even blacker art of the ear-brain IF it makes you happy. Since you had already went the GIK route and fully committed, My comment about baseline was much more oriented about the background noise bevel in the room - an RTA w decent calibrated mic or even an SPL meter can get you that. That comment was intended to get you focused on noise reduction as well as treatment. 
REW is a gem, not free but close to it ( see donation tab ) kinda like Public Radio.
microphone choices go from $50 to ugly quick.

i understand all or many of the variables changing at same time, life gets in the way of music sometimes...

With your quasi line array ribbon and dipole panel and relatively low ceiling, you might be surprised about just a whisker of ceiling treatment , finally when you are rock solid on a listening baseline, measure and document w hyper precision the location of each speaker relative to wall and ear and then flip the ribbons outside :-)

how fun

always a pleasure to see your posts and adventures 

best

jim
Hello tomic601/Jim,

     I recently upgraded my main speakers from an almost 25 years old pair of Magnepan 2.7QR, that were 3-way 6'x2' dipole panels with a quasi-ribbon treble transducer, to a 1 year old pair of the 3.7i model, that are also 3-way 6'x2' dipole panels but with a true-ribbon treble transducer.
     But you're right, both are quasi line array ribbons since neither spans the entire 6' height of the speaker and they're both about 2' short of reaching my 8' ceiling. But it's very obvious the true-ribbon treble transducer is significantly superior to the quasi-ribbon in terms of speed, quality, articulation and energy.
    I have tried both orientations, ribbons on the inside and outside edges of the 3.7i panels, in my room.  Both are good but different;. With the ribbons on the outside edges, I perceive the sound stage as being wider but not as deep.  With ribbons on the inside, I perceive the sound stage as being narrower but deeper.  Currently, I'm preferring the greater depth but I suspect I'll be alternating their orientation over time for a change of pace in perspective and just for kicks. 
      I also agree with you and Terry that it's probably worthwhile to buy another pair of GIK 242 panels and experiment with ceiling positioning. 
     We're simpatico on the importance of a low noise floor, tambien.  I use low distortion, low noise and high S/N Ratio preamp and amps for exactly that reason.  I perceive everything more acutely with a low noise floor on components and in the room. Measuring my room's noise floor is just another reason I want to learn and experience more about room acoustics and obtain the required equipment to measure my system and room's performance. 
     BTW,I just looked at your system profile and I really like your system and view.  I love California!  Good vinyl with tubes and Vandersteen Treos aren't too bad, either. 
     I was also wondering how you treated your room?

Enjoy,
  Tim
Just posted a pic of the ceiling panels on my page,the last picture.
Hello jtcf/Terry,

     Ah that old saying really is true, a picture is worth a bunch of words.  I now clearly see how they're positioned and they look good without seeming too intrusive.  I'm just a bit surprised you didn't choose the white option for the cloth which seems like it would completely blend in with your white ceiling. 
     I'm still having difficulty envisioning how sound waves would be reflecting off my 8' ceilings with a fully carpeted floor, the figure-8 radiation pattern of my Magnepan dipole speakers and all the new GIK bass traps and higher frequency absorption & diffusion  panels/treatments scattered about.  I also realize that the ceiling panels helped with your different type speakers and in your different sized room and they may not be as effective with my speakers in my room.  Neverthe less, I still think it'd probably be worth giving a pair a try in my room.

Thanks,
  Tim  
Tim it might be helpfull to think of the floor blocking the top to bottom dipole but the ceiling does not. You have a tripole! May copyright that if Diller doesn’t sue me..
So to answer your ?

i have REW running into a laptop, which lives 6 months a year on our boat, so I rely MUCH more on my iPad hosted suite of tools from Studio Six Digital- there are some free apps from them - the more extensive tools cost a bit. I have a UMIK-1 and a B and K microphone.

you looked our Condo system - our reference system is in Seattle and room undergoing an acoustical upgrade in order to host an album mastering job in May. Yes lucky to have a pair of Treo CT with controlled dispersion.

room is fairly large volume but with carefully selected furnishings and approximately 24 ft square absorption my RT60 is .56 - .57 against a target of .52. Dig into REW and this will make sense. To get to .52 I need a find a way to add  some more panels. 
Have fun

enjoy the music.
One trick is building 1-2” absorption into framed art. Obviously more if you print the art on the treatment.
Looks like you have a top notch room there noble100 . After having 4 listening rooms in 6 years I have found killing all reflections behind me is the biggest improvement . I to have panel speakers . Once the reflections are killed the imaging and surprisingly the bass is improved as well . I use six inches of OC 703 behind me . 

    "Looks like you have a top notch room there noble100 ."

Hello maplegrovemusic,

     Thanks. Whenever I hear or read the expression "top notch", it makes me think of Ted Knight as Judge Smails in the movie Caddy Shack.
https://tenor.com/view/caddyshack-rodney-dangerfield-al-czervik-gif-4026736
      Speaking of top notch, I was just looking at your system pics and thought they were from a high end audio/video shop.  Wow!  How do you choose which speakers to use?

Tim
Tim,
The brown panels are just for experimental purposes.:-)The ones I end up ordering will be the ceiling color.I'll recover the brown with new fabric and order 4 square panels with scatter plates to allow for flexibility in placement.
Hello jtcf,

     Cool, good choice.  Once the white panels are swapped in, feel free to invite the girls over anytime.

Tim
  

Hello all,

I like working on room acoustics.  Try this on for size, and it's free.  Download the MATT test from

https://www.acousticsciences.com/products/matt-acoustic-test-cd

Listen to it on headphones to understand what the test is about and then play it over your sound system to hear the kinds of distortion your room is doing to your signal.   Use this signal as an A/B guide when you are trying to make decisions about what goes where when dialing in room acoustics.  And no, it's not the good ole' frequency response curve.  Well, maybe kinda, It's a musical clarity (C50) frequency response curve.

Happy Listening 

Art Noxon aka ASC TubeTraps

   

yes and the C50 is derived from the RT60 ;-) but thank you Art for contributing in a positive way !!!!!
noble100 - How do I choose what speakers to try ? Anything that comes up on Craigslist within 300 miles that peaks my interest basically . At this point all types of speakers have been through my system . Electrostats are my favorite type . Did you experiment with placement of your treatments or have a trusted designer / Installer ?
Hello maplegrovemusic,

     I remain extremely impressed with your system pics. I'm serious that I've never seen or heard of anyone that owns so many high quality pairs of speakers as you do, besides perhaps my favorite local high-end audio/video shop here in Indy The Audio Solution. I believe I can only identify about half of the speakers you own by the pics, I'd love to see a list of them all.
     I think we share an affinity for fast and detailed panel speakers, You prefer electrostats, which I also like, but I prefer planar-magnetics.  I think you would agree with me, however, that both of these speaker types (at least at prices below about $20K or so) have difficulty producing solid, powerful, detailed and realistic bass and bass dynamics below about 35 Hz. 
     I'm actually assuming the specific bass extension rating of your King Sound V1 speakers are similar to the 35 Hz rating of my former Magnepan 2.7QR and current 3.7i speakers, I hope I'm correct.  My main issue was the difficulty in being able to find a sub or even pair of subs that would provide the missing high quality bass and dynamics from about 20 to 35 or 40 Hz in my systems while the bass was fast, smooth and detailed and natural enough to seamlessly integrate with my Magnepans' sq performance from about 35 to  20K Hz.
     About 5 years ago, I found the ideal solution in the Audio Kinesis Swarm 4-sub distributed bass array (DBA) system.  My room is much smaller than yours, at 23'x14'x8', but I believe this a system that would work equally well in your room and with not only any of your current pairs of main speakers you care to use but also virtually any pair you buy in the future.  Here's a link to an Absolute Sound review of the Swarm system that I found very accurately describes what to expect from this $3K DBA system:

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/audiokinesis-swarm-subwoofer-system/

     I sincerely believe adding the $3K AK Swarm system to your room would be a better, wiser and simpler method to improve your system than trying new pairs of main speakers.  It will significantly improve the overall sq you perceive from every pair of speakers you already own.  I think you'd be amazed how well it would  seamlessly integrate and even further improve the overall system sq of your King Sound V1 electrostats. 
     If you want to learn more about the scientifically proven DBA concept just Google Dr. Earl Geddes, Floyd Toole or Todd Welti.  You could also Google distributed bass array concept or the benefits of using multiple subs in domestic sized rooms.

" Did you experiment with placement of your treatments or have a trusted designer / Installer ?"

   I contacted GIK Acoustics and took advantage of their free room analysis they offer.  I worked with their rep, Mike Major, on developing a detailed plan for optimally treating my room.  I had a friend, and highly skilled handyman, install them all in my living room at my direction and faithfully stuck to our plan.  The results far exceeded my expectations  and have absolutely no current perceived need or desire to alter or experiment with any of the positioning of my room's acoustic treatments. 
The effects are that sublime.

Tim