Evening listening means color matters less, especially with lowered lights. YMMV but, night or day, I find white room walls to be sterile and boring and non-conducive to realistic music levels and rocking out.
OP yes it does matter!!! I have found the best balanced sound in my room uses black walls behind and on the sides(absorbs early reflections and super deep bass)with a mix of gold/orange and cream alternating across the walls behind my listening chair...
I don’t mean to be difficult but sound is the same thing as perception of sound. What you perceive to be the sound IS the sound. In other words, the sound you hear is not (rpt not) really completely determined by the enclosed system - the system comprised of speakers and components, room, cabling, the recording and House AC. I know what you’re thinking. And it’s not RFI/EMI or vibration.
What I’m referring to has more to do with placebo effect and expectation bias, yet it’s not psychological than the usual suspects like RFI/EMI or vibration or acoustic anomalies. The listener, even a very experienced and acute listener, can not distinguish between a change in cable or component or the effect of a new tweak, for example, and the effect on the sound by an external force or influence not associated with the closed system of the audio system.
The color of the walls is one such external influence, and one that’s not related to acoustics or vibration. Color of the walls subconsciously or consciously affects our perception of the sound. But that is only one example. The color of magnets is another example of what I’m referring to. For those who experiment with magnets in various locations, try using magnets painted different colors and see how color affects the sound. I.e., RED on aluminum, BLUE on steel, GREEN on glass, any or all colors on wood.
I think room color has to do with the listening environment. I did not necessarily mean that a specific room color would change the sound. Example like a white room would sound brighter and a darker color say light brown makes a room warmer sounding.
It is scientifically proven that if you remove one of your senses the others are heightened. So by having your room dark your effectually removing your sense of sight and heightening your aural senses.
A nicely decorated room will have the same effect on your perception of sound as does a well presented fine dining meal. In the culinary world, there is an expression that "we eat with our eyes", I believe that also holds true for sound reproduction.
Even in the dark does the brain 🧠 know colors are there, you know, even when you can’t see them with your eyes? 👀 You know, like ESP. 😳 Let’s take the case of the colored magnets, does the effect go away when you turn out the lights? I think not.
Internet search "room colors and emotions" and you will find an endless number of articles on the subject. There's no agreement as to the exact mechanism, but it's a causal link that's been exploited by advertisers, interior designers, institutions (hospitals, schools, etc.) and film makers for decades. Since anything that can effect your moods and emotions can effect the experience of listening to music, then yes, room colors matter.
Institutional Green was the favorite color for rooms inside mental institutions, hospitals and prisons for like forever. Green, especially that particular dreary and putrid shade of green was assumed by almost everyone to have a calming effect on inmates, patients and prisoners. Unfortunately this whole industrial green movement was based on an old wives tale. The Victorian boom in asylum construction with it’s related color palettes and a belief in the curative effects of the color green. Green, the Victorians argued, is associated with springtime, grass, leaves, outdoors. Of course it should be noted real green, a green the color of grass and trees, would be a bit much for sensitive Victorian tastes so they opted for that rather irritating and putrid shade we call industrial green. 🤢 Victorians associated outdoor activities with health, you know, as opposed to working in coal mines and factories. So, if you want some sun and fresh air go outside and play in the park. But if you want better sound paint your walls blue.
Oh yes, definitely. Brighter colors accentuate the high frequency while dark colors encourage low passages to extend mild enhancement and decay. Appropriate balancing of room colors is encouraged. To date best performance by far has been experienced by a mix of round (polka) and square (country) and diamond (rock) shapes painted on reflective walls. Accentuates the particular style of music.
I can’t say the color affects the sonics, but external stimulants do impact how you perceive sound. I take off my glasses and shut the lights when doing serious listening, and it helps me focus and enjoy. Since my basement room is dual use audio and home theater, I had the front portion of it painted a darker grey, walls and ceiling, which matches the carpeting. I helps darken the room a bit, and I find a darker room more conducive to listening. That’s the beauty of a man cave, no WAF to worry about.
bondmanp I feel the same way you do about external stimulants how you perceive the sound. Right now my listening room man cave is painted a light color called City Steels Grey which is like a very light bright grey that i had painted before i put my music system together. Which i find it to be a too bright of a color when i listen to my music in the day time. At night its more calming and conductive to listening like you say. I put the lights dim or no lights at all. I will be painting my room a brownish earth tone color.
Definitely can effect video. Just something to keep in mind if you’re considering A/V. In the case of video, there is a particular shade of grey (seriously, no pun or adult reference intended) that is most appropriate. In fact, many folks into serious quality video viewing use what is referred to as "bias" lighting. Grey background is by far the best.
Maybe also makes sense why some people like to listen to music in the dark. It does something to the mind.
There is truth in this. The rationale is that the hearing senses are "heightened" that much more when the visual senses are at bay.
Re turning lights off when listening “There is truth in this. The rationale is that the hearing senses are "heightened" that much more when the visual senses are at bay.”
I hate to judge too harshly but I’m pretty sure that’s actually an old wives tale. This is probably a good example of expectation bias, if anything, which I think it’s actually not. Your tv would look better with earplugs. You can even do a controlled blind test with blindfold or A-B test with blindfold? I’d be interested in the results. Of course, someone will say blind people have better hearing than normal but that’s because they rely so much on their hearing. If thy eye offend thee pluck it out. 👀
I hate to judge too harshly but I’m pretty sure that’s actually an old wives tale.
I'm surprised you would think/write it's a wives tale. The fact that hearing senses are "heightened" that much more when the visual senses are at bay is easily demonstrated/proved. Try it. Listen "critically" to music with your eyes closed vs open and see/hear what I mean.
gdhal Try watching tv with earplugs. Let me know if the picture is better. Hi @geoffkait
I never stated or even implied that because hearing senses are heightened that much more when the visual senses are at bay, that visual senses would be heightened when hearing senses are at bay.
Yes, I know you didn’t. But your theory that hearing is improved when the sense of vision is kept at bay implies it. What could be your theory otherwise? If it doesn’t make sense it’s not true. If you can link to any Science Journal article supporting your theory I’d be much obliged. Or AES, NASA, MIT, Duke University, Psychology Today, New Scientist, whatever. I maintain the whole idea of turning the lights to get better sound out is nothing more than an old wives tale passed down by eager Audiophiles.
Addendum: Blind people reportedly have enhanced hearing but that enhanced ability would almost certainly be a learned skill, rather than an automatic response to loss of sight. Also, it’s possible that LIGHTS ON affects the sound in unexpected ways, such as dimmer lights or fluorescent lights, OR that LIGHTS ON actually improves the sound, such as the reports that shining lights on interconnects and speaker cables prior to play or during play improves the sound. Now that I think about it, the Intelligent Chip uses light to improve the sound and my product CD Reanimator uses a multicolored strobe light to improve CDs. If I’m not mistaken Purist Audio has some cables that employ light in the design. So perhaps it’s best left an open question as to whether light hurts or helps SQ.
Not so fast, Swee’ Pea. According to the Scientific American article you linked to, I am actually correct regarding people who are born deaf or who “adapt” to deafness over time. Unfortunately for your argument that article says nothing about whether sound is improved by turning out the lights. It certainly doesn’t suggest at all that compensation for lack of any sense is instantaneous or automatic. I assume your others links are equally non-responsive to the actual question - does the SQ improve simply by turning out the lights? There is obviously no time for “rewiring the brain.”
Excerpt from the Scientific American article,
“A new study provides evidence of this rewiring in the brains of deaf people. The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, shows people who are born deaf use areas of the brain typically devoted to processing sound to instead process touch and vision. Perhaps more interestingly, the researchers found this neural reorganization affects how deaf individuals perceive sensory stimuli, making them susceptible to a perceptual illusion that hearing people do not experience.”
There is nothing there to suggest even remotely that turning off the lights improves SQ. Well, maybe it does in the mind of the self hypnotized audiophile. 😳
Not so fast, Swee’ Pea..... .......The ball is in your court, cowboy.
I have since closed the first case. The OP and others in this thread (and the entire forum for that matter) can choose to put their credence in whatever particluar post comment and/or post author they desire and believe is most appropriate.
Case number two speaks to your incessant need to unnecessarily engage others on the forum. Your reputation - and it isn’t a good one - precedes you in that regard, as evidenced by the "tone" of your previous post (excerpt quoted above).
I worked for one of the guys that developed the computer on which your moniker, HAL 5000, is based. You wish have people associate you with HAL 5000. I am different. I am associated with HAL 5000. See the difference? You make a lot of assumptions. Most of them incorrect, as I’ve pointed out. When you can’t win the arguement the names start flying.
It would be ridiculously easy to find out what color for room walls is best for SQ. Simply buy enough poster paper to temporarily paper the walls. Try a restful shade of green, maybe frog green 🐸. Then try black. And white. A medium blue. 🦋 You can try orange 🍊or even peach. 🍑 That would be peachy. How hard could it be? Keep a log. Write it up and send to AES, Psychology Today or post it here, whatever.
I'd think color, at least the color of components, can bias one towards perceiving a certain sound. It probably isn't total coincidence that Conrad Johnon tube amps, for instance, are gold colored and are often described as having a "golden" sound.
I've noticed that look of a speaker can have some influence on how I perceive the sound. I really love a good, deep wood veneer and that always puts me in a good state of mind for listening when I see a speaker with a great wood finish.
As for room color, I deliberately did my room to work with stereo/AV gear, speaker especially. Speakers tend to come in a combination of brown (wood veneer - at least the ones I'm attracted to) and back (usually speaker grill, or the drivers, etc).
So I did my room in a combination of brown and black tones, with some warm cream thrown in. It worked perfectly. Almost every speaker I put in there seems like it was "made for the room" because it blends so well with the decor. (Unless a speaker has a really different color...and then usually it doesn't stay too long).
This is starting to sound a lot like the guys at the racetrack who bet on horse races based solely on the jockeys’ colors. 🐎 At least that’s some basis for making a bet, I suppose, albeit neither a scientific one nor a particularly effective one. 😬
I can't believe we're actually having this discussion about color. My wife is a PhD. candidate doing "brain stuff" (don't ask me to explain because I can't). I discussed this with her and came away with the understanding that the brain has a high level of plasticity (no it's not made of plastic) when one area of the brain that is typically stimulated is then muted, the brain seeks ways to compensate for that change. If you turn out the lights therefore, both hearing and tactile perception can increase. The rate of change or compensation may be different when placing earplugs in your ears to stimulate vision. Both compensatory changes take time to occur. The longer the period of time, the more heightened the change. There is also an impact based on the distance between the parts of the brain. Interestingly arm amputees tend to report heightened tactile sensitivity in the face. It turns out that the areas of the brain that control those functions are close together.
It is important to note that each person is different and unique and the neural pathways are different in all of us. So yes, turning out the lights can have an affect on hearing, wearing earplugs may enhance vision but those effects can occur at different rates and will increase in intensity over time. My other takeaway on this is an understanding of why there is so much disagreement between audiophiles. Each of us are different and unique so we all experience things differently. Maybe keep that in mind for future discussions.
...when one area of the brain that is typically stimulated is then muted, the brain seeks ways to compensate for that change. If you turn out the lights therefore, both hearing and tactile perception can increase....
...So yes, turning out the lights can have an affect on hearing,...
I indicated the same thing, albeit with different words, links to articles, etc.
“The rate of change or compensation may be different when placing earplugs in your ears to stimulate vision. Both compensatory changes take time to occur. The longer the period of time, the more heightened the change.”
Which, as fate would have it, is what I said, not (rpt not) what you said. Hel-loo! What are the chances that someone can turn out the lights and hear better sound quality immediately or in the subsequent one hour, or the next 12 hours? Zero? If that is even true about “compensatory changes,” which I doubt. Sounds too high falutin’. They know how the brain works. Please! Case closed.