Room setup Questions: Small Room with Magnepan MMG

Okay, I've finally got around to putting together a floor plan for my small listening room. Recently, there has been a small hitch in things, as I'm going to have to move in a rather large desk into this small, converted bedroom. Also, I have some people coming out next week to install two dedicated lines into this room and I'm wanting to finally start tacking some acoustical issues in this room.

Okay, so here's the floorplan (note: everything is to-scale in the diagram, even if dimensions are absent):

My floor plan

And here are a few questions:
1.) Where should I stick the desk? I'm thinking the location in the diagram is the only feasible location, but another option might be *between* the speakers?! It seems that against the back wall won't really work either. Another thing to note is that I could use the desk chair for listening as well, if that would help the space issue out.

2.) I'm thinking about leaving my rack in the center of the speakers, thus having the electrician install the two dedicated lines to the left of the window. The rack is rather tall, but I'm not sure where else I could put it. Also, if I moved the rack, I'd have to purchase new speaker cables, most likely. I know this is not ideal, but do you guys have any other recommendations?

3.) Do you think I should put the amp and cd player on one circuit and the turntable and preamp on the other circuit?

4.) The window in the center of the room is rather tall (83" high, and essentially starts at the floor) and has wooden plantation blinds installed. Is this something I should think about changing or treating?

5.) Would it be possible to even think about moving up the Magnepan line with this room configuration? I was thinking no larger than MG12's, but would these even be feasible?

6.) I was thinking about removing the plants and installing some corner bass traps. Do you think this would be wise? Or, would installing some Risch-style rigid insulation acoustic panels be better? As far as acoustics go, I do have some slap-echo in the room now due to the laminate floors and rather sparse furnishings, and I'm asumming this will still be the case after moving the desk in... I'm open to a small area rug if it would help things out. As for the bass traps, since the two doors meet in a corner, I cannot really put treatments here, and the desk will be in the other corner, so my only option for bass traps would be to remove the plants, right? The plants serve a very nice function as far as sounds dispersion with the dipole Maggies, so I'm leary about giving them up...

7.) At first glance, where do you think the acoustic panels would go on the walls? I guess I could use the mirror method, but was wondering where about they will end up going?

I think that's about it for now... Thanks for your help!

Very tight space for maggies or any planar speaker. If possible I'd move the the listening chair back closer to the rear wall and that would leave space to bring the speakers out further if necessary. The desk is a problem at 30" deep to put between the speakers unless the chair faces the window (as I doubt there is enough room to have it on the the other side unless the chair arms can slide underneath the desk). If that works you can try putting your electronics underneath your desk as I've done with my set up and then you'll have to watch your legs whenever you sit at the desk! Perhaps you should try the speaker and chair length set ups before moving the desk in to see if you have enough room. I probably would not get larger maggies for this space. My room is approx 14'X 22' with 10'+ ceilings and is just big enough for the 1.6 maggies which stand 4.5-5' away from my rear wall. I believe the Cardas or the MUG site may have a thread on proper maggie speaker placement but trial and error should also be utilized. Perhaps using a smaller (less deep) writing table would make things easier. The plants should help behind the speakers and you could always consider using a behringer DEQ 2496 pro(?)to equalize the room acoustics before perhaps spending more than it costs on room treatments. Good Luck with your project.

Thanks for your reply. Here are a few responses to your reply:

- Yes, I was thinking about having the chair facing the window if I put the desk between the speakers. Since the desk is 30" deep, I could pull the Maggies further out and then move the equipment rack to the left side wall. Of course, this will effect where I have the electricians install the lines next week, so I'm sort of limited on time to decide. What are the acoustical implications of putting the desk inbetween the speakers?!

- Unfortunately, the desk size is non-negotiable ;(

- I've noticed that the moving the listening position a bit out from the back wall sounds much better.

- I have used the information on the Cardas website for the design above, and in general I'm happy. I'd like to eliminate the slap-echo in the room though... and maybe look at first-degree reflection points.

- As a Magnepan owner, what do you think about going up to MG12s? It looks from your response that you think it's pushing things, huh? I'd like to make the Magnepan's work, but honestly, I'm tempted to try some Totem Arro's (excuse the blasphemy, I *love* the Magenpan's, but I think the room is limiting things so much, that I'm tempted to try something else...) It's just somewhat limiting to know I cannot move up in the Magenpan line because of my room size... Understand?

- I've never heard of this Behringer DEQ device... Is this an EQ? I'm not really up for inserting any more components inline ;) I'm not really sure how to use a SPL meter, if perhaps that is what this device is either...

Square room is major problem. It is just almost impossible to get good sound. My room with my Maggie 1.6 is 10 wide (I would love 12 feet wide minimum) but the length is 19 feet. Again, not ideal but way better than square.

Needless to say, for starters you must cover that window with polyester batts or something to eliminate some glare off the glass. Maybe even a big rug with a cool design, or thick blanket. I would throw the wood window slats away. For the dollar spent, you should at least try the down and dirty bass traps (rolls of insulation with drycleaner dress/suit plastic bag and Burpap covering. Place the rolls of insulation about a foot behind the woofer panel. With the MMG, they may slightly cover the tweeter. You may have to move them side to side a little to get best sound. Building real bass traps would be better, but with your room I am not sure you will attain any beter results than what the down and dirty will provide you. Maggies need a lively back wall for reflection. Treat all the corners heavily for reflection also and of course the first reflection points on side walls. With a square room, I think you may have to treat the back wall of the room with absorption at a minimum, diffusion at a maximum. If you can get some bass traps in the rear corners would be great also, but it looks that this may not be possible. There are some ceiling bass traps available that look like soffits.

I would keep your chair a couple feet from the back wall. You are basically going to have to listen in the Nearfield.

Good Luck!


Thanks for your response! I have a couple follow-up questions:

1.) I figured that I'd leave the blinds on the window to act as a sound diffusor, to maybe counteract the squareness of the room. What do you think about this?

2.) I'm posting another diagram below. I figured I'd make panels for the corner, rather than tubes. What do you think about this idea? Again, the plants are for diffusion. The problem with this setup is where the heck to put my equipment rack!!

Here's a link to my new diagram:

My floor plan revision 2

Trial & error (& more error) will be required here.

You may want to try the desk against the back wall and use a swivel chair to double for work and listening (i.e. desk behind you when listening). Because the MMG has both limited deep bass response and limited horizontal dispersion - planar response pattern - you may be able to finesse the small room more effectively than you'd think.

Good luck

Thanks for your response. What is a reasonable metric of success? Should I consider a cheap SPL meter an a test CD?

Floor plan #2 looks better but you'll only know how well it sounds once you hook things up. You have refered to all the correct sources for speaker placement etc. so the proof is in the listening. If things don't sound right you can check the audiogon threads on the Berhringer DEQ2496 which has RTA and equalization and costs approx $250-300 with microphone & wire accessories. Your ears will be the best measurement of success....