room treatment 101, please

I am going to be moving into a new house soon and I have a room that is about 16*14 that I'm going to be using for music and movies.

I've never done ANYTHING to "treat" a room for resonance’s, reflections, etc. I know how to place the sub to minimize boominess, and I'm aware that keeping speakers from back and walls can help with smearing. However, where are the most important areas to put up sound-dampening materials (for mid/hi frequencies, and low bass frequencies). I've heard it is the wall behind the speakers and that wall opposite of the speakers, but people have also said that side wall treatment eliminates smearing of sound.

As for low frequencies, I will have a sectional sofa around the back wall opposite the speakers (and on some of the side wall, too). I think this may help as a "bass trap."

So -- can you start from square one about which walls are the most important to treat/address? I'd like to "fix" those first and my wife will still want things to look good. The room is a family room that can't accommodate big book cases and such all over the place, and the sofa will be backed up against the wall (sorry, but it has to be that way). Much of the rear wall (the one opposite the speakers) is taken up by two large (reflective!) windows. I was thinking some drapes might help here?

Any advice/education would help. I'm at the point where I want to make the best use of my equipment by fixing my room, and not just keep buying better stuff for the same flawed listening area...
I would suggest a room drawing be made and then sent to RPG and/or ASC for discussion.
Hi Felthove; Jkphoto gives good advice, and I essentially did what he suggests. In my 14 X 22 room-- stereo only, I put five 11" X 4' ASC bass traps behind my speakers-- one tube in each corner, and three against the wall and centered between the speakers. I also have a good sized window on this wall with drapes over it. I consider the drapes very important in reducing mid to treble reflections, and thus smearing, glare.

I also use two ASC 15" by 5' self standing flat panel traps just in front of the speakers and against the side walls to control first reflections. Based on my experiences with room treatment, I'd recommend 16" tube traps in the corners behind the speakers-- they're bigger and more expensive, but do a better job with bass. But I didn't really have room for them (you may not either).

I need some treatment behind my listening position, but even now, my room is sounding pretty good. I think your big sofa would do the job of several tube traps. I'd recommend Robert Harley's "The Complete Guide to High End Audio", 2nd ed.-- it's available from Audio Advisor. Harley gets into some room treatment. Good Luck. Craig.
Tis will be short but will be the most acurate info you will get trust me my room is a foot bigger than yours it is a dedicated music room. I use a levinson gear and martin logans. I had a sonics speacilist come out to the house here is what you need. You need 8 2ft x 4ft eggcrate or sound board your better off using the eggcrate that they use in studios you can wrap it with grill cloth if you dont like the looks. you need to put 4 peices behind your listening position and four on the left wall or the right pick one not two because it would be to much. you can also buy two more and put them on the ceiling in the center to kill any slap echo. good luck this will work. It should cost around 150 to do this. Here is the guys number who helped me he owns a company in connecticut its called viber sceince 203-483-6113 get it in grey tust me. He will ask you for your room sizes and calculate it over the phone and he will tell you what you need. Just tell him that he just sold some to a guy named Dan with a highend audio system. good luck
Thanks, Lev. I really appreciate the advice. I'm going to give him a call (though I live in Washington, so he won't be able to come out to the house...).
Anyone know of a free program that can be used to measure the response of a non-rectangular room? I've seen a couple for rectangular rooms but mine is more L-shaped. I know some of the companies that sell treatments, like ASC, do a free initial pass at what treatment they think you should purchase from them, when you send them your room dimensions. I'll probably end up doing that anyway, but would like to find a way to get an impartial data point as well.