Room treatment and speaker placement????


Just poking around on audio sites and system pics, personal, not dealer. I've seen many systems that are far nicer than mine, set up without any visible, or at best, minimal room treatment.

I don't get it. If you have the money for nice gear, or even modest gear, why not squeeze the best you can out of it for not much money?

Recently did a fairly extensive treatment of my own room and I can honestly say that it was by far the best bang-for-the-buck I ever spent in audio. By the time I was finished, or at least close, I still have a couple more things to do, I barely recognized the sound of my own system and music......it was that different.

Everything got substantially better. Bass is deeper, cleaner and tighter. Sound stage with good recordings, stretches wall to wall and realistically deep behind the speakers. Imaging is tight and well defined, vocals are clearer.............The speakers tend to simply disappear in most cases......It's all just BETTER and I didn't have to strain my ears to hear it, it was obvious.

The only down side I have noted is that you can easily hear the differences in recording quality between discs now. As a result, while most music is much better, lesser recordings can be a bit disappointing.

My other question concerns setup and speaker positioning.......Judging strictly from a picture or two, it would appear that many speakers are far from optimally set up...............Without knowing the whole room, I could be mistaken. It would seem that although many people enjoy the hobby and have spent significant money on the equipment, they don't actually understand acoustics.............how important setup and treatment can be.

If you fall into that category, do yourself a huge favor and spend a few hours researching the above.

So many folks will spend hours arguing over cables, stands, pods, points, pads, wood, metal, glass.....the list of tweaks is near endless. Set your gear up right, make an attempt to correct at least some of your room problems....... ALL rooms have problems........... and you'll walk around smiling for days..........Tain't magic folks or even particularly complicated......and it's guaranteed to work.

Neither an engineer or acoustics expert, just a hobbyist that reads a lot.

Room treatment, a few hundred bucks. Proper speaker set up............free, just a little of your time........Best "tweaks" you'll ever make.
shadowcat2016
I could not agree more shadowcat.  I've been an audio junkie all my life, but didn't begin to understand what could be accomplished with room set up until 2 years ago.  I did my listening room with conventional bass traps and such, but just recently I began to address my living room using some Synergistic Research products.  Wish I had given them a try earlier.  That stuff works.  Not snake oil.  Amazed.
Yep. And most advice on the net is poor. There is way too much about first reflection points, and not enough about overall reverberation and bass management. 

My cheap advice: throw some pillows and blankets on the floor. In between the speakers, and behind the speakers. Completely out of the way of these points and listen. You'll learn how much you are missing. 
@shadow cat 2016

   This thread caught my attention. I am interstate as I have done a lot of tweaks, and they have been worthwhile, and am now interested in maybe taking a shot a some room treatments. Did you say, in your initial post here, that your room treatments only cost you about few hundred bucks?
A ten pack of Synergistic Research High Frequency Transformers (HFT’s) will do wonders for a room.

https://highend-electronics.com/products/sr-hft-high-frequency-transformer
@shadowcat2016 it would be interesting and helpful to hear in detail what you did to your room and how you went about it. 
OK, stirred the pot did I?? LOL............I'm a D-I-Y guy, so I took the time to build all my panels, 22 so far, with a few more to come.

Built my panels much the same way as many of the commercial ones, simple wood frame.............I used 3/4 plywood, very cheap that way and works fine.....stuffed with, in my case 3 inch rock wool......There are other things that you can use, but from my research it all performs more or less the same, depending on thickness. Bought mine at Lowes, just because it was cheap....about $1 per square foot..and readily available. I picked up fabric from Joann's Fabric store, although you could get it anyplace. I carefully wrapped the frames, as if they were a Christmas present and stapled the material to the back.......done....Pretty simple really..........The fabric was the most expensive part of the operation, largely because I went with an attractive cotton print, but I could have gone very basic and saved a significant amount..they also have good sales all the time.

You can make the panels thicker for more low frequency control or thinner if you're just trying to clean up the imaging and sound stage...or mix and match.  I went middle of the road and it turned out fine.

As far as how many and where...........first let me say that I am NOT an engineer or acoustics expert.......I just read a lot and largely followed the "smart people" as far as installation.

My room is 14 x 23, with a low, 7'8" ceiling............At first I wasn't sure what to expect, other than an improvement, so I built a few panels at a time, installed them, played music and listened. Each time I heard real improvements and each time I played the same music for some confidence in repeat ability. I played different discs, different types of music and tried to stay with things I knew were well recorded.

I treated first reflection points initially.........sorry Eric, I tried to follow the "professionals"..I figured they knew more about it than I did. YMMV

Then I began to treat the room corners, primarily ceiling/wall, straddling  all corners with the same traps around the room. I have open door ways in three corners, so treating wall/wall corners wasn't necessary or practical in my case. Sound apparently concentrates in corners and reflects back into the room from a thousand different angles......not good.

By straddling the corners, the panel behaves as though it's deeper/thicker than it actually is...........it's all about wave length and you can read about it easier than I can explain it........but it worked..............Despite the fact that I didn't build any "bass traps", the low end of my system got much deeper, cleaner and tighter......I attribute that to straddling the corners with relatively thin panels..........Everything else improved substantially as well.

One important point. Panels that straddle corners should be open in back. no plywood on the back. This allows the sound to pass through, bounce off the wall or ceiling and pass through again on the return trip. effectively increasing low frequency absorption.


I also placed 4 panels on my ceiling and plan to add 2-4 more, as well as a couple more to the rear wall behind me. I have hard wood floors and only a small area rug in that room.

It works guys/girls/folks and it's the cheapest significant upgrade I've ever done.......made me a believer...................Whole project, including fairly pricey fabric cost like $500, maybe less, I wasn't watching pennies that close................You can get several frames from a single sheet of plywood, rock wool or comparable fiber glass is pretty cheap if you shop around. Fabric can be whatever you want to pay...............Suggestion for spousal approval. Let her/him pick the fabric, something THEY like. It will make it easier to get them to allow you to hang boxes on the walls and ceiling!! LOL..............Think of it and sell it as "wall art"...I did and if you pick nice fabric it's not far from the truth............YOU don't care what they look like, you just care what they SOUND like.

For those of you who don't play with tools or don't have time or have deeper pockets than I do, you can buy any of this stuff, pre-made from a number of places..........I like to build things and I had the time.

Any further questions I will answer to the best of my ability, but everything I know I learned from reading articles and blogs by people who had more experience and knowledge than I did...........ain't the internet a wonderful thing :)
One other thing............Some of you folks likely cater to the boutique brands, esoteric tweaks and eschew D-I-Y stuff..............that's OK. If your pockets are deep and it makes you happy, go for it. Lots of people will happily sell you just about anything in this hobby that will "transform" your system, as though by magic..............A plywood framed box, stuffed with insulation and covered with fabric from the local store may not impress your friends............but it works and not everybody has a boutique budget............What WILL impress them and you is the improvement in sound from equipment that you thought you already knew.........I ain't selling anything, I ain't promoting anything aside fro better sound from the gear you already paid for, unless you count plywood, fiber glass/rock wool and cotton fabric.

Set your gear up right, deal with your room acoustics............then you can buy and play with the multitude of crazy tweaks  out there if it makes you happy. :)
Many people cannot use room treatments because their living space is a shared space that also happens to be their living room. Many nice and loving spouses just don’t want to fill the living room with all manner of ugly treatments. Yes they are ugly in the eyes of many spouses regardless of how we think they look.

So for many this is just not an option. In the past I have enjoyed fully loaded, acoustically treated rooms dedicated to audio. We are now empty nesters downsizing and my dedicated music room is a thing of the past. My wife and I discussed the best aesthetic options for our new space and my music/audio needs. The room could not be filled with rectangular boxes of electronics and no acoustic panels, traps and the like were allowed . She was ok with the speakers being placed into the room where they would sound best. She helped pick the model she found attractive and I found musical.

I ended up purchasing a one box wonder with SOTA room correction and have the best sound I have ever had in my home. The unit is the Lyngdorf 2170 and for me it replaced the need for physical room treatments. I know some Aphiles think you still need these physical acoustic elements for great sound, but my experience with the 2170 as shown these (physical acoustical treatments) are not the only means to great sound. Yes, in a perfect world both SOTA room correction and acoustical treatments when combined would make an unbeatable combo.

I know others who use room correction with great results so we do have options today for our shared audio/living spaces. Options that please both the Audiophile and The Audiophile’s wife in our case 🙂
In all fairness, until the past year when my wife of 40 years passed away, my "listening room" was also our living room and therefore subject to the same restraints that you speak of. My wife was very tolerant of my hobby, but it was still our living room and concessions had to be made as to set up.............Now I'm able to do whatever I feel the need to do, but truthfully I'd gladly toss it all in a dumpster to have her back.

Never heard of the Lyngdorf before, but I did a quick read on a review done by Home Theater Review..........Sounds VERY impressive. Not cheap, but what is in this hobby :)..............Wish I'd have known about that before I spent weeks treating my room!!.............Live and learn.

Yes, I too think that a piece of gear like that, along with some modest room treatment could be an ideal setup for many people............Almost makes me want to sell my amps and replace them with the Lyngdorf.

Thank you for a very informative and useful response. It gave me food for thought.
Thanks for sharing again.
Not sure what to make of you GK?.....You are frequently "here"...and are obviously well informed, more so than I, but I haven't quite figured out your sense of humor yet, if in fact that's what it is........I guess I should have responded directly to Grannyring....wasn't my intention to air my laundry globally, but it seemed relevant to the discussion......If I've annoyed you, forgive me, wasn't my intent.
"I tried to follow the "professionals"..I figured they knew more about it than I did. YMMV"
I thought so, too. Then I looked at the promo pictures on established manufacturers’ websites. Speakers in positions that would trigger a few heart attacks on Audiogon. Corners, next to a huge window, even against the glass wall. Dali has a pair inside an LP rack. Maybe it was designed for that. See Dynaudio, Revel, Dali, but I am sure there would be more, if one looked for it.
shadowcat,

Once you scratch the surface, level of information becomes visibly lacking. Manners non-existent from the start.
LOL!!!................suspected as much, but I don't actually care.....thanks
@shadowcat2016  

Most times when we post here we have no idea of the life stories and realities others have dealt with and continue to deal with.  So very sorry to hear about your wife and your loss. Being married 40 years combined with your delight with her memory makes it clear you had a very special relationship.  One that lasted and experienced the beauty of seeing things through if you will. 

I suppose if I found myself alone I may place an acoustic treatment or two in my listening space confident The Audiophile’s Wife would be smiling from heaven.  
Thanks gring..............wasn't really trying to put my bzznzz "out there", but at the moment it did seem somewhat relevant.................won't make that mistake again, I'll stick to technical stuff........... :)
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@Shadowcat2016

Sorry for your loss hope music can help you heal. No need to think you made a mistake by sharing.
Thanks bg..............music .............and 5 cats, yeah 5,  LOL.....is my entertainment these days. Life goes on, has to.

It would interesting to hear anyone else's experience with this Lyngdorf gear, or something similar. I know that room correction software isn't new, but I didn't think it was as good or better than physically addressing the room.........obviously I haven't kept up............Always late to the party, that'd be me :)
shadowcat2016,

There is another member who often mentions and recommends Lyngdorf in different threads. I cannot remember his name now, but he seems to be truly impressed and satisfied with it. If I come across his posts, I will let you know.

You are missing 2011 more cats.
Please..........no more cats........they already run the house. I'm just the hired help and they don't pay much :)

The one review that I took the time to read was quite impressive and I then went to Lyngdorf's website, also impressive. Sounds like software/digital room correction may have come of age.........Actually it seems to be more involved than that. They keep everything in the digital domain until the final stage, at which point it's DAC'd to drive the speakers..........Damn, and I was having such fun hanging boxes all over the house..............maybe I can give them to Good Will :)
shadowcat2016,

Maybe one of them is Tom. Should you join the following thread?

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/class-d-audio

You need to read it from the beginning or it will not be easy to understand. Well, maybe even then...
Thanks glupson

A highly technical discussion and I haven't even had my coffee yet.............I thought I retired to get away from those :)