Start my treating the 'first reflection' points, then the rear wall and then the front wall. Be patient, getting the best sound takes time, as you have already found out with speaker placement.
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Well it depends:
If you are married then WAF rules.. ASK YOUR WIFE..
If you are not married BUT WOULD LIKE TO BE.. then Do NOT do any room treatments to your living spaces..
If you are not married, and never plan on getting married Then lavish attention on your room...
If you want a divorce, do the treatments all in one day while your wife is out.
You may soon be divorced
Elizabeth makes a very good point.... if you are married or have a significant other living in the dwelling it would be wise to consult with them prior to going to town on the room.
My listening space is our "Great Room". It's a horrible room (audio wise) to begin with so it definitely needed some treatment help.
I had my wife involved along the way since we both have to enjoy the space. I ended up using 1/2" copper pipe as a drapery rod for the walls that have windows. This rod also doubles as a rail to hang my treatments on. The benefits of using this method is that you can move the treatment piece left or right for fine adjustments but...... you can also just lift the treatment off of the wall in case of a party or gathering.
I can say that this not only has made a huge difference in my sound of the room but it offers huge flexibility for changes and adjustments. Most importantly my wife is happy with how it looks........
Your question begs an even bigger question which is: "Can peaceful coexistence be maintained between a well treated listening room ...and a wife?".
Of course there are exceptions but the true answer is most likely (99.999 pure copper % of the time) NO. Actually, to be more accurate: 99.99999% of the time it's more like "NO #@$%^$!ing WAY!"
With that said...clever compromises (as described) may be found but to call a "Shared room" "WELL treated"...is probably not going to happen very often.
I knew this and lived with it as needed for as long as possible until I managed to acquire a room I could turn into a dedicated listening room; NO WAF influence what-so-ever...and every time my wife walks into it she reminds me how this would never fly in any other room of the house. Yes, I thank her for it often...my gratitude knows no bounds...it was a tremendous amount of work (in many ways) but the ultimate reward [of having it to use and treat as I see fit] is, dare I say, almost incomprehensible...until you've experienced it yourself.
Anyway, with that said, IMHO I believe room treatments that help make the music seem "More true to the original recording stage" (and you'll recognize it as you add/adjust/and even subtract treatments as they each make their presence heard) is the goal. It's extremely time consuming but well worth your patience in the long run.
Good luck and happy Lissn'n.
Go to the Realtraps site. Every room needs bass and first refelction point absorption. Foam sound absorbers just won't do...they deaden the sound. The idea is to flatten out the frequency response in your room. Realtraps are frequency tuned. It will be the greatest sound quality improvment you can ever do...really !
There are ways to make effective room treatments more (but not totally) wife friendly. Most panels can be ordered or retro-fitted with printed artwork, for example. Wooden baffle diffusors can look interesting (or use book cases).
In a small room, I have found that the single most effective treatment is usually corner traps. These are also the hardest of all things to sneak into a room. While it has been said that soft music leads to romance, it has been my experience that bass traps tend to have the opposite effect.
Hi all ! I had GIK acoustics look at pictures of my listening room (living room ) and they made recommendations. I picked the artwork on eack item . I used two corner traps and three 2' x 4' panels on the walls . Eliminated the echo and hard sound and people dont even notice because they look like pictures .
I use a number of room treatment products including those from Real Traps and the defunct Eighth Nerve. I do agree they can provide improvements in sound if set up properly. The last part being the key as it can be easy to over treat a room, especially a small one. For example, in my room I tend to treat corners and seams and forgo the side reflections. You might want to go over to Audio Asylum and check out the Rives Forum. Ethan Weiner and David Aiken are two members who offer very sound advice.
One other thing though not mentioned is something I have tried with success as well. If your system and particularly your speakers allow for it, try near field listening. In this arrangement you sit very close to the speakers, maybe forming an equilateral triangle of 6 - 8'. The benefit of sitting this close is that that you potentially neutralize the room reflections and take the room out of the equation. However, some people do not prefer to sit this close and it does take some getting used to from my experience.
The best antidote to an untreated ,bad sounding room, is to invest in a good set of headphones and a good headphone amp.
In fact I'll go so far as to say, that anyone who is seriously thinking about making component upgrades,should invest in a good headphone set up first.
A lot of people trade one colouration for another and as good as some DIY attempts at room tuning can be( I'm a DIY room tuner, but far from great)most times if you don't know what's on your cd or record in the first place, you'll never know if adding a ton of acoustic fabric has done more harm than good.
Then again, there are other options for the folks who don't have their own dedicated listening rooms and are at the mercy of their wives.
Try some room correcting audio black boxes.
Lots of them out there , some are quite pricey,but some are now being built into two channel integrated-re Harmon Kardon, so all hope for better sound is not hinged just on how many(if any)absorbing panels and tube traps the wife gives her consent to.
The refernce to headphones was meant to illustrate what our gear can sound like when the room is taken out of the picture.It's not to imply that what you hear thru the phones is perfect.It's also coloured, but the colourations are not those of the room.
It's just somthing to compare when you start down the room tuning path.
If the life is sucked out of the cymbals and you've lost any sense of the air and life around the instruments compared to what you hear thru the phones, then you'll know you've added too much.
And just as you can have too little room tuning, you can also overdo it.
I have followed a lot of the tips from the Master book of acoustics by Everet,it's a great place to start.
I started with the corners of the room and then worked my way to the reflection points and the wall behind the speakers. It's fairly easy to determine where or what you need by playing some music and walking around the room. In an untreated room you will get bass build up in the corners for example. Also, if you do the "clap" test and get echo, that's bad. You may not have to treat the ceiling if you have carpet and rugs on the floor, but with hardwood the ceiling will need treatment. I have had good luck with Acoustimac. There products are well built, the service has been excellent and there are many color choices. I like bass traps with the tapperd sides for example.