Room Treatments and WAF? Long

Living area with H/T and 2 channel combined. This is our main room for everything. It is 22'6" W by 16'9" with the h/t on the long wall. Wall to the right is only 3'6" tall and joins to the kitchen. Left wall is the fireplace(never used). Rear wall is a big problem. Two large windows (roughly 3'w x 5't) with a french door between them. Cathedral ceiling, carpetted floors with a large sectional couch positioned 12'from the front wall.

I know that the room needs treatment. Particularly the first reflection points but wondering if I can treat just the left wall since the right is so short and open to another room.

The biggest problem I think is the rear. All that glass! Significant other does not want curtains but could probably be persuaded if I could come up with something that would allow her to have the open look when she wants it. Any suggestions?
Thanks for any suggestions.
Steve, I have a rectangular set up with the system at the end of the room. One whole side of the room is windows (bad). I ended up purtaining nice curtains in that remain open nearly all of the time and do not impact the benefits of the windows (actually add to them) and when listening seriously, I just close the curtains. Both wife and I are happy with this, except the fact that I usually forget to open the curtains back up when I am done listening.

Get some curtains that open and close at the push of a button and she will be much happier.

For the short wall? Put some plants (real or fake) as this will give you a helpful breaking up of the reflections and still be aesthetically appealing.
Needing to treat first reflection points is a myth. I'm not sure the rear is as much of a problem as you think. Unless the glass rattles it probably doesn't reflect much if any more than any other type of wall. For something effective try these.

Eighth Nerve

Try 1" slat wood shutters or blinds.

I don't get it - why would you treat first reflection points on a long wall that is 23 feet?

I agree that the rear wall is a problem. However - it depedns onyour listening position....where is this?


1) adjustable wooden slatted blinds over the windows - these can look very nice and will act as diffusers and absorbers....of course they are extremely expensive but at least they are nicer than curtains - it wil also allow you to darken the room for watching sports during the day on a big screen.

2) Put your screen & mains where the fireplace is...flat screens are small and I have seen some designs where a screen is hidden in a cabinet or where a projection screen coes down from the ceiling.

3) You can turn the fireplace into a good RPG skyline absorber - this is what I have done - see my system - of course this is only of maximum benefit if the fireplace is behind the listening position...rear wall reflections from behind the listener being the worst problem in most home setups.
WOW, WOW, WOW, Hermen.........thanks a lot.
What an eye opener !!!
I have been a CAVEMAN all this time.
Thank You for showing me the light...........

*take me to the happy place
*take me to the happy place
*take me to the happy place



I am good now.
Mr jstark. Thank you for sharing. I must say you really brought a lot into the discussion with your mature and highly enlightening response.

The truth is that most audiophiles don't have any idea how a room interacts with their system and blindly put stuff up on the walls because somebody else told them it would be better. They put something up and it sounds different so they assume it is better. There are numerous highly regarded individuals in this hobby who recommend minimal if any treatments. I've tried a wide variety of room treatments and the ones I recommend are highly effective.

Unless you have something constructive to add to the discussion why don't you go over to myspace and hang out with the rest of the children.

It seems like you have a lots of issues with your room:

1)Glass rear wall (all those beautiful views and lovely wife)
2)Cathedral ceiling (very tricky to make it work for you)
. Is the highest point going from side to side or front to back? I am guessing, it is the formal.
3)suffering balance/seperation between left&right speaker.
(right wall is only 3'6" tall and joins to the kitchen. While system is close to the left wall + fireplace that works almost like a diffusor/absorber)

It will take a lot to get this room right.

Are you sure you realy want to do this?

And are you & your lovly wife willing to make some changes?

Is different room an option?
There are a variety of options from absorption films that are stretched in front of the window surface (RPG now makes and markets these), to fabric covered vertical blinds which I personally like because then I can close, open, or angle for partial opening.

Acoustics can look like just about anything. Take a look at our examples. WAF does not need to be an issue whether it's traditional or modern design.

As to some of the comments about first reflection points, Floyd Toole of Harmon International recently wrote a very controversal paper on loudspeaker interaction and not treating the room (at least not in the conventional sense). While I don't agree on many of his points, it is written by someone very well versed in the field. He does point out and caution regarding overdamping a room, which is something I subscribe to. All too often too much "stuff" is added tot he room and can actually take away from good sound.
Ohhh, I am sorry Mr. Herman
I must have missed your "yet another educational" respond while writing my above post.

One question:
How long have you been in the cave Mr. Herman?????

According to YOU, fish tank could also work for a listening room ( or recording studio) as long as I use the treatment from website that YOU kindly provided.Hmmmmm.

I went back and re-read my posts. I can't find any references to fish tanks. I simply recommended what I have found to work. I apologize if this offends you in some way. It is obvious I am ill equipped to debate a razor-sharp intellect like yourself. I can't even figure out what ***HHHHHHHHUUUUUUSSSSSSSAAAAAAAAA*** means.
Plants? Wife loves plants. Great idea. Thanks! Not sure on the curtains but will work toward them or fabric covered slats as recommended below.
I have very limited knowledge (don't have any idea how a room interacts) about these things but keep reading about 1st reflections. Will have to do some research on the Eighth Nerve also. Interesting.
Just learning about room treatment and first reflection seems to be something everyone recommends. Can you help me understand why it is less of a problem on a 23 ft wall?
Listening position is 12' From the front wall.
Would have to do some creative communicating to be allowed moving the h/t in front of the fireplace. Fireplace is just in front of the listening position. Sounds like my rear wall is where I can make the most difference. Thanks!
Highest point is side to side. Yeah, I think I do have some significant problems. You mention balance/seperation regarding the side walls and I think your on to something. I have noticed when listening to music the right speaker always seems more prominent. Would have expected the opposite. Does it make sense?
Different room not an option. I am ready but it will be a series of compromises and I feel sure the best I can do will be minimal but that's better than none at all. Appreciate the help.
Couldn't find the absorption films at RPG. Looks like they have a nice selection of products and some may work for me. Thanks for the suggestion.
Went to your site. All I can say is WOW! You have done some really nice rooms. Wish I had seen this before our remodel. Would have stolen some of your ideas. Still may.
I really do appreciate all the support and info.
He does point out and caution regarding overdamping a room, which is something I subscribe to. All too often too much "stuff" is added tot he room and can actually take away from good sound.

Could not agree more. If you have wall to wall carpet and the speakers are four feet from side walls then personally I don't think side wall treatments help ...they may even make it worse. I prefer a "Live front end" and a "damped listening end".

On the other hand I don't think you can ever get enough of broadband bass absorption...usually aesthetics are the limiting factor.

My comments apply for medium to big sized rooms....why anyone would want to put an ultra high end system in a very small bedroom sized room - I really don't get that.
Can you help me understand why it is less of a problem on a 23 ft wall?

Simply because you can keep the speakers at least four feet away from the side walls which makes the BIGGEST difference in side wall reflections....with 23 feet to play with and assuming you are sitting 12 feet back then an 8 foot spacing between speakers gives you (23 - 8} / 2 = 7.5 feet to side walls if you placed the speakers in the middle of the 23 foot wall (roughly speaking of course as I ignored the dimensions of your speakers but I expect it is small as most people prefer pretty looking, narrow towers these days)
What are you hearing that makes you think that you need room treatment? Given the size of your room, I'd be surprised if you had first-reflection problems. Generally two-channel speakers should be well away from the end walls.

If you could post a Virtual System for us to see it would really help us get specific. Also you need to tell us what's sounding bad in what way. We're shooting in the dark right now.

Given the large room, well stuffed couch, carpeting and high ceilings I'd guess that almost any problem would be related to fine tuning the speaker placement rather than changing the room. Oh, yeah, what speakers do you have?

Thanks for the explanation. Just trying to learn a bit.
Denon 2802 Pre outs for mains to
B&K Ref 20 (recently ran the cd player direct to the B&K)
Bryston 3bst (Mains)
Arcam Alpha 8Se cd player
B&K 5 channel amp for rear surrounds and outside
Gallo Ref 3.1 mains
Velodyne sub
Regarding what's sounding bad. Soundstage seems constrained to a small window between the speakers and a bit toward the right speaker. No depth. There are times I feel like I hear sound from one speaker and just an instant later same sound from the other speaker. Like an echo. Thought this might be due to left wall being solid while the right is open.
Hope this gives something to work with. Any more questions, just ask. Love getting this kind of support.
Check out:
Try full height vertical blinds to cover the entire rear window when you want to do super serious listening. You can get these in a variety of materials from vinyl to fabrics. Forget dealing with the open area (too costly-not WAF I suspect) just position the speakers imaging the best you can.

Good luck
As you wished Mr.Herman,
there you go:

"Unless the glass rattles it probably doesn't reflect much if any more than any other type of wall."

Herman (System | Reviews | Threads | Answers)

Mr.Herman glass does have different reflective or absorptive properties then any other common material used in constructing a listening room.

I will agree with you on ONE matter dou,
not all reflections are bad.
Matter of fact is that some are even beneficial.

It never fails to amazed me seeing fellow audiophiles buying into some idiotic tweak or gadget but are reluctant to realize the importance of acoustics and speakers & room interaction...............So sad to see great gear in the rooms that aren't acousticly optimize.

Yes, it is true, that misinterpretation can lead to overdamped room that can loose the soul and character.
And I do realize that, but it is NOT my intention to lead someone in that direction.
I have always advised on taking a small steps while attempting to retrieve balance and proportion of ones' system with acoustic treatments.

We might not agree on this matter and it is not of any importance to the author of this thread. What is important on the other hand is to find the solution to ones' problem.

Mariusz Stark


I totally understand and feel your flustration,
but not everything is lost and some improvement can be made to improve the situation.

Actually, some of the above advices are good or very good:

*slat wood shutters, drapes, plants, speakers adj.*

It will take some trial & error to get some kind of results that will make you & your wife happy.


If possible:
It would make sanse to try few thinks first, before addressing the problem with some kind of acoustic treatments (natural materials or dedicated treatments).

Try pulling the speakers out into the room and away from the rooms' boundaries (especialy the right spk).
Also, toeing-in the speakers inwards can help somewhat in reduction of the side wall(s) interaction and reflections.

If that won't give you the effect that you are looking for there are some ways to help your room acousticly but with use of natural materials.

*bookshelf in the corrner or between the speakers.
-(bookshelf in the corrner can greatly reduce the reinforcement of lower frequencies)
-(bookshelf between the speakers can act as a diffuser/absorber, and can have a very positive effect. I think it is impractical in your case, because of the video display between L & R speaker)
*oriental or art decco wall rug(but natural wool)can & will also work but that is a big (?) with the wife.
@. Diffusers/absorbers - between spks.
@. Bass traps right corrner & to the left of the L-speaker
(there are some bass traps that have one side that is more absorbent and the other side that is more like a diffusor)
@. Subwoofer base. The SubDude Sound Isolation riser is an incredibly effective device that's used to float a subwoofer and decoupling it from the floor. It is also inexpensive sub-base made by Auralex.

I strongly believe that your imbalance between L&R speaker is caused by your speakers setup. Due to your present arrangement one of the speakers is very near the corrner and the other has no corrner at all. Frequencies of the right speaker are reinforced and amplify by the corrner + the right wall also bounce reflections back at you. This might create fuller, louder but in the same time diffuse, colored, busy sound that is not in sync. with the left channel.

Beside treating the front wall, you can also try (if it is OK with the "W") placing bookshelf on the right wall and if possible the left wall. If bookshelf could be placed as high as your listening (ear)level at 1st reflection points - great. That would be a big step forward.

Back wall:
Like some already suggested, blinds, shades, shatters or drapes.
My favorite window treatments are (shatters too) heavy drapes with extra thick backing. Motorized option is great and "W" might like it to. It costs around $500 but it might be the answer to your window treatment problem.

Ceiling is maybe too much for now & might not be the best idea to pursuit..........if you want to keep the same address.

I know it might not solve your problems but it is a start.

Best of luck
Heppy listening

Checked out your link. Sounds really impressive however no one local to do something like this.
Did listen to your first post suggesting positioning speakers. Amazing that the smallest adjustment can make such a large difference. All I did was toe the speaker in a bit and the soundstage got noticably larger. Have a lot more to do but this did show me what can be achieved with a bit of trial and error. Link emphasized it even more. Thanks.

Thanks for sticking with me on this. Your right that bookshelfs between the speakers will not work but may be able to use something like the oriental rug or diffusers.
I'm guessing there is some confusion about side wall reflections. Left wall is full height and right is short. Are you saying that the right wall is the reflection problem? I haven't addressed this problem with the wife but I believe we can come up with something agreeable for diffusing the reflection.
Should have mentioned this earlier regarding the left wall with the fireplace. Fireplace extends roughly three feet into the room from the side wall. This creates a cubby on each side of the fireplace. Speaker to side wall is approximately 7'. The fireplace is about 2' in front of the speaker and roughly 4' to the side. Beginning to see this could make a big difference. Sorry!
You, and most others seem to think curtains, blinds, etc for back will be the most effective. Hope I can get this approved.
Thanks again for all the help and suggestions.
Steve, hopefully before 2008 is over there'll be a DIY self-help DVD available. You heard the power. It takes an expert to get the last percentiles of performance, BUT I'm convinced that a persistant audiophile can get 90% of his or her system's potential. (I think most serious audiophiles are only enjoying 30-50% of that potential).

Keep a lookout for the DVD. I'll post an announcement here as soon as it's available.


You are right that you can get--well I don't know about 90%, but certainly way above 50% with a lot of reading and DIY methods. We have a whole section of our website devoted to acoustical resources. Most are free, some very reasonable, like certain books we recommend.
I'm interested in the DVD. It sounds like it might be another great resource which we would also want to add to our site.
Rives, you'll be one of the first to know when the DVD is ready.

Yes, we're hoping that we can get most diligent audiophiles to that 90th percentile, but that remains to be seen. I'm glad to see that you agree that above 50% is a reasonable target. We strongly agree on that and think it would be a tremendous benefit for many frustrated audiophiles.