to diffuse or absorb...

hi all. i have a modest home theater/2 channel setup with all mirage bipolar speakers. m5si, om-c2, 595si. any suggestions as to wether i should diffuse or absorb early reflections? the room is quite small. also, i have dual svs 16-46's which have ports that aim toward the ceilinig. the ceiling i slow so the distance between the ports and it is 3 feet, any suggestions on whether to absorb or diffuse or do nothing to the ceiling directly above these. i suspect this small distance is causing me trouble with lf response. thanks for any input, d.
One setup I have seen that worked well had a thick rug on the floor (absorption), absorption in all the corners and along the top of the wall near the ceiling join, and diffusion on the ceiling, the two side walls and behind the speakers.

Another pal has his room with dissimilar techniques on facing walls. He says never put diffusion facing diffusion, for example. If the room is quite small I would want to do more absorption than diffusion, though
Diffuee behind speakers and absorb wall behind you, I absorb first reflections but other diffuse that area but I do know that diffuse behind speakers and absorb behind your head works best, I have Di-pole Hybrids and follow this rule.
thanks guys.
The answer is not that simple because the desired relative levels of either differ for home theater and two channel audio. For home theater purposes, a lot more absorption is desirable because precise imaging/placement cues must come from the speakers and should not be muddled by reflections. However, maximum absorption is bad for two channel audio (will sound too dry, sterile and unnatural).

Unless you are talking about really thick panels (impractical in a small room), absorption will only be effective for higher frequencies. This means you can alleviate some brightness with absorption, but there is not much you can do about problems with bass from using such panels. Bass can only be effectively treated in the corners of the room using bass traps.

Generally speaking, almost all rooms can be improved with bass trapping the corners. It is harder to predict whether any other form of treatment will be positive or negative in result. I tend to personally not like most rooms that have been extensively "treated" with absorption panels, even when the design was professionally done.

First and foremost, experiment with placement of the speakers and placement of your listening area. Most rooms are not so horrible that good placement can't cure most of the ills you are hearing. After that, I would suggest going slow -- bass trapping corners first, use of modest amounts of diffusion and some absorption (if the room sounds too bright), and, even if you think each increment improves the sound, sometimes take out treatment to see if you have overshot the mark (easy to do).

Good luck.