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the hand of boredom
10-15-2011, 11:57 AM
Hey All,

(scroll to the bottom to get to the point if you wish)

Since I moved into my new home, I've been on the long journey of setting up my audio room (which to my wife's malcontent, is in our bedroom!). The system in the room was unlistenable at the start, but with a series of changes involving the interaction of the room, it has become quite enjoyable. There is still a bit more to do to the room, and only so much I can do before divorce papers are drafted!

First note about the room, with dimensions of 10'6"W x 11'6"H x 18'2" long, the bass response is awful and there's is an almost unbelievable flutter echo. A clap of the hands over the tweeter gives a sharp and prolonged 'boing' noise.

I started with positioning the speakers. Golden ratio was where I started. After getting used to the sound of the room there I positioned two 2x4 GiK Acoustics 244 traps at the side reflection points and then familiarized to that sound.

So now that I had my 'room reference' I used Jim Smith's technique as described in his book "Get Better Sound". Turns out that the 'best' spot for the speakers was a further back and a bit wider than before. The midrange opened up a bit, and the depth and width of the soundstage improved. Tone wise it was better, but still boomy bass and thinny top end.

It was a this point that I started playing more with traps, specifically building them and then installing them. First up was treating front corners. This was going to be tough because the 'front wall' is entirely a window. I built four 2'x4'x6" traps using Roxul Safe'n'Sound, 1"x2" pine, polyester batting and corner braces all from the Depot. Two stacked and straddled across the corner and fixed to the wall using door hinges. The effect was immense! The bass became less muddy, the two segments of bandwidth that produced overhang were less noisy (though still there); but, most shockingly there was more 'body' to everything in mix AND bass was LOUDER?!?! Guess there were more bass dips that were reduced. The clapping test revealed that these traps had little effect on it.

In our bedroom the exhaust system runs along the left wall about two feet from the ceiling. I built chunk-type columns from Roxul SS and installed them over the pipes to fit snug into the corner. With each column (about 3' long) I put up, the bass kept cleaning up. Once the entire length of the corner was covered, the remaining boominess had been reduced some more and the bass became more linear. Yet more body to instruments, and the top end seemed to relax just a bit (not as tizzy).

To rid a bit of the room-length associated flutter echo (and perhaps length induced bass problems), I built 4'x30"x6" trap and placed it at the top of the back wall between the ceiling and top of the closet door. I can't say the flutter is reduced but the bass continued to stiffen up, less overhang, and still improved body. The stage has been brought forward with this change.

To sum up the treatments so far:

1. Side wall reflection treated with 4" traps, 16sqft on either side
2. 6" deep traps straddled on front/side wall corner, almost entire length
3. Upper right corner, 16"x20"x3' columns along entire length
4. 4'x"30"6" trap on back wall

Total cost of 2, 3, 4 (DIY) was $240 plus my time. The four GiK traps were $260 plus the shipping.

Still want to add some diffusion behind the speakers, probably the 'gridfusors" stacked on the side walls, and two QRD in front of the window. As the ceiling and top 7' of the side walls are still bare, there still exists a prominent flutter.

I guess THE POINT of this long message is that for the the $500 already spent on treating the room I've brought this very modest system to a level that is most enjoyable. I can't think of any CD player, DAC, amp or preamp would have had the effect on the sound in this way. Surely no piece of gear other than EQ would reduce problems caused by the room.

I see so many posts along the lines of "what amp to get', or "these speakers aren't doing it for me" and someone will spend big dough on new gear and dumping old gear they think they're not happy with. From my experience, the MOST PROFOUND ratio of $$ to WOW is on treatments. As has been said by a few before... a modest system in a well treated room will sound much better than an expensive system in a bare room. The reason your system isn't performing at it's potential is that the room is making it suck!

(Keep in mind that I'm enjoying the performance of the Veena's right now powered by a 'lowly' $200 Yamaha receiver as my beloved W4 are being repaired. I cannot wait to get those things back and running)



JoeE SP9
10-15-2011, 03:12 PM
I totally agree with the room treatment thing. I invested the time money (actually reasonable because of DIY) and effort in that direction when I built my listening room. The room doesn't have to look like an exercise in the agricultural school of design. With a little effort the appearance can be made quite pleasing to the discriminating (wife, SO etc) eye. The results (sound wise) are well worth the time and effort.

the hand of boredom
10-15-2011, 05:24 PM
The first traps i built were the 6" corner traps. I had the pine cut to 48" at the Depot, but when I got done putting the frame together I realized I bought the 47" Safe'n'Sound and not the 48". I also did a horrible job pulling the fabric over in that it wasn't nearly tight enough. A sloppy job; I felt a bit bad for the lady. I then pressed play.

The next free weekend I get I'll bring them down and build out a frame from corner beading. I also read that compressing the material (increasing density) improves low frequency absorption. I've seen projects where hog or chicken fencing is used front and back.