Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!

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EVOLVIST

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Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« on: 23 Aug 2017, 05:44 am »
Okay, please tell me you've heard of this...Feelings of anxiety without room treatment?

I moved into a new dedicated listening room. It's small. I posted a little diagram in another thread. 13x12x8. Hard. As. A. Rock. Stone tile floors. Bare walls. Not a stick of furniture. Speakers 7ft apart. Listening position 9.5ft away.

Man, I feel like crap when listening to music in this room. Has anyone heard of this malady before?

So, I went to Guitar Center and picked up some "Ultimate Acoustic" panels. There are twelve 12" x 12" diffusion panels and twelve 12" x 12" absorption panels, and two small bass traps. I mean, I just picked these up to see if room treatment would help...any kind of room treatment! (I kept the receipt, because I'm thinking, "Just try this out, and if it does anything I'll speak to someone from GIK.)

Okay, so I felt a little better while listening to music, but not really all that much. Granted, I just threw the stuff up on the back wall real quick, and a few odd panels on the side walls. I laid a throw rug down between me and my speakers. The speakers in question are some loaner speakers I have, some Dynaudio Focus 340s, while I await some custom speakers to be made for me.

But here's the trip...It can't be loud music and/or SPLs that makes me feel this way, can it, especially when I can blast the hell out of music in my car and feel fine? Or go to a concert and not feel anxious.

Okay, so a diagram of my room...




So, originally when I posted this image I was kind of grousing about there not being too good of a solution for windows, but I hadn't moved into the room yet.

Now, I would do almost anything for it just to be room problems, fix the problem, and start enjoying music again. Haha! But seriously, the music starts playing and I literally feel anxious.

Okay, is this a room treatment thing?

Hipper

Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #1 on: 23 Aug 2017, 07:22 am »
Not only 'a room treatment thing'.

Positioning of speakers and ears (listening chair) also play a part.

To see what is possible try 'The Thirds':

http://www.barrydiamentaudio.com/monitoring.htm

Before doing that you could just walk around the room whilst some bassy music is being played and listen to this bass. It will sound different in different parts of the room.

To give you an idea what room treatment can do, here is before and after frequency response graph of the bass region:



Green is without, purple with lots of bass traps. There is no smoothing with either reading. It's not perfect but sounds really good. In addition the bass traps have reduced the ringing of all frequencies so the sound is sharp, snappy - notable on percussion and piano for example.





JLM

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #2 on: 23 Aug 2017, 11:20 am »
Small rooms require small solutions (small speakers, and small setups).  Unfortunately your room size/shape is set.  Being nearly square is bad for bass echo.  Floor standing speakers such as the Dynaudio 340s can easily overwhelm a small room in bass output.  Bass will concentrate along walls, so listening against the back wall will exaggerate bass.  Most speakers are designed to be positioned away from walls to avoid exaggerating bass and first side wall reflections (from the diagram speakers appear to be very close to the angled windows).  So it looks like bass (especially in a small room) would be highly boosted.  The best sound comes from speakers/listener staying away from walls, which means soundstage gets smaller in a small room.

Hopefully the speakers you're having made have limited bass output, phase corrected between mid/tweeter drivers (to allow for near-field driver integration), and monopole (traditional front aiming) because in this small room you'll need to use a near-field setup.  Think of desktop listening, but expanded.  Near-Field helps to minimize room effects and provides a more involving, almost headphone experience.  Recommend starting out with a 5ft x 5ft x 5ft speaker/listener layout in the middle of the room and experiment from there.  I enjoy near-field listening in an 8ft x 13ft x 21ft room (a Fibonacci Sequence that ancient Greeks called the "Golden Rectangle") with a slightly larger layout and thanks to the Cardas recommendations/speaker design find GIK treatments to be of little use.

EVOLVIST

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #3 on: 23 Aug 2017, 01:34 pm »
This is what I'm afraid of. Small room = small solution = compromised SQ. I've got $25k in frontend gear that I might as well sell now.

I once visited a studio which was 10x10x8 and they had large Legacy focus SEs in there and the sound was sublime.

A person can't just treat the whole damn room from top to bottom?

Perhaps I'm talking square peg round hole here, which would suck. It makes me feel like just hanging up this whole audio thing of 35-years and calling it a wash. Ugghh.

P. S. The diagram is a little misleading in that I used the Sumiko/Master Set method to setup the speakers. I have no boo my bass. It sounds amazing. The speakers are something like 29" from the side walls, 19" from the front walls (that's just where the bass became unmuddied),  and the speakers are out in the room. I'm at a loss if room treatment can't do anything. It images great. The sound stage is cool, and man, that center image is perfectly focused.

JWL.GIK

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #4 on: 23 Aug 2017, 01:53 pm »
Yes, it is a room treatment thing, in the sense that you have a (mostly) untreated room, there is no such thing as a perfect room, and every room can be improved.  :thumb:

There are several ways to go about evaluating and treating this space. First off, if you wish to use GIK products, feel free to contact me and I can work with you one on one to maximize results within your budget.

That said, let's take a look at some of the issues there. First off is placement, and there are a number of setup strategies you can use. Here is ours, with a bit more detail on speaker placement here. The best way to go is to try a few setups and do some testing, either informal listening tests or actual room measurement with something like REW. This will also give you a clear "before" picture of your room, to show us where we need to make improvements.

There are 2 basic strategies I'd start with. First is bass trapping, which will be very important in a small, square room. This will level out the frequency response from 20-20k, and also reduce ringing or resonances common in small rooms like this.

Second is absorbing early reflections on the side walls, ceiling, and also probably the rear wall behind your head on the couch. This will help with the stereo image and soundstage, improve intelligibility, and reduce listener fatigue.

It's no surprise you are having an emotional/anxious response.... that's what music is for at the end of the day, yeah? But in a room like this, it's confusing to listen in because all the reflections are very early in time (because sound doesn't have very far to travel). So our ears are hearing basically the same sound from many locations, ie, first direct from the speakers, then all the reflections coming from various surfaces. It's a psychoacoustic jumbled mess, and our brains don't like it.

But don't worry.... we can certainly make things better using the above general strategies. And as I said I can work with you to determine the best treatments for your room and your budget if you wish to use GIK products.  :thumb:

brother love

Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #5 on: 23 Aug 2017, 02:30 pm »
JLM is right on the money. A nearfield room set-up would improve things greatly. Cardas Audio is a great resource for this:
http://www.cardas.com/room_setup_near_field.php
http://www.cardas.com/room_setup_main.php

Experiment. Pulling your couch/ chair away from the back wall would likely help a lot. Applying draperies to your windows could help if your are getting some glare/ harshness to the sound. Put a rug down between your speakers & listening position. If you don't have draperies or rugs handy, use some blankets as temporary substitutes at test areas to see if improvements are made.

After these no-cost/ cheap measures, then consider sound panels to improve things even more. GIK Acoustics has some excellent research material on their site to help learn the basics: http://www.gikacoustics.com/basics-room-setup-acoustic-panels-bass-traps/

Another good source:
http://realtraps.com/art_room-setup.htm
http://realtraps.com/modecalc.htm
 
I have done many of the things mentioned as well as added a GIK Acoustics room kit, & it makes for much improved sound.
« Last Edit: 23 Aug 2017, 04:47 pm by brother love »

EVOLVIST

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #6 on: 23 Aug 2017, 05:21 pm »
JLM is right on the money. A nearfield room set-up would improve things greatly. Cardas Audio is a great resource for this:
http://www.cardas.com/room_setup_near_field.php
http://www.cardas.com/room_setup_main.php

Experiment. Pulling your couch/ chair away from the back wall would likely help a lot. Applying draperies to your windows could help if your are getting some glare/ harshness to the sound. Put a rug down between your speakers & listening position. If you don't have draperies or rugs handy, use some blankets as temporary substitutes at test areas to see if improvements are made.

After these no-cost/ cheap measures, then consider sound panels to improve things even more. GIK Acoustics has some excellent research material on their site to help learn the basics: http://www.gikacoustics.com/basics-room-setup-acoustic-panels-bass-traps/

Another good source:
http://realtraps.com/art_room-setup.htm
http://realtraps.com/modecalc.htm
 
I have done many of the things mentioned as well as added a GIK Acoustics room kit, & it makes for much improved sound.

I have moved my seating around, but the results were always the same. I mean the really how could it be much different than where I was seated before when the speakers on hand are not designed for near field listening?

As I said it my previous post, I have set these speakers up with a very exact methodology where the bass sounds neither plonky, nor boomy, nor muddy. The center image is crystal clear.

Now, if we're saying that I abandon full range speakers for near field listening, then we're talking a totally different philosophy with me buying monitors, maybe a sub, and we've reached the realm of SQ and/or dynamic compromise, yes? I mean, I'll never be able to really feel Mahler or Metallica in a near field rig, or am I wrong? That concerns me. What small speakers are going to be able to give me all of that? Moreover, wouldn't I need to have the speakers that I'm going to keep to analyze my room? My speaker choice is obviously in a state of flux if that's the case.

So, yeah, I'm reading up on all of this. Thank you for the links. At the same time I feel as though I've gone down a rabbit hole. How could these huge Legacy Focus SE speakers sound great in a 10x10x8 treated room? That seems to kick against the brick of the concept of near field listening. *sigh*

I'm going to email James.

Thanks so much.

ebag4

Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #7 on: 23 Aug 2017, 05:40 pm »
I don't buy into the small speakers for small rooms.  I have a small dedicated room (see below) and get great sound.



I am running these speakers:





What I have found is that OB bass does not load the room like boxed bass, I get clear articulate bass without boom.  Treatments helped with this room.

With that said, although I am getting great sound, I don't know if better sound can be had in a larger space.  I am currently considering moving to a larger room, but if I have to stay with this room I will still be happy with the sound.  Of course, YMMV.

Best,
Ed


brother love

Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #8 on: 23 Aug 2017, 06:02 pm »
I have moved my seating around, but the results were always the same. I mean the really how could it be much different than where I was seated before when the speakers on hand are not designed for near field listening?

As I said it my previous post, I have set these speakers up with a very exact methodology where the bass sounds neither plonky, nor boomy, nor muddy. The center image is crystal clear.

Now, if we're saying that I abandon full range speakers for near field listening, then we're talking a totally different philosophy with me buying monitors, maybe a sub, and we've reached the realm of SQ and/or dynamic compromise, yes? I mean, I'll never be able to really feel Mahler or Metallica in a near field rig, or am I wrong? That concerns me. What small speakers are going to be able to give me all of that? Moreover, wouldn't I need to have the speakers that I'm going to keep to analyze my room? My speaker choice is obviously in a state of flux if that's the case.

So, yeah, I'm reading up on all of this. Thank you for the links. At the same time I feel as though I've gone down a rabbit hole. How could these huge Legacy Focus SE speakers sound great in a 10x10x8 treated room? That seems to kick against the brick of the concept of near field listening. *sigh*

I'm going to email James.

Thanks so much.

What was the room dimensions & material construction of your previous set-up? Think of this room or any room like you are adding another speaker. It can add nulls/ peaks in frequency response, & change the personality of the sound by adding boominess, suck-out, glare in mid frequencies, etc.. So your previous set-up may not matter so much for this different environment.

I have full range transmission line speakers with very similar frequency response range to your speakers, & it sounds great nearfield. Try it & see. If you don't like it, move it back to whatever suits you. Speaker placement & listening position have a huge impact to the sound, but so does the interaction with the room. Measurements with mic & REW software more clearly show how all this interacts, but it is going down a rabbit hole for sure.

EVOLVIST

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #9 on: 23 Aug 2017, 06:50 pm »
What was the room dimensions & material construction of your previous set-up? Think of this room or any room like you are adding another speaker. It can add nulls/ peaks in frequency response, & change the personality of the sound by adding boominess, suck-out, glare in mid frequencies, etc.. So your previous set-up may not matter so much for this different environment.

I have full range transmission line speakers with very similar frequency response range to your speakers, & it sounds great nearfield. Try it & see. If you don't like it, move it back to whatever suits you. Speaker placement & listening position have a huge impact to the sound, but so does the interaction with the room. Measurements with mic & REW software more clearly show how all this interacts, but it is going down a rabbit hole for sure.

My previous room was our parlor, which is like 14x23 with this huge vaulted ceiling. I'm not even sure of the height. Lots of furniture, a hutch, two sofas and a fireplace. I'm actually the one who mentioned it to my wife that I don't want speakers in our sitting room. Now that I'm out I can't go back. Heh.

So yeah, fair enough, I will try a 5x5x5 triangle tonight, basically placing myself in the middle of the room.

Very interesting Ebag4's setup.

DaveC113

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #10 on: 23 Aug 2017, 07:11 pm »
I don't buy into the small speakers for small rooms. 


+1...  if you have a way to adjust the roll-off via port tuning or DSP to match the room it's not a problem. The thought that you can only have a compromised mini-system in a small room is misguided imo.


DaveC113

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #11 on: 23 Aug 2017, 07:13 pm »
My previous room was our parlor, which is like 14x23 with this huge vaulted ceiling. I'm not even sure of the height. Lots of furniture, a hutch, two sofas and a fireplace. I'm actually the one who mentioned it to my wife that I don't want speakers in our sitting room. Now that I'm out I can't go back. Heh.

So yeah, fair enough, I will try a 5x5x5 triangle tonight, basically placing myself in the middle of the room.

Very interesting Ebag4's setup.

At least get your LP further away from the back wall, this is a problem even with absorption behind the seat... 5ft might be a bit small but worth experimenting with...

EVOLVIST

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #12 on: 23 Aug 2017, 07:22 pm »
Do you have to decide the speakers that you are going to use in your room to get the best out of room treatment, or do you just make sure that problems with a near square room like mine are fixed, so that whatever you put in there should sound great?

DaveC113

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #13 on: 23 Aug 2017, 07:34 pm »
Do you have to decide the speakers that you are going to use in your room to get the best out of room treatment, or do you just make sure that problems with a near square room like mine are fixed, so that whatever you put in there should sound great?

IMO, yes.

EVOLVIST

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #14 on: 23 Aug 2017, 07:44 pm »
IMO, yes.

Hmmm... The speakers I have on order are a bit bigger than the ones I have now, though not by too much. 5'3"H x 10" W x 15" D.

What a conundrum.

timind

Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #15 on: 24 Aug 2017, 02:05 am »
Here I go again.

My room is a perfect 12x12x8 square and I have the best sound I've ever gotten from my system in it. I did this with a diagonal speaker set up after much trial with standard prescribed methods. I got the idea from a thread on another forum. The thread referenced an article on the Decware site: http://www.decware.com/paper14.htm.

I do have GIK bass traps in two corners and absorption in various places. I recommend you read the article and on a rainy weekend move your speakers around. The three dimensional depth I hear is really something.

Early B.

Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #16 on: 24 Aug 2017, 03:29 am »
You're perceiving your room as though it's a problem. All of us have a room and none of them are ideal. So what? You should be thankful that you have a dedicated room for your system. And don't even entertain the thought selling off your equipment or going smaller.

Positioning will solve most of your problems, and that's free, but it will take a lot of experimenting. Start by preparing for the arrival of your custom speakers by making the room more appealing with thick curtains, an 8'x10' rug, customized pictures that also serve as room treatment, etc. If the room looks and "feels" sterile, that's what your music will sound like no matter what you do.

 

gregfisk

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #17 on: 24 Aug 2017, 04:57 am »
Glen has stated that thick curtains have almost no effect and don't absorb anything, which makes since to me. I'm not sure why so many people recommend them other than they are good for making it dark.

I was in my friends room the other day and he has large speakers and about the same size room as you. He also has about the same amount invested in his system, probably more. He has GIK room treatment "not a ton" and is using the EQ settings in Roon to even out the frequencies at his listening position. When you have a room that is small you really don't need to worry about how it sounds anywhere but your listening position IMO. So the downside of adjusting the sound with EQ. isn't as much of an issue. At least that's what I observed when I was there.

I don't know if he wants to chime in or not but his system is outstanding. Of course you will have some restrictions with sound staging because of size.

Don't sell your gear or sell your room short. You can make it sound amazing, I promise.

Greg

EVOLVIST

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #18 on: 24 Aug 2017, 06:30 am »
You're perceiving your room as though it's a problem. All of us have a room and none of them are ideal. So what? You should be thankful that you have a dedicated room for your system. And don't even entertain the thought selling off your equipment or going smaller.

Good points, but in this case I wouldn't be bellyaching if I didn't have a real adverse psychical reaction to what's going on in the room.

I've had very sensitive ears my whole life. I wouldn't say that I'm "golden eared;" nevertheless, I have ears really built for this audio game. It's been a real blessing, but in this room what a curse!

I'll be speaking with James at GIK tomorrow.

EVOLVIST

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Re: Getting Wiggy Without Room Treatment!
« Reply #19 on: 24 Aug 2017, 06:48 am »
Here I go again.

My room is a perfect 12x12x8 square and I have the best sound I've ever gotten from my system in it. I did this with a diagonal speaker set up after much trial with standard prescribed methods. I got the idea from a thread on another forum. The thread referenced an article on the Decware site: http://www.decware.com/paper14.htm.

I do have GIK bass traps in two corners and absorption in various places. I recommend you read the article and on a rainy weekend move your speakers around. The three dimensional depth I hear is really something.

Cool article. Steve is practically a legend.

Do you happen to have pics of your room?  No bother if you don't. I was curious in how your room looks.