First Venture into Room Treatments...

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First Venture into Room Treatments...
« on: 19 Apr 2020, 01:25 am »
Since yesterday afternoon or so, I've been actively researching something I've never bothered with before, treating my room which is said to be more effective than swapping equipment, which I can completely understand.

Naturally, the first company I looked at is GIK Acoustics. I was prepared to be shocked at the prices of the various panels and such, and I was, but shocked in a different way... Shocked at how affordable their products are! Granted, they're not bargain basement cheap, but they're certainly not expensive either. Think of them price-wise to a pair of decent interconnect upgrades, and more than likely much larger sound improvements than those new interconnects.

So anyway, after looking around on GIK's site, I went ahead and filled out their "Free Advice" form and submitted it with a set of pictures of my current 11.5' x 15.5' x 8' room setup. One thing I forgot to mention on that form was the fact that this is an old house, so all of the walls and ceiling are plaster, which obviously is harder than regular drywall. But I did mention the wood floors and the fact that I put down a 6' x 8' shag area rug to help reduce/eliminate those first reflections off of the floor, which it did quite well. That and that I have IsoAcoustic ISO-200 subwoofer isolators under the subs which definitely helped clean and tighten up the bass.

I run open baffle loudspeakers (GR Research X-Statik's) and dual subs. Surprisingly, everything sounds pretty darn good, especially after adding the area rug, but there's still just that last 10% that I want to chase down. I still have minor imaging, sound staging and phasing issues which I can hear as I move a foot or so forwards or backwards in my listening position. Some of it sounds a little bit like out of phase echo. And as for bass, I sit in a bit of a null. It's a little quieter and weaker where I sit, but move a foot forwards or backwards, the bass gets a little stronger and possibly a little deeper, but not boomy.

Again, I've never dealt with room treatments before, but one thing I picked up on pretty quickly is that behind the speakers, I would want absorption/diffusive panels to still get the benefits of the rear wave of the open baffle loudspeakers. But other than that, I'll leave that up to the ones in the know. 

Here's the pictures that I submitted...


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Re: First Venture into Room Treatments...
« Reply #1 on: 19 Apr 2020, 12:02 pm »
Yes the room is the second most important A/V component (after speakers).  Congrats on coming to this realization.  But what issue/probalem are you trying to solve?  Most room related sonic issues are bass related.

Suggest reading Floyd Toole's "Sound Reproduction" 3rd edition the consummate audiophile guide to learn how speakers/subs behave in-room.  It the book Toole points out that virtually every room has bass peaks/dips (up to 30 dB! which we acclimate to but is still "wrong") and his solution is to use carefully distributed subs (3 or 4) around the room.  With your setup all the bass is generated from the end of the room you'll get huge peaks and dips.  The analogy he gives is moving your hand slowly back and forth in a shallow bathtub of water and watching the waves hit the end, then bounce back until they hit the next wave where they'll either double up, cancel, or otherwise interfere with each other. 

So recommend reading his book first, then measure the room via Room Eq Wizard (REW) or Dirac with a calibrated USB microphone.  You'll probably find peaks/dips at 73 and 98 Hz based on your primary room dimensions.  Diffusion can't help (those nasty laws of physics limit the effect based on the depth of the panel and the size of sound waves down to roughly 1100 Hz).  So move/add subs, then add absorption treatments.  I have (10) GIK 244 panels, (6) are full range and (4) are limited (bass) range.  Frankly they're much more effective in other rooms than my near ideal room (8ft x 13ft x 21ft) with (3) subs.  The limited range panels are straddle the front corners with the others at first wall reflection points. 

Finally tweak with REW/Dirac but realize that physical issues are best dealt with via physical means.  Using room correction software is analogous to the room being like a balloon.  Squeezing it to get the right response at one location will cause it to bloat out everywhere else.  And be sure to avoid trying to boost narrow dips as they can't be heard anyway and the boost (say 20 dB) requires 100 times the wattage (those nasty laws of physics again) which can easily cause your amp to clip and damage your speakers/subs.


Re: First Venture into Room Treatments...
« Reply #2 on: 19 Apr 2020, 03:18 pm »
Good pics!  That's a nice space for adding acoustical treatments--Simple box-shaped room.  Easy access to the corners.


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Re: First Venture into Room Treatments...
« Reply #3 on: 19 Apr 2020, 04:03 pm »
GIK's treatments made a huge difference in my room. I still need to add some more, but the bulk of it's done. I'm doing it in stages.

Don't be afraid to mess around with the 3d room planner on their website. They'll mock it up with the recommended treatments and send a new link back to you.


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Re: First Venture into Room Treatments...
« Reply #4 on: 19 Apr 2020, 07:57 pm »
Smart choice to work on your room treatments.  I did not have the money to afford GIK.  Playing test tracks and moving along the walls & floor allowed me to identify and find areas where the bass was clearly different so I knew I had to treat my room.  Much reading and research led me to install traps at all the Tri corners, absorption behind the speakers and the primary listening position. Using the mirror trick panels added at first reflection.  Lastly, changing my subs to asymmetric positioning with one 3/4 down the long wall and one on the short wall with delay & shift correctly set finally did the trick.  I envy those who have the resources to bring in the professionals and have sonic space measurements. My planars behave similarly to your speakers so I think you are on a good path. Adding a little at a time kept me from over treatment which is a fairly common error apparently.   :thumb:/