Is a square room an absolute non-starter?

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tonyptony

Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« on: 28 Feb 2020, 01:46 pm »
I know that in general it is preferred not to have a square sound room, but in looking at houses over the course of well over a year I've been having a hard time finding something on the order of 1 to 1.625 to 2.5 or so dimensioned room - and big enough to support my speakers and gear. On the other hand I've found more than a few houses with a square "spare room" (bedroom, formal living room). In the latest case there's one with a 17x17 living room. Windows along part of the outside wall of course, but otherwise a space that could be considered. The question is - would I be putting myself at such a disadvantage due to the problems associated with a square room that I'd be better off to just keep looking?

Rusty Jefferson

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #1 on: 28 Feb 2020, 02:10 pm »
Any chance that room has 1, or maybe even 2 large doorways leading into it?  Bass may be less troublesome if it did. Worst case would be a square room that the door had to be closed to enjoy music.

Elizabeth

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #2 on: 28 Feb 2020, 02:19 pm »
I find that one can make a room work. Being square is just not perfect. Which is totally different than impossible.
Sadly IMO (of course) too many audiophiles think perfection is a requirement. Anything less anathema. Where the facts are that notion is complete b*llsheet.
So I say do not worry, just do what you can, and you will ENJOY THE MUSIC anyway. Even though some fellow audiophiles may swoon at the mere thought of a 'square' room.
One of the ideas for a really square room is to place the speakers on the diagonal, rather than on one wall.

JLM

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #3 on: 28 Feb 2020, 02:57 pm »
With creativity you can make a square room "un-square".  The biggest challenge is bass peaks/dips as the primary frequencies (which correspond to room width/length) will double up (in the case of a square room could be as much as 40 dB).  So add massive amounts of effective absorption on one wall (suggest GIK 244 panels) so it acoustically behaves like less of a square room and use carefully placed multiple subs (read Floyd Toole's "Sound Reproduction, the consummate audiophile primer to learn how speakers behave in-room).  To address higher frequencies try skewing the setup at say a 20 degree angle from one set of walls.  Experimentation is free.  As a last (not first) step apply DSP room correction.  As Earl Geddes says: "Fix physical problems by physical means."

In my 8ft x 13ft x 21ft room ten GIK 244 panels and 3 subs reduced primary bass peaks/dips by 2/3rd's and Dirac room correction can take care of the rest. 

bpape

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #4 on: 28 Feb 2020, 05:10 pm »
You can also set up on the diagonal if the room is big enough to not have you sitting in a corner.  You'll still want to use some bass absorption but at least you're not sitting in the width mode that is also the length mode.

JakeJ

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #5 on: 28 Feb 2020, 05:22 pm »
Agree with bpape.  I've had more than one challenging room over the years and setting up on the diagonal in a square-ish room has always worked best for me.

The room shape I dislike the most is an L-shaped space.

sunnydaze

Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #6 on: 28 Feb 2020, 06:46 pm »
Diagonal setup.....pull speakers toward listener as much as possible....move listener toward speakers as much as possible.  Basically a near field setup that takes the room out of play as much as possible.

Play around with toe-in and it will be a very immersive experience.  It can be holographic.   Be sure to get the "right" speakers.  This means not too large!  Stand-mounts will do it.  Add a sub later if you want more LF oomph.  With its low pass and output control you can fine tune the sub so it doesn't overpower the room the way a larger floorstander would because it gives no control over the LF.

This is exactly what I did with my modest 2nd system in a 10 x 10 x 8 foot room.   Super enjoyable.   In some ways moreso than my main rig that cost tons more.

That's the good thing about this situation....you will be so close you don't have to spend tons on the speakers like you would to energize a large room.

tonyptony

Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #7 on: 28 Feb 2020, 07:32 pm »
Thanks to all so far. I’ve already got my speakers - Von Schweikert Endeavor SE’s, which I’m not about to change. :) So they’re not too tall, not too wide, but according to the VSA gang like to see themselves about 18” from either sidewall to the speaker sides, and about 3’ from the front wall to the back of the speakers - as a starting point. Ideally a 13x20 or so room would be great, but I haven’t run across too many of those that are “separate rooms” - not a great room.

hi5harry

Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #8 on: 28 Feb 2020, 07:38 pm »
If the 17 ft. by 17 ft. room is you cave, then it's very possible. As some members have said, you need a fair amount of absorption and diffusion to make it work. My room is 18 ft. by 18 ft. and was ok from the beginning, but after adding some Realtraps and a LOT of diffusion I'm very happy with it. The only downside is it looks like a stereo cave, not a living room. The only other downside I can think of is I used to be able to listen to my music while I was working / cooking/ reading, etc. Now all my music is only in my cave. But having a cave is a wonderful thing!

eichlerera1

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #9 on: 29 Feb 2020, 04:52 am »
I use a 13' x 13' room.
I own Hales Signature Two Speakers which love a dead room.
Got tons of absorption and diffusion material on the walls and ceiling.
I have a tubed CD Player, Pre Amp and Mono Power Amps.

After MUCH trial and error, I picked tubes that are very crisp, tight & clear (Amperex/Siemens/JJ E34Ls)

Also have three subwoofers (which run at low volume levels)

Pulled speakers and listening chair 4-6 ft out from walls utilizing Near Field Listening.

Be prepared to spend some serious setup time!
It took me two years to get it right...

kach22i

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #10 on: 29 Feb 2020, 10:05 am »
A diagonal setup, I don't think that I've run across that before other than in a Home Theater or Family/Living Room.

Sounds worth trying.

Speaking as an architect in which half my business is residential, and majority of that is home additions, I can say there are quite a few people that purchase a home intending to do additions and or major renovations.

I do not really understand it, nor do I understand why they move out in about five years and do it all over again.

Keeps me in business.   8)

poseidonsvoice

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #11 on: 29 Feb 2020, 10:27 am »
You can also set up on the diagonal if the room is big enough to not have you sitting in a corner.  You'll still want to use some bass absorption but at least you're not sitting in the width mode that is also the length mode.

+1.

Best,
Anand.

Letitroll98

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #12 on: 29 Feb 2020, 12:17 pm »
+2 on the diagonal Tony.  I've had several diagonal setups with various speakers and the only thing that seemed consistent was it worked great with box speakers (Snell, PSB, Allison) but Maggie's didn't like it.  There's almost a total lack of early sidewall refraction as by it's nature those sound waves bounce around before getting to your ears.  You do want to keep the speakers well away from the corner behind them, but with 17² that shouldn't be an issue.   And contrary to long or short wall placement, having equipment racks, TV stands, other junk, between the speakers seems to help.  The speakers themselves were always placed proud of the racks which were further in toward the corner, but I'm guessing it broke up some early refractions.  Best of luck with the new home.

JLM

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #13 on: 29 Feb 2020, 12:31 pm »
Letitroll98,

Disagree about having "junk" between speakers.  Have always found that the "junk" blocks the soundstage, when against the wall, whether the speakers are close to the wall or well out.  Suggest what some audiophiles did decades ago - use amp stands (low single shelf "racks") for placing all the gear just off the floor. 

Letitroll98

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #14 on: 29 Feb 2020, 12:37 pm »
Only in corner placement JLM.  You made me a convert for long or short wall placement that lowboy racks or alternate walls for audio racks are best.

twitch54

Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #15 on: 29 Feb 2020, 01:30 pm »
A diagonal setup, I don't think that I've run across that before other than in a Home Theater or Family/Living Room.

George, given my constraints with my HT set up in my family room I was forced into such a set up and it can work. But as others have said, it is speaker, room treatment and seating position dependent. Luckily for the OP, while his room may be square, it's a good size square which helps.

« Last Edit: 29 Feb 2020, 07:31 pm by twitch54 »

twitch54

Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #16 on: 29 Feb 2020, 01:34 pm »
Only in corner placement JLM.  You made me a convert for long or short wall placement that lowboy racks or alternate walls for audio racks are best.

I agree with JLM, I want nothing within the 'triangle' (area between L/R speakers and my ears) for it will never help a soundstage.

tonyptony

Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #17 on: 29 Feb 2020, 01:47 pm »
I guess a flight down to FL is in order to look at this in person. :lol: Hopefully it’ll still be on the market while I’m getting over this cough.  :duh:

I had previously found a house that had a completely perfect looking 14x26 bonus room. The house was sold even before I could get my rump down there to see it.  :cry:

Letitroll98

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Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #18 on: 29 Feb 2020, 02:15 pm »
Will they let you on a plane with a cough or fever with the current health scare?

tonyptony

Re: Is a square room an absolute non-starter?
« Reply #19 on: 29 Feb 2020, 06:06 pm »
That hadn’t occurred to me. I hadn’t heard any restrictions of that sort.