Acoustic treatments over gear swapping

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Bingenito

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Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« on: 23 Mar 2022, 01:35 pm »
I performed a simple and free experiment of moving and removing GIK Corner CT Alpha Bass Traps. I have several in my room but removed the 2 on each slide (floor to wall corners), then moved those to the rear of the room and then back to the floor/ wall on each side.

If you do not have Acoustic treatments in your room and placement optimized you are really missing out. Just moving around 4 bass traps made more of a difference than any component swap. Now for me my original placement was optimal and I plan to add 2 more traps because I have them in another room.

What you immediately notice is soundstage scale and depth increase probably due to the scatter plates on these specific traps. It is a night and day difference and anyone could hear.

https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/corner-ct-alpha-bass-trap-absorber-diffusor/

Mr. Big

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #1 on: 23 Mar 2022, 01:48 pm »
Well said. Really your room makes the sound more so than gear. People chase their tails buying gear and then more gear and never take the time to spend less money than replacing gear to fix their poor-sounding room. It cheaper way by far as you state so well.





« Last Edit: 24 Mar 2022, 03:02 pm by Mr. Big »

Bingenito

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #2 on: 23 Mar 2022, 04:17 pm »
Yes at the risk of sounding judgmental towards fellow audiophiles... not taking care of your room is almost as bad as buying great gear and forgetting to buy music.

Once you have listened to a properly treated room (not "I hung 2 panels on 600sq ft of surface area") it is really hard to listen to anything in an untreated room. For some low cost or free upgrades that matter more than anything you can buy:

1.) Properly treat the room using professional advice (No, 3" deep blocks are not diffusers regardless of what we see on YouTube)
2.) Remove everything from in between speakers that is at the height of your midrange to taller
3.) Get speakers away from walls
4.) Symmetry matters

Mariusz Uszynski

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #3 on: 23 Mar 2022, 05:30 pm »
Amen to all of your 4 points BINGENITO.Before I purchased my acoustic panels, I have sent pictures and measurements of my hifi room to portugese company Vicoustic.Then they sent me blueprints of my room with layout of panels.When the first reflection panels and the corner bass traps were done, I was able to bring my gear into the room to try it out.The difference was like night and day.After that, I was able to finish the walls and ceiling without moving anything out.Does my room sound better?YES!!!Was it worthed it?HELL YEAH!!!!!!!!

Bingenito

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #4 on: 23 Mar 2022, 06:28 pm »
Exactly. I did the same with Mike at GIK. Sent him photos, floor plan how my gear was going to be oriented and he gave me options from... at least do this, middle ground and what was ideal. I started with the middle ground and was so taken back that I went ahead with the full boat solution. No regrets at all and I agree with you and your experience 100%.

It is actually fascinating the different it makes to an already high resolution system.

Mariusz Uszynski

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #5 on: 23 Mar 2022, 06:38 pm »
Exactly. I did the same with Mike at GIK. Sent him photos, floor plan how my gear was going to be oriented and he gave me options from... at least do this, middle ground and what was ideal. I started with the middle ground and was so taken back that I went ahead with the full boat solution. No regrets at all and I agree with you and your experience 100%.

It is actually fascinating the different it makes to an already high resolution system.
 
                NO REGRETS :icon_twisted: :icon_twisted: NO COMPROMISE :icon_twisted: :icon_twisted:

Tangram

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #6 on: 24 Mar 2022, 12:36 am »
Room treatments are the audio equivalent of discovering the treasure of the Sierra Madre! I completely understand that lots of audiophiles use rooms that can't be festooned with bass traps and skyline diffusers. Many have their systems set up in Great Rooms that are used by the family for lots of things other than listening to music. These rooms often have a lot of windows that wreak havoc with the sound. But audiophiles need to know that if they are stuck with such a room, that this will be the number one limiting factor in how their system will sound. In fact, putting expensive high-end gear in a room like this is generally a waste of money.

Tyson

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #7 on: 24 Mar 2022, 01:23 am »
The nice thing is that nowadays there are many stylish options to choose from when it comes to room treatment.  And remember, 'some' treatment is better than 'no' treatment.

dB Cooper

Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #8 on: 24 Mar 2022, 01:31 am »
Despite the consensus here that a crappy room and/or setup will limit the listening results af any system placed in it, a glance through the photo gallery will reveal many systems where this basic wisdom was ignored and large obvious problems were relegated to back-burner status while money was spent on tweaks. Solve the big problems first. These include both the room and setup as well as any and all transducers in your signal path.


In the early days of broadcasting, they would sometimes say "So-and-so has a great face for radio." Likewise, many rooms have excellent acoustics for headphones.

dB Cooper

Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #9 on: 24 Mar 2022, 01:36 am »
The nice thing is that nowadays there are many stylish options to choose from when it comes to room treatment.  And remember, 'some' treatment is better than 'no' treatment.


And hi-buck 'audiophile' accessories aren't the only options. Hanging quilts and installing acoustic wallpaper (among other strategies) help at relatively low cost.

Tyson

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #10 on: 24 Mar 2022, 01:44 am »

And hi-buck 'audiophile' accessories aren't the only options. Hanging quilts and installing acoustic wallpaper (among other strategies) help at relatively low cost.

DIY is also an option.  That's what I did. 

JLM

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #11 on: 24 Mar 2022, 11:47 am »
Size, shape of room and isolation is critical too.  17 years ago I included a listening room in the basement of the house we built.  Followed Fibonacci ratios: 8ft x 13ft x 21ft and insulated it well, in a very practical approach.  My only downfall was using recessed light cans in the ceiling.  Even with 12" of fiberglass batts in the ceiling I still hear footsteps/etc. from above, but overall it's spooky quiet in there.  From there added 10 GIK 2ft x 4ft 244 panels, which frankly in my room do little good compared to other rooms.  Six of the panels are "full range" at all the first reflection points, four panels are "bass traps" straddling the front corners (moving them around makes little difference).  Then added 3 subwoofers in semi-random locations.  With all that tried adding bass DSP a couple of times to little effect. 

Other significant points includes the setup.  I use mid-field with loudspeakers 5ft from front wall, 2ft from side walls, and 7ft from the listening position aimed to cross 2ft in front of the listening position as well as proper loudspeaker design.  Proper design opens a whole can of worms that I won't get into but will say that I commissioned my loudspeakers 18 years ago and they suit me quite well.  Another factor to setup is the amount of stuff you have between the loudspeakers.  Soundstage cannot penetrate solid masses, so I minimize what I have between while keeping the wires short.

As always I recommend reading Floyd Toole's "Sound Reproduction" (either/both editions) to learn how rooms inherently create huge (up to 30 dB) bass peaks/dips and the advantages of using multiple subwoofers. 

Early B.

Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #12 on: 24 Mar 2022, 12:29 pm »
I completely understand that lots of audiophiles use rooms that can't be festooned with bass traps and skyline diffusers. Many have their systems set up in Great Rooms that are used by the family for lots of things other than listening to music. These rooms often have a lot of windows that wreak havoc with the sound. But audiophiles need to know that if they are stuck with such a room, that this will be the number one limiting factor in how their system will sound. In fact, putting expensive high-end gear in a room like this is generally a waste of money.

I'm in this group, but I wouldn't go as far as saying that high-end gear in a non-treated room is a waste of money. You gotta work with what you have and better gear sounds better, regardless of room treatment. If you're unable to use room treatment, then optimizing your setup becomes even more important, and that's free or low cost. Another option is open baffle speakers which reduce the need for room treatment.

The biggest violation I see among audiophiles are speakers that are too close to the front wall, probably due to space constraints and spousal influence. I'm sure these guys have heard it a thousand times to move their speakers into the room, but they don't/won't/can't do it. 
 

Bingenito

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #13 on: 24 Mar 2022, 01:15 pm »
I would say that in an AVG untreated room gear quality matters to a point and you sort of hit the limit of the sound that can be produced much sooner than in a treated room.

Not speaking in absolutes here:
In the past I have tested a scaled down version of my primary system in my main living area which is an open floor plan, very typical for most homes built inside the last 10yrs. The system sounded good after I got a 10ft area rug over the hardwoods and moved more furniture in there to get rid of the echo as much as possible. I brought that system upstairs and it was so much better that it was hard to believe.

From that experiment I would go as far as to say that a modest system in a fully treated room with properly setup speakers could outperform a much more expensive system in an AVG untreated room.

- The differences in the bass articulation and note distinction is massive (as you point out open baffle helps here for sure)
- Soundstage is MUCH more focused in a treated room especially compared to rooms with windows, hard surface side tables, coffee tables, fire places, etc.
- The entire top end becomes more balanced and sounds like the SPL is lower even at the same volume so you can turn it up higher than 75db and not feel like you are being driven out of the room. To that end we hunt for blacker backgrounds and in a quiet room the contrast of speaker and room create the blackest background possible. Quiet is quiet and explosive sound, explodes as you should hear it.

As it relates to Spatial X4s I can say that dipole bass still benefits from a treated room however even as I remove or move bass traps I am not getting lumpy bass response as I have with bass reflex designs in the same room. Meaning it does appear that for bass control alone you can get away with much less treatment. I still hear benefit from controlling reflections which really give you pin point imaging. Those treatments are much smaller and less costly so good news for Spatial users/ owners.

ric

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #14 on: 24 Mar 2022, 01:57 pm »
All true, yes, and don't forget to tell your wives when you go out to a concert hall, "you see those things, there, and there and there, those are for improving the quality of sound--I've been thinking about getting some of those" :lol:
   Of course those with man-caves, like myself need not apply. But sometimes it is a bit frightening to look at pictures of peoples rooms and cringe at the asymmetry, the tiny spaces, etc!

Bingenito

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #15 on: 24 Mar 2022, 04:03 pm »
Sadly it is a guilty pleasure of mine. Love the pics of the $60k speakers stuck 4ft apart with a TV or furniture in the middle all recessed into an alcove, nice and flush with the wall  :roll:

Dennis at Acoustic Fields has a Don't Do this video series and it is epic. Entertaining and you can learn from it all at the same time. Audiophile version of Reality TV!

AllanS

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #16 on: 25 Mar 2022, 01:31 am »
  For the first time ever I’m able to get the speakers away from the front and side walls.  I know I have to treat and there are still plenty of things wrong with the room but I was still a bit bummed by how little improvement good spacing made.  I wasn’t expecting perfection but was hoping speaker placement alone would do more than it did.
 On bass alone it was very instructive to listen to the room resonate to a stand up bass track on Paul McGowan’s Audiophile Setup guide.

forky

Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #17 on: 12 Oct 2022, 03:17 pm »

As it relates to Spatial X4s I can say that dipole bass still benefits from a treated room however even as I remove or move bass traps I am not getting lumpy bass response as I have with bass reflex designs in the same room. Meaning it does appear that for bass control alone you can get away with much less treatment. I still hear benefit from controlling reflections which really give you pin point imaging. Those treatments are much smaller and less costly so good news for Spatial users/ owners.

Interesting - I just saw this after I posted my new thread on bass traps....

mick wolfe

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Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #18 on: 12 Oct 2022, 04:30 pm »
Well said. Really your room makes the sound more so than gear. People chase their tails buying gear and then more gear and never take the time to spend less money than replacing gear to fix their poor-sounding room. It cheaper way by far as you state so well.




Great room BTW :thumb:. Before concentrating on room treatments, both of my listening rooms were quite honestly a sonic disaster. No amount of equipment swapping ( regardless of money spent) could have as positive effect as the various room treatments I've used over the years. All tuned my ear using both diffusion and absorption panels. And of course, panels and open baffle types require a somewhat different approach than conventional box speakers, but the results can be every bit as positive.

JayR

Re: Acoustic treatments over gear swapping
« Reply #19 on: 12 Oct 2022, 05:19 pm »
I was just reading up on room acoustics for our new space and came across this article from Stereophile. It’s an interesting read.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/nwaa-labs-measurement-beyond-atomic-level