Dead sounding room

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davros

Dead sounding room
« on: 7 Dec 2014, 09:51 am »
Hi

I've been struggling with getting a live dynamic sound in my audio room. Since positing a few years ago about a problem with imaging, that seems to have settles down except for the left hand side (closest to the curtains) have less clarity and top end, presumably from the curtain.

I am thinking of pulling up the carpet and going with hardwood floors as an attempt to bring some life back into the room, make things brighter if you will.

It's not a electronics, cabling or speaker issue as I have had this problem with numerous set ups and know its a room acoustic issue.

My speakers are Magico S5's with Audia Flight pre/Power (not in picture yet), Esoteric sacd player and Purist Audio Design cables.

Room dimensions are 6m length, 4.75m width and 3.3m high.

Speakers are placed along the width of the room and are 1650mm from front wall and 1050mm from side wall and about 2700mm apart.

My sitting position is 1560mm from the rear wall, with 1 x 2 seat fabric recliner dead centre and a 1 seat recliner either side.

I have a window on the left hand side wall (it encroaches across 1st and 2nd reflection points) and solid brick wall on the right hand side. I have 2 Superchunky bass traps in the rear wall corners. Room is carpeted. (I've attached some photos for your perusal.)

Would appreciate any ideas you might have in how to solve the problem.

Thanks

Dave












« Last Edit: 11 Mar 2018, 01:05 pm by davros »

FullRangeMan

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Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #1 on: 7 Dec 2014, 11:03 am »
If both spaekers cables are the same I would say the prob is that black box looking as a sub benind the right speaker.
It seems that box is blocking the sound waves to form the soundstage.

TJHUB

Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #2 on: 7 Dec 2014, 12:21 pm »
You have a couple of problems as I see it.  First, try your corner traps behind the speakers.  It will improve clarity, imaging, etc. as there is a tremendous amount of acoustic energy in those corners.  Second, and likely your biggest issue, is your left wall is dampened much more than your right wall.  The right wall has all kinds of reflections bouncing off of it causing likely causing your issue.  Then more treatments on the wall behind the speakers, and the middle of the wall behind the listening position.

I worked on my room for a good month.  I think it sounds perfect now.  I have no treatments in the corners behind the listening position as they did nearly nothing.  The treatments behind my speakers are what makes things work, but I need to replace the black ones with gray panels.  On the left wall is a large window treated with a cloth fabric vertical blind (works great), and the right side is a combination of my sectional couch and art panels.

Your sub is not an issue in its current location. 










davros

Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #3 on: 7 Dec 2014, 02:25 pm »
Thanks for the replies.
Could you tell me where you got those treatment panels from as they look great? Nice system.

I did also try opening the curtain and it made things worse unfortunately.

jimdgoulding

Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #4 on: 7 Dec 2014, 05:38 pm »
One corner is enclosed and the other, the one with the drape, I presume isn't.  You gotta make them the same.  Might try removing your present window and side wall coverings and see what happens if you haven't already.  Secondly, I believe that matching screens rather than loose fabric would give you the sense of proper balance.  Waveforms returning into your listening field should then be uniform.

TJHUB

Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #5 on: 7 Dec 2014, 05:47 pm »
Thanks for the replies.
Could you tell me where you got those treatment panels from as they look great? Nice system.

I did also try opening the curtain and it made things worse unfortunately.

Thanks.  All of my panels are from ATS Acoustics.  I provided the image for the art panels.  You will see my old room on their website. 

In what way did things get worse when you opened the curtain?

SoCalWJS

Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #6 on: 7 Dec 2014, 06:23 pm »
I would definitely check into room treatments. Corner traps as TJHUB suggested as well as first reflection point absorption and diffusion as needed.

I purchased some GIK acoustical and Diffusion panels and have been happy. Consider a consultation and then experiment.

Hipper

Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #7 on: 7 Dec 2014, 11:41 pm »
Firstly I agree with TJHUB in trying the bass traps in the corners behind the speakers. They do seem more effective there then behind the listener. If you need more, the front ceiling/wall corner is another good location.

Contrary to what TJHUB says, I think you get more reflections off the window (even with the curtain) then you do the wall. The evidence is that you hear more sounds outside the left speaker. For this reason I suggest you hang a glass covered picture or mirror temporarily at the first reflection point on the right side to see if it evens up the image and gives you those outside reflections too.

My understanding is that if you regularly hear sounds outside of the speakers it is due to side wall reflections (there are odd songs where phase issues can do the same - Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks is one). Some people (like me!) like these sidewall reflections and so don't have absorbent panels there. You could possibly use portable diffusors in these positions.

It is important to have speakers the same distance from your ears, as exact as you can get them. Centimetres matter here.

GIK do free on-line consultations, obviously with a view to selling stuff but their advice is genuine. I used this service and was very happy with their advice.

Glenn Kuras

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Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #8 on: 8 Dec 2014, 04:01 pm »
Quote
GIK do free on-line consultations, obviously with a view to selling stuff but their advice is genuine. I used this service and was very happy with their advice.

Great to hear it was helpful. We really do try to help each customer with which product and placement within your room.  The following is the link to the form.
http://www.gikacoustics.com/acoustic-advice/

Vapor Audio

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Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #9 on: 8 Dec 2014, 04:22 pm »
From my experience and what I can see in the pictures, I'd have high confidence in saying that your issue is almost certainly caused by the asymmetry in side wall reflection from left to right.  Those types of things can be measured, but assuming that's not an option here are some things you can try:

- Even out the reflections left/right.  We don't know if the left side is more live because of the glass albeit covered by a curtain, or if the curtain is thick enough to remove that issue and makes the right side more live.  Try hanging a similar curtain temporarily over the same area on the right side.  Also can go even further and put something glass/reflective behind that curtain on the right.  See if that new symmetry brings your center image into focus.
- Try moving your listening chair closer to the speakers.  The closer you are, the lower in amplitude relative to the first arrival (direct radiation from the speakers) that the reflection will be.  By them being lower in amplitude relative, it will make them less impactful.  If you move the chair closer, also add a bit more toe in.
- As a sanity check, change nothing but swap the left/right speaker cables.  See if anything changes. 
- Try putting pillows about a foot away from your left and right ears, to remove the impact of side walls.  Then also try just a pillow on right and left, see what happens to the stage.  Could also try one of the side chairs in the listening position, as it looks like their padded wings might be forward enough to somewhat 'isolate' your ears from the side walls.
- As mentioned by others, I believe those corner traps will be more beneficial behind the speakers than on the rear wall.  Although I expect that alone will have little impact. 
- You could even try moving the speakers to one of the side walls, since it appears by doing so you would have more left/right reflected field symmetry.
- Have your ears tested, seriously ...

Basically it's just scientific method.  The issues is soundstage asymmetry, understand what would cause that, and then conduct a series of experiments to determine what is the root cause.  My guess would be that the right wall is more live than the left.  Once you determine the problem, it's easily dealt with.

Wayner

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Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #10 on: 8 Dec 2014, 04:49 pm »
Firstly I agree with TJHUB in trying the bass traps in the corners behind the speakers. They do seem more effective there then behind the listener. If you need more, the front ceiling/wall corner is another good location.

Contrary to what TJHUB says, I think you get more reflections off the window (even with the curtain) then you do the wall. The evidence is that you hear more sounds outside the left speaker. For this reason I suggest you hang a glass covered picture or mirror temporarily at the first reflection point on the right side to see if it evens up the image and gives you those outside reflections too.

My understanding is that if you regularly hear sounds outside of the speakers it is due to side wall reflections (there are odd songs where phase issues can do the same - Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks is one). Some people (like me!) like these sidewall reflections and so don't have absorbent panels there. You could possibly use portable diffusors in these positions.

It is important to have speakers the same distance from your ears, as exact as you can get them. Centimetres matter here.

GIK do free on-line consultations, obviously with a view to selling stuff but their advice is genuine. I used this service and was very happy with their advice.

+1 on this statement. I have a nice rectangular room in which I listen to vinyl. I listen in near field. I share the listening area with my spouse, so neither one of us is in the perfect position. A compromise certainly. I too, have a window on my left side and a sheet-rock wall on my right side. To fix the problem, I have hung a large, glass portrait on the right side, and it has brought the room's acoustics back to symmetry.

So, I'd say  you have to pick your poison. Either damp the crap out of your window side, or put another "window" on your right side. At least, the room will be symmetrical, reflection boundary wise and that is your problem......

jimtranr

Re: Soundstage/imaging definition problem
« Reply #11 on: 8 Dec 2014, 10:14 pm »
I, too, have an asymmetry problem--an opening on the left side (along with an opening in the side wall near the first reflection point), wall and window on the right, as well as the proximity of equipment cabinetry--in a very lived-in, not-ideal listening room. It created an imbalance, with the left sounding open, wide, and deep; the right sounding "squashed" in soundstage width and depth. Here (with the help of GIK consultation) is what I did to fix it.



The end result: Sonic balance and symmetry, including equally-perceived width and depth, left-to-right, from the listening position about 10 feet from the speakers.

davros

Re: Dead sounding room
« Reply #12 on: 11 Mar 2018, 01:07 pm »
Hi All

Been a few years since I posted this but have changed things for the better but am now hoping for some ideas on how to treat my dead sounding room. (Please read me first post)

Many thanks

Dave

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Re: Dead sounding room
« Reply #13 on: 12 Mar 2018, 01:31 am »
Did you since add any absorption panels on the side walls, etc.? If you want to add some energy back into the room, I would go for diffusion panels.

In my small 12' x 15' room, placing absorption at all the first reflect spots, and bass traps in all 4 corners and across the back wall/ceiling really deadened the room. When one would walk in there, you could hear the "vacuum of space". :D

By adding QRD panels across the front wall, and BAD curved panels over the rear bass traps, the room now has a normal room feel, but the listening chair is still in the reflect free zone.

Hipper

Re: Dead sounding room
« Reply #14 on: 23 Mar 2018, 02:07 pm »
I've changed my views since my earlier post (post 7) where I said I prefer side wall reflections. I now prevent these.

I've added a lot more bass traps and positioned my speakers exactly according to 'The Thirds' rule - described here:

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

I also placed panel absorbers next to the speakers to prevent side wall reflections.

The deadness of my room is probably quite high. Measurements on Room EQ Wizard (REW) suggest I have a decay time of around 120ms compared to the normal recommendation of around 200ms.

All this has rewarded me with more detail and still an acceptable image.

I don't have any QRD diffusion panels in my room of 14' x 13' x 8'. I tried them but found they did more harm then good. I believe that is because such panels need to be six feet or so away from the listener to give benefits.