The room, the room, the room.

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Danny Richie

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The room, the room, the room.
« on: 25 Aug 2018, 07:04 pm »
I was blessed to have a nice sized listening room for many years. It was well treated with absorbers and diffusers so the response was very neutral. It also allowed me to pull speaker 6 to 8 feet out into the room and create a very layered and transparent sound stage.

Regardless of which of my speakers were being used in the system, it allowed me to hear even slight differences in anything very easily. Cables of any kind could easily be compared using my system. And sometimes when comparing cables, and many other things, the differences would be in image depth, sound stage width or height, sound stage layering, and space between things in the sound stage. Sometimes variances in those areas could be quite dramatic. Even in USB cables there are things in those areas could easily be picked up on.

Well, since moving to our new much larger location I have yet to build out the new listening room. I have a space allocated for it that isn't as wide as I'd like. It is only 16 feet wide. But the depth is 38 feet. This will be a fully treated and dedicated room from one end to the other.

In the mean time I set up my same system in my office as a desk top system. My office area is 30 feet by 30 feet. I even set up some N1 mini monitors on some 12" stands and moved them out from the wall. I have heard these speakers with the same system in my big room many times. With the help of a servo sub these little mini monitors are really good across the board. They really shine on stands well out into the room. Everything you could ask for was there in spades. People freaked out at how good these speakers sounded in my listening room.

Now as a desk top system things just aren't the same. They still sound really good. But that deep three dimensional and layered sound stage that they once produced is just not there in the same way. If I were to swap in cables that effected the sounds stage depth, layering, or space between instruments it might go unnoticed now.

The large treated room that I once used so often allowed me to take my designs to higher levels. It allowed me to hear differences easily that otherwise might go unnoticed at all. What a valuable tool that room was. I can't wait to build out the next one.

Don't underestimate how important your room is.


2bigears

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #1 on: 25 Aug 2018, 07:35 pm »
 :D Location Location Location ,    Ha.  The room is the largest element in the mix.  That's why I'm thinking of a one or two grand room correction device of some sort.   Does this make sense with the latest greatest electronic music shaper ?  Why spend 10 grand on new speakers when your room sucks.  Keep what you got if they ain't 1/2 bad and buy a music room shaper ?  Thinking out loud with limited experience if none on these devices ? But they do look interesting. Some have a dac and pre built right in.  Good lord.  What Am I missing ?     :D

Mike in NC

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #2 on: 26 Aug 2018, 03:48 am »
:D Location Location Location, Ha.  The room is the largest element in the mix.  That's why I'm thinking of a one or two grand room correction device of some sort.   Does this make sense with the latest greatest electronic music shaper ?  Why spend 10 grand on new speakers when your room sucks.  Keep what you got if they ain't 1/2 bad and buy a music room shaper ?  Thinking out loud with limited experience if none on these devices ? But they do look interesting. Some have a dac and pre built right in.  Good lord.  What Am I missing ?     :D
Regarding spending $10k when the room sucks, that's exactly what I did, about 15 yrs ago. I came into a windfall, bought a pair of Revel Ultima Studios, and found that, in my room, they sounded just like my old speakers. A huge disappointment! That's when I got started with room acoustics, and later with room correction devices. I used the TacT 2.2X, which made a big improvement. One of its greatest feature was that one could reshape the correction manually.

This stuff is not for everyone. It requires considerable fiddling, and there is a learning curve. Many users report they press a button, and with automatic correction, the sound is just what they wanted. I always had to tweak a little. [Now, instead, I'm using a preamp (CP-800) with parametric EQ that can be adjusted manually after measuring. I like the manual approach, but again, it's not for everyone. It requires getting measurement capability.]

So my advice is, digital room correction (DRC) definitely is worth a try. My suggestions are, (1) Try to get the room in as good shape as you can, first, with acoustic treatments; (2) if you decide to try DRC, negotiate for a few weeks' -- even better, few months' -- trial before you decide on taking it or not. This is not an area to "save" a few hundred dollars on a bargain and buy something that might not be for you.

I haven't heard it, but the new Anthem STR looks interesting. It is more money than what you said, but it includes a preamp and DAC, so for $4k a reasonable price if its performance is topnotch. A far cheaper approach are the miniDSP units, which I have heard sound good in a friend's system. Were you thinking of any particular products?

Have fun!


Jonathon Janusz

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #3 on: 26 Aug 2018, 04:18 am »
Man, I know how you feel!

The way you describe your old setup reminds me of my room in my last apartment (the one the ceiling caved in on that killed a pair of super-v).  It was almost a perfect golden ratio room 15-ish x 25-ish x 12-ish with about a four foot suspended ceiling that was paneled to be basically a massive bass trap.  20 amp power was available at convenient speaker positions to run a 7.2 setup if desired, with a dedicated breaker for just that room.  Even the openings on the side walls were almost identically mirrored.  For a room an audiophile didn't build on purpose, I really couldn't ask for more; that room was awesome!

I can't tell you how many times recently I've been reading other folk's threads discussing what they are doing with their systems, then obsessively spending a few hours researching this that or whatever, and once in a while coming <this> close to pulling the trigger on some upgrade or another, only to take a breath and remind myself that whatever thingamabob I was chasing after (currently it is large format speakers that are probably way too big, because I've learned I'm all about uncompressed effortless dynamics) would in no way work in the tiny room I have right now - 10-ish x 14-ish x 8 with a mandatory long wall setup because of the layout of the room - and no matter how awesome I think whatever-it-was would be, I'd just be spending a whole lot of money for nothing.

Sure, I still have a cobbled together system so I have music to listen to (which admittedly was a step up from where I was a while back when I didn't even have enough working gear around to play music on), but once you've heard - and had in your home - a rig that is at least within reach of something really special, it is frustrating at times to know what "could be".

Danny, on the bright side, as opposed to my situation, at least you have what sounds like the building blocks of a really nice room to look forward to!  I know for you, right now, it must feel like professionally you've basically sold your toolbox, but at least you've got what you need to get it back.  Come to think of it, I'm wondering if that new room of yours might be long enough to divide up and get a bonus anecholic chamber out of the deal as well?  :green:

Mike in NC

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #4 on: 26 Aug 2018, 04:35 am »
I also appreciate Danny's situation. The new room, though, sounds like it will be great! There is no substitute for more cubic feet.

JLM

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #5 on: 26 Aug 2018, 11:42 am »
Just look at my moniker.   :thumb:

Yes, get the 'right' room first.  Danny, I'd cut down the length to get it to approach a Fibonacci ratio otherwise it will start to sound like a tunnel.  Hopefully your room has 10ft ceilings, then the Fibonacci ratios would work out to 10ft x 16ft x 26ft.

Next use a 'good' setup.  I'm a fan of mid-field setup (5-10ft equilateral triangle) for in-room listening.  Images snap into place and room effects are minimized.

After that treat the room as needed.  I have six GIK 244 panels that work wonders elsewhere but are all but useless in my 8ft x 13ft x 21ft room with 69 inch equilateral triangle setup.  This is getting into the bandaid range of solutions and frankly proper room, setup, and speaker designs shouldn't need much if any.  Look to Floyd Toole's 'Sound Reproduction' for tons of suggestions. 

Finally (and only as a last step) try some digital room correction.  There is a variety of solutions available.  My DSPeaker is 'automatic' (just plug the included mike in and let it go through various sweeps) and it's smart enough to avoid trying to boost 20dB dips (which can easily push your amp into clipping, blowing up your speaker).  Dirac Live is similar but the results can be viewed/manipulated from your computer, and in fact can be done just off software if you run everything through your computer.  Room EQ Wizard (REW) offers the most hands on approach.  Products like miniDSP SHD offer server, DAC, preamp, volume control, and Dirac Live DSP in a single package (for $1200).  But I'm waiting for a review of SHD is find out it's sound quality.
« Last Edit: 26 Aug 2018, 01:16 pm by JLM »

artur9

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #6 on: 26 Aug 2018, 12:58 pm »
I just moved from a house with a pretty good room to a house with nothing but bad, badder, and worst choices ;-(

It is depressing.  I have experience with REW and parametric and all that that I learned in the old, easy room.  Now I'm going for a doctorate (jk) in room acoustics with this house.

I'm praying that my Lyngdorf DPA-1 with RoomPerfect gets me most of the way there.

SoCalWJS

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #7 on: 26 Aug 2018, 04:54 pm »
Amen to the initial statement: The Room, The Room, The Room.

You can make a mediocre room better, with treatments, and a good one up a notch to almost "Great" status, but it's hard to polish a turd.

I've added a bunch of treatments to make my room better, but it will never be anywhere close to great, even if we remodel and tear out a built-in large "Niche" on the side wall. Mediocre dimensions even then.

I've toyed with the idea of experimenting with something like the DSpeaker 2.0, but I hear of so many people running into issues of one sort or another. Maybe someday somebody will bring theirs over and I can experiment.  :green:

Danny Richie

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #8 on: 26 Aug 2018, 05:13 pm »
Again, with a large and well set up room I was able to easily hear and discern differences quite easily, including the differences in various D/A converters and DSP devices.

The various DSP devices are not at all equal. Most of them are a considerable backward step from most mid-fi level DAC's. Some of these "mini" devices can really suck the life out of the music. The sound stage will usually flatten out and become much more two dimensional as well. While some are very powerful in regards to features and abilities they are often little more than a budget level product. I recommend avoiding most of them. I have heard only one that I could actually recommend. 

Such devices can be used effectively in ranges below 200Hz, but I do not recommend running the signal through them to your main speakers. Below 200Hz the peak or dipped areas are more problematic or more broad in area and can be more easily fixed. Above those ranges any amplitude deviation becomes very placement specific. And turning down a peaked area that is being caused by a room reflection doesn't fix the reflection. It must be handled by some form of room treatment.

I know that some software will allow manipulation in the digital domain prior to output. So some alterations can be made while still using a good quality DAC. Some of these can be used very effectively, but again, in low frequency ranges only. 

mlundy57

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #9 on: 26 Aug 2018, 05:37 pm »
Danny,

Have you tried the LGK 1.0s on your desktop?  I found I preferred them over the N1Xs in such a nearfield setup, even without a sub. Now that I have a small sub under my desk, the LGKs don’t want for anything.

Not a room issue though.

Hope you get your room built out soon.

Danny Richie

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #10 on: 26 Aug 2018, 06:35 pm »
Danny,

Have you tried the LGK 1.0s on your desktop?  I found I preferred them over the N1Xs in such a nearfield setup, even without a sub. Now that I have a small sub under my desk, the LGKs don’t want for anything.

Not a room issue though.

Hope you get your room built out soon.

I am using them in a desk top system just to the right of the one pictured.

Tyson

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #11 on: 26 Aug 2018, 08:17 pm »
...turning down a peaked area that is being caused by a room reflection doesn't fix the reflection. It must be handled by some form of room treatment.

So, so, so true. 

Nick77

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #12 on: 26 Aug 2018, 08:34 pm »
So how pray tell can you create any new master pieces?? Get that new room built out, for crying out loud.  :lol:

Early B.

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #13 on: 26 Aug 2018, 08:36 pm »
Two questions --

1. Most of us don't have a dedicated room, so our room treatment options are very limited. In my case, I'd have to resort to temporary measures -- place sound treatment only when critical listening. What is the single most effective temporary treatment to consider?

2. What effect, if any, does the use of OB speakers have on the need for room treatment?

Thanks.

 

gab

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #14 on: 26 Aug 2018, 08:46 pm »
Two questions --

1. Most of us don't have a dedicated room, so our room treatment options are very limited. In my case, I'd have to resort to temporary measures -- place sound treatment only when critical listening. What is the single most effective temporary treatment to consider?

2. What effect, if any, does the use of OB speakers have on the need for room treatment?

Thanks.

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/LX521/Description.htm

read down towards middle of page

and here: http://www.linkwitzlab.com/rooms.htm

Danny Richie

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #15 on: 27 Aug 2018, 03:33 pm »
Two questions --

1. Most of us don't have a dedicated room, so our room treatment options are very limited. In my case, I'd have to resort to temporary measures -- place sound treatment only when critical listening. What is the single most effective temporary treatment to consider?

Diffusers are light weight and easy to move around. I had a large one that I stood up in front of my big screen when listening to music and then slid the panels off and set them aside for watching TV.

Quote
2. What effect, if any, does the use of OB speakers have on the need for room treatment?

It minimizes some of the side wall reflections and loads the room much differently in the lower region. You are much less likely to overload the room or get a room boom situation with the open baffle speakers. And with the servo subs you have the ability to adjust and alter the lower response to dial them in to your room.


Early B.

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #16 on: 27 Aug 2018, 04:03 pm »
It minimizes some of the side wall reflections and loads the room much differently in the lower region. You are much less likely to overload the room or get a room boom situation with the open baffle speakers. And with the servo subs you have the ability to adjust and alter the lower response to dial them in to your room.

My friend had a problematic basement that was heavily treated. He replaced his conventional speakers with a set of OB monitors and a pair of OB servo subs and was able to remove ALL of the treatment.

Vedder323

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #17 on: 27 Aug 2018, 04:49 pm »
Headphones?  :popcorn:

Folsom

Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #18 on: 27 Aug 2018, 04:51 pm »
ops

Stuart

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Re: The room, the room, the room.
« Reply #19 on: 27 Aug 2018, 07:16 pm »
Hey Danny, are those spikes sitting directly on that wood :shh: