Help me treat my room's front wall/corners

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Gopher

Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« on: 13 Jun 2011, 06:38 pm »
Sorry for the mess.  I've been experimenting like crazy with speaker placement and now I think room treatment is the real need.  I don't really have a means to do measurements--can't find my dad's Radio Shack SPL meter and the data doesn't mean much to me anyway.

I'm thinking diffusion on either side of my tv, heavy quilt on TV itself and corner bass traps? 

The side walls don't really allow for treatment.

Any suggestions as to treatments?  Specific brands, products, etc?























Sorry for the mess!



Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #1 on: 15 Jun 2011, 02:34 am »
Any general suggestions?

My thoughts are possibly:

  -  a pair of 2'x4' diffusers behind the speakers/flanking the television
  -  one diffusor rigged to be easily placed over the TV horizontally
  -  triangle absorbers in two ceiling corners of the front of the room (my stereo is centered to door not room)
  -  Bass trap panels that can be easily moved when I want to listen.

The left side of my room has heavy wooden blinds over the windows (not to mention a couch!) and fairly heavy curtains over that, which I suspect will be good for first reflection point absorption. 

The right side has the half wall that opens into the kitchen, but I just moved a bookshelf up (at wifes suggestion to house books/toys/general baby clutter) and I suspect that may just happen to be an OK diffusor at the first reflection point on that side.

I am not really planning on doing anything behind me at the time as it opens into my eating area and would be a bit weird looking. 

I don't have fancy measurements and much of the terminology is lost on me--I just know I'm not enjoying what I have as much as I did in a different configuration and I want the magic (or even more magic) back.

rodge827

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Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #2 on: 15 Jun 2011, 12:23 pm »
Hi Gopher,
Perhaps a couple of 2'x4' panels at the first reflection points on the ceiling. I noticed the recessed lights there, but you may be able to work around them. If the panels are to close to the heat from the lights use a CFL bulb, virtually no heat from those.
Perhaps some panels or diffusers on the rear wall in the eating area?
My friend had a similar situation in his living areas and hung tapestries over the panels. His wife was very happy, since she chose them.
Good-luck,
Chris
http://www.simplytapestries.com/

Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #3 on: 16 Jun 2011, 06:35 pm »
Thanks for Chiming in, Chris.  I hadn't really thought about doing anything for the ceiling yet.


Guys,  I'm looking to order 4 2x4 foot diffuser panels now.  One will be under my TV and one behind each speaker (centered around tweeters) the fourth will be rigged to be placed over TV when its time to listen.

I'm thinking of picking up a pair of GIK 244 Bass Traps and stands as well for the front corners...


Am I misguided?  I was hoping to get more feedback here...  am I going about things wrong?

From what I've read about the effects of diffusion on the front walls (increasing sound stage debth and resolution) and what I've read about bass traps, it seems logical, but I don't have measurements so I just don't know.

My room issues are driving me insane right now, so any input is greatly appreciated.

Nyal Mellor

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Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #4 on: 17 Jun 2011, 09:56 pm »
My STRONG advice before doing anything would be to do some measurements. A system like Parts Express Omnimic or XTZ room analyzer or Room EQ Wizard runs under $300. Omnimic and Room Analyzer are very easy to use, Room EQ Wizard is a great piece of software but there is much more of a learning curve with both hardware setup and software.

Even though the $300 might seem like money better spent on bass traps etc, you just don't know until you measure what issues you might have and where. $300 now will save you wasting money on treatment you don't need and ensure you get the best value for your investment.

Post the measurements here and you'll get lots of useful replies.

Furthermore you can get free advice as part of the sales process from companies like GIK and RealTraps and if you can send them measurements you have much more to go on. Even if you choose not to measure I would at least call those companies and send them a floor plan to get some good recommendations.
« Last Edit: 17 Jun 2011, 11:25 pm by Nyal Mellor »

Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jun 2011, 09:09 pm »
Thanks for the advice, Nyal.  I have a local buddy with a radioshack meter who will be helping me to take some measurements in the semi-near future.

In the meantime I've picked up a bunch of supplies.  Today I got a pair of corner towers from Vimac which have helped me to get some meat back on my bottom end. 



More impact and articulation on the bottom and a more coherent midband than before.  I still feel my mids may have lost some meatiness, but I'll play around with ultimate trap placement and I have the following coming: 

2 Pi audio ABB1 diffusors
2 Pi audio prototype diffusors that were at RMAF
4 GIK 242s
2 GIK Tri traps

and first dibs on a buncha other GIK panels from a local buddy including 244s, monster bass panels and GIK's diffusors.  I'm hoping what I listed above is enough to treat the room and am looking forward to placement advice once I get some measurements. 


Nyal Mellor

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Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #6 on: 27 Jun 2011, 07:02 pm »
Doing measurements with an SPL meter is EXTREMELY time consuming because you can only measure one frequency at a time and in any event only shows one axis - the frequency domain. Having an instrument capable of resolving the time domain i.e. how sound decays - is critical to making the link to sound quality degradations.

I'm not saying your approach may not be effective in the end, but it kind of reminds me of when I went to my auto repair shop with an engine misfiring problem they recommended replacing the fuel filter, the air filter, one of the coils and the spark plugs...sure they would have fixed the issue in the end but was all that extra expense really necessary?

bpape

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Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #7 on: 27 Jun 2011, 07:12 pm »
Room EQ Wizard is a free download and a great tool.  You can use the SPL meter to calibrate and then if it's the Radio Shack meter, there is a mic correction plug-in that will compensate for the response issues with the mic.  It has a RTA function, decay times and waterfalls, frequency response, etc.  Great tool - especially for $0.00

I would agree that measurements can help pinpoint problems. That said, it's pretty much a given that some broadband bass control will be required at least in terms of decay times.  What and where will be better known after measurements.

Bryan

Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #8 on: 28 Jun 2011, 02:56 am »
Welp, my Diffusors won't be used on the front wall and I'll likely be taking GIKs suggestions of absorption there.  The question will be what.  The PI absorbers are no longer on the go to list.

Nyal & Bryan,  Thanks so much for the tech suggestions.  It sounds like the RS SPL coupled with that software can make for an easy and affordable solution. 

I managed to source a few of my panels locally, so budget isn't as big an issue in moving forward (if I have to order new) as getting my room properly treated and under control.  I've got too much invested here for my mind to be wandering when I listen.

Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #9 on: 6 Jul 2011, 07:10 pm »
Updated with treatments:

I have GIK tri traps in the front corners and GIK 242 panels behind each speaker at first reflection point.





My mid range coherence is dramatically better and my bass is now thunderous...  unfortunately my wife is NOT a fan of the tri-traps so I'll be using a pair of vimac corner towers I picked up in those positions after a few weeks (they get a stay of execution as I just had shoulder surgury)

jtwrace

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #10 on: 6 Jul 2011, 07:15 pm »
If I come up north this year, I'm bringing my measuring equipment and am going to beg you to come over and measure that darn room.   :P

Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #11 on: 6 Jul 2011, 07:52 pm »
I'm still planning on it!  Sunnydaze has the ratshack mic and will help me measure one day, but regardless of what I come up with, my treatment options are pretty much limited to the locations already treated.  The rest of the room is kind of 'off limits' anyway.

That said, if a measurement guru wanted to teach me first hand what to do, I'd absolutely welcome it!

bpape

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Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #12 on: 16 Jul 2011, 02:25 pm »
Just remember that the Rat Shack mic isn't terribly flat at the frequency extremes.  With something like Room EQ Wizard though, there is a plug-in correction for that mic to compensate. 

Bryan

Scottdazzle

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #13 on: 16 Jul 2011, 11:10 pm »
I use these in my corners.  The picture is from the GIK website. High WAF. Mine are oak with wheat fabric.



Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #14 on: 17 Jul 2011, 02:46 am »
I had that idea too and was emailing with Bryan a bit about that, but its been wife veto'ed.  Things are sounding pretty good, probably as good as they were with certain high points I prefer, so I may leave well enough alone for the time being. 

The only deficit I'm really conscious of in my sound right now is the staging, but I suspect it could be opened up with more attention to speaker placement and possibly diffusion once some time has passed.

bluemike

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #15 on: 17 Jul 2011, 02:54 am »
Cover the television with a blanket and you will get better imaging
Of course that could effect the WAF but it helps things somewhat imo

Hipper

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #16 on: 18 Jul 2011, 04:23 pm »
Whilst it's nice buying gear and using it I have to agree with those that suggest you do some measuring first, otherwise you are just flailing around in the dark. That is the most important thing to stress.

You also have to know what you want. I'm going to tell you! You need a tight bass, not boomy. Once you get that the rest can be heard.

Have you tried the simple things like moving the speakers back, forwards, sideways? Or moving your listening position a little bit forward or back? Perhaps you have but I see no mention of it.

I'm in the middle of reading Floyd Toole's book Sound Reproduction and have learned quite a lot about how tolerant our brains are of less then perfect sound. It's worth a read but, whilst it is readable there is a lot to take in.

Looking at your room, I'd guess that once you sort the bass out, you will find problems with lack of reflections on the left side, where the sofa is. Toole thinks that side wall reflections are a good thing because it helps give a sense of soundstage and envelopment in the music that we like (my experience agrees with that. I had foam on the ceiling and walls to stop the first reflections but when I took them off I thought the sound was a bit more pleasurable without any loss in detail). In that case you may need to ADD to the reflections on the left side.

If that was my room I would buy a Behringer DEQ2496 plus microphone, microphone stand and cable (cost $400?). With this you can do some good measurements to identify your bass problems initially. You can then deal with them - perhaps in part by speaker placement but also by bass absorbers and the parametric or graphic equaliser on the Behringer (I used Auralex foam on the wall behind the speakers - not so attractive as bass traps and so on but you can cover it with an acoustically transparent curtain.

After that you can carry out more measurements to address the problems higher up. The space behind your seat may not be a problem although you might consider some diffuser or absorber behind your head.

The Behringer is not easy to use but there is info online and I find it very effective.

Gopher

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #17 on: 19 Jul 2011, 02:03 am »
Bluemike,

Thanks for the tip.  I do that from time to time, thought since the Torii is right under the TV I do worry about the blanket falling on it.  I mostly use a small kiddy blankent (my sons) and I think it helps somewhat.


Hipper,

I've spent hours playing with speaker placement and I've employed the help of others who are quite good with setup.  It was mentioned in my other 'lost the magic' thread in this circle.  Sunnydaze spent a good 4 hours over here with me one hour trying to dial it back in and we were only able to establish varying degrees of 'meh'. 

My listening position can't really change, just the speaker position as I'm working with a living room first, not really a dedicated space.

There is no question that bass absorbers were a step in the right direction.  Both the Vimacks I'm using now and the Tri-traps that the wife veto'ed (now in my father's rig until I can get a dedicated space) really helped with bass impact and fullness and, surprisingly cleaned up the midrange a good bit.  I'm not sure what the panels behind the speakers brought to the table--I ended up using GIK 242s and will swap 'em with some GIK 244 (bass absorbers) I have on hand to see what additional that brings to the table.

You raise an interesting point about the reflections.  In the old configuration that wall with the window was entirely uncovered and that is the biggest difference in this config.  It was one of my first suspicions that the loss of that wall/reflective properties took some magic with it, but I didn't have the science to back that theory.  That said, things are sounding listenable again.

I do want to do measurements, when my buddy with the equipment makes it back over here, but it won't really matter much what it comes up with as I'm a bit limited as to what I can do from here.  The wife won't really tolerate more treatments and the room needs to remain open for my kid to run around and play.  For the time being, I'm enjoying a pretty good sound and fantasizing about a dedicated space, which will absolutely be planned, measured and appropriately treated...  Just gotta sell this condo first.

Hipper

Re: Help me treat my room's front wall/corners
« Reply #18 on: 19 Jul 2011, 07:02 am »
That's the main thing - you're enjoying listening again.

You have of course got your priorities right - your family first.

You could get Toole's book and you would have twenty or so years to read and understand it (that's probably how long I'll need). Then your children will be grown up and you can have your dedicated listening room!