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ID.'s picture
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Listening Room Acoustics

I realized that my living room, where I had my stereo set up, had far from ideal acoustics. I had issues with bass in particular due to the strange shape of the room and varying heights of the ceiling. Now that I've moved my stereo into a different room I'm beginning to realize just how much of an impact the room had.

The new room is smaller, and my listening position is almost near field, but my kit sounds so much better, Much more open, better soundstaging, more immersive and more detailed. Being a small room there are still some bass issues with a slight booming/thickening around a certain frequency band, but overall it sounds like a completely different stereo  :rockout:

Is it sad that a serious consideration of the potential listening space will play a big role in the selection  of where I next live? Probably easier to get away with than comvicing my wife to let me use acoustic treatment for our small living/dining room/kitchen.

Stuff.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

+10

Yamaha V2065. MS Mezzo 5.1 Panasonic 42. Sony BD. Garrard 86SB. WD Live TV. SkyHD.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/lounge-hc-signature-update-bass-traps

 

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

Room then speakers - everything else is just accessories.

 

If the room is small then bass traps behind the speakers in the corners will have a massive effect on the sound. There are loads of fabrics around and you can get something to match the room and look very inoffensive. My wife was horriffied when a pair of bass traps(2ft x 4ft panels) turned up but once they were sat in behind the speakers they blended into the room.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

Speaker positioning, support and room acoustics are crucial, and I was reminded of this yesterday.  I've been having issues with imaging with quite a few different combinations over time and yesterday (far too late really) I started to wonder whether it was due to the height of my speakers.  I swapped my 60cm stands out for some 50cm ones I had in storage, resulting in the tweeters of my Quads being much more at ear height when I'm sat on the counch relaxing.  Thanks to this simple change, the imaging issues are resolved and I can really enjoy the sound my system is making.

Similarly some time ago I re-arranged the furniture so that my speakers were both away from corners and side walls.  Immediate reduction in boom and a tighter and more rhythmic sound.

Never underestimate how important these factors are.  They can absolutely make or break a system.

Rega RP3/Elys 2 - Graham Slee Gram Amp 1 - Rega Apollo R - Exposure 1010 amp - Dynaudio DM2/6 - Chord Co. Chameleon VEE3/Rumour 2 - Musical Fidelity V90-HPA - Sennheiser HD595

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

Agreed. My towers were tall enough to put the tweeters above ear level. I was surprised how tilting them forward a few degrees made a very worthwhile difference. And I am a great advocate of bass trapping.

Yamaha V2065. MS Mezzo 5.1 Panasonic 42. Sony BD. Garrard 86SB. WD Live TV. SkyHD.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/lounge-hc-signature-update-bass-traps

 

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

Is this the point where I point out that good active speakers offer so much greater control over the bass drivers that boom is virtually taken out of the equation in all but the worst rooms.

Bass traps and other treatments can still be of some use, particularly if you like to play loud but at 'normal' levels, in most rooms it is unnecessary.

 

The speaker - room interface is critical, though I tend to place rather more blame on the speakers in most cases, the current trend for a 'bass driven' sound is a big part of the problem.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

davedotco wrote:

Is this the point where I point out that good active speakers offer so much greater control over the bass drivers that boom is virtually taken out of the equation in all but the worst rooms.

Bass traps and other treatments can still be of some use, particularly if you like to play loud but at 'normal' levels, in most rooms it is unnecessary.

 

The speaker - room interface is critical, though I tend to place rather more blame on the speakers in most cases, the current trend for a 'bass driven' sound is a big part of the problem.

I recon active vs passive is irrelevant in this context.

Yamaha V2065. MS Mezzo 5.1 Panasonic 42. Sony BD. Garrard 86SB. WD Live TV. SkyHD.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/lounge-hc-signature-update-bass-traps

 

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

I'm not sure about dave's comment either (that's not to say I disagree, I just don't get it).

 

My understanding is that bass is all about the size of the waves and how much space they need to develop. I can't see how an active speaker would change it if the frequency is the same it still needs the same amount of air to dissipate.

 

Most living rooms I see aren't more than about 13ft wide so I think there's always going to be acoustical issues.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

It is about control of the bass unit.

In general terms an amplifier that is directly connected to the bass driver will exercise better control over the coil and hence the cone, the most obvious benefit is that it stops the bass unit much more quickly at the end of the note. Poorly controlled cones continue to produce output after the note has stopped because the cone is still moving, this is sometimes referred to as overhang and is often responsible for the effect often refered to as 'muddying the bass'.

For reasons that are less clear, to me anyway, this makes room positioning with respect to walls less critical making them easier to place.

There are sound electronic reasons why this is the case but it does not mean that a similar effect can not be obtained from passive speakers, it clearly can, it is just to point out that where bass boom is an issue an active speaker (or a full range single driver system) can offer quite considerable benefits.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

Best active/passive discussion ..
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_9_4/feature-article-active-speakers-12-2002.html

Yamaha V2065. MS Mezzo 5.1 Panasonic 42. Sony BD. Garrard 86SB. WD Live TV. SkyHD.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/lounge-hc-signature-update-bass-traps

 

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

davedotco wrote:

Is this the point where I point out that good active speakers offer so much greater control over the bass drivers that boom is virtually taken out of the equation in all but the worst rooms.

I have been contemplating a more powerful amp just because I am interested in what something with a better grip on the bass drivers may do to the sound. Actually, another point for many active monitors (studio monitors) is that they often allow varying degrees of control of certain frequencies to help get a flatter in-room response. Unfortunately, the fact that they lack grills means that they'd be too tempting for my son for the next few years.

In my living room, running an active sub with high level connections was the best workaround because I could set the crossover in a way that slighty rolled off the bass around the frequencies that were booming with the sub coming in at just the right level so that I'd effectively created a dip at that point that cancelled out the boom. Regrettably, the sub got put away as part of baby proofing the room.

Stuff.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

MakkaPakka wrote:

Room then speakers - everything else is just accessories.

 

Although I can't help but notice from your sig that you don't actually appear to have any speakers. 

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

Robin;

Decent article that, I have seen it before, but it is good to revisit.

My only criticism is that it is resolutely theoretical, doesn't really give any idea of how the factors under discussion effect things in real life, in my experience they make a lot of difference, perhaps more so than the article implies.

ID;

Most speakers will benefit from more power and a better damping factor, though it will vary from amp to amp and speaker to speaker so you need to try before you buy.

There is of course one manufacturer of active speakers that include grills and 'furniture' style finishes, but the name escapes me at the moment.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

RobinKidderminster wrote:
Best active/passive discussion .. http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_9_4/feature-article-active-speakers-12-2002.html

 

Not sure about best but its does say: "What I do want to emphasize is that if you don't at least seriously consider an active alternative when it comes your way, and follow the typical bias of conventional "wisdom," you might be doing yourself an incredible disservice."

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

BenLaw wrote:

Although I can't help but notice from your sig that you don't actually appear to have any speakers. 

 

They're within the scope of 'boxes'. I thought I'd go the opposite way to people who list everything from their mains plug to their blood glucose level in their signature.

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RE: Listening Room Acoustics

MakkaPakka wrote:

BenLaw wrote:

Although I can't help but notice from your sig that you don't actually appear to have any speakers. 

 

They're within the scope of 'boxes'. I thought I'd go the opposite way to people who list everything from their mains plug to their blood glucose level in their signature.

 

I got the point(s) you were making - but it appears your speakers are wired to your walls  Wink

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