Room Treatments Discussion

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mrcond

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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Jun 12, 2009
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I am starting to go down the path of adding room treatments to my listening space. My research indicates this can make a big difference in the quality of the sound in the room and should be explored before spending big money on equipment upgrades. I have measured my room using REW and sent my graphs off to GIK acoustics for some free advice. Most of my issues are in the bass region (below 150 Hz or so) and the recommendation, as expected, is bass traps. GIK pricing seems very reasonable relative to other companies and they seem to have good reviews for the most part.

I am curious as to the experiences of others who have gone down this path. Did bass traps help smooth out the bass in your room? Any experience dealing with GIK specifically? Any other tips or things to watch out for? In your experience, was it worth it?

I am hoping to use this space for people to share their experiences and to use as a reference for others that are curious. I will share my own experiences as I go down this path. Also, I know some like to do DIY room treatments and that can save a bunch of money. I don't really have the patience for that right now but feel free to share your experiences. Anything is fair game if it may help someone down the road.
 
Here is the frequency response at my main listening position (stereo only, with 2 subs) without any room treatment. I am trying to smooth out the bass, especially the dips at 70 and 110 Hz, and the peaks at 60 and 90 Hz:

1709401557816.png
 
I swear by the 2 pairs of Shaki Holograms I just inserted into my new system. Even after having the room professionally EQed by a Meridian rep, I experimented with placement and wallah ...MUCH BETTER SOUND hands down!

https://6moons.com/audioreviews/shakti/hallograph.html

I purchased them at a great price when they were first introduced and Music Direct used to carry them but don't know if they're available anymore.

I also use ROOM TUNES in conjunction with the holograms.

https://www.shakti-innovations.com/hallograph.htm
 
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In my 40+ year experience in this hobby, there is no other thing you can do for your listening space that will have as universally positive an effect as an effective room acoustic treatment strategy. My big rig has occupied the same dedicated, purpose built room for more than 25 years now. While the nature of the systems (originally stereo only vs an eventual evolution to both stereo and immersive/multi-channel music and cinema) contained therein has certainly evolved, a universal constant has been effective acoustic treatment.

Screen Shot 2023-09-28 at 3.50.32 PM.png
 
In my view, the bass is decent as is. There’s a bit more of Rt but within an acceptable range. It’s also good that the bass response below 150hz is about 5dB louder than the higher frequencies. To me, your peaks and dips are acceptable. What I find problematic is the curve. You get a response that is far too bright. It should be relatively flat up to 10Khz or should have a bit of a tilt (slope down). As is, the sound is bright. This might be caused by the reflectivity of the room but also by the native frequency response of the speakers. You can check that if your speakers are in the Spinorama website. Below the transition frequency (200/300hz depending on the room geometry), it’s hard to fix bass without software room correction.
You will find a lot of good advice on Audio Science Review.
 
I can tell you from experience that I had a serious problem with overpowering high end at high volumes until I not only put up acoustic panels at the reflection points, but also put down a heavier and larger rug (my room has some nice looking flooring which I hated to cover, but it had to be done). I haven't put up bass traps per se, but I do have a makeshift solution that probably acts similar. I came here to tell you that you're very likely on the right path to solving your problems.

Also make sure you've positioned your speakers close to the recommended spots in your room based on room size and distance from the walls. But absolutely do NOT just go with what you see advised on line. That's a starting point. Move the speakers forward, to the side, backward just an inch at a time and see how that affects the sound from your chair or sofa. And/or move your chair or sofa. That's not something you'll get done in 5 minutes, but you should hear a difference.
 
My room is asymmetrical because I needed one whole wall for my gear and media, and the placement of the door, which can’t be moved due to bonus room struts. So the left side has a very diffuse surface and the right side has a very flat, hard surface. My sister is into quilting, so I’m having her make a double-thick wall-hanging to go on the right wall at the primary reflection point. It’s not done yet.

I haven’t yet done any “correction” beyond the automatic voicing my Marantz 7701 pre-pro provides. It’s been pretty good, but naturally, improvement is just another six months of work away.
 
I have measured my room using REW and sent my graphs off to GIK acoustics for some free advice.
You have done everything perfectly. You will be significantly happy with GIK's suggestion.
I did what you did, cost $2998.00 and after taking 1 hour to hang on walls, I turned on rig and was the biggest OH WOW, then any piece of equipment or software prior.
I like my room just the way it is with a little of wood floor showing to create that more live sound.
I used there bass traps at front, absorbers at sides, and diffusers at rear.
I did all the stuff we are supposed to do, with mirror on wall, to find first point of reflection etc.
My side absorbers are larger and I chose there print offerings and did my color matching and Calif look.
GIK suggested a ceiling absorber, but I am afraid to get that as my 4 height speakers are flush mounted and I think the ceiling absorber will block the direct tweeter direction to my seat?
The picture I show is of my room, 12' wide, the TV wall, and length of room 14', picture makes room look real narrow, just the picture.

I think I started my room from scratch, about two years ago, it is documented somewhere here on QQ, I feel like it never ends as we strive for audio nirvana.
I am currently working with Mitch Barnett, creating filtersets that are added to my JRiver software, for 2.1, 5.1 and 4.0 zones, that are all analog outs. He will work with me at a later date for HDMI outs for ATMOS, a little more challenging. I got time, no need to rush.
My biggest thing for me personally to overcome is the tinnitus hearing, really scorching guitars and vocals bother my ears. All these tweeks help with the tinnitus.
One thing that is very cool I think is I can listen to music louder, because my ears aren't ringing off the charts. Historically, except my youth I am not a loud listener, I like the volume easy and mellow, but I know for sure now when pumping up the volume I can handle it better.
When I go to live concerts I wear earplugs.


Good luck I know you will be happy.

IMG_5343.jpg
 
You have done everything perfectly. You will be significantly happy with GIK's suggestion.
I did what you did, cost $2998.00 and after taking 1 hour to hang on walls, I turned on rig and was the biggest OH WOW, then any piece of equipment or software prior.
I like my room just the way it is with a little of wood floor showing to create that more live sound.
I used there bass traps at front, absorbers at sides, and diffusers at rear.
I did all the stuff we are supposed to do, with mirror on wall, to find first point of reflection etc.
My side absorbers are larger and I chose there print offerings and did my color matching and Calif look.
GIK suggested a ceiling absorber, but I am afraid to get that as my 4 height speakers are flush mounted and I think the ceiling absorber will block the direct tweeter direction to my seat?
The picture I show is of my room, 12' wide, the TV wall, and length of room 14', picture makes room look real narrow, just the picture.

I think I started my room from scratch, about two years ago, it is documented somewhere here on QQ, I feel like it never ends as we strive for audio nirvana.
I am currently working with Mitch Barnett, creating filtersets that are added to my JRiver software, for 2.1, 5.1 and 4.0 zones, that are all analog outs. He will work with me at a later date for HDMI outs for ATMOS, a little more challenging. I got time, no need to rush.
My biggest thing for me personally to overcome is the tinnitus hearing, really scorching guitars and vocals bother my ears. All these tweeks help with the tinnitus.
One thing that is very cool I think is I can listen to music louder, because my ears aren't ringing off the charts. Historically, except my youth I am not a loud listener, I like the volume easy and mellow, but I know for sure now when pumping up the volume I can handle it better.
When I go to live concerts I wear earplugs.


Good luck I know you will be happy.

View attachment 102667
GREAT job Markie. Experimentation with room enhancements certainly paid off big time for you!

I noticed you have two subs flanking your B&W front speakers.

When I installed my new system recently, I was overwhelmed at the sheer amount of DEEP bass coming out of my REAR SUBS [both REAR speakers contain phase aligned self powered subs]. By placing both subs in the front you are robbing yourself of the ample bass present in the rears.

I don't know if your McIntosh pre/pro has a provision for a rear sub but after all these years of listening to music, I was unaware that those remix engineers placed such a preponderance of deep bass in the rear channels. When remixing the Flaming Lips Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Elliot Scheiner loaded the rear right channel with incredibly deep bass. Man, was I flabbergasted!

Live and LEARN!
 
Thank you Ralphie, the only drag in audio is listening, unlike back in the day when stereo was king in all houses, is that we can't walk a couple blocks and listen to someone's new rig and records.
My biggest fear is I think my rig sounds great and someone knowledgeable comes by and says this sounds like shit, :ROFLMAO: , boy that would be a let down, but so far everyone gives it a (y).
My subs are confusing. I was really lucky, right when I purchased them, the Northern Calif rep from REL, Paul Magee was in town, heard what I was doing and actually came to my house and helped me for about 45 mins.
He told me in his house he had pillows behind his subs.
The front left in picture is LFE connected, the rear right (not shown in picture) is LFE connected, they are angled facing each other, to really fill the nulls (voids) in the bass as it is a small room. Both connected also with High Frequency cable.
The front right sub is not connected LFE, it is connected to the center channel amp speaker connection. This helps with low end mostly dialog watching TV, but it definitely picks up with 5.1 and Atmos.
I ordered this VERY COOL MCINTOSH RACK, the 3 space rack (first picture is the two space). I think end of March arrival.
I might bring my subs inside and the speakers outside, always fucking around, chasing the 🌈.

Sorry OP, us old timers always screw up a thread and go off topic. I tell myself, at one time I was a beginner, and I try to be helpful to others whether communicating or lurking.
 
I discovered that shelves full of books, records, CDs, and DVDs go a long way toward taming a room.
Definitely true that the more you have in the room, the more it will deaden those nasty highs except that you may have to be careful what you put at the reflection points. For instance, in my room one of my windows was right at one of the reflection points. This can really be a bad thing. I ended up just placing an acoustic panel against it and closing the drapes. This solved that issue. But indeed, not every solution has to cost thousands. One can definitely work with what you can afford.
 
I swear by the 2 pairs of Shaki Holograms I just inserted into my new system. Even after having the room professionally EQed by a Meridian rep, I experimented with placement and wallah ...MUCH BETTER SOUND hands down!

https://6moons.com/audioreviews/shakti/hallograph.html

I purchased them at a great price when they were first introduced and Music Direct used to carry them but don't know if they're available anymore.

I also use ROOM TUNES in conjunction with the holograms.

https://www.shakti-innovations.com/hallograph.htm

Hilarious snake oil. Always has been, always will be.
 
Because QUITE OBVIOUSLY you've never tried them. But that's for another discussion!
Why would I try a $1500 something that doesn't seem to have any nonmagical reason to work?

Shakti claims:
The Hallograph contours the frequency, amplitude and time coefficients of the first reflections you hear, which produces a stunning increase in realism."

Each array is engineered with proprietary technology (patent pending) and made with exotic hardwoods, consisting of staggered activated panels that are mounted on an elegant base that beautifully blends into any style room environment.

Activated panels generate a musically complimentary reflective energy that transforms your listening room by overshadowing typical room distortions which muddy the bass, overbrighten the presentation and blur the soundstage.
We're talking about these things. As best I can tell, they are not powered. Their business end consists of three skinny wiggly wood strips with large spaces between them that, according to known physics, would barely do anything at all to sound waves. QUITE OBVIOUSLY you aren't familiar with that.

Hallograph_web72_Pix.jpg





Here's Shakti's white paper explaining (not explaining, it's gobbledygook) how they work. There's no science there.

https://www.shakti-innovations.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Hallograph-white-paper.pdf
 
Why would I try a $1500 something that doesn't seem to have any nonmagical reason to work?

Shakti claims:

We're talking about these things. As best I can tell, they are not powered. Their business end consists of three skinny wiggly wood strips with large spaces between them that, according to known physics, would barely do anything at all to sound waves. QUITE OBVIOUSLY you aren't familiar with that.

View attachment 102820




Here's Shakti's white paper explaining (not explaining, it's gobbledygook) how they work. There's no science there.

https://www.shakti-innovations.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Hallograph-white-paper.pdf
The science is in application. Why do you always have to second guess MY choices as if you've ever tried them.

Armchair criticism like yours is TABOO in my book. Your assessment is pure gobbly goop!

I just spent mega bucks on my new system and they work charms! That's what I go by ..... BONA FIDE ACTUAL LISTENING EXPERIENCE!
 
"I tried it, I don't know how, but it works!" isn't an explanation, and it sure ain't science.

By the same token, "I just spent mega bucks on my new system and they work charms! " isn't science either though it reveals a big honking explanation for the 'charms'.

Such 'assessment' is the very basis of selling snake oil. P.T. Barnum said something famous about it.

How might three wiggly strips of exotic hardwood -- generously referred to as 'activating panels' -- selectively target first reflections and 'generate complimentary reflective energy'? On its face it's an extraordinary claim. Surely this energy or its big effects are measurable?

The white paper is silent on the matter, offering no such evidence.

Anyway, my message to the OP is, ignore any advice that tells you to buy Shakti products. Stuff that actually works exists...but there's no free lunch. Broadband absorption into the upper bass frequencies requires several inches thick of material, across a significant area. Actual bass traps are best targeted to known modal peaks and again have to be very substantial. Diffusors are complicated. Room EQ software also works.
 
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