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Thread: DIY Room treatments

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jun 2019

    Location: merseyside

    Posts: 16
    I'm Gary.

    Default DIY Room treatments

    Hi,
    I have a second system in the attic and the room is an odd shape. L shaped room with a 4x4 m square adjoining a 4.5x3m oblong with part sloped ceilings and a little alcove etc.
    There is some carpet/rugs on floor in front of system.

    Looking to improve sound stage and stop reflections from the long sidewall and alcove, also to experiment with bass trap or similar in corners and behind speakers etc.
    Some sort of covered panels would be good-cost effective please

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,709
    I'm Hugo.

    Default

    In a relatively small space you probably wonít want any additional acoustic absorption once some soft furnishings are in place. Bass traps that are truly effective are monstrously big things, so have a good think about whether you actually need them, and whether you are prepared to live with their bulk and intrusion. Common types of acoustic panels cannot absorb bass frequencies unless made very deep, so do be aware that panels are usually only effective at upper-mid to high frequencies, where inappropriate implementation has the worst effect on the overall room acoustic.

    That aside, people almost always assume that they need acoustic absorption, when in reality they actually need acoustic diffusion to break up reflections so that they are randomised and become relatively benign. In the old days, theatres used fancy ornamentation to achieve good diffusion, and things like bookcases, record storage etc can provide good diffusion without costing anything.

    Moving on, my advice is to never place absorption panels at first reflection points, because that is frequency selective and musically destructive. Use diffuser panels instead at first reflection points, or none at all. I know that Toole et al do recommend suppressing first reflections but in a small room it never works, and neither does placing absorption behind the listening position where (again) diffusion is usually a better bet. Donít be tempted to measure the room and attempt to interpret the results in any meaningful way, unless you have access to a professional program like Odeon.

    Your situation is almost certainly much simpler than you think, so tread carefully. If you think absorption might be helpful in any position, use rugs, drapes, quilts, piles of cushions etc to experiment, then youíll have a clearer idea of what actually works, and what you like.

    Since itís an attic room, do consider isolating the speakers from the floor. When done properly, that stops structurally transmitted sound, which others in the house might appreciate, but it also means that you hear the speakers, and not the speakers plus the room structure singing along. Remove that last aspect and you might just find that nothing else needs to be done.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Nov 2011

    Location: Seaton, Devon, UK

    Posts: 3,318
    I'm Adrian.

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    I would find some heavy secondhand velvet curtains that you can experiment hanging from floor to ceilings along he walls, possibly breaking up your L shape. I think you will be surprised at the change they can have. There is some free software REW for Mac or Windows, all you need is a USB mic, don’t worry about spending money on an expensiveness one a simple one in a usb camera/mic will do,,the you can experiment with different speaker, listening position and soft furnishings and measure the difference. But most important is to use your ears, and when your happy with how it sounds, sit down and forget it and enjoy the music.
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  4. #4
    Join Date: Mar 2016

    Location: Brighton, UK.

    Posts: 1,129
    I'm Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ammonite Acoustics View Post
    Since itís an attic room, do consider isolating the speakers from the floor. When done properly, that stops structurally transmitted sound, which others in the house might appreciate, but it also means that you hear the speakers, and not the speakers plus the room structure singing along. Remove that last aspect and you might just find that nothing else needs to be done.
    Without going off thread too much, how would you suggest isolating speakers from the floor? spikes, rubber pads or another way? With the floor being suspended. I have mine on spikes, but these rest on metal discs that themselves are on faux marble slabs, which rest straight onto the carpet.
    Current system. NAS Interspace, Jelco 750, /Nagaoka MP 200/Graham Slee Era V. CDP - Mission PCM 7000. Amps - Quad 909/Croft micro 25. Chario Syntar 100 Tower. QED XT40 speaker cable/Straight wire interconnects.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 26,465
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ammonite Acoustics View Post
    In a relatively small space you probably won’t want any additional acoustic absorption once some soft furnishings are in place. Bass traps that are truly effective are monstrously big things, so have a good think about whether you actually need them, and whether you are prepared to live with their bulk and intrusion. Common types of acoustic panels cannot absorb bass frequencies unless made very deep, so do be aware that panels are usually only effective at upper-mid to high frequencies, where inappropriate implementation has the worst effect on the overall room acoustic.

    That aside, people almost always assume that they need acoustic absorption, when in reality they actually need acoustic diffusion to break up reflections so that they are randomised and become relatively benign. In the old days, theatres used fancy ornamentation to achieve good diffusion, and things like bookcases, record storage etc can provide good diffusion without costing anything.

    Moving on, my advice is to never place absorption panels at first reflection points, because that is frequency selective and musically destructive. Use diffuser panels instead at first reflection points, or none at all. I know that Toole et al do recommend suppressing first reflections but in a small room it never works, and neither does placing absorption behind the listening position where (again) diffusion is usually a better bet. Don’t be tempted to measure the room and attempt to interpret the results in any meaningful way, unless you have access to a professional program like Odeon.

    Your situation is almost certainly much simpler than you think, so tread carefully. If you think absorption might be helpful in any position, use rugs, drapes, quilts, piles of cushions etc to experiment, then you’ll have a clearer idea of what actually works, and what you like.

    Since it’s an attic room, do consider isolating the speakers from the floor. When done properly, that stops structurally transmitted sound, which others in the house might appreciate, but it also means that you hear the speakers, and not the speakers plus the room structure singing along. Remove that last aspect and you might just find that nothing else needs to be done.
    Great advice that.

    I can add that I lived in an attic room for a while. It was fine with no treatment. A bookshelf and a bed, that was it. It was quite a large space, carpeted. I was using small speakers at the time, Mission 731LE on spiked stands. I found them best firing out from under the sloping bit of the roof, rather than the other way. Which makes sense if you think about the reflections from the slopes. If you are planning on deploying a similar speaker then I don't think you will need to do much if at all. If it is some sort of wideband monster that will probably be different.
    Current Lash Up:

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  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,709
    I'm Hugo.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mikeandvan View Post
    Without going off thread too much, how would you suggest isolating speakers from the floor? spikes, rubber pads or another way? With the floor being suspended. I have mine on spikes, but these rest on metal discs that themselves are on faux marble slabs, which rest straight onto the carpet.
    Spikes couple the speaker to the floor so there is no isolation at all and placing a heavy slab between spikes and floor will only alter the character of the sound transmission, not prevent it, but every little helps. Isolation, in varying degrees, can be achieved by:

    • Spring systems which when carefully specified can provide total isolation (Townshend Seismic products are the Gold Standard but you can go DIY at modest cost). The challenging bit of designing a spring system is to get the correct spring rate, with optimum damping, and (most importantly) having something that's stable in use.
    • Elastomer systems where good isolation can be achieved at mid-high frequencies, but compared to a sprung system low frequency isolation is often poor. Gaia do some good ones.
    • Foam pads like the Auralex products used in studios are the cheapest and most convenient way to achieve some isolation and decoupling, but in truth not much.


    Moving from a 'hard coupled' mindset to one that accepts speakers can be quite softly supported is quite liberating in terms of sound reproduction, but much more liberating for anyone living in a house or flat where transmitted sound to other rooms and/or neighbours is a problem (that's pretty much all properties, and even those supposedly constructed in accordance with Building Regulations Part E).

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 1,751
    I'm Russell.

    Default

    Some very good information in this thread! Iíve been thinking of sound treatments myself, so Iím ďAbsorbingĒ, some of this advice.

    A radical idea, but to isolate speakers, you can hang them. I recall long ago a woman I knew had some small speakers hanging in fishing nets from the ceiling. At first I thought it was just a nautical themed decoration, but upon hearing them, they gave a fantastic 3D quality to the sound. And, were out of the way. I realize this may be over the top for many, but itís food for thought.

    Russell

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 2,709
    I'm Hugo.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alphaGT View Post
    Some very good information in this thread! Iíve been thinking of sound treatments myself, so Iím ďAbsorbingĒ, some of this advice.

    A radical idea, but to isolate speakers, you can hang them. I recall long ago a woman I knew had some small speakers hanging in fishing nets from the ceiling. At first I thought it was just a nautical themed decoration, but upon hearing them, they gave a fantastic 3D quality to the sound. And, were out of the way. I realize this may be over the top for many, but itís food for thought.

    Russell
    Mark Baker of Origin Live shares that thought, but I have no idea whether the result sounds any good!


  9. #9
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 4,450
    I'm jamie.

    Default

    i got very good results when i just put a b&q paving slab between my stands and carpet,it did wonders for the bass,i dont know though if the height change played more of a roll in that or not.
    My System
    John Wood KT88 Amp.
    Paradise Phono Stage
    Sony TTS-8000 Turntable.
    PMAT-1010 MK6 Tonearm.
    Ortofon KB with vienna upgrade
    Sony X555ES Cd Player
    Yamaha NS1000m Speakers
    KARMA Interconnects & Tonearm Cable

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jun 2019

    Location: merseyside

    Posts: 16
    I'm Gary.

    Default

    Hi,
    Currently Marantz Imperial 6 speakers and on marble stands with blue tac 'marbles/balls' between stands and cabinets.
    marble stands are on thin rubber stiff backed pads, all standing on laminate flooring.
    Speakers and stands are heavy....
    Thanks

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