Converting two-car garage to listening room. What would you do?

My wife is angling to get my mountain of audio gear out of the living room and I have graciously consented. :-) So off to the two-car garage I go, but first it has to be made livable, and we've started talking to contractors. It's not a huge space: roughly 18 x 19.5 feet, with a vaulted ceiling that crests at about 16 feet. I'll be leaving the basic structure in place but everything else is up for grabs: I can play with dimensions (a bit), lighting, where I put the (20 amp) outlets, acoustic treatments, and so on.

My main question is currently if I should "toe in" the walls so as to not make them parallel. Would it help the acoustics if I had four walls that measure, say, 18 feet and 17 feet on the shorter sides, and 20 and 18.5 feet on the longer sides? In that case, no corner would be at precisely an 90-degree angle. I read somewhere that that will eliminate or reduce room nulls and peaks, but I don't know much about this stuff. However, I'm willing to learn! Any acousticians here? Words of advice? Thanks!
Kitty corner, 90 degree will sure help reducing the amount of room treatment.

Second it my be better on the neighbors. Door open or door close..

That does work quite well. I'm a less is best guy. On some things. :-)

Are you concerned that this project would effect the value and the optics of the home in the event, someday you wish to sell?
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Don't worry about parallel walls. Worry about overly similar dimensions. Sound travels in waves. These reflect or bounce back and when they do they either cancel creating a dead spot or reinforce creating a really loud spot. Where they null or reinforce changes by wavelength. There are books you can buy like Robert Harley's Complete Guide to High End Audio that take you step by step through the process of figuring out where they will be at different frequencies in your room. 

Since sound travels across all 3 dimensions then they will be doing this same thing across the height, width, and depth of the room. In the worst case you have a cube, all 3 dimensions are the same, and so certain frequencies will be really, really bad and this is very hard to fix any way other than moving the walls.  

Yours is pretty close to a cube. There's a neat little exercise in the book you can use to visually plot out where different frequencies will reinforce, essentially telling you in advance where the big bass lumps will be. I would highly recommend doing this ahead of time because however hard it is its way easier and cheaper than trying to fix with a lot of tube traps later on.  

Probably it can be fixed very easily at this stage by simply framing up one wall to make the room a little narrower and more rectangular. At the same time this wall can serve multiple functions. It will be a huge sound barrier, either from outside or to the rest of the house. And it can also be designed to function as a super effective bass trap. You could learn and do all this yourself but this is where a lot of guys will want to hire a specialist. You haven't mentioned budget. This stuff can be as reasonable or expensive as you make it. 

The practical solution would be to leave the garage door in place (for outer appearance and for the future) but seal it up real good, and build the additional wall inside of it, for inner appearance and outside noise abatement. 

If you care about power then bring one - ONE! - 20A line direct to wherever your equipment will be. Put lights and non-system outlets on another circuit.

Unless you are willing to pay for professional design, and maybe even if you are, I would highly recommend you buy and read and study that Harley book. You will be shocked how much is in there. In a week or two you will know more than 90% of the guys on this site. And half the professionals who are happy to take $100/hr for what Harley will teach you for $20.
When you get set up and are adjusting your speaker positioning.  I recommend you listen to the great music by the Cars.
Build a rectangular room interior to the garage having length 1.9 times and the width 1.4 times the exterior wall height. Put a ceiling on this room.You would not have to remove garage doors and would have storage space between room and garage door and space above ceiling and the roof. Check out best dimensional ratios for audio room according to M.M. Louden.
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Check out "Acoustics Insider" on YouTube. It is a series done by a professional acoustician, a studio and control room designer. Many questions are answered, including yours.

I agree with MC that the issue would be similar dimensions, not parallel walls, unless you can do something really radical.

Make sure there is adequate moisture control, including of water vapor coming through the slab.

The best listening room I ever had was in a garage. Great dimensions and a higher ceiling can make for very nice sound.


Your off to a flying start with a cement slab floor spike your speaker into it and adjust the spikes so they don't move/rock even the tiniest bit in any plane
For the best imaging and depth perception, design it so there nothing between the speakers, and as far back as possible. (put your equipment rack off to the side not between the speakers).
The rest is fine tuning placement from back wall for the correct bass loading for your speaker/room 

Cheers George
A reviewer in one of the magazines converted his garage and I have heard it and it sounds good.  You will find a lot of advise, especially if you visit studio sites such are gearslutz (which is changing it's name).  After helping build my brothers recording studio, one of the most important aspects from staring from scratch is determine the proper dimensions and make sensible alterations if possible.  The other lesson is to make sure the room is as sturdy as possible, including using double walls and or thicker sheetrock.  Also sealing all cracks and gaps with acoustic calk including the floor seam where the structure meets the floor.    
Non parallel sidewalls and a sloping ceiling helps to reduce what we at ASC call "head end ringing." With parallel sidewalls and floor and ceiling sound emitted sideways from the speakers gets trapped at the front of the room and relatively slowly oozes it's way toward the listener. A 10 degree angle or more between the sidewalls and the floor and ceiling will greatly reduce the problem.

The problem with building that way is it tends to be more difficult and waste space. Head end ringing can also be dealt with by using bass traps in the front of the room, especially the two front corners but also directly off to the sides of the speakers.

This gave me fantastic pinpoint imaging right across the room and depth way out into the backyard. Nothing between the speakers as I said in my last post, yet still gave bass loading from the short walls behind the speakers
Cheers George
Fully finish your garage with sheet rock on all walls and ceiling, still keeping the garage functional. set your rig up in one corner and have easily moveable furniture in the other corner. That way you'll have room for a car if you need it. Insulated garage doors will help. My 3 car garage had great acoustics with the doors opened or closed. 
I don't need room for a car, we'll build a separate garage later on. This is going to be a dedicated listening room.