My system is ... well, not ready

Hi Everyone,

A lot of you have been asking me to look at my system, and it’s been an absolute mess in this apartment. However!! I am moving, and I have posted the new living/listening room up in the Systems part of Audiogon. I’m 3 weeks from occupying that space, so please be patient as it will take a while to clutter it up with electronics. :)

Right now the plan is to put the TV in the bay window. It only looks at the neighbors, so I don’t mind giving it up, flanked by GIK acoustics soffit traps and standalone panels, as well as adding curtains in all the windows and doors and ceiling mounted panels.

The room is about 13' by 17' and I'll be taking lots of measurements as I go along. :)


Hello Erik,

     Congratulations on the new place, it looks like a good sized and inviting room for audio/video playback as well as just an inviting and relaxing space in general.
     As I'm sure you're aware, you have some nice gear and it's now just a matter of positioning everything, including seating, for optimum audio/video performance annd enjoyment.  Here are my initial suggestions: 

1.  I like your idea of locating your very nice LG 55" OLED hdtv along the short wall and at least partially covering the small bay window facing your neighbor.  You already seem to have plenty of natural light in the room and covering that window should do no harm and have some benefits.  For example, it's unlikely you're going to miss the view, it's good spot for creating an unobstructed, centered and optimum view of your video display. 
     It also would increase your privacy, allowing you to guiltlessly enjoy your system in your underwear or beloved Hello Kitty pajamas.  Your reportedly nosy neighbor, Gladyce Kravitz, would be none the wiser and probably unable to further sully your already highly suspect reputation in your new community. 
     My only concern is that, from the photo I viewed, that window doesn't appear to be exactly centered on that relatively short wall. If it's not centered, you could install a set of curtains over the window, or better yet for optimum coolness in room decor and acoustics, you could install a set of curtains or drapes along that entire wall from floor to ceiling in your choice of material.
2.  For best and most comfortable video viewing, my opinion is that the hdtv should be centered on that short wall horizontally but positioned vertically with the height of its center at your eye level when seated at a position directly in front of it and at your preferred distance away from it. 
     This topic may require further discussion and thought, since  I don't know what exact equipment rack you plan on using or whether you plan on using a stand or wall mount method for positioning your hdtv.

3.  In regards to speaker positioning for optimizing audio performance at your designated listening seat, my initial thought is to position a speaker on each side of your hdtv, with each positioned in the available space not only horizontally but also in its distance from the front wall and in relation to your designated listening  seat.  
     I realize however, that you built your own speakers and I need to learn more about them, such as dimensions and preferred positioning, as well as whether you plan on using 1 or more subs in your new room.

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My only concern is that, from the photo I viewed, that window doesn’t appear to be exactly centered on that relatively short wall. If it’s not centered

Hi Tim, @noble100

I believe this is an artifact of the angle alone. I may still use curtains for music only listening.

You can read all about my speakers here:

I have added a screen shot from GIK’s room layout tool. It will help visualize how I will be laying out the TV and main speakers. The sub will probably be on the wall on the left, right in front of the bass traps. I may raise the TV, and center it instead.

Please keep in mind that nothing here is exact. The bookshelf for instance is not the right height. I have not yet put in the ceiling panels. I’m not sure about the room height, and I’ve yet to decide on anything on the rear wall.

The plan is to have wall to wall GIK around the TV. In the corners the bass traps, then stand up panels at an angle to cover the short wall distance left to the bay window. This should be absorbent enough to let me snug the spakers upa to the panels.

The front side walls have little space left for a panel, but I’ll be putting in black out curtains on everything glass. Right now the plan is to put in a rug, and 3 panels on the ceiling between the couch and the short wall.

Congratulations on your new space and the ability to tailor it to your AV needs!  If you need acoustic/blackout curtains check out the following link:

I had a medical need that required creating some dark and quiet spaces in our house and these sound blankets were just what I needed.  They worked so well I decided to mount an 80”x80” blanket behind our 55” TV to see what it would do.  I used an Amazon Basics curtain rod to hang it about 4” off the wall starting at just below the crown moulding and draping down to about a foot from the floor.

The results were not subtle and my wife noticed the difference without being prompted.  The soundstage got deeper but the real benefit was a smoothing out of the bass response to the extent that I recently sold my subwoofer as the bass response is more than adequate without it.
Hi @craigsu61
Thanks for the advice, but those look... um, not for the living room? :) I’m just going to go with the cream and burgundy curtains I already have.
Hi Erik, and enjoy your new digs!  A nice bright place for listening and/or watching the flat screen ought to be pleasant.  That, and the exercise of 'set-up' for a 'phile in a fresh new room is always an interesting activity.
So, have fun...;)

Did you end up in NC or SC?
As I look at the room and my move, it gets harder and harder to keep to the idea of separates. The attraction of getting rid of my beloved Luxman integrated, my Mytek DAC, HT processor and 3 monoblock amps to maintain a combined HT/Music system is vanishing.

Replacing them all with a single, new generation Anthem AVR is really really appealing.
Hi Erik!  Congrats on the new place.  I’m sure you’ll get the room all dialed in.  You might want to talk to GIK about covering the entire front wall with panels.  It has always sucked the life out of the music when I did that.  I’ve found that its better to evenly spread them out throughout the listening room and to not over do it.  I like the idea of treating the room as much as possible, as in treating it pretty much everywhere, but it should be with an even amount of diffusion and absorption.  GIK has some really nice looking scatter plates now for the bass traps too that would stay with the theme of your room aesthetically.

Anyhow, exciting stuff!  Congrats on the new living space 👍
Hi @b_limo

Thanks to you and everyone else for the good wishes. Due to the proximity of the walls, the amount of glass in the room and the TV in the middle plus the close distance to the couch I have to treat a little more aggressively than I would like to. I plan on using a diffusion panel on the wall behind the couch.

I may replace the two stand up panels with custom and narrow diffusion panels at some point however.

One thing I've been looking at using Room EQ Wizard's room simulator is the bass nodes, and they are kind of gnarly, even with an open room. I'm hoping the corner traps plus ceiling panels will smooth that out.
Erik, love the speakers. Were is the cross over point? 12dB/Oct?

Bass nodes can be used to advantage especially if your speakers are weak in the very low end. Just move the listening position backwards or forwards till you get the best bass balance. Sometimes it only takes a foot or two. It is very difficult to subdue them and you really only listen from one place. 
I do like Tim's idea of the drape across the front wall behind the TV. Light and reflective surfaces around a TV or screen can be distracting and deaden contrast. If you get a dark non reflective material the TV will really stand out and you won't need any further sound treatment of that wall, just the side walls.  
Hi Mijostyn,

Erik, love the speakers. Were is the cross over point? 12dB/Oct?

Thank you very much. 3rd order high pass, 2nd order low pass, around 1.8kHz. That’s the basic crossover design, but the reality is that the HP filter has variable slopes.  Below around 2.4kHz it is 12db/Octave, then about 3 up until 20kHz. The tweeter has a natural hump in the low end this cleans up nicely, and I get broad near perfect phase matching with the mid-woofer from 1 kHz to 8 kHz.

The woofer is designed as a 2nd order with Zobel and notch but the filter itself measures around 6db/Octave.

Bass nodes can be used to advantage especially if your speakers are weak in the very low end. Just move the listening position backwards or forwards till you get the best bass balance. Sometimes it only takes a foot or two. It is very difficult to subdue them and you really only listen from one place.

Or if I damp them well enough, every location will have good bass. :) Based on what I’m seeing with REW’s simulator, my biggest issues will be around 100-180 Hz with some anti-modes. I think 4 soffit traps and hung panels from the ceiling will make these quite manageable. I just thought of something which may be affecting my results. I designed the crossover of these speakers with the soffit traps in place. These were never, by design, done quasi-anechoic and I’ve never put them in a room without the bass traps. Maybe that’s why I got such a smooth bass response out of them so consistently?

See more here:

I do like Tim’s idea of the drape across the front wall behind the TV.

That’s more of a bay window, but I’ll very much keep that in mind I like the idea of turning that bay window into a visible and sonic black hole.

I’m not doing a retractable screen/projector because honestly I watch movies a lot. No reason to keep rolling it up and down, not to mention I like the colors of the OLED TV a great deal.
Hello Erik,

     I believe you're familiar with my thoughts on good in-room bass response.  Your new room is a good size but has a lot of hard surfaces.  Bass sound waves are going to radiate outward in an omnidirectional pattern from your speakers and sub.  They'll continue to reflect off room boundaries (walls, ceiling and floor) until they collide with another, are partially attenuated by bass room treatments or run out of energy.
     All the bass you perceive at your listening seat will have reflected off at least 1 room boundary on the way to your ears and body. Trying to time the arrival times of these bass soundwaves, or absorb them is futile.
     It's a better strategy to not fight the bass physics and psycho acoustics in a room and let them work for you.  I suggest you add a 2nd sub and optimally position each within your room for powerful, dynamic, fast, smooth and detailed bass at your listening seat that avoids room modes and seamlessly integrates with your main speakers.

Best wishes,
Hi Tim,

I'll be doing a blog post with measurements.  I don't have the space for a second sub.  I've run through various scenarios with Room EQ Wizard's room simulator as well and it did not seem to help much. I think I can get excellent response if I tame some higher frequency issues.

I'll try to go through measuring the room "naked" and as I add treatment.

Lets see what happens!

Spend big bucks get a SOTA system then post big pictures everybody is waiting.HELLO!!!
Hi @ebm

Please send me your bank routing number so I can do justice to the room.


Erik, I understand your reluctance re: the acoustic blankets as they may not be decor-friendly.  My wife doesn’t mind the look but I’ve heard others have hidden them behind regular curtains.  Due to their intended purpose they are rather bulky.  For the ones installed over our windows we used double-sided shower hooks in case we wanted a more formal look.  When not needed we just pull them to one side and tie them back with a sash if desired.
EriK, I was of your OLED screen in making the comment of the dark drape behind. It will really make your TV pop. Retractable screens are a no, no. They never stay perfectly flat. A proper screen needs to be stretched in a frame and hung on the wall permanently. We are in the process of remodeling our media room and will be painting the walls a very dark blue. The carpeting is a very dark chocolate brown. When we are done I will show you a picture with the projector on. It is going to look very slick.  In reality projector's can be a real PITA.  Bulbs low every 2000 hours and they only look really good for the first 100. During the daytime you never get a really good picture unless you can totally blocked out your room which I cannot do. The solution is one of the newer laser projectors but the technology has not come down to a reasonable price point yet. Patient is virtually.
Good luck with the speakers. I assume you have a calibrated microphone for measurement purposes and a computer program supporting, truly the only way you would ever know what you were doing.  Keep us informed. I would love to see the grafts.
I have um, 3 different calibrated microphones, 4 when I can find the little one, 2 sets of measurement software and speaker / device impedance measurement tools.  I think I'm good there! :)

Nice thread. 

Glad you are using it to gather more info and points of view.

I'd suggest, as you have in the past, to get some pillows and blankets and experiment. It will help a lot. See below for my own experiments.

I've been in the same 13.5' X 20.5' room for nearly 25 years. But I just remodeled it about two years ago. I took everything out and only put my audio gear and a sofa back in - no pictures on the wall, no nothing. Carpet on floors and just two lights on the short wall above the TV. I experimented with pillows until I figured out where I needed help with the bass. I then purchased GIK Impressions corner traps and I was expecting them to be much better than the pillows, but I found only a modest improvement. Nonetheless, the bass is better now than with no treatments, but I found that I never had a big problem with the bass in the first place. Speakers are out over 2' from back and side walls.

In the first reflect area, I have a vase that is about two feet tall. It does make a slight but hearable difference and they've been there since the remodel. Last week I bought some dried bouquets and placed two in each vase, sort of mimicking a tall potted plant. Without even removing the wrapping, it was easy to hear the improvement. I never thought I had a first reflection problem, but this helped in a nicely positive way. This weekend I hope to have time to take the wrapping off and fan the bouquets out for more first reflection diffusion, and of course hoping for a nice improvement there. For $25, not bad at all.

BTW, I tried pillows in the rear corners and on the walls to absolutely no audible difference. Foam panels always made things worse.

I also tried a blanket over my TV and never found it to help. In fact, I just tried that again last week and it hurt the sound. So, what I'm trying to say with this all is that each room is different and experimenting will definitely help in narrowing down what actually needs to be done. Some rooms need more than others. Not saying I'm finished yet, but also saying I didn't really need that much room treatment.

Good luck with the new room and home!

A few months ago I thought you posted that you were looking to move, if my memory serves me, to someplace in the South.  We moved into our "forever home" near Asheville, NC in November...our LAST move.
I just got a couple of e-mails from Mike at GIK.

He had a number of suggestions I'm probably going to incorporate.

For the ceiling, he's recommending 4 x 4" thick panels, vs my original 3 x 2" thick. He's recommending 6" thick Impression series bass traps and diffusion for the rear, along with similar for the front.

Interestingly, he's kind of replacing lack of surface area with thicker panels. Mike also recommended standing Impression series panels in the front under the windows.  I have been desperately trying to avoid blocking any windows, so these are the units I'm still unsure about.

While packing this past weekend I had to remove my beloved 2" thick panels from around the room, and I have to say that how obvious the difference was in the room.  Not just was the room more sibilant but it practically buzzed.

Mike's suggestions are quite reasonable.  I think his entire room treatment runs around $2,500.  About the price of a really decent DAC.
Erik:" Mike's suggestions are quite reasonable. I think his entire room treatment runs around $2,500. About the price of a really decent DAC."

Hello Erik,

     Is Mike's last name from GIK Majors?  If so, he's the same GIK rep who helped me with my room.  I bought and installed all his recommended treatments and the results were excellent. 
     His general philosophy seems to be a balance of absorption and diffusion in the room with a preference for more diffusion along the front and rear walls.  My impression was that he's very knowledgeable and his advice was reliable.

Best wishes,
Well people, I have arrived, and my dreams of ordering all that fancy room treatment are on hold for right now.

There was a mixup between the movers and the floor refinishers, so I can't really unpack the living room until that is done. The house went from 3 toilets to 1/2 over night, the porch steps need to be rebuilt, gutters installed, sump hose must be attached, and a car must be procured. 
The closest thing I have right now to working hifi gear is my television.

Very sorry to hear of your house catastrophe. Hope you are able to get that squared away pronto. Regards
I wouldn't quite call it a catastrophe!

I'm quite fortunate in many regards here.  It just has a number of issues which need to be prioritized, and with this being a very wet state, I need to take care of everything related to water infiltration ASAP.

I still got a good enough bargain in this house that this is all worthwhile.  Fortunately I know a little bit about electricity and screws to do some of it on my own. 
BTW, I have updated my virtual system to include the latest recommendations from GIK.

Well, glad to hear it is NOT a catastrophe! Again, hope you get beyond this quickly.
Before buying this house I got really excited that most of the rooms had 2 Ethernet jacks. Fabulous! No more dropped streaming signals! No more competing with Wifi with the neighbors! I was ready for 1 GigE to all my Roku streaming devices!

Well, not so fast...

Turns out the data panel in the closet is a straight pass through with no jacks.  That is, it's a set of eight punch down terminals, all wired to each other.  That means I can't use more than 2 devices at a time in the whole house. 

OK, replaced the data panel with an 8 gang punch down to female RJ45. 

Now I can use an Ethernet switch and light them all up with independent data paths, but wait!  The wiring at the wall is all wrong, so I get to punch those down again.  Sigh.
3 1/2 hours later and I have 3 ports in the house enabled.  Only took a punch down tool and Ethernet test kit.
A week after moving in, I have installed a whole-house surge suppressor.

Siemens has a hard to find unit called "BoldShield" which are in panel protectors. $150 at HD or Lowe's currently.

I learned two things:

  1. Surge suppressors are required as of NEC 2020, including remodeling work.
  2. You can use multiple BoltShields, to give protection across ground AND neutral and increase the current protection before it's completely disabled. This seems like expensive excess to me.
"  This seems like expensive excess to me."

Hello Erik,

     Isn't 'expensive excess' the standard operating procedure in this hobby?  


My family fortune going into acoustic panels and air bearing chairs so the reverberation of my buttocks does not interfere with the palladium cable lifters is NOT EXCESSIVE!!

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System update: 

Still boxed.  Basically waiting on the flooring guys to come in before I really start to re-assemble it.  In the mean time, I have new porch steps.
I remember back a few years when I had to wait to put my gear back in my room. It'll be over soon enough.
I have updated my virtual system with a current image.  Room is still a mess, and the final GIK Acoustic components are not in but it sounds really good. :)

I spent the weekend binging Sci Fi shows I have been putting off as well as catching up on Marvel Universe flicks. The sound is large and super smooth but the imaging is not very detailed.  Waiting on the GIK diffusors before going nuts with that.

Honestly though the room looks very stark.  It feels great when the lights are dimmed and the curtains drawn I feel like I am in a theater, but it's really not looking great as a living room.
Somewhere I should mention that I am using the OmmiMic DVD to help me. In addition to doing basic frequency response charting, I used it to precisely configure the relative speaker distance which was oddly quite wrong in the Anthem settings. I mean, of course I started by measuring distances with a ruler and put that in with half-foot accuracy but the timings were not correct for the surrounds vs. the front channels. Off by a good two feet or so ( i.e. 2 mSec). When you introduce DSP to one channel but not others like I do by using it in the Center and Sub only you also have to deal with extra delays in processing there.

Of course in a motion picture auditorium, there is only 1 seat in the house where you achieve such absolute precision in arrival times, but hey, audiophiles are nothing if not fussy.

Using a combination of the OmniMic DVD and miniDSP’s very precise delay settings I was able to get perfect delay matching.