Need help from you acoustical experts

Here is the latest version of my new listening room. Everything is nice and symmetrical. Depth is ok, width could be a little better. Most of the treatments are from GIK Acoustics, placed where they recommended.(mostly).

Treatments on the side walls are at 1st and 2nd reflection points.

Walls are drywall screwed and glued to steel studs, paneling glued and strapped to drywall and filled with Rockwool. The ceiling has R30 insulation covered by CelingMax grid, screwed to the joists (not hanging). Dedicated circuit for the stereo, and HVAC ducts insulated to keep it quiet.

Yeah, it’s very quiet. Creepy quiet.

My issue is probably with the treatments. Midrange/singers are very forward, and high in the room. Usually as high as the white music note panels, and sometimes the singer sounds like she’s on the ceiling between the speakers.

Anyone see a mistake I’m making with the acousticsounds panels, either placement or type?

I’d like to post some pictures, not seeing how to do it. Guess you'll need to look at my profile. 




Posting photos is easy by creating a Virtual system. Click on the tiny down pointing triangle To the right of the title discussion Forums at the top of the page. Click on virtual systems.


Photos will help a lot.

Sounds like a strong ceiling reflection?

What kind of a ceiling and what is on your floor?

Do you have more than just 1st and 2nd reflection point panels?

Oh, and what speakers are you using??

My first reaction when I look at your pictures is your speakers are far to close to the wall behind them. The first thing I would do if I came into your room would be moving the speakers forward from that wall about 4ft. My next thing I would do is try moving them closer to the side walls and increasing the toe in substantially, possibly until the axis’ cross in front of your head. I think the panels on the side walls to deal with first reflections would control the side wall reflections. Of course you would have to move your listening chair back to maintain the ’triangle’. And, FWIW, I think you may have too many panels but I would have to actually hear the room to know. I don’t know these panels but I would put absorptive panels on the walls first reflection points, diffusing panels on the 2d reflections points. I’m not at all sure that the panels on the rear wall (wall behind the speakers) are at all necessary, but if I did they would be of the diffusive type and I would place them in the center of the wall, I think a modified version of a live end/dead end set up works well. Just try moving the speakers 1st and changing the toe in. And if that works (at all) for you you can start to rethink your need for panels.

I just looked at your system here on A’gon. If that’s the system you have problems with, the issue is the height of your diffusion panels + the low ceiling.

If your ceiling was higher and had broad-band treatment it probably would be OK.

Remove any diffusors next to/behind your speakers that are ABOVE the level of the speaker. Ideally those should get replaced with simple absorbers.

While I generally applaud the use of a mix of diffusor/absorbers, I think you may have a little too much diffusion going on. Diffusors tend to pull the image towards them, so everything above the speaker level is going to encourage us to hear taller images, while diffusion to the sides encourages the sense of a soundstage wider than the speakers.

Also, a couple of pure abosrbers in the ceiling between the chair and speakers would probably go a long way.


Those are the Vortex Acoustics (Von Schweikert) VR-35 speakers. They are designed to be close to the wall, kinda like the old Snells.

I have a virtual system and uploaded 2 photos there.

I have tried taking the outermost 2 panels down from behind the speakers. Yes, those panels do "pull" the sound towards them.
The 2 Music note panels (from ATS) are purely absorbers. Have not pulled those off yet because A. I like them B they use Z clips rather than small nails to hold them up. Might leave a nasty scar. I’ll try it anyway.
The ceiling is "acoustical" tile but I don’t know how absorbent it is.

That being said, I’m a little wary of putting something on the ceiling if it’s going to pull sound towards it. Maybe some white Sonex JR panels just for an experiment?


Diffusors pull towards them. Pure absorbers do not and that’s the only thing I’d recommend. I believe some one makes a broad frequency absorber that will drop in where you have ceiling tiles. As I recall, those "acoustical" tiles are very reflective at higher frequencies. If you can find the drop in panels with a wider range you’ll be all set.

Your problem isn’t the absorbers, it’s that you have combination panels with 3d diffusion in a tiny room.

As a quick test, throw some towels on the tallest combi panels.

BTW, I am not recommending you get rid of all your diffusors, just change the mix that is above the height of your speakers to be more aborbent.

It's hard to tell you exactly what's best for your room at this point. First thing is the ceiling is extremely low, so ceiling treatment would be a good place to start. I also agree that I see too much diffusing and not enough absorbing. Specially that you do not treat any corner with bass traps. Best I can tell you is to take a good look at my house of stereo system to see the acoustic treatments placement I made over the last 4 years to get to the results I strived for. It is not easy. Many original acoustic settings I started with had to be modified but it is all worth it in the end. It's a journey. A long one. 3 years for me in that room alone. 

@newbee  +1

You have two issues that needs to be resolved:

1. Your speakers are too close to the back wall. I know you said they are designed for placement close to the rear wall. Specification says you can move up to 2 feet. I would even bring them forward by at least 3 ft.

2. Your speakers have first-order crossovers. If my memory serves me right, your listening chair should be at least 8 ft from the speaker to allow sound from different drivers to merge. If your speakers are 8 ft apart center-to-center, then you should find the spot that completes the 8ft equilateral triangle, and then place the seat another 2 ft back. This may be the main reason why you cannot get depth.

Another aspect to work on is the absorbers hanging behind and above the speakers. I would start without those and see if the perceived depth improves.There is a port behind the speaker which can be problematic If it doesn't work without the absorber, then place those right behind the speakers and experiment adjusting the height.

You need to provide detail on your system pls, not knowing anything I'd suggest simply tilting your speakers from the rear so they tilt down toward your listening position as the first simple thing to try. 

OP, FWIW I understand what Albert intended design wise for these speakers. And he may have achieved universal success. He clearly wanted a speaker that would satisfy folks who didn't want to move them off the wall, often for esthetic reasons, but I've see no one say that they couldn't sound good positioned more traditionally. In your place I'd spend a half a day or so repositioning them not only to see if you can resolve your issue but that you might, just might mind you, find that in your room they could sound better. Those old Snell A speakers, for example, could sound better off the wall sometimes.  Finding better bass can be problematic sometimes depending on your room (that occurs with most speakers). So, bottom line, your speakers, your room, your ears, your choice. Good luck.


As I was reading through this I would say that I would lean more towards the advice provided by @newbee first rather than focusing on whether or not your room treatments are lacking or excessive.

Once I saw the speaker you’re using I remembered seeing those some time ago. There is an interesting review of that speaker that mentions a forward stage so I thought I’d provide a link for you. The solve- move the speakers outward towards the wall.

VR 35

You have already received a lot of suggestions. I agree with moving the speakers forward and keeping your acoustical panels lower toward the midwall area where your ears are situated. I don’t recommend buying any new panels. I do recommend using a different sequence.

1) On your side walls interleaf your panels so you have an absorber, then a diffusor, then an absorber, etc.

2) Do NOT mirror the walls, do the opposite. If you have a diffusor on the left wall place an absorber directly opposite on the right wall.

3) I have an "acoustic recipe" diagram in my profile that illustrates this. It would probably take an hour to reshuffle your panels, its free, and you should notice the difference from the first note.

4) You may want to get a small folding chair and simply test moving your MLP forward toward your speakers. If you find a spot you prefer THEN move that big comfortable recliner.



There seems to be some solid advice so far but as you can see it has been trial and error for the other members mostly. Gik seems ok but in the end they need to sell products. It looks like you built your room yourself. I built mine as well. That is alot of work and you want your room to perform at its best. I HIGHLY recommend consulting an acoustician to evaluate your room and go from there. This is what they do. Jeff at hdacoustics is very good and very reasonable price wise. He was recommended to me by the highly respected member Duke LeJeune and I am very happy with my decision to have him design my room. There is no need to spend possibly years trying to get your room right. Good luck 

Wow, thanks for all the responses.

A couple things: The GIK Impression panels are marketed as absorption & diffusion which the wooden decorative plates are supposed to be providing the diffusion.

baylinor There ARE bass traps in the corners behind the speakers.

I’ve had these speakers for a long time (and have been considering a change). They have been in 3 rooms and every time I’ve pulled them away from the back wall they loose bass, but I’ll give it another try in this room.

ronboco I did build this room myself. I consulted the people at GIK and went with their advice, and they wanted me to buy more so yeah, they are trying to sell treatments. I’ll look at hdacoustics.

Post removed 

I’m not an acoustical expert, however I designed presentation rooms for Corporate Clients for 46 years, often with acoustical engineer consultants I hired. Larger spaces of course, but the issues are similar.

75 yrs old, I have messed about with several residential systems, particularly the spaces for me, my friends and client’s homes.

Everything Adds Up.

I suggest:

1. Document the sound reaching the listening position

a. Inexpensive SPL, with Tripod Screw, like this one

b. Test CD (not LP), with individual frequencies, I use this, 29 separate frequency bands (not sweeps or white noise)

expensive, I could find you an inexpensive copy.

2. Meter, Tripod, Seated Ear Height, Copy of Frequency Chart

select individual frequencies (no need to do every one, I do every other one.. write what you are getting

Now you have measured facts, go from there.

3. Ceiling Tile Types, you want

a. STC (Sound Transmission Coefficient) Low keeps the reflected sound IN your space. You want high sound transmission.

b. SAC (Sound Absorbent Coefficient), the tile texture/material absorbs, and allows sound to pass thru, not reflected in your space. I often would put special 3" thick tiles, sometimes rolled absorbent insulation above the tiles (over stock broker’s desks), they also make foam sheets, unseen but they do their job.

BTW, for ceiling return air vents, I had them make a one foot high collar above the grille, lined all 4 sides with insulation, to keep sound from reflecting diagonally off the slab above then thru the sheetrock wall above the ceiling into adjacent offices.

c. My ceilings are Homasote, with wood strips concealing the joints. Painted, but slight texture and ’soft’ characteristic

shows best photo 3 here

the walls are textured wood panels like raked plaster, above system photos, photo #2, left side

4. Rearward Slant: Front spacer/lifter to get Tweeter aimed up, directly at seated ears (tweeters have the narrowest ’equal’ dispertion).

This importantly alters the angle of reflection off the floor and ceiling, combined with toe-in angling/altering side wall reflections (combining/affecting rear wall reflections).

5. Toe-In

a. single centered listening position: aim each speaker directly at the centered position.

b. Two listeners: assuming a small drink table between two off-center chairs

aim left speaker at right chair, right speaker at left chair. each chair gets more direct sound from far speaker, combined with more sound from the speaker they are closest to. Gives acceptable imaging to both.

c. assumes relatively easy ability to pivot speakers outside front corner ’in’.

My heavy speakers, I have 3 wheels (2 front, 1 rear). 3 because more weight per wheel than 4, and 3 always find solid footing without needing leveling.

Lighter speakers, some kind of ’slip’ material, felt/plastic corners, ....

6. Repeat Sound Pressure Meter/CD test, now see what seated listening position is getting.

7. Level Controls, a pet peeve of mine.

a. Speakers should have level controls to adjust the mid to the woofer, and the highs to the mids. All the old ones (that speaker companies made their reputations with) had them, as the space they would be used is was unknown.

b. unknown space is still an issue. Today, use good tone controls, separate equalizer, and again measure with SPL while adjusting/correcting.

8. YOUR Preferences, YOUR Hearing, measured is a start, next, what highs do your old ears hear, what do you like, what do your old ears perceive.

I am 75, after I use meter to get the best, then I use music I am familiar to push the highs more, but not too high, using Eurythmics Sweet Dreams; Blue Nile, Walk ... Rooftops; Andreas Vollenweider, White Winds; No More Tears Duet Barbra Streisand/Donna Summer; Jeff Wayne’s War of the World: other music with highs, and highs sometimes left, sometimes right to maintain balance while pushing each L&R up a bit.




@traudio excellent advice from @newbee, @erik_squires and others.
You have to give the speaker positioning suggestions a try. Move them out into the room more, i.e. the suggested 4ft from the front wall (behind speakers), listen. Then spread them further apart by about 1”, toe them in so you get a solid center image. Evaluate. Make small adjustments from that point on with distance to walls, between speakers (measured at center of drivers) and your chair. 
It’s a tedious and time consuming process but is 100% worth it. You will either get it to sound the way you like or you will realize it’s time for a change.

Reading @elliottbnewcombjr's post and looking at his photos reminded me of this rather old site, Mother of Tone It deals with vibrations and materials that carry them.

They sell, as well as instruct on construction of, birch wooden panels treated with organic lacquers that have favorable vibrational qualities pleasing to the ear. There's also a section of room acoustics that might be worth a read that goes contrary to some of what's been posted here. 

Here's a shot of the owner of Audiovector's room and the treatment of the front wall:

Posting this had my muse whisper in my ear that something as simple as textured wallpaper can do wonders for reducing echo and reflection, which may be all one needs for their room. Just more food for thought.

I have to make a correction in that the boards are made of spruce and not birch. Must have had a brain fart when composing the above post.

All the best,

One of the things I should have made more clear in this thread was that these speakers were designed to be close to the wall and not toed in, unlike most others.

From the manual: "We have found that placing the speakers from 3” (75mm) up to 20” (500mm) from the wall results in the best bass power and tightness. Please experiment but make sure that the speakers have had at least 500 hours on them before making your final decision".

I have tried moving them away only to loose bass. The bass response is great right now and I have taken the diffraction wood panels off the front of some of the treatments which has helped. These speakers worked great when I had to share the living room and was not able to have a pair that needed to be pulled far from the walls to sound the best. 
I think that since i have a dedicated room now, that It may just be time for different speakers. 

I think we'd all agree that speakers designed to be close to the back wall are a design compromise to assist people who don't have the room or the WAF.  Had some Wilsons with the same issues.  That placement increases the natural bass of the speaker and so suggests they reduced the bass output in the design.  Imaging does require about four feet of space from the wall.  You might consider one or two quality subs to augment the sound, a good idea in any case.  Why don't you give VS a call and get their thinking. I'm sure they hold their value well, so you could change them out for a brand that doesn't require the close to the wall placement.