Room Acoustics


I have a question concerning acoustic panels. I’m currently trying to determine what I need and how to set it up in my room. GIk advised that I put as many bass traps in the room as possible, strategically positioned in the room and, in the first reflection points. Secondary reflection points could either be covered by a combo of diffusion/absorption or diffusers. One question I have is, is it necessary to have so many acoustic panels both traps and diffusers, if you don’t play music very loud? Do acoustics matter most when the volume is turned up and the walls rattle? Appreciate some advice. Thanks.

sidog1460

Lots of folks like the look of panels on their walls and put them there for not much other reason that they were told they were the greatest thing since sex and they assume their presence there will make the room sound better. It might. But there are a lot of ways of getting great sound in your room without them.

Get a book on room acoustics and read it before you decide to hire a company to tell you what you need and where to put it. FWIW I found they could be beneficial in treating first reflection points and dispersing the back wave of panels, electrostatics, etc. 

Like all tweaks in audio you need to make sure you need them in the first place. Some folks don't use acoustic panels at all. I don't (I did though). I just figured out how and where to set up my speakers and listening chair and what kind of 'domestic' things I could use to deaden or diffuse room reflections. FWIW a lot of folks spend money trying to correct standing waves, as well as nodes and nulls in the bass frequencies. You will get recommendations accordingly but you can't kill/cure room nodes/nulls with acoustic panels. And also, the nulls and nodes that really count are those at the listening chair. Just because when you stand in the plane of two speakers near the wall you hear a big soggy bass doesn't mean you will hear that same boost at the listening position. Any way, FWIW. :-)

BTW, regarding your question, if you are listening at low levels you are unlikely to really need acoustic panels on your walls except on the first reflection point on the wall adjacent to your speaker IF your speaker is too close to that wall.  You can solve the problem, if one exists, by simply moving the speaker or using more toe in.

You could ask GIK where to start if you want only half as many panels. In other words, take their advice as a starting point, not the final word.

Perhaps you are not looking for perfection, just some improvement in the biggest problems, and within a set budget. That is a completely reasonable approach.

 

I use tube traps in the corners. Depends on the size of your room and speakers as to how much improvement you will get.

Acoustic panels and big bass traps are expensive. Clearly one way is to get a company involved. After the corners, I experimented with heavy blankets and different pillows… couch pillows are good to determine what was needed where. One of my earlier rooms actually sounded best with painted walls. This was with ribbon speakers. One foot high three foot wide panel of heavy wool oriental carpet six feet up the front wall made a great improvement.

I have a very large irregular room that sounds great by itself, so I did my corrections with heavy wool hangings and pillows… with a few official acoustic products. Lots of ways of approaching it.

Really appreciate all your responses. I have bought bass traps for my front wall and it has tightened up the bass and improved the imaging. Before I went any further dealing w second reflection points and the rear wall behind the listening seat I wanted to get some input from those who have experience with panels in there rooms especially, those who play music at moderate to low levels. Thanks to all for your input, much appreciated.

Acoustics matter most at low volumes, say I.  The need and type of bass traps varies a great deal based on the dimensions of the room.  The GIK soffit traps do an amazing job in the lowest octaves where most acoustic treatments won't do anything at all.

You might also want to look at the AM Acoustics room simulator, which will help you visualize your room modes and help you place your speakers and listening location outside the worst modes.