Poll: Is your listening room acoustically treated?
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I have a dedicated, professionally treated room
1.52%
1 1.52%
I have a dedicated room I treated myself
16.67%
11 16.67%
I listen in the living room but it's well treated
15.15%
10 15.15%
I listen in the living room and it has no room treatment but it sound ok because of all the stuff in it
50.00%
33 50.00%
I listen in a living room that sounds pretty ordinary
16.67%
11 16.67%
Total 66 vote(s) 100%
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Is your listening room acoustically treated?
#1
Over the years I've moved my and other systems from room to room and every room sounds different. Mine at the moment even sounds better in summer than in winter because I can have the windows open and that reduces reflection. I'm wondering how many of us actually have rooms that bring out the best of their systems. Piccies and some description would be nice.
                                                    Lifetime Roon, Mac mini, int. SSD, ext. HDD, tv as monitor, key board and track pad on bean bag as remote,Devialet 200, Od'A #097, Blue jeans speaker cable,                                     
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                                                                                                                                                                              Jim Smith's GBS.
                                                                                                                                                                        Northern NSW Australia.
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#2
My listening room has no particular treatment since it is our living room which is a 5.5 x 7 x 2.55 m room.

Speakers are on the short wall, more of less centered (symmetrical around the fire place) 2.5 m apart from each other and 85 cm away from the back wall (which was the toughest negotiation I had to win with my wife).

I’m listening about 2.5 m away from the speakers, which put the listening position roughly in the middle of the room.

A dedicated and treated room would certainly improve things, but it don’t feel any frustration with the current setup so life is good!

Jean-Marie
MacBookPro -> Air -> WiFi -> PLC -> Ethernet -> Devialet 220pro with Core Infinity (upgraded from 120) -> AperturA Armonia
France
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#3
Several years ago I hired an expert in room acoustics with the plan to improve the acoustics of my living room. Best decision I’ve ever made!

He modeled and measured the room with open kitchen (lot’s of concrete and glass, 5x11meters) and made an extensive plan including simulations to treat it using professional but non obtrusive means. Biggest and most effective part became the treatment of the entire ceiling which now has a suspended ceiling using 60x60cm Rockfon Sonar D tiles. This dramatically lowered the reverb times to values suited for stereo and HT. Most people who come into the don’t notice it being there but they do notice how silent and relaxed the room is. That’s the great thing about it, it not only improves music reproduction but also improves quality of living since the room is so ‘quiet’ (as in non reverberant). With multiple people at once in the room it’s way easier to follow one another.

Another part is a big RPG Modex Plate (basstrap) hanging on a wall in a corner and a -very- thick wool rug between the seating position and the loudspeakers.

The original plans also detailed treatment of the side walls but I was already very satisfied with the result thus far. Of course there’s beautiful stuff available but still it’s more intrusive than the ceiling.

Once you get to know all the options out there it’s only one’s own creativity (and wallet of course) that limits one to do the treatment of even a living room in an esthetic way. The Rockfon ceiling I now have was a relatively economical solution but it can be done completely invisible as well using special, porous/absorbing types of plaster.

Not many people make this step which is unfortunate but also somewhat understandable as it’s hard to DIY all this, it requires quite some knowledge and specific tools/software to do it right and apply the right amount of absorption over a wide bandwidth (say 20-20kHz) and to find the right mix of absorbtion and diffusion. One has to experience the effect to -really- appreciate/want it I guess.

Edit; I chose ‘I listen in the living room but it's well treated‘ but the first option could fit as well.
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The Netherlands


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#4
I started experimenting with some DIY treatments in my living room around 20 years ago. After moving to my current house in 2002 I was able to set up a dedicated listening room which I continued to treat on a DIY basis until 2008 when I bought a number of REALTraps panels and stands. The room is an L-shaped room which presents some interesting problems which is one of the reasons I prefer treatments which have stands and are free standing, you can experiment with placement a lot easier and using stands is about the only option when there's a window behind the treatment. It's also easier to move treatments if you change speaker positions or the listening position.

At first I tended to be guided by Everest's "Master Handbook of Acoustic" on the placement of the treatments, basically bass traps in corners and panels at first reflection points on side walls and the wall behind the speakers. In recent years however I've changed to following recommendations from Floyd Toole in his book "Sound Reproduction - Loudspeakers and Rooms". The bass traps are still in the corners but the panels are now in the centre of the front and back walls and the first reflection points are untreated. This is delivering the best results I've had over the time I've been using acoustic treatment.

Ethan Winer of REALTraps used to say something like "acoustic treatments can be effective, small, and low cost; pick any 2" and that about sums it up in a lot of ways. Effective treatments tend not to be small so they cost and they also tend to be highly visible. Those things aren't a problem if you have a dedicated listening room where you can do what you want but they tend to be major problems if your system is in the living room and you have a partner who is less concerned with sound quality and more concerned with having a living room which functions well as a living room. There's a lot you can do without acoustic treatments if you're allowed. Good speaker placement and getting the listening position right is a big thing and should be the first thing. A wool rug on the floor between speakers and listening position and curtains or blinds over windows help. Bookcases filled with lots of books provide quite a bit of absorption as can some but not all sofas and chairs. With a bit of time and effort you can achieve a lot in a living room without acoustic treatments.

Acoustic treatment is icing on the cake in my view. It's often only possible in a dedicated room because most acoustic treatments are basically unattractive and tend to stand out like a sore thumb so they're not what partners want to see in a living room. They also take up space and you may not be able to put them where they're most beneficial because there are furniture items in the way or they're going to block the view out of windows. On it's own it can't deliver great sound, you still have to get the room setup right anyway and you've got to get the treatment right as well. Done well it can make a good setup better but done badly it can make things worse. I consider myself lucky because I could set up a dedicated room and do what I like with it. I wouldn't have a treated room if that had not been the case and I wouldn't be getting the results I'm getting if I hadn't done a fair bit of reading on room acoustics and spent a lot of time experimenting with different placements for some panels. You don't need to hire a professional in order to get good results but you need to be prepared to do a bit of experimentation to get a result you really like which is one of the reasons I prefer freestanding treatments which you can move rather than treatments you glue on the wall.
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#5
No room treatment, but digital room correction. The room itself is our living room and I've just made a major change in system setup to reflect that. The result so far is quite agreeable. I voted for "I listen in the living room and it has no room treatment but it sound ok because of all the stuff in it"
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#6
Installed 2 PSI Audio AVAA absorbers in each corner behind the speakers and they have tightened the bass and dealt with standing waves fairly effectively. They are really designed for recording studios but can successfully be used domestically. I had to do something as swmbo would not cope with conventional bass corner traps.
Cheers,
Bill.
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#7
My listening room is not separated. It’s located in the “family” room where we wat h tv and movies on a separate surround system. I have treated all my windows with sound insulation panels that I built myself. Part of the reason was to darken out the light, for movie watching but to try and reduce any harsh reflections off the glass. I can’t say for sure that it’s “treated” correctly because I never took any measurements before and after, but it works for me.
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#8
I've gone a bit loony-tunes with £2.5K of GIK Acoustics treatments all over my living room (self-applied). In fact, I'm having two of my four Soffit Bass Traps collected for return tomorrow, as they are too invasive in my 5 x 4.3 x 2.5m room. See, I have a problem room which is twice as long as high, little furnishing, and a springy laminate floor, so I had to do something.

The upside is that I finally get to hear what a Devialet is truly capable of: it now sounds lush, deep & sweet instead of hard or dry. Rooms can easily halve the quality of what you've paid for... I now consider them enemy #1. This will be why there can be such disparate opinions about the Devialet sound - it's neutrality leaves the room's sound exposed.

I so envy you people with naturally large, well-proportioned rooms and solid concrete floors!
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#9
(09-Apr-2019, 16:46)JohnnySix Wrote: I've gone a bit loony-tunes with £2.5K of GIK Acoustics treatments all over my living room (self-applied). In fact, I'm having two of my four Soffit Bass Traps collected for return tomorrow, as they are too invasive in my 5 x 4.3 x 2.5m room. See, I have a problem room which is twice as long as high, little furnishing, and a springy laminate floor, so I had to do something.

The upside is that I finally get to hear what a Devialet is truly capable of: it now sounds lush, deep & sweet instead of hard or dry. Rooms can easily halve the quality of what you've paid for... I now consider them enemy #1. This will be why there can be such disparate opinions about the Devialet sound - it's neutrality leaves the room's sound exposed.

I so envy you people with naturally large, well-proportioned rooms and solid concrete floors!

LOL. I know what you mean about bass traps being too invasive, they're big both physically and in visual impact.

Ridiculous story: years ago I decided to make some DIY bass traps. A speaker designer posted a quick and dirty DIY bass trap recipe on an audio forum which said "get some bags of ceiling insulation batts, stick them in your room corners still in their plastic bags and throw some cloth over the bags to kill the high frequency reflections from the  plastic bags", end of instructions. I decided to try it. I had a small hatchback car and I picked up 2 bags of batts. I put the back seat down to fit the batts in the car and the whole of the rear space behind the front seats was filled by the 2 bags, virtually no air space left. I drove home listening to music on my car cassette player (this was back in the '90s) and I have never again heard such glorious bass in a car. The batts worked as promised in the front corners of my room so I added another couple. Highly effective but ugly as hell in a living room.

Don't knock your laminate floor too much. A cement slab retains bass in the room and can make bass problems worse. Springy floors can actually help because they don't reinforce bass frequencies as much. They won't help as much as bass traps but a cement slab floor would normally require you to add even more bass trapping to reduce bass problems.
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Brisbane, Qld, Australia
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#10
My setup is generally similar to that of @Jean-Marie but a bit smaller in width and length. It is not ideal, I just have no other workable location options. Strangely, during renovations I had a previous system set up in the dining room, which is sort of at the point of a triangle between the open kitchen and the living room. I was a bit disappointed that abandoning the dining table was not one of the decorating options I had before me.

We have enough stuff in the living room to create some baffle effects, or something like that; there are some small steps in the side walls and the room is open along part of one long side. Strangely, the sound is very good at the end of the room opposite the speakers; there is an 'end' of the room there so I expected it to be the worst location, with echo and bounce. When working at the computer with music on, I've had more, 'hey, what was that' moments in this spot than I have in the centred listening chair. 

A few years ago, I had a demo of a multi channel system in a very small, almost cube-proportioned room. I think it was a Monitor Audio theatre system. Even when the volume was quite loud, the room was very 'still'. It was so surprising that the sound could be turned way up, but not have the usual reverb and long echo/ decay that can really make things sound terrible.

After that experience I have no doubt about the value of a good room and effective acoustic treatments. Not necessarily sexy, but very important.
Damon
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