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Room treatments, your experience

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jfm

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Room treatments, your experience with MLs

Several of us have been mentioning room treatments as important conceptually and a breakthrough empirically, so I thought I'd start a thread dedicated to this. As there's a lot of theory out there, it might be good to focus, instead, on our specific experiences with room treatments and Martin Logans.

I have a dedicated audio-video room. 21x16x8. Recently I added a tube trap at each front corner, and free-standing panels that do both absorption and diffusion. The latter I placed about 4 feet behind my Aeons, which are about 5 feet from the back wall.

The effect was dramatic. Even my wife, who can be skeptical about these things, had to say wow after the first few bars of her favorite dvd concert.

The improvements in my case:

* Soundstage depth. The players are now more distinctly located, in a deeper stage. Not only that, but the relative volume at which they play is very apparent -- even when they're playing together, some will play louder than the others, some will play much softer, and I now hear this more easily.

* Soundstage height. I always thought my MLs had good height. Now the voices from the center come from a bit higher up, and the orchestral players are arranged vertically, not just horizontally.

* Bass. There used to be a suckout right near the listening spot. That's been corrected. I measured before-and-after, using test tones, and what's amazing is that the SPLs are actually higher without the traps at certain bass frequencies. However with traps the peaks are lower, and the troughs are higher, so that the overall curve is smoother -- by ear this has translated to better and deeper bass.

* Midrange articulation. Vocals, always a treat with MLs, become even more of a treat. When a singer shifts between her head tones, chest tones, and in-between tones, I can now more easily hear the changes.

* Background vocals and instruments are now as full-size and as full-bodied as the lead singers and instruments.

* Synchronization of players. Sorry don't have the proper term for this. What I mean is that you can sense the players listening to each other play and adjusting to each other as the music changes. In jazz where different players take turns in the spotlight, this is more apparent.

* Reduction in glare at high volume levels. This can be a problem with MLs, especially if the back wall is untreated. Still needs a bit of work in my case, but it's been reduced.

* Movie soundtracks have become much more of a treat, as the whole bubble of sound within the room expanded.

(Oh, my wife also added a Persian carpet, which does a better job sonically than the old el cheapo rug, aside from looking nice.)

What I would like to further explore:

1. Absorbers in the center of the wall behind the front speakers. Any experience with this from anyone? I have a front pj and I am thinking of an electric screen to replace my pull-down, if this center absorption is promising.
2. Adding tube traps in the rear.
3. Adding diffusors along the side wall.
 
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DTB300

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For Christmas, "Santa Dan" (how thoughtful of him :D) bought an Auralex Room kit. I have tried diffusion, and for my room and setup, I like the absorption better. I have treated the wall behind and between my CLSIIz's and have a small section behind my seating position. It did a nice job of removing some of the congestion in the music - meaning I hear more detail between instruments.

Next change will be bass absorption in the lower tri-corners behind the speakers. Like Tube Traps but using Acoustic Cotton.

While initially skeptical about room treatments (unknowing and isn't room treatments just for sound studio's????) the Velodyne SMS-1 show me what EQ and making changes to what is already there can do for improvements - and for little money compared to what we spend on a component or cable to hopefully fix things.

Dan
 

amey01

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I have had exactly the same effects when tuning my room. Room tuning makes bigger changes than any source, amp, speakers or other tweaks! This stuff is seriously under-estimated - as I've always said - "Just try setting up a sound system in a bathroom" and tell me that the room is not *THE* single most important factor for getting good sound quality!
 

kach22i

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For a full description look up member system 42.

Took this picture last night, the TV is covered with a heavy wool blanket and a couch cushion is on top.
 

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kach22i

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sleepysurf said:
In double-blind testing, I have found paisley works better than plaid!
If you look closely, you can see that I am using both.

Thanks for the tip. ;)

Note: The firm couch backcushion above the TV works better than the larger softer cushion on the arm chair. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
 
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dyazdani

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I heard all of the same effects upon treatment of my room.

Tube traps or low-freq broadband absorbers would work well in rear corners, you can't usually have too many.

I've got 3 panels behind my SL3s, one behind each speaker and one in the center. Seems to work well, the center image seems very focused with the additional center panel. This could very likely be a visual thing.

I haven't tried any diffusion, but have had good luck with some absorption.

Note: all of my treatments are DIY.
 

DTB300

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dyazdani said:
Tube traps or low-freq broadband absorbers would work well in rear corners, you can't usually have too many.
This is the exact statements issued by the people in the know about low frequency absorption (for example Ethan Winer from Real Traps). People constantly ask about using 4 traps in the corners of their room to help, and Ethan will state that while it will help, many more will help even more with room modes and (I believe this is the term) modal ringing.

The forum Ethan hosts is a great wealth of knowledge and information about treating a room:

http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/forum/f/26.html

Dan
 
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dyazdani

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DTB300 said:
This is the exact statements issued by the people in the know about low frequency absorption (for example Ethan Winer from Real Traps).
Funny you say that! Where do you think I learned about all this stuff? :D

If you go to Ethan's RealTraps website, there is a great acoustics FAQ. It's also on the forum as a sticky I think.
 

DTB300

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dyazdani said:
Funny you say that! Where do you think I learned about all this stuff? :D If you go to Ethan's RealTraps website, there is a great acoustics FAQ. It's also on the forum as a sticky I think.
See, now you gave away our secret to "Guru-ism" :D :D :D Oh yeah, that's right..I posted the link to his site!!!!

No secret really...like I stated in the other thread concerning room acoustics, there are many sites and forums out there to read and learn about room acoustics and what changes will help you out.

Dan
 
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Robin

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Room Acoustic Treatments...

Well, I was so busy sound proofing my room with rigid insulation and acoustic sound board. Sound proofing the door to my HT with egg crate foam rubber etc. My HT room is so very small and full of audio gear, ML speakers, speaker / audio cabling, shelving for DVDs, DVDs, equipment racks, an in room 9000 BTU air-conditioner, a three piece sectional sofa with two recliners at each end, all in a HT room that used to be a small bed room 12'x11'x8'... :eek: Additionally, I had duel pane argon filled windows installed and fitted cardboard to the window to eliminate light and help sound proof to the max. New wall to wall carpet with extra thick particle foam rubber padding... :eek:

Even with all of that, I read all of the above great / interesting posts and I start thinking, maybe it's time to add acoustic bass traps to the corners and triangle bass-traps (acoustic triangle cut-outs) to the ceiling / walls... My room is so compact, a person sitting in the sweet spot is only seven feet from the Ascent i's electrostatic panels others are five to six feet away. My other ML's are much closer... My seven channel, wonderful ML extravaganza is so near to the listener in my HT room, sound waves fill the room almost immediately, it's as if you had your ear to the heart of ML's speaker line-up - Ascent i's, Theater i, Descent and Script i's... :)
I'm not complaining mind you... I love the sounds my ML's make and I don't have to turn the amp up very much to achieve max volume. It's just, I think I could be doing more with room treatments for better sound management. I'm not too sure where to begin to improve my HT room's acoustic more? :confused:

How much was that "Aurlex Room Kit" Santa Dan?
 
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dyazdani

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Robin,

The corner type bass traps (the panel variety especially) will make your room seem VERY small. They actually take up quite a bit of space and require that space behind them to work properly. The tube type uses the space in the center though still have to be large in order to be effective. I don't think you have the space to place them vertically in the corners.

You might think about placing panels in your wall/ceiling corners. You'll have much more room there and could fit in more traps. I haven't seen that the thin triangle types are very effective (the pillow variety). You could get some 2'x2' absorbers and put them in the "tri-corners."
 

Robin

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Tri-corner absorbers...

dyazdani said:
Robin,

The corner type bass traps (the panel variety especially) will make your room seem VERY small. They actually take up quite a bit of space and require that space behind them to work properly. The tube type uses the space in the center though still have to be large in order to be effective. I don't think you have the space to place them vertically in the corners.

You might think about placing panels in your wall/ceiling corners. You'll have much more room there and could fit in more traps. I haven't seen that the thin triangle types are very effective (the pillow variety). You could get some 2'x2' absorbers and put them in the "tri-corners."
dyazdani,

Thanks for the advise... :) I will look around and see what I can come up with for the wall/ceiling tri-corners. I am starting to think you are correct, my current ceiling',s "Acoustic Cottage Cheese Dry-Wall" needs something to improve the dispersion sound.

Thanks again,
 

kach22i

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Robin, you could always suspend the round cylinder type corner tube traps from the ceiling. The ceiling to wall interface is just a horzontal corner (verses vertical corner).

............................and earthquake proof. :D
 

Robin

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Ethan Winer's recommendations...

kach22i said:
Robin, you could always suspend the round cylinder type corner tube traps from the ceiling. The ceiling to wall interface is just a horzontal corner (verses vertical corner).

............................and earthquake proof. :D
kach22i,

Interesting idea. I found this recommendation from Ethan Winer regarding this very subject:

http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.mpl?forum=rives&n=2415&highlight=Bass+traps&r=&session=

It is a possibility in my small HT, as my bass traps should go some place useful.
 

tonyc

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I want to add a hearty AMEN to jfm. My wife let me get floor to ceiling ASC tube traps for the front corners of my dedicated two channel room (16 x 14). They are ugly (16 inchers) but oh so effective in getting rid of a bit of boom as well as improving soundstaging in the same way jfm so eloquently expressed. I already had room tunes triangles in each corner and similar pillows in the middle of the front wall and in the middle of the side walls. The effects were immediate, dramatic and fully the magnitude of a major component upgrade. The caveat here is that my two channel system is based on Apogee Divas not ML. I do feel these improvements are independent of the speaker system, so should be similar with ML. Of course at the same time my dearest fired a shot across the bow by stating that under no circumstances will she allow me to do the same to my ML based HT system (Aeons, Logos, Scenarios, Descent) located in our living room! I hope to be getting Summits to replace the Apogees sometime this year and will post my experiences if anybody is interested. At this point I would state unequivocally that if you invested in serious speakers like ML and have not treated your room, then you have NOT heard what your system is capable of sounding like.
 

Craig

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If you want to get an idea of the impact room acoustics make on the sound of your system then move your system to another room in your house. Unless the is room identical, you'll probably notice a significant difference.
 

DTB300

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jfm said:
What I would like to further explore:
1. Absorbers in the center of the wall behind the front speakers. Any experience with this from anyone? I have a front pj and I am thinking of an electric screen to replace my pull-down, if this center absorption is promising.
In the Center will help. I had done treatment just behind my speakers, listened, then treated the center area. Again this produced another nice improvement in the sound. This is something you should look into for further treating your room.

2. Adding tube traps in the rear.
This will help even more with the bass taming. Front corners are a start, but when you put them in all 4, is where the real differeneces begin.

3. Adding diffusors along the side wall.
Try diffusors and absorption at first reflection points to see which works best for you.

Dan
 

jfm

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Thanks Dan! Much appreciated.

How specifically did you treat your center?
 

DTB300

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jfm said:
Thanks Dan! Much appreciated. How specifically did you treat your center?
I had the Auralex DST-36 Room Kit. Treated behind speakers first and had some tiles leftover. Treated behind center area (TV with Center Channel Speaker on top - TV position between speakers is not ideal, but it is also a living area) with remaining tiles and listened and liked the change. I tried some different tiles and different locations and finalized with a column (4' H x 2' W) of tiles behind the TV/Center Channel

Dan
 
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