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Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 3:50 pm
by Dorian
Hello all

The whole subject of room treatments is completely foreign to me. I am curious to know if I would benefit from them or not. My current system sounds great. I think the frequency response sounds ideal; listening to albums that I know intimately, they sound how I would expect them to. FWIW I listen near-field, assuming that this definition is accurate.

How would I know if I would benefit from room treatments?

Thanks.

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:47 pm
by Ayre Conditioned
No. Room dimensions are more important.

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:01 pm
by JimTimP
Get yourself a copy of REW and a USB calibrated mic and test your room. You will need to read up on how to do it, but there is LOTS of good info on the web.

I got my calibrated mic from Dayton Audio. Software here: https://www.roomeqwizard.com/ (astoundingly, this software is free!)

It's easier than you think, gives you gobs of data for a few second test, and you'll have a new tool in your kit to amaze friends and relatives. Ok, I went a bit far on that last one ;).

But it does give you a full and easily interpreted view into the sonics of the room itself.

Besides, it's fun.

If the data starts to show early reflections, then some sidewall acoustic absorbers are warranted (I like ATS and Acoutimac panels as they are decor and significant other friendly). I'm also not 100% convinced of the effectiveness of open cell foam panels. I also located a pair of GIK Acoustic bass traps behind my speakers. It improved bass response significantly. GIK also has panels, and may be worth a look as well. I got most of my stuff off Amazon. GIK came from them directly.

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:54 pm
by SubVet
I have a very small room (9 x 14 with 7 foot ceilings). I most certainly needed treatments. JimTimP gave some great info. I would expect that most rooms we use for our music systems will have reflections that can be improved by treatments. In my case first reflections from the side walls were particularly bad. I ended up with some 244 bass traps for the side reflections and some tri-trap corner bass traps from Gik Acoustics. I like the Gik Acoustics product but there are many choices including DIY.

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2018 8:39 pm
by Mr_Putty
If you search YouTube for say “stereo room acoustics” or “recording studio acoustics”, you should find some useful explanations of speaker and microphone placement and room reflections and how to tune them. I don’t have enough room for the usual audio traps so, adjusting my speaker placement is also limited, but important. Breaking up side wall reflections with a bookshelf, for example, is a good start. I have a vaulted ceiling which I think helps a lot.

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:59 am
by Dorian
Thanks guys this is good info. Jim, I will have to make some time to run that analysis software. Thanks for the info.

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:17 pm
by hlaudio
Hey Dorian!

First off...I think you have an excellent speaker for near field setup. And as I recall, you have them on stands. Great! Now to your question regarding room treatment...your answer is in your opening dialogue. If you are in the near field environment the room has no influence. Don’t add any treatment to your room.

Generally in the studio, near field is under 2.5meters (8ft) between L&R speakers. The idea behind near field setup is to eliminate the room all together. So you setup a true 8ft triangle. But, if the distance from right ear to right speaker is greater then 8ft you may have gone outside the realm of near field. Then the room comes into play.

Let me suggest a test. Since you have speakers on stands this should be fairly easy. We’re gonna start real small. Move the speakers into a 4ft triangle based on your current seating position. Now listen to a very familiar song. Now move the speakers out on the triangle to 5ft. Do you hear any difference? If not, move out to 6ft...keep going until you hear a tonal difference (room effects). Now move the speakers in till you don’t hear the room. That’s your biggest near field setup.

If you can’t get to your current speaker placement, then you don’t have a proper near field setup.

Just remember, you stated that your system sounds great. Sometimes best to leave alone and enjoy the music.

All the best,
Harold

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:38 am
by TomD
hlaudio wrote:Hey Dorian!

Just remember, you stated that your system sounds great. Sometimes best to leave alone and enjoy the music.

All the best,
Harold


Best advice I have seen on an audio forum in a long time.

Tom

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:10 pm
by Golear
Dorian wrote:
How would I know if I would benefit from room treatments?

Thanks.


Here's a test. It's based on guidelines on speaker placement from Wilson Audio. It's mentioned in their owners manual. I think they call it "clap echo", and shows the room acoustics in the midrange.

In your sitting position, make an "impulse" sound e.g. clap your hands or snap your fingers or hit a snare drum or operate the clapper board that are used in movies. There will be a primary sound, a reverb/echo of the main sound, and then a decay of the reverb/echo. In some rooms, the reverb/echo may be so loud that it masks the primary sound. In some rooms, it can cause a pulsing, ringing sound all of its own. And in some rooms, it can go on for a long time.

One wants to hear the primary sound, together with a small amount of reverb/echo, which dies down quickly. I think the RT60 measurement checks the time taken for the reverb/echo to go down -60dB. But it does not check the relationship of the primary sound with the reverb/echo. Some believe that a very short RT60 is good, and it probably is, for hotel lobbies, airports, etc. But for hi-fi rooms, some believe a certain amount of reverb/echo is desirable.

After you've done the test in your room, then go to the park or the middle of a field and repeat the test. This will give you a good idea of the primary sound without reverb/echo. But it will sound weird - so one does want to have a little bit of reverb/echo in the sound room.

Re: Do I Need Room Treatments?

PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:55 am
by mreeter
So many factors in the room that make a difference in the sound. Tile/Hardwood floors, area rugs, soft furniture, throw pillows, window coverings, etc.

Your room may already have all the 'Treatments' it needs, with the style in which it is decorated. I prefer an Acoustically 'Dead' space, so I have probably gone a little overboard with Treatments, but the room is Studio Quite and the Panels add a little color to the room as well.

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