Room Acoustics

Flip3seven

Novice Member
I’m in the process of researching and am almost ready to demo and purchase some hi-fi equipment but I am concerned that once I’ve decided which equipment sounds best, the room I intend to install it in, does not have the best acoustics for hi-fi and I could end up wasting my money. The room is approx. 5m wide x 10m long and incorporates an open plan kitchen. The room is a multi-purpose entertainment/games room with TV and a pool table and opens up onto the garden with 5m bi-fold doors. The room is quite modern and minimalistic and doesn’t contain many soft furnishings, other than a corner sofa and therefore has a considerable amount of echo at present.

The floors are laminate with underfloor heating and there is a lot of glass, so loads of reflective surfaces and not very much sound absorbing material. Carpets and curtains are not really in keeping with the décor of the room. I’m hoping some material blinds on the windows and bi-fold doors would help, as would some acoustic panels on the walls but my other half is trying to clip my wings before I turn the space into a fully fledged man cave…...

How could the room acoustics be improved without going overboard? And should I buy a hi-fi based on a showroom demo and try to improve my room acoustics or should I be looking to demo equipment in my room before buying? As always, all help and advice would be appreciated...
 

IWC Dopplel

Distinguished Member
If you are able to measure the RT60s (decay) then this would provide some insight. The other useful process is to walk around the area and clap to see if you can hear flutter echo. Usually a nice flat reflective surface with one opposite is best kept to a minimum. And avoided with some panels on one or other wall. GIK are well made, nice looking and not too expensive


Can you fit a thick rug between the front speakers and seating position ?
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Ideally you would aim to try out the kit in your room before you make a final decision, loudspeakers in particular can sound very different in differing environments.

As IWC Dopplel says if you can ‘model’ the room you can get some insight into any issues you are going to hit.

There are some very high quality ‘architectural’ wall treatments which will work in a very modern space, it doesn’t have to look like a typical anechoic chamber :)

Joe
 

Seriously Ltd

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
We are a also an acoustic specialist company offering various options for acoustic solutions that doesn’t involve having to have panels on the walls although we do do them.

If your room is overly live and normal conversation echoey there are various options.

Soft furnishings can help to reduce these issues.

Depending on where you are based you are welcome to visit our showrooms in St Albans where we have various room treatment systems in use.

[email protected]
 

Bradleysteenkamp

Novice Member
Room treatment makes a huge difference to how things sound. I've watched so many youtube videos on home cinema and audio etc and am amazed at how many people don't invest in treating the room.

It's never easy to treat a living space though but GIK acoustics make some really nice wall art panels and wood panel/diffusers that work well in a living room space. It's definitely worth doing the clap test to see how bad the flutter echo is. If you add some treatment at the first reflection points it will likely make a big difference to the overall sound.
 

Flip3seven

Novice Member
Room treatment makes a huge difference to how things sound. I've watched so many youtube videos on home cinema and audio etc and am amazed at how many people don't invest in treating the room.

It's never easy to treat a living space though but GIK acoustics make some really nice wall art panels and wood panel/diffusers that work well in a living room space. It's definitely worth doing the clap test to see how bad the flutter echo is. If you add some treatment at the first reflection points it will likely make a big difference to the overall sound.
Yeah, I agree. The tricky bit is getting the balance right..... I don't want studio level acoustics in an entertainment space but definitely need to reduce the reverberation otherwise the money spent on hi-fi equipment is wasted to a large extent.

I'm hoping that material window/door blinds will deal with some of the first reflections but if they don't eliminate it, I'll try and add some decorative acoustic 'art' panels to the walls but doubt I'd get acoustic ceiling panels and bass traps approved by the other half!
 

rccarguy2

Distinguished Member
Is it worth getting acoustic panels even though my room sounds fine as it is? Carpeted..sofa, bookshelves etc in living room. Also canvas print above fireplace would I presume have slightly better sound absorption than the bare wall
 

IWC Dopplel

Distinguished Member
Do you have access to a suitable mic and laptop to do any REW sweeps ? This will allow people to see how reverberant your room is. If not then I really would apply the clap technique to find slap echo and where your room is the most problematic. Just walk methodically around the room and make short sharp claps with your hands. you'll soon find where 'slap' echos are a problem. Then its simply damping one of the reflecting surfaces in some way.

In many ways I find the clap technique easier to locate problems and REW better to see how even and reverberant the whole room is. If your over 500ms above 100Hz you will definitely benefit from some acoustic treatment in some way. You can get very mathematical with room size and the differing targets for differing volumes. But most domestic rooms are similar enough volume to not need this level of analysis.

Lots of subjective analysis and opinions and rules of thumb, very few untreated rooms are too 'dead' most are too 'live'. There are quite a few over treated rooms but that is less of a problem with high channel count systems which rely on point source more than dispersion from the room. Over treated rooms are usually dedicated rooms where they have been built, covered in fabric and tonnes of rock wool everywhere.
 

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