Room Correction - DSP's - Bass Absorbers - etc etc

PlasmaNewbie

Active Member
I'm looking at putting a HIFI in a room that I think is going to cause problems. Its got a large window opposite the speakers, a large beam in the ceiling where a wall was taking out by a previous owner. Plus it has a suspended wooded floor... This may have a massive effect on the sound, or it may not...

I've not chosen a system, or a dealer as I am still stripping out the room currently. I also don't pretend to know a lot about 'good' hifi. I'm not going to ask how long is a piece of string...

But... How do you know its wrong? I'll take @dollag example of setting it up in a bathroom, I know that's going to sound bad, and no amount of correction will correct it (depending on your bathroom of course).

I've got some silly questions, as this is a new topic to me and I'm really interested in different opinions. I'm not talking about small percentages improvements (ie like spending £000's of pounds on a power cable). I'm interested in actual, this sounded awful to WOW!

Do you rely on the dealer to setup a home audition and rely on them to provide answers? I am after opinions!

Does anyone here use a DSP with a high/mid level system including a turntable?

@dollag Mentioned room characteristics in this post Recommendations for a new DAC please. And @shug4476 made an interesting comment regarding room arrangement. I'm interested in seeing hearing what HAS been achieved by actual users on this forum. But not trying to find out which approach is right, horses for courses etc...

Has anybody added Bass absorbers (of reflector, or egg boxes) and found a dramatic difference. If so was it DIY or installed by a dealer.

Please feel free to answer the question I should have asked, or post a link to somewhere this is all explained!
 
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gibbsy

Moderator
You can do very simple treatment for a room. Soft furnishings, a big rug on the floor all help. As for the window heavy curtains are always going to help but if you don't want to darken the room too much then the use of vertical cloth blinds will defuse the properties of glass reflections. Of course there are more treatments than can be done by buying specialist acoustic panels that can be placed at the main reflective points, those that have used them will no doubt offer assistance.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
For me, DSP is not something that should be used to fix a bad room. It can help (a lot) but I would always advise to do as much as you can to the room with treatments before adding any dsp.

I personally use a programme called REW which is very handy in understanding what your room is doing to the sound waves produced by your speakers.

Bass absorbers are great for lower frequencies as it breaks down the build up of standing waves created by your room.


for higher frequencies, 1st reflection points should be set up with absorption or diffusion panels.

As @gibbsy pointed out, normal furniture can help massively with taming a live room, but every room is different and will respond to different treatments. This is why i use REW, to help understand what my room is doing to my speakers. I had numerous pairs of speakers from different brands and they all shared the same peak at around 80hz. this told me that the speakers were not to blame but was being produced by my room. It's this kind of information REW can provide and the allow you to install things like bass traps to help with such peaks.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
A budget would be beneficial to help give an idea of what you can expect to be able to use.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
We share a few room issues., so a nice thread to follow.

1. Low exposed beam and joist ceiling. Mine is lowww as well. 6.5 feet to the bottom of the beam. 7 foot to the highest point.

2. Suspended floor. I have my tv/hifi in a first floor room, and there is 2 foot void between the floor and the ceiling below. Have shoved 50mm of acoustic insulation in to help a little. The sub suffered here more then anything. Gets a bit boomy with the volume cranked up, but with some fiddling over the years it's pretty sweet now.

The above is why I'm going down the DSP route when I can afford it. I've got the usual (normal) room treatments like thick floor rug, big sofa, heavy curtains and a wall carpet opposite the speakers (more the right then the left though). Traps and panels are just not going to sit well with the other half, so it's a compromise for a happy life! :D

I'm no audiophile though at the end of the day. I'm chasing a pleasing sound off a limited budget and doing so working with a 'limited' room.
 

Hoku

Active Member
Agreed with comments above that you want to treat the room itself first, then use DSP for fine tweaking.

Having said that, good DSP’s can really help if you have bass nodes at certain frequencies, as many rooms do, even with soft furnishings.

Bass is often the primary problem. Several ways to approach this:
1. Don’t generate bass in the first place of a frequency that will be problematic in your room. So depending on the size of your room, (dimensions would be handy for other posters to chip in appropriate comments), you may consider unusually small standmounts like Neat Iotas. They sound very engaging and musical, but your room would have to be as small as a matchbox to have bass problems with them. Just making the point using the extreme Iotas as an example, but in a problematic room, a sensibly small front-ported (Monitor Audio Bronze 2) or sealed standmounter (ATC SCM 7 for example) may be a much more effective option than a metre high floorstander with 8” drivers and two rear ports.

2. Consider acoustic treatments. I’d really recommend searching GIK Acoustics or Glenn Kuras on YouTube. Really informative videos. Many people make the mistake of adding room treatment that only tames harsh treble but has no effect at all on bass, and it’s usually unruly bass that’s making the music sound bloated, slow and muddy.

3. Finally, consider DSP. There are some very effective DSP’s available now that don’t strangle the music. Anthem’s ARC room correction has worked wonders for me in my current and previous homes. Arcam and NAD make use of DIRAC Live, which is a highly rated DSP. There are also separate DSP’s you can bolt onto conventional amps, although I lack experience there and will defer to other posters who know more about this.

But initially at least, some of the best advice I’ve ever seen on hifi forums, but advice that’s rarely followed, is: buy suitable speakers for the room, then buy the right amplifier for those speakers.

So many people seem to let their heart fall in love with some whopping floorstanders they’ve oggled over at a dealer and are determined to have them even though their room dictates they’ll be an inch from the back wall of a 3m x 3m room and they wonder why after spending so much money how it can sound so bad. You wouldn’t buy a McLaren sports car for off-roading would you? So throwing money at something isn’t always going to provide good results, if it's just wrong.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Whilst I don’t completely disagree with what people have said above regarding treating the room, I do think it depends on what you want to use the room for. If it’s a dedicated music/movie room, then fine, it makes sense to go all out, but if this is going to be your lounge and then who really wants to go beyond the soft furnishings that they would probably have in the room anyway? In this case DSP based room correction is your friend, and it can be very effective indeed.

You can see my two systems in the signature. The room with the 5.1 system in is particularly horrible acoustically and the DIRAC does a great job of just neutralising the room. DIRAC is a very powerful tool and can be tweaked to your heart’s content, or used sparingly just to flatten the bass response as that tends to be where the most issues are. On the downside, it needs one to be IT savvy in order to use it. Also the default target curve will be DIRAC’s idea of what a speaker should sound like and will ‘correct’ the speaker as much as the room, so tweaking is required in order to use it sparingly.

Lyngdorf’s RoomPerfect is much more of a ‘fire and forget’ solution. Quicker and easier to run, and is much more judicious in how it operates, aiming to preserve the sound of your speakers and doing an excellent job of that. It is particularly good at taming (and I mean absolutely perfecting) excess bass.

My vote goes to having your room exactly how you and your family want it then using DSP room correction, of which RoomPerfect is the one I prefer.
 

PlasmaNewbie

Active Member
Thanks to everyone who replied. I now know an awful lot more than I did last night!

It's this kind of information REW can provide and the allow you to install things like bass traps to help with such peaks

Looked at this, going to get a copy and a USB mic and test out my AV system and an understanding of how it works!

A budget would be beneficial to help give an idea of what you can expect to be able to use.

This is what I am trying to work out, how much should I spend? I assume there is a point where you would lose the benefit of audiophile equipment due to the room. Back to @dollag comment about Bathrooms in another thread. let's say I have 25K to spend on amp/speakers/turntable (no cd). Plus cables, racks , mains treatment, furniture, room correction..

I do think it depends on what you want to use the room for

Room is JUST going to be used for listening to Vinyl! (other than a desk in a corner for my home office/PC). 1 or 2 chairs , or a small sofa. Something else I have to choose! Normally I am listening on my own, maybe reading a book. My wife will join me if I stick something like Gregory Porter on....

So throwing money at something isn’t always going to provide good results, if it's just wrong.
This is really my point, I need to buy something that fits MY room, not just sounding good in a dealers perfect demo room!

If I didn't have to work, I would spend a couple of months organizing home auditions of different kit and would have a much better idea!

So depending on the size of your room, (dimensions would be handy for other posters to chip in appropriate comments)
Sorry, I had meant to post that its approx 11.5ft by 15.5ft. There is an unused fireplace, which sits out (ie two alcoves either side). The window is opposite the fireplace, plus a couple of side windows (like a disjointed bay window).

There is no hifi in the room at the moment. Its in the process of been redecorated.
 

Hixs

Distinguished Member
For 25k assuming this is actual budget I'd be looking at lyngdorf 2170/3400 pairer with some dynaudio special 40s. I don't know sh*t about turntables, so that's a bkank. Go maybe Van Damme for cabling and then throw the rest into furniture and room treatment.

That would be sweet imo anyway.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
For 25k assuming this is actual budget I'd be looking at lyngdorf 2170/3400 pairer with some dynaudio special 40s. I don't know sh*t about turntables, so that's a bkank. Go maybe Van Damme for cabling and then throw the rest into furniture and room treatment.

That would be sweet imo anyway.

This is a great idea and agree with pretty much all of the above.

To the OP @PlasmaNewbie , Vinyl is analogue and using any dsp will require the signal from the TT to be converted into digital then back to analogue. This would happen if you get something like the lyngdorf.

Is there any reason for using vinyl? i mean i own a TT and use it but the reality is digital is better. My wife enjoys the TT more so than I do and it's defo an experience that doesn't get old.

I personally am not sure on how i feel about ad then da conversions. I done it with my oppo dac and tbf i couldnt hear a different but your adding stuff to the chain that doesnt need to be there.

If i was going vinyl only, I'd work as hard as i could to get the room response right with treatments rather than dsp. if the room is hard work like yours, the lyngdorf would be a fantastic amplifier and paired with something like the dynaudio special 40's or Proac DR2's, would be a real sweet system indeed.

You could also look at the Nad M10 which has just been reviewed on here also. A great all in one box.

Arcams new sa30 has dirac room correction too and also has a built in phono stage for TT's.

TT's you should look at rega p range but depending on amp, will need a phono stage.
 

PlasmaNewbie

Active Member
Is there any reason for using vinyl? i mean i own a TT and use it but the reality is digital is better. My wife enjoys the TT more so than I do and it's defo an experience that doesn't get old.

Good question! Vinyl is my thing, and personally I think I am probably a little crazy! I was buying vinyl instead of CD's long before the vinyl revival. I think that Vinyl makes me listen to an album, with Digital I have the temptation to skip a track. (Of course I could just hide the remote).

I have several hundred Vinyl's. And a handful of high resolution flac files I am building up. But if I was sane I would not buy a turntable+phonostage+cartridge, save the money and buy a decent DAC (I already have a 2qute, which is Brilliant!) and buy bucket loads of high res Flac files...
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Good question! Vinyl is my thing, and personally I think I am probably a little crazy! I was buying vinyl instead of CD's long before the vinyl revival. I think that Vinyl makes me listen to an album, with Digital I have the temptation to skip a track. (Of course I could just hide the remote).

I have several hundred Vinyl's. And a handful of high resolution flac files I am building up. But if I was sane I would not buy a turntable+phonostage+cartridge, save the money and buy a decent DAC (I already have a 2qute, which is Brilliant!) and buy bucket loads of high res Flac files...

Ok that makes sense. I mean I get the love for vinyl, i just wasnt sure if you was starting fresh or was existing.

Do you have an existing system with a TT or you looking to replace?

the 2qute is a good dac so wouldnt worry about changing that out, especially if it's not your primary source of listening to music.
 

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