Listening Room Design - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 4 Old 02-06-10, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
John Young
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 26
Listening Room Design

I am going to be building a new home in the next year or so, and I am in the process now of finalizing plans. My wife wants the home theater in the basement to look "normal" aka no diffusers or other fanciness. Instead of arguing, I have decided to annex the area over the attached garage and porch, insulate it, and use it as my "man room/listening room/computer room". This area will have a few problems, like limited head height and access only by a ladder, but these same shortcomings are basically insurance that this room will never fall under influence of the wife or turn into a "baby room" or other garbage. The dimensions are about 18*18, but the head clearance is tight. As shown in the picture, the bottom of the beam is at just over six feet, the peak of the ceiling around the beam is about 7'-9" from the floor, and it slopes down at 6/12 from there. It is kind of hard to see in the pictures, but I am going to leave a "hole" in the floor to put my chair in front of, and recess a smaller floor at the bottom of the joists, that way I can actually sit 16" lower than the room would typically allow, so when seated the room will appear taller. The room is 18 feet long, and the width can be whatever, just depends on how tall/short I want the side walls to be. Probably about 4' side walls and 18ish' wide room.

The shown acoustical treatments are just basic ideas. The third picture shows the back wall. I want a really high resolution screen for my computer, so I will either use multiple projectors or multiple computer monitors. Also I want a desk that basically surrounds me, with plenty of room to spread my junk out. The speakers and amps are only concepts, as I am a very long way away from picking them, but I only want this room to be two channel, not 5.1 or 7.1. Also, how do you calculate the resonant frequencies for a room with a cathedral ceiling? Do they even matter if you use a lot of diffusers? I am interested to hear any ideas or ways to improve so give me some feedback.
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post #2 of 4 Old 02-06-10, 09:11 PM
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Re: Listening Room Design

Hi John,

Let's dive right in. What were the dimensions in the basement you were considering for the room? You can have a room look perfectly normal and STILL have the diffusors and treatment to your heart's content. As you'll hear from so many people, proper design for any room is the key to its success. I would genuinely consider using the basement before the garage for a multitude of reasons if possible.

Oh, BTW, it is quite difficult to calculate the modes unless you have a shoebox. It can be done, but now you have to do it with a bit more tedious math, and it is not really worth the time for you to figure it out since it is quite complicated for just that purpose. Your biggest problem will be the sloped ceilings. Diffusion really won't cut it...not quite anyway.

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Last edited by SierraMikeBravo; 02-07-10 at 03:09 AM.
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post #3 of 4 Old 02-07-10, 08:21 AM
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Bryan Pape
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Re: Listening Room Design

I would REALLY not recommend doing the recess in the floor for 100 different reasons including:

- Creating a small, very resonant cavity right where you're sitting

- Creating a worse reflection problem from the floor surface than there would normally be

I would agree with SMB that with proper planning, nobody would every know that there are any treatments in the basement room.


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post #4 of 4 Old 02-07-10, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
John Young
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 26
Re: Listening Room Design

I am going to still build the home theater in the basement, I am just not going to be able to do all I would want to it. Right now, she is humoring me and letting me have my equipment set up in the living room of the house we are renting, so I can't get too down on her. (I have Jbl L-100's & control monitor equivalents in 7.1 with Mac 1900's powering them, 4 absorbers and 2 diffusers). I know about hiding things behind fake cloth walls, but my wife didn't particularly like that idea either. I will end up finding a way to treat this room to an "adequate" level, while hiding the workforce.
EDIT: Talked to the wife and showed her pictures of false walls on the internet, and now she is cool with that idea. She thought I was just wanting to "hang sheets on the walls."

However, there are a lot of other reasons I want to also utilize this other room, basically so I can do whatever I want. I like to work on projects and make a mess, and leave junk lying around, and this will be a space where I can do that. This room isn't intended to replace the home theater, but a place where I can decorate it in my style, display equipment that I like, and not hear any flack about the junk lying on the floor. I want the acoustics to be good, not to use as or replace my home theater, but so that while I am up there working, I have something nice to listen to. Also, I have been wanting to do a pair of DIY stereo speakers, and this would be a good location to house them. I know with the low and sloped ceilings, the room will never be perfect, but I would like to get it basically as good as I reasonably can.

I know that the hole in the floor isn't good from an acoustical standpoint, but it is really needed from a using the room standpoint. Could I diminish the problem by having all sides of the hole covered with absorbers? What about HH resonators?

Last edited by aardvarcus; 02-07-10 at 12:58 PM.
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