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post #1 of 21 Old 03-31-15, 09:29 AM Thread Starter
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Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

This is a follow-up to the thread I posted a few weeks ago seeking help to primarily improve my 2-channel sound. Although I'm still thinking about a different amp, I'm pretty much done upgrading my equipment. I added the ML ESLs as well as ML C2 center, ML LX16 rears, and a second PSA V1500 sub should arrive Friday. I'm now ready to more seriously tackle my room acoustics, which is the emphasis of this thread.

The original thread where I discuss some of the room issues is here.
http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...nel-sound.html

Below is the 30x30 room with 8' finished ceilings (yes, it's over 7,000 cubic feet). I don't have alot of options when it comes to moving equipment around due to having a wife. Specifics I'm looking for help on include: 1) how best to treat the front wall behind the dipole ESLs; 2) how to treat the right reflection points; 3) how to treat the left side wall or lack therof and reflection points; 4) how to attack the rear wall; and 5) is the celing really necessary? The diagram doesnt show the new speakers such as the rear surrounds.
Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)-rsz_ht_area.jpg

1) front wall. I'm going to try both diffusors and some absorption behind the mains to see what sound best. I do have the ESLs 36" out from the front wall but the fireplace surround acts as a corner so I'm not sure how best to deal with this, hence my approach to try both. should i put an absorption panel between the mains below the eq shelves & tv?
Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)-front-wall.jpg

2) Right Sidewall. the right sidewall is large bay-window-like seating area flanked by 3 large windows. if you look closely at the pic you can see the blue pieces of tape on the mirror marking the reflection points. the first hits squarely in the middle of the middle window. the window is covered with wooden blinds (horizontal). the second reflection point is ~2 feet to the right. I do have enought enough rom to get a GIK 12'x48" panel placed there. I'm just not sure what if any options I have for the point in the middle of the window. maybe I just have to live with what the blinds do or don't do for me?
Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)-right-reflection-points.jpg
Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)-left-side-seating.jpg

3) Left Sidewall. Shooting across the room to the left side wall & reflection points. As you can see, I basically have no left symmetrical side wall because the room is open. the actual wall is another 15' behind the listening area and it has a large, wide staircase in the middle of it. maybe this 15' distance (which ~25 to the left main) means I won't have much relection to worry about? or does it mean the timing of what reflections there are will be hosed up? so, my question is do I leave this as is or should I look at a free standing panel to place behind the black love seat for 2-channel listening? The red pillow on the loveseat marks where the reflection points would be if there was a sidewall right behind the loveseat.
Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)-left-reflection-points.jpg

4) rear wall. intending to do corner traps and possibly a diffusor for the middle of the wall. is this diffusor needed since this wall is ~27' from the mains?


5) Ceiling. since I have a set of speakers that don't have wide dispersion, do I need to treat the ceiling?

Thanks in advance for ANY advice...
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post #2 of 21 Old 03-31-15, 10:48 AM
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Re: Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

Wow, nice built-in cabinet!

Is there some specific (read audible) problem with the sound of your system that you’re unhappy with? The reason I ask is that in most residential situations, ordinary room furnishings are sufficient acoustical treatments – see here. You have absorption from the carpet and lots of diffusion from the blinds, brick and all the items hanging on the wall, etc. Plus the large, irregular-shaped room is always a benefit to acoustics, IMO.

But then, the MLs are a unique animal and might benefit from special acoustic treatment, I don’t know myself. You’d probably get better answers in our Acoustics Forum since this really has nothing to do with system connections and speaker placement (i.e. the focus of this section). I can move the thread for you if you like.

You mentioned room arrangement limitations, but personally I’d move the LP furniture closer to the TV, to maybe 9-10 ft. away. Acoustics aside, it would help your imaging tremendously to achieve the traditional “equilateral triangle” arrangement. I don’t see anything from your floor plan to suggest that would totally whack the room from a visual perspective, except maybe the end table at the bay window. That seems like a small obstacle. The downside would be that you might find the TV too high at that distance.

Regards,
Wayne



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post #3 of 21 Old 03-31-15, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

Hi Wayne,
I've yet to hear "hey, great room for 2-channel or multi-channel listening", its been more along the lines of you have a real challenge on your hands due to...it being 30x30 perfectly square and all the parallel reflective surfaces and standing waves/more resonance modes to deal with...good luck trying to get reasonable SPL from a 7000 cubic feet of space....location & set-up of the listening area in the "corner" will cause havoc with your timing....and so on.

Using the other Wayne's description of setting-up the electrostats, there's good, better and amazing. I'm not unhappy cause I do think what I've got sounds pretty good. I doubt I'll ever get to amazing. but, I would like to try to optimize what I have, especially if there's improvement to gain from a few bucks worth of acoustic devices. I did try some of the home solutions and did hear a diffence so I do think there's progress to be had. Getting the dipole's rear wave in sync is one key to getting there. That one is going to be a learning process for me. But I also notice alot of bass in the corners and can't help but think there's reflections coming from places that arent helping imaging and clarity.

My initial set-up with the stats was equilateral, 8x8x8. I moved things in/out/in/out and finally zoned in on 102" between mains and 13' to my LP. I set all distances as preceisly as I could. It seemed to present the widest soundstage.

As I said in the other thread, "I don't know what I don't know" if that makes any sense. I'm pretty new at all of this and treating room acoustics seem to be touted by many as having alot of bang for the buck. Which is good because my wife says UPS together with more large boxes is going to mean alot of 'date nights'.

I have a UMIK-1 coming with the other sub later this week. hopefully to some it will be interesting to see the story the room tells (as I won't be able to understand what it means...yet). I'm just curious as what some would expect to see based on the room characteristics.
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post #4 of 21 Old 03-31-15, 05:52 PM
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Re: Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

You have my sympathy, 480, because someone’s been feeding you a lot of baloney! For instance:

Quote:
480dad wrote: View Post
I've yet to hear "hey, great room for 2-channel or multi-channel listening", its been more along the lines of you have a real challenge on your hands due to...it being 30x30 perfectly square and all the parallel reflective surfaces and standing waves/more resonance modes to deal with
This is probably lost on most of the audiophile set because they typically exist in small dedicated listening rooms, but the larger a room is, the less square dimensions are an issue.

Same with standing waves and room modes. As RealTrap’s Ethan Winer explains here, “Small rooms have modes that are spaced farther apart than large rooms because the first mode in a small room starts at a higher frequency. For example, when the longest dimension of a room is only 10 feet, the modes for that dimension start at 56.5 Hz and are 56.5 Hz apart. In larger rooms the first mode is at a lower frequency so subsequent modes are closer together. Therefore, a large room has a flatter low frequency response because it has more modes spaced more closely.” In your room, assuming dimensions of 30’ x 30’ x 8’, modes start at a bit under 19 Hz, and occur at 19 Hz intervals above that point. So you’d have five closely-spaced modes below 100 Hz, which is better a single honkin’ one at 56 Hz in the example Ethan gave.

Reflections are less of an issue in a large room as well, as sound waves attenuate over distance. In your room, by the time everything hits the back or left-side wall and reflects back to you, it is attenuated so much you don’t even know it’s there: the brain is very partial to the much-louder direct signal from the speakers and tunes out the reflections.

Another big-room benefit lost on the tiny-room audiophile crowd: It’s much easier to get even bass response over the large portion of the room, which reaps real benefits in most listening seats that aren’t near a wall. This is impossible to achieve in a small room. I once tried to help a guy with a dedicated theater figure out how to EQ his subs to get something consistent from seat to seat. It was a lost cause. Measurements at every seat were so drastically different there is no way it was ever going to happen. By contrast, I’ll bet your bass doesn’t audibly change much at any TV viewing seat you sit in, does it?

And really, who goes to concerts in well-dampened 12’ x 15’ rooms? Those things in no way resemble a place you’d go to listen to music in the real world. I like the acoustics of bigger rooms because they sound more like real performance spaces. I’d take your huge room over a miserable little dedicated room any day, what with their horrendous modes, lack of seating options for optimal bass, bass “dead zone” in the center of the room, etc.


Quote:
...good luck trying to get reasonable SPL from a 7000 cubic feet of space
This is total nonsense. All that matters in WRT to SPL is your distance from the speakers, which is about the same in your room as it would be in a small room. The only relevant room-size-penalty issue is bass level and extension. Obviously it takes potent subs, and possibly more of them, to get the same performance as a smaller room.


Quote:
....location & set-up of the listening area in the "corner" will cause havoc with your timing
Don’t know what they meant by “timing.” Arrival times of reflections from the left vs. the right? It’s not like the right side of your set-up is right against the wall. That alcove with its bricks, blinds, pillows etc. are doing plenty to break up and absorb sound waves (although taking out that mirror would be a good idea). If you are unable to discern inordinate amounts of reflection from the right side,then you’re good. If you can, you could put up heavy curtains to make the right side more equal to the left, from a perceptibility standpoint.


Quote:
But I also notice alot of bass in the corners
If you’re saying that the bass is louder when you’re physically near a corner, that’s a natural phenomenon that’s going to be present any room. Bass is always stronger near room boundaries, and especially where two of them meet. It’s acoustic physics, nothing you can reasonably do about it. Tell ya what though, it would be a lot worse in a small room. Again, you have the great benefit of relatively even bass response and levels in your seating area, given the size of your room. No reason to be concerned about the way things sound in places you don’t typically critically listen, like back there at the pool table or the bar.

I think your main issue is going to be acoustical enhancements specific to getting the best from your speakers. I’ll move your post to the Acoustics Forum where you should be able to get some knowledgeable help with that.

Regards,
Wayne



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post #5 of 21 Old 03-31-15, 09:30 PM
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Re: Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

Quote:
Wayne A. Pflughaupt wrote: View Post
...This is probably lost on most of the audiophile set because they typically exist in small dedicated listening rooms...
+
...Another big-room benefit lost on the tiny-room audiophile crowd...
+
...Iíd take your huge room over a miserable little dedicated room any day...
+
...This is total nonsense...
I agree it's nonsense! I'm marching out of my HT-in-a-cracker-jack-box room right now to find my wife and demand a bigger one. Oh wait, I should probably move all the spare audio equipment off the living room couch first so I have somewhere to sleep.
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-01-15, 06:35 AM
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I agree it's nonsense! I'm marching out of my HT-in-a-cracker-jack-box room right now to find my wife and demand a bigger one. Oh wait, I should probably move all the spare audio equipment off the living room couch first so I have somewhere to sleep.
...errr... A bigger room, not a bigger wife LOL!

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...errr... A bigger room, not a bigger wife LOL! Sent from my iPhone using HTShack
rofl! Good catch.
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-01-15, 10:00 AM
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Re: Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that some of the issues that people considered had to do with the layout of the room in regards to best single sub placement. With 2 that should be less of an issue.
IIRC, the OP had an issue with unsatisfactory 2 channel listening? And going with the ML's, changing the amount of toe in and ditching the bi-amp connections may have helped?
In regards to multi channel viewing/listening I can't begin to imagine how to resolve the sound for the multitude (window seats, bar seats, love seat) of listening positions.
When watching a movie, My MLP is my priority but I don't want it to sound terrible for everybody seated elsewhere. I try to weigh the tradeoffs in performance at the MLP when I make changes to enhance what other seats hear. I can't resolve every issue and overcome the laws of physics but it's always in the back of my head.

Last edited by Insearchof; 04-01-15 at 10:06 AM.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-01-15, 10:16 AM
 
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Re: Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

Years ago when i had my ML Sequels... I made some Tube Traps for the front corners, and 2 4'x4' RPG Diffusers for the rear wall and it made a nice improvement. From what I remember you want the speakers 3-5' from the front and side walls (which you have).

Have you used the REW software to measure the room?

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post #10 of 21 Old 04-01-15, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Improving my 2-channel sound - Part 2 (Yes, more help needed!)

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt wrote: View Post
You have my sympathy, 480, I get this alot!

This is probably lost on most of the audiophile set because they typically exist in small dedicated listening rooms, but the larger a room is, the less square dimensions are an issue.

Ok, this alleviates alot of concern. I just had not read the size of a room de-emphasizes room resonance mode due to cubed or rooms with equal dimensions.

Reflections are less of an issue in a large room as well, as sound waves attenuate over distance. In your room, by the time everything hits the back or left-side wall and reflects back to you, it is attenuated so much you donít even know itís there: the brain is very partial to the much-louder direct signal from the speakers and tunes out the reflections.

I mentioned in my post about the left channel that maybe te absence of the left sidewall possibly meant I didnt have to worry about 1st or 2nd refection points--just wasnt sure. Thanks for confirming that it isnt something I need to worry about. just wasnt sure.

Another big-room benefit lost on the tiny-room audiophile crowd: Itís much easier to get even bass response over the large portion of the room, which reaps real benefits in most listening seats that arenít near a wall. This is impossible to achieve in a small room. I once tried to help a guy with a dedicated theater figure out how to EQ his subs to get something consistent from seat to seat. It was a lost cause. Measurements at every seat were so drastically different there is no way it was ever going to happen. By contrast, Iíll bet your bass doesnít audibly change much at any TV viewing seat you sit in, does it?

actually I do hear differences, louder in spots, muddier in spots, definitely more in the corners. im not worried about pefect bass in all LPs. just want cleaner, tighter, more consistent bass. The 2nd sub should solve this?

And really, who goes to concerts in well-dampened 12í x 15í rooms? Those things in no way resemble a place youíd go to listen to music in the real world. I like the acoustics of bigger rooms because they sound more like real performance spaces. Iíd take your huge room over a miserable little dedicated room any day, what with their horrendous modes, lack of seating options for optimal bass, bass ďdead zoneĒ in the center of the room, etc.

it just seemed like I had alot of "uncontrollable" characteristics, i.e. no left side wall, refelction point on a right side window, fireplace acting as a corner for the left main, etc.

This is total nonsense. All that matters in WRT to SPL is your distance from the speakers, which is about the same in your room as it would be in a small room. The only relevant room-size-penalty issue is bass level and extension. Obviously it takes potent subs, and possibly more of them, to get the same performance as a smaller room.

yes, the SPL concern was directed at lower freqs


Donít know what they meant by ďtiming.Ē Arrival times of reflections from the left vs. the right? Itís not like the right side of your set-up is right against the wall. That alcove with its bricks, blinds, pillows etc. are doing plenty to break up and absorb sound waves (although taking out that mirror would be a good idea). If you are unable to discern inordinate amounts of reflection from the right side,then youíre good. If you can, you could put up heavy curtains to make the right side more equal to the left, from a perceptibility standpoint.

my simple concern was timing of right reflections to those on the left. maybe since the left channel attenuates and the right has the diffusing you mention above above, there is little to be concerned about. that is great to know and I appreciate you pointing it out and clearing this up for me.


If youíre saying that the bass is louder when youíre physically near a corner, thatís a natural phenomenon thatís going to be present any room. Bass is always stronger near room boundaries, and especially where two of them meet. Itís acoustic physics, nothing you can reasonably do about it. Tell ya what though, it would be a lot worse in a small room. Again, you have the great benefit of relatively even bass response and levels in your seating area, given the size of your room. No reason to be concerned about the way things sound in places you donít typically critically listen, like back there at the pool table or the bar.

again, I see your point. if the corner bass doesnt cause havoc with any other freqs, or cause poor response, then thats great too.

I think your main issue is going to be acoustical enhancements specific to getting the best from your speakers. Iíll move your post to the Acoustics Forum where you should be able to get some knowledgeable help with that.

yep, i agree. tweaking them is what I need to experiment with!

Regards,
Wayne
Quote:
Insearchof wrote: View Post
IIRC, the OP had an issue with unsatisfactory 2 channel listening? And going with the ML's, changing the amount of toe in and ditching the bi-amp connections may have helped?

Yes, definitely helped. much better. was moving to next phase, ie.e paying more attention to room characteristics now that I solved some of the simple problems (i.e. expecting great things from mediocre Polks)

In regards to multi channel viewing/listening I can't begin to imagine how to resolve the sound for the multitude (window seats, bar seats, love seat) of listening positions.
When watching a movie, My MLP is my priority but I don't want it to sound terrible for everybody seated elsewhere. I try to weigh the tradeoffs in performance at the MLP when I make changes to enhance what other seats hear. I can't resolve every issue and overcome the laws of physics but it's always in the back of my head.my main focus is improving 2-channel quality, notso concerned with other LPs or HT listening for that matter.

Quote:
ellisr63 wrote: View Post
Have you used the REW software to measure the room?
not yet. getting the UMIK-1 with the 2nd Sub. I'll have to figure out what I'm doing here first!


Thanks again for all the information. I know it probably gets a little frustrating trying to explain simple things to people like me. Just alot of info to absorb and frankly some of it sticks better than others!!!
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