How much of a difference room treatment make? - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-28-14, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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How much of a difference room treatment make?

Hi all,

Have you ever wondered how much of a difference room treatment can make ?

Personally I understand what is the purpose of it. Unfortunately I've never experienced it. I live in apartment and for now I just don't have the money and space to setup a true theater room with proper EQ and room treatment. I do know that I have a few room mod going on and affecting my bass but I've not measured them, only my ear can tell me from moving in my room and hearing different thing while walking around.

Now I do know that I can't speak in the full knowledge of the fact because well I've never experienced it. But I still came across this video one day on Youtube (which is completely unrelated with home theater and audio in general). At 7:22 on this video the "youtuber" is entering his recording room and you can clearly hear the difference between the hallway and this room (best heard with headphone so you can hear the reverberation). I don't know if anyone has ever made such video to show exactly what is doing room correction but I'm sure such video could be useful for new people who are still wondering if it's worth it to plunge in the subject. Sure it's is not an accurate representation of what you will hear. But it still show the power that room treatment could have.

I know that presently I don't notice the fact that I don't have any room treatment (or don't notice a lot while watching content) but I believe that someday when I do it properly I will probably tell myself why I've waited for so long.

Anyway... enough talking and here is the video I'm talking about. You should wear good headphone, crank the volume a little bit and start at 7:22 rougly : video link
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-28-14, 08:03 PM
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Re: How much of a difference room treatment make?

I remember years ago when I lived in an apartment... I made some DIY "Tube Traps", and Diffusers. I set them all up and everything sounded nice. A friend came over, wanted to see what (if any) the improvement was. So we listened the way it was, and then we removed all the treatments and re listened to everything again. I know it wasn't very scientific but we never changed the volume so it was the best we could do back then. The sound was noticeably different and sounded better. In what ways... I can't say as it has been so long, but I know we were both surprised as to the changes it made.

In my current setup i have had visitors come over and they claim that the room is sounding better as we get new treatment completed in the room. I can't say one way or another because I haven't measured the results... I just run Audyssey after each modification. Does it sound good? I think it does and so far everyone has been in awe over the setup.

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post #3 of 17 Old 10-28-14, 08:51 PM
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Re: How much of a difference room treatment make?

Quote:
Steeve-O wrote: View Post
Now I do know that I can't speak in the full knowledge of the fact because well I've never experienced it. But I still came across this video one day on Youtube (which is completely unrelated with home theater and audio in general). At 7:22 on this video the "youtuber" is entering his recording room and you can clearly hear the difference between the hallway and this room (best heard with headphone so you can hear the reverberation). I don't know if anyone has ever made such video to show exactly what is doing room correction but I'm sure such video could be useful for new people who are still wondering if it's worth it to plunge in the subject. Sure it's is not an accurate representation of what you will hear. But it still show the power that room treatment could have.
Good point. When people ask if there's any value in the room treatments I have, instead of removing it to show them the effect, I tell them that we should discuss it while walking from that room to the next (dining room). As we transit, they can clearly hear the effect on our voices.

Kal Rubinson
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"Music in the Round"
Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-28-14, 09:33 PM
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Re: How much of a difference room treatment make?

I also have little experience with the science of acoustic panels...until recently. I never really thought much about spending the money to install acoustic panels in my dedicated home theater room. , having the HTS was my manly dream since a child. I won the Gik Acoustic drawing here on HTS a few months back so I said here we go They gave great advice and overall i ended up installing $1200 dollars worth of panels (won $750 worth, paid the rest out of pocket). I installed Base Tri-Traps floor to ceiling in the front corners (4) Freestand acoustic panel 4" (2) for the side reflection points
244 bass trap (2) for the center of the ceiling were it peaks and relfects.

My findings are summed up best as the following: I may not be using the right words to describe my acoustical impression...but here goes..it instantly seemed like audio was "cleaner and defined" rather than what previously could now be called somewhat muddy sound. The audio feels more "controlled or less scattered".

Home Theater System Denon AVR4520CI, Emotiva XPA-5 Gen 2, Polk CSi A6 Center, Polk RTi A9 Front, Polk RTi A7 Front Wide, Polk RTi A1 Front Height, Polk FXi A6 Side, Polk RTi A3 Rear, SVS PB12-NSD x2 Front, SVS PC12-NSD x2 Rear, Panasonic PT-AE7000U, Visual Apex CineWhite 100" Screen, PS4, Dish Hopper, Darbee Darblet DVP 5000.My Home Theater Build
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-29-14, 02:16 AM
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Re: How much of a difference room treatment make?

One of the best upgrades to movie and music playback you can make! Key word is one
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-29-14, 03:12 PM
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This is a great thread. We hear all the time about this subject, but not enough about the difference it actually makes in a room. Great stuff!
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-29-14, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
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Well I'm happy that you love the subject.

I also got a great news tonight. My grand parent prevent to move in a years into a retirement home (which is not a so good news)... But the good part is that they are willing the sell me their house for an awesome price. I might be able to build my dream room in a not so far future.

The good stuff is that my girlfriend is getting used to the sound and she is alway's as much anthusiast as I am when I come home with speaker stand, a finished subwoofer or new speaker!
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-29-14, 10:47 PM
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The good thing about acoustics is that they are not only clearly audible, but also measurable.

http://www.hometheatershack.com/foru...er-room-3.html

See post 23 where I show the impact of added treatments on the RT60 measurements.

Massive improvements! Couldn't be happier.
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-30-14, 09:31 AM
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Re: How much of a difference room treatment make?

I only have treatment in my music room until I can afford more for the HT room. Bass traps and wall-panel absorbers/diffusers turned a horrid-sounding room into a very good one. Almost $8k, a lot of experimentation, measurement, and consultation with Acoustic Sciences Corporation contributed toward the results.

The room could still be improved by adding more bass traps and high/mid absorption, especially behind the LP. Also, my house was built with shoddy craftsmanship and materials. I'd like to replace the walls, or perhaps use the room-within-a-room concept. Not sure yet if the money would be better invested in a new home.

Before treatment:
  1. Room modes caused many closely-spaced suck-outs below 300 Hz. Eight bands were 10dB down from reference level, five were 15dB down, and four were 20dB down. This made bass almost disappear in many spots around the room (some only a few inches apart(!), leaving very few choices for reasonable speaker/listener locations.
  2. Slap-echo caused midrange glare and high-frequency hardness. Vocals and brass instruments were unbearably harsh, especially when played loud.
  3. Untamed reflections off bare walls and ceiling restricted soundstage to between the speakers, and confused imaging to the point that instruments "wandered" about the stage as different notes were played. Complex passage with lots of instruments were presented more as a single blob of sound.

After treatment:
  1. Placed one 20in dia bass trap directly beside each speaker. Two 16in dia traps stacked floor to ceiling sit in each of the two corners behind the speakers. Two 16in dia half-round traps are mounted on axis perpendicular to front baffle. Bass is now smoothed +/-5dB throughout the room (not just at the LP). Bass is tighter with more pitch definition, and it's much easier to tell the difference between a bass drum and bass guitar.
  2. Mounted two combination absorber/diffuser panels at 45deg between ceiling-wall junction. Each panel is located slightly behind each speaker (toward the front wall). This helps to reduce front-end ringing and results in clearer voices and a less brittle/harsh/metallic sounding upper-midrange.
  3. Mounted six absorber/diffuser panels on walls as follows (left and right wall are treated similarly): one panel on left wall at 1st reflection point for left speaker; one panel on left wall at 1st reflection point for right speaker; one panel on left wall directly to left of LP. Result on sound was nothing short of phenomenal! I know this will come across as an audiophile reviewer cliche, but the side walls literally disappeared. Sounds now seem to come from 2-3ft beyond the walls (CAVEAT: requires speakers, front-end electronics, and source material capable of precise imaging).

Overall result? Instruments and performers are now the correct size and hang in space at different locations across the stage. Nothing wanders, or becomes engulfed and homogenized during complex passages (each voice and instrument retains its identity). Bass is deep and pitch-perfect. Instead of monotonous pressurization, it precisely punches through the mix without losing impact on any musical note. The system plays clean and crazy-LOUD, but I no longer need to keep cranking the volume to reach for clarity. I am off the upgrade merry-go-round. Concerns about equipment have faded away into total immersion with the music.

OH yeah, almost forgot... Well-recorded, but not necessarily audiophile-approved, material now has an uncanny "startle factor" that affects listeners not even in the same room (vocals sound like real people and sound effects like a door closing have you looking around for who came in). Even my dogs sit up and take notice on occasion! Okay, just kidding about the dogs.

Lesson learned:
I wish I had discovered the benefits of room treatment earlier in my hobbyist pursuits. I very probably would have spent MUCH less on audio gear. Better gear can make a difference, but I believe it's more cost-effective to properly set-up the system and treat the room first, especially considering the law of diminishing returns.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-06-14, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
BlueRockinLou wrote: View Post
I only have treatment in my music room until I can afford more for the HT room. Bass traps and wall-panel absorbers/diffusers turned a horrid-sounding room into a very good one. Almost $8k, a lot of experimentation, measurement, and consultation with Acoustic Sciences Corporation contributed toward the results. The room could still be improved by adding more bass traps and high/mid absorption, especially behind the LP. Also, my house was built with shoddy craftsmanship and materials. I'd like to replace the walls, or perhaps use the room-within-a-room concept. Not sure yet if the money would be better invested in a new home. Before treatment:[*]Room modes caused many closely-spaced suck-outs below 300 Hz. Eight bands were 10dB down from reference level, five were 15dB down, and four were 20dB down. This made bass almost disappear in many spots around the room (some only a few inches apart(!), leaving very few choices for reasonable speaker/listener locations.[*]Slap-echo caused midrange glare and high-frequency hardness. Vocals and brass instruments were unbearably harsh, especially when played loud.[*]Untamed reflections off bare walls and ceiling restricted soundstage to between the speakers, and confused imaging to the point that instruments "wandered" about the stage as different notes were played. Complex passage with lots of instruments were presented more as a single blob of sound. After treatment:[*]Placed one 20in dia bass trap directly beside each speaker. Two 16in dia traps stacked floor to ceiling sit in each of the two corners behind the speakers. Two 16in dia half-round traps are mounted on axis perpendicular to front baffle. Bass is now smoothed +/-5dB throughout the room (not just at the LP). Bass is tighter with more pitch definition, and it's much easier to tell the difference between a bass drum and bass guitar.[*] Mounted two combination absorber/diffuser panels at 45deg between ceiling-wall junction. Each panel is located slightly behind each speaker (toward the front wall). This helps to reduce front-end ringing and results in clearer voices and a less brittle/harsh/metallic sounding upper-midrange.[*] Mounted six absorber/diffuser panels on walls as follows (left and right wall are treated similarly): one panel on left wall at 1st reflection point for left speaker; one panel on left wall at 1st reflection point for right speaker; one panel on left wall directly to left of LP. Result on sound was nothing short of phenomenal! I know this will come across as an audiophile reviewer cliche, but the side walls literally disappeared. Sounds now seem to come from 2-3ft beyond the walls (CAVEAT: requires speakers, front-end electronics, and source material capable of precise imaging). Overall result? Instruments and performers are now the correct size and hang in space at different locations across the stage. Nothing wanders, or becomes engulfed and homogenized during complex passages (each voice and instrument retains its identity). Bass is deep and pitch-perfect. Instead of monotonous pressurization, it precisely punches through the mix without losing impact on any musical note. The system plays clean and crazy-LOUD, but I no longer need to keep cranking the volume to reach for clarity. I am off the upgrade merry-go-round. Concerns about equipment have faded away into total immersion with the music. OH yeah, almost forgot... Well-recorded, but not necessarily audiophile-approved, material now has an uncanny "startle factor" that affects listeners not even in the same room (vocals sound like real people and sound effects like a door closing have you looking around for who came in). Even my dogs sit up and take notice on occasion! Okay, just kidding about the dogs. Lesson learned: I wish I had discovered the benefits of room treatment earlier in my hobbyist pursuits. I very probably would have spent MUCH less on audio gear. Better gear can make a difference, but I believe it's more cost-effective to properly set-up the system and treat the room first, especially considering the law of diminishing returns.
Do you have any pics to share?
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