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And there's the rub. You're trying to do 2 completely different things in the same room. You'll not get an optimal for both. It will be a compromise. You simply have to decide which way to lean. There are certainly some shared elements in both - and other things that will help one without harming the other.

There is no one right answer for exactly where a room needs to be treated and how. There are multiple ways to go, and multiple preferences. The overall goals are:

- Have the decay time in the proper range across the spectrum
- Minimize harmful reflections
- Maintain a smooth frequency response
- Provide a good 3 dimensional image in the front.

In addition, for HT:
- Provide both a diffuse yet identifiable soundstage in the rear
- Maintain good screen lock
- Deal with an averaging of frequency response over multiple seats and potentially multiple rows
- Compromise potential optimal 2 channel imaging for proper viewing angles of multiple rows depending on screen size.

... and a hundred other things.

As for how to not make it LOOK like there are a lot of treatments, there are a lot of ways to do it. All depends on your visual preference.

Bryan
 

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OK. So basically what we do is make sure the rear wall still helps with bass control but doesn't kill the highs. We lean toward a little less absorption on the side walls for a little more 2 channel life at the expense of pinpoint focus during multi-channel for the other rows.

Front wall is 100% dead. Front corner bass control. All front treatment can be hidden behind a false wall. Speakers can also be behind if using an AT fabric for the walls and just framing.

For bass control around the room, you can do what appears to be Wainscotting but over a 3.5" cavity. You can vary what's behind and in front of it in terms of thickness and density to achieve different tunings but the same flush surface visible. Cavity depth and front panel mass determine the tuning. These will only be good for about 2 octaves each and are not as efficient as 'soft' absorbers but can be tuned lower with less depth at the cost of efficiency and needing more of them.

For the tops, the easiest way is to just use all cloth walls and hide the treatments behind them. That gives a nice clean look and allows us to do whatever we want without concern for the visual component of the arrangement.

Behind the cloth, you can use a combination of absorbers and thinner diffusion products. more absorbers in the front, difusion in the rear.

Bryan
 

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I'd frame the room square and build corner absorbers covered with cloth at the angles. Front wall will be all cloth anyway. Use black to get better video contrast.

For the Wainscott, you're looking at a combination of 1/8", 1/4", 3/8" materials for different sections. Thicker (more massive) = lower tuning.

PLEASE to not do any radiusing in the room, ESPECIALLY concave shapes. Those are absolutely the worst thing you can do for room acoustics. It's basically a lens that focuses everything.

Tapering the rear wall will muck up surround imaging and 2 channel 'feel' by having a ton more reflections heading to one side than the other.

Bryan
 

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No problem - though that's almost as bad. It's still focusing things somewhat and creating another corner for things to build up.

Convex is not nearly as bad as concave. The convex in the front is a Rives thing. I'm not really sold on it personally.

The idea behind a convex shape is to scatter things evenly in space. On the front wall, according to their theory, it also helps with boundary issues.

Bryan
 
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