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Treating soundsystem in a living room
Old 19th February 2018
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Treating soundsystem in a living room

Hi, have just joined the forum to ask for some advice about getting the best sound out of a new soundsystem I have installed at home.

In short I live in a detached property a fair distance from neighbours so am able to run things at a fair volume (not stupidly loud, but a decent volume) at times so recently decided to swap out my hi-fi for a small PA system (2x Alto TS208s with a TS212S subwoofer) as my hi-fi would start to struggle when being pushed at all.

Overall I'm happy with the change, the main speakers have alot more presence than my previous setup but I'd really like to try and tighten up the low end a bit if at all possible. I listen to a pretty wide range of music and at present I'm finding I have to fiddle around with the sub volume depending what I am listening to, older funk records and more analog stuff lacks a good kick to drums whereas with house music etc. the kick-drum and sub-bass can be totally overpowering at times.

I realise a setup like this might be abit overkill for a front room but as I say I'm not running it anywhere near it full capacity and just looking to achieve a good volume for the size of the room really!

I've included some photos and a CAD diagram of it to help give a better idea of whats going on in the room, along with links to the specs of the speakers below.

I'm a total novice when it comes to room acoustics and while I've done some reading up on the subject a lot of what I have read seems to be geared towards setting up a studio and getting the best sound at a certain listen point, whereas I'm more looking to improve the sound across the room as a whole (although I have marked up my main listening position on the CAD drawing of the room I've included). So I don't know if the same treatment principles would be apply?

The main questions I really have to start with are....

1) Is the 'L' shape of the room likely to be effecting the sound at all? Would I be better off moving the speakers to the other end of the room potentially?

2) With regards to trapping the corners (as most of the research I've done is saying I should be doing first), should I look at getting traps behind the speakers in corners A & B (as labelled on the room plan) and the opposite ones - E & F first? Is corner D likely to be effecting things at all given its position? And should I even consider H & G as corners at all given that they sit around what is just a small wall return?

For the record, I have done the GIK pink noise test by ear and greatest bass build up seems to be in corners B & E (I'm guessing not so much in A as though it is right behind the speakers it is next to the glass doors which are letting it out? As I say that is a complete guess given my lack of knowledge!)

Hope this has outlined the situation well enough, happy to provide more info if needed. And for reference I probably have £300-£400 I can put into the room, maybe abit more if it's likely to offer really significant benefit. Really appreciate any help anyone can offer, thanks for your time!
Attached Thumbnails
Treating soundsystem in a living room-20180218_113051.jpg   Treating soundsystem in a living room-20180218_113345.jpg   Treating soundsystem in a living room-20180218_113204.jpg   Treating soundsystem in a living room-20180218_113239.jpg   Treating soundsystem in a living room-20180218_113137.jpg  

Treating soundsystem in a living room-front-room-plan.jpg  
Old 22nd February 2018
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Be great if anyone was able to offer any advice on this (pretty please ) Particularly with regards the shape of the room and whether I'm potentially better off setting up in the larger part of it, or keeping things where they are now.

Been doing alot more reading in last few days and I'm planning (once I've cleared out my garage to make room to build them) to go down the route of building some floor to ceiling superchunk traps to put in the corners behind the speakers (24" fronts in corners A+B as marked on my room diagram), aswell as another 24" in corner F where the coffee table is at the moment and 2 larger 35"s in corners D and E, either side of the fireplace. Was thinking about putting one in corner H aswell but still have no idea whether this should really be considered a corner as such, given it is more of a small wall return - any insight on this issue would be really appreciated aswell!

After the corner traps are in I'll see how things stand and look at what else needs doing, including perhaps moving speakers to the other side of the room and doing some microphone measurements and seeing what they produce. Think I'm going to need some broadband traps on the back wall and front wall behind the speakers. I'm wondering if foam panels would be better suited here, as with the carpet and sofa the room already sounds quite damp to my ears and I'm worried about overdoing it and killing the high end too much?

Does this sound like a good general work schedule to be following going forward? Or should I be taking measurements first thing to get a better idea of whats going on in the room at present?

One final question that is causing me a bit of concern - all the plug sockets in the room are located in the corners so I'm going to be covering them with the superchunks. I'm planning on building portable ones like in this guide video (its a rented place so want to be able to take them with me easily if I end up leaving) so will be able to run plugs behind them to use them still, but I'm a little worried about whether this is any sort of fire-risk?

I've read that rockwool is fireproof up to 1000c but don't know if fibres getting into the socket holes if they are pressed against them could possibly spark a fire? Would take precautions to minimise the chance of this happening by sealing the back of the superchunks and covering plug holes as well. I guess it is nothing to worry about but have my kids here to sleep a couple of nights a week so want to be absolutely certain?
Old 22nd February 2018
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link to the traps design I'm planning to follow>>> YouTube
Old 4th March 2018
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So I have now gone ahead and taken some measurements in the room with REW and the miniDSP UMIK mic. Graphs look to be producing OK compared to others I have seen but not totally sure given the large amount of activity I seem to be recording in the sub 20Hz region, so hoping someone can give me some pointers if I'm doing anything wrong.

Have rejigged the room slightly as I've shown on the new roomplan (moving desk slightly out into the room, moving speakers away from the wall abit and moving the subwoofer back towards the wall), I've set the mic up at the position marked and taken measurements to both speakers and the sub at the same time (sine wave is played through a MIDI controller, through to the sub, which then go to the speakers).

As the speakers and sub all have individual volume controls I am taking measurements at what feels like the best setting for them relative to each other at the moment when listening to music (main speakers volume at about 40% and sub volume at about 20%). From testing I'm guessing that the actual db level of the recording isnt that important, as it basically just shifts the graph up or down without changing it. Is that correct? Seems this is an acceptable way of making measurements but as I say the fact I seem to be recording so much activity in the sub 20Hz region, where I haven't seen any on other people's concerns me that I'm doing something wrong and it could be affecting on the results as a whole...

Provided the measurements do look usable could anyone offer me any insight into what they are saying? Taken 2 measurements, both with speakers set at 40% volume, Red is with subwoofer set at 20% volume (which generally seems to sound best at present, although bass heavy track can be very 'boomy') and the Yellow is with the sub at around 10% volume (this looks to give a flatter response across the graph and sounds better with heavy bass tracks, but can make others sound quite tinny in comparison).

I've read that getting a really flat response from the room isn't a good thing to aim for when treating a room to listen to music in rather than building a studio, but seems like I should be trying to flatten it out abit, a 30db range between 46hz and 128hz with the sub at 20% seems like a hell of a jump? Also with the waterfall charts decay times at 50hz & 100hz seem to last a very long time, is this a modal issue? Or I'm thinking possibly to do with the hum that comes from the speakers given that it appears to be a continuous sound that is not decaying?

Any thoughts on these measurments are really, really appreciated. Hoping they don't indicate the set up and the room are too much of a mess and I have something to work with. Reading similar threads I'm guessing the advice is going to be to go ahead and build some big traps for the corners but I'd really just like to hear that from someone who knows what they are talking about before investing the time and money in them if they are going to be a waste of time.

Many thanks in advance
Attached Thumbnails
Treating soundsystem in a living room-sub-10-wf.jpg   Treating soundsystem in a living room-sub-20-wf.jpg   Treating soundsystem in a living room-front-room-plan-2.jpg   Treating soundsystem in a living room-speakers-40-red-sub-20-yellow-sub-10-.jpg  
Attached Files
File Type: mdat Midpoint - Sub 20%.mdat (3.14 MB, 103 views) File Type: mdat Midpoint - Sub 10%.mdat (3.11 MB, 72 views)
Old 5th March 2018
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Jason Foi's Avatar

Are you trying to record/mix in there? Or just listen to music? Decouplig your sub and speakers would help. You could use sorbothane hemispheres matched to your subs weight. Different speaker stands too? More massive ones, and speakers on sorbothane as well. That would help tighten the bass a bit. Default answer of as much absorbtion as you can put in corners will help.
Old 5th March 2018
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Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
Are you trying to record/mix in there? Or just listen to music? Decouplig your sub and speakers would help. You could use sorbothane hemispheres matched to your subs weight. Different speaker stands too? More massive ones, and speakers on sorbothane as well. That would help tighten the bass a bit. Default answer of as much absorbtion as you can put in corners will help.
Hi, thanks for the output. No I'm not recording or anything in there just abit of DJing and listening to music hence why I'm wanting to smooth things out across the room as a whole. Just marked the listening position on the room diagram to show where measurements were taken from.

The sorbothane is an interesting idea, not something I'd thought of, will look into them.

Do you have any thoughts on the room shape / whether the REW graphs look like they are producing correctly?
Old 5th March 2018
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tightening up the bass response is quite time consuming and expensive and I doubt that corner absorbers would help much. As your budget and space is very limited, I suggest that you save the cash.

About your measurements:

It seems, that you have a problem at 50Hz, probably is a modal problem in the largest dimension of your room (6.76m). But probably also some earthing problem. Do you live in europe? You should fix that first.
Beyond that you have some quite deep nulls, supposedly from floor - ceiling modes.

And about the sub level:
theres just so much you can do if you want to listen to a variety of musical styles. You can tune the sub level by ear until it's best for most of the music you listen to..


Old 7th March 2018
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Thanks for your reply Fabelle, I appreciate that tightening up the bass is potentially going to be quite a time consuming exercise but it is one I'm willing to invest the time in, if only to improve things from where they are now, not necessarily make things prefect which I know is going to be pretty much impossible!

Find it abit confusing that you say corner absorbers won't help much as this goes against alot of what I have read on the forum, was planning to get some fairly big 14-16" traps floor to ceiling to 4 or 5 corners would have thought this would make some difference at least?

I do live in Europe, in the UK to be specific and I do think it is possible I have some grounding issues, I get quite a loud hum coming from my speakers when not even at particularly loud volume and although they do have a ground control switch on them this doesn't seem to make any difference to them whether on or off. Wasn't aware this was something that could effect what is being omitted by the speakers themselves! Is it something that can be easily rectified?

Old 8th March 2018
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Jason Foi's Avatar

Fluffy fiberglass 24" deep is cheap and effective. If you could put that in a bunchof corners that would help. Im not sure its worth it though for what youre after. If youre just mixing tunes, frequency response isnt critical. Just find a happy medium on the gain of your sub and carry on. As far as buzz goes, it could be earth noise and a power conditioner could help or you could have the gain too high on your equipment. Fiddle around with settings.
Old 8th March 2018
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For porous absorption to work best it should be placed 1/4th of the wavelength apart from the walls which is several meters in the lower frequencies. Mass spring absorbers are a lot more effective for lower frequencies but need to be tuned to certain frequencies.
Can't say anything about these corner absorbers as I have never used them or made any measurements. Many say that they work well, but it's the internet, people say alot of things..

Well the hum is something that is omitted by your speakers at obvious in your measurements. Usually hum is generated by a ground loop, which is a connection with a signal cable of two different ground levels which is sometimes difficult to fix. Is all your equipment connected to the same outlet?

Noise on the power line generated by nearby gear is rarely the problem, because modern power supplies are quite good at rejecting input noise.


Old 8th March 2018
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Thanks for all your advice guys, really is appreciated. I'm going to put this out on a few other forums (more home-audio based rather than studio-building), would like to get a few more opinions before making a decision on what treatment, if any, to install.

Fabian yes all my equipment is connected through the same outlet, I'm going to be a bit busy over the next couple of weeks but when I have got a minute will try switching different parts to different sockets to see how that work. Also going to try to find time to move the system around abit, see how it sounds in other parts of the room.

Maybe speak again in a few weeks when I've done those things but for now, thanks again
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