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Help With Analyzing REW Results and Path of Treatment(s) Studio Monitors
Old 1st December 2018
  #1
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Post Help With Analyzing REW Results and Path of Treatment(s)

Hello, I am requesting some help with analysis of my REW data before I begin treatment of my room. I am pretty new to REW, but I took a lot of notes, read a lot of posts/threads/forums, and watched several videos. It was a lot to take in, but I think I got it! Essentially, I am trying to tackle some downright-nasty peaks and valleys in my lows to mid-lows.

My room looks like this:



Ceiling height is 9ft. Front wall is covered by a hanging, Persian rug, pretty dense and thick. Desk is U-shaped with piles of synth and gear on top. Reflective surfaces are definitely diffused and scattered. Additional room treatments are only two, 4'x2' Auralex foam panels on either side of the listening position and one in the rear of the room. They do next to nothing, but I got them for free. Walls are "Southwest-style" textured drywall. Room is furnished with another office desk in corner 3 , a leather ottoman in corner 4, entry door at corner 5 , and a table/desk with office equipment on it between corners 1 and 5. Windows are immediately to the left of corner 1, a large a very one between 2 and 3. All windows are covered with louvered, wooden blinds.

********
Here is my REW file to start with: REW/2018.11.30.mdat

********

Speakers are JBL LSR308's. Microphone used is Dayton Audio EMM-6 with calibration file used. Microphone pointed straight up at listening position. Audio interface is Saffire Pro40, with output set to -10dB (via software) for all tests. Interface/input calibration performed, with the input set to unity gain.

R speaker is behaving much worse than L speaker, caused perhaps by reflected frequencies? Not sure exactly, hence my post to check the REW results, and redo as required before proceeding with any further room treatments. Here is a waterfall plot of the Right speaker. More than a 30dB valley (i.e. The Grand Canyon) between 92Hz and 118Hz!



Thank you in advance.
Old 1st December 2018
  #2
Gear Addict
My advice would be:
get your speakers in a symmetrical position across that wall. Remeasure. Mark the positions on the floor (including listening position) and then move everything a few inches (maybe speakers further apart, maybe closer). Keep listening position in equilateral triangle. A few inches can make a profound difference. Find the best position and then take it from there.
Can you afford to lose ceiling height? Is there dead space in the room you can fill with insulation (DIY traps) - under desks? The deeper the trap, the lower the density of insulation you should use.
Old 1st December 2018
  #3
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I'm not an acoustician ~ but I know that the left and right speakers will behave different, automatically, if they are different distances from their respective side walls.
Old 1st December 2018
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli_W View Post
My advice would be:
get your speakers in a symmetrical position across that wall. Remeasure. Mark the positions on the floor (including listening position) and then move everything a few inches (maybe speakers further apart, maybe closer). Keep listening position in equilateral triangle. A few inches can make a profound difference. Find the best position and then take it from there.
Can you afford to lose ceiling height? Is there dead space in the room you can fill with insulation (DIY traps) - under desks? The deeper the trap, the lower the density of insulation you should use.
Thanks! The way the room is configured with the window just right of corner 1 makes it difficult but certainly not impossible. I will try moving some stuff around, including just the speakers to see what happens. I am glad to be finally using REW and a calibrated mic. It's really taking the guesswork out of all this.

I didn't have the ceiling height listed in my original post, but I edited it and put in there; It's a 9' ceiling. I do not wish to alter the room with a false ceiling, but I am willing to hang a cloud or two.

Putting big traps under the desks (empty) space is a good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by g.t. View Post
I'm not an acoustician ~ but I know that the left and right speakers will behave different, automatically, if they are different distances from their respective side walls.
I will move things around and check it out. Thanks!
Old 1st December 2018
  #5
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Following Oli_W's and GT's advice above, I retested with the speakers moved to a point that is equidistant from the side walls. However, before I did so, I retested and included two additional plots with the right speaker moved 12" to the right and then another with the right speaker all the way into the right corner.

********
REW file: REW/2018.12.01_3.mdat

********

I'm still just testing the R speaker only at this time. Not sure why, but maybe because it still looks ugly?



The above waterfall is of the original listening position, as in the first post, but with the speaker moved all the way into the corner. To me, the low frequencies look flatter, but they are still loud. Not sure how the stereo imaging would be affected with the speakers spread that far apart though.



The above waterfall is of the listening position and speakers at room-center on the front wall. Speakers are about 42" apart. Listening position is 42" from front wall, or about 32" (2' 8") from the LCD screen. This is about where I always need to sit as anything farther back is hard to see stuff on the LCD screen.



For giggles, I moved the listening position back to a point where 60Hz tone was the loudest and remeasured. See above. Definitely better looking(?), but it's too far back to be a usable, creative position to work.

What do you guys think? I think I'm going to head to Home Depot and buy a ton of rolled insulation to be left in the package for bass-trap testing, with the following quote from another forum in mind:

"Ethan Winer told me to go to Home Depot and buy 16 rolls of fiberglass insulation in individual bags. Then bring them home and put 4 of the bags in each of the 4 corners of your room and listen to the changes made. Basically the bags of insulation work like very good bass traps and they give you a way to see if they are going to be effective in your own environment. When you are done testing, take them back to home depot and get your money back (you have 30 days). Then you can decide whether it is worth it to build traps, buy traps, or somehow integrate traps into your living space."

Pretty damn good idea. <--Nope, waste of time. Didn't do crap.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Retra View Post
I think I'm going to head to Home Depot and buy a ton of rolled insulation to be left in the package for bass-trap testing, with the following quote from another forum in mind:

"Ethan Winer told me to go to Home Depot and buy 16 rolls of fiberglass insulation in individual bags. Then bring them home and put 4 of the bags in each of the 4 corners of your room and listen to the changes made. Basically the bags of insulation work like very good bass traps and they give you a way to see if they are going to be effective in your own environment. When you are done testing, take them back to home depot and get your money back (you have 30 days). Then you can decide whether it is worth it to build traps, buy traps, or somehow integrate traps into your living space."

Pretty damn good idea...
It will not behave the same in the package as it would out of the package. You will get considerably better performance by opening the packages and fluffing up the fiber.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
It will not behave the same in the package as it would out of the package. You will get considerably better performance by opening the packages and fluffing up the fiber.
It's funny that you mention that because I'm testing right now using a total of 8 rolls, used in various corners, and it isn't doing a damn thing!

EDIT: I'll post some waterfall action using the "test" rolls, but I'll tell you what...it's NOT worth the hassle. I couldn't bring myself to spending over $500 and hauling 16 rolls of insulation home only to return them 2-3 days later and look like a fool, so I opted to try half the amount to see if it did anything.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #8
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Location is just as important. Early reflections can just as easily ruin your frequency response. Corners are good for adressing modal issues, but are not the only issues in your room
Old 2nd December 2018
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
Location is just as important. Early reflections can just as easily ruin your frequency response. Corners are good for adressing modal issues, but are not the only issues in your room
Yeah, I tried placing a few rolls on top of coffee tables, on the floor along the wall-floor corners, etc...basically where I heard the bass the loudest.

Waste of time.

EDIT: Any comments on the plots, waterfalls, and REW data?

UPDATE: Below is an animated GIF of the tests performed with the rolls of insulation in various corners and "hot spots."

Old 2nd December 2018
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Retra View Post
Yeah, I tried placing a few rolls on top of coffee tables, on the floor along the wall-floor corners, etc...basically where I heard the bass the loudest.

Waste of time.

EDIT: Any comments on the plots, waterfalls, and REW data?
I dont have a computer to look at your mdat. The windowing seems off on your waterfall possibly. The decay times shown are too perfectly short. We also need to see ETC
Old 2nd December 2018
  #11
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Akebrake, the REW ninja, will hopefully have a look soon. For now try to find optimal listening position. Symmetry is very important for critical listening.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #12
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Speaker placement
Old 2nd December 2018
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Retra View Post
"Ethan Winer told me to go to Home Depot and buy 16 rolls of fiberglass insulation in individual bags. Then bring them home and put 4 of the bags in each of the 4 corners of your room and listen to the changes made. Basically the bags of insulation work like very good bass traps and they give you a way to see if they are going to be effective in your own environment. When you are done testing, take them back to home depot and get your money back (you have 30 days). Then you can decide whether it is worth it to build traps, buy traps, or somehow integrate traps into your living space."

Pretty damn good idea. <--Nope, waste of time. Didn't do crap.
Yeap !! Along with a LOT of other BS suggestions from Mr. Winer throughout the years. Things like: "Cover your ENTIRE ceiling with 4" 703, with a 4" air space above the 703, and you will get 90% the effect of an ACTUAL tall ceiling !"



COMPLETE BS !!!
Old 2nd December 2018
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Foi View Post
I dont have a computer to look at your mdat. The windowing seems off on your waterfall possibly. The decay times shown are too perfectly short. We also need to see ETC
I updated my post #9 with an animated GIF of the insulation tests. Not enough change, IMO, to justify the hassle.

Window size is 400ms and time range is 500ms. I got that from the GiK Tutorial on YouTube.

EDIT: What's ETC?
Old 2nd December 2018
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Retra View Post
I updated my post #9 with an animated GIF of the insulation tests. Not enough change, IMO, to justify the hassle.

Window size is 400ms and time range is 500ms. I got that from the GiK Tutorial on YouTube.

EDIT: What's ETC?
Unpacking ETC: Time-domain measurements & early reflections -
Old 2nd December 2018
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sage691 View Post
Yeap !! Along with a LOT of other BS suggestions from Mr. Winer throughout the years. Things like: "Cover your ENTIRE ceiling with 4" 703, with a 4" air space above the 703, and you will get 90% the effect of an ACTUAL tall ceiling !"



COMPLETE BS !!!
John Sayers' Recording Studio Design Forum •

View topic - CR Treatment and Tuning---The home stretch!!
Old 2nd December 2018
  #17
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I'm not getting anywhere with this!

I've positioned the speakers equidistant from the side walls, "on the quarters," i.e the front wall being 170" across, each speaker is 42" from the side-walls. The speakers are 72" apart. Geometrically, this makes sense. I've changed the listening/mic position to be at 38% of the length of the room. This is 75" back from the front wall.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is about as "by the book" as I can get. Seems all well and good, but I'm still fighting massive peaks at 119Hz and 161Hz and an unshakeable dip/canyon at 96-98Hz. This valley has been there from the beginning, present at any listening position. And I tested the speaker by pointing the mic about 4" away from the woofer cone. The valley is NOT there, so I don't think it's a speaker/crossover issue.

Also, opening up is a huge cavernous valley at 184Hz. This occurred after I angled the speaker towards the listening position to the exact amount! See below.



And here's the real kicker: I set REW's tone generator to 96Hz, and the level is definitely quieter at the 38% position. As I move my head closer to the LCD screen, back towards the spot I would normally sit, then the 96Hz tone returns to a louder volume. However, even at this spot, the peaks are peakier and the frequency of the valleys just shift.

These peaks and valleys don't seem to go away, but can they be improved with bass trapping?

Frustrating...
Old 2nd December 2018
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M.Retra View Post
I'm not getting anywhere with this!

I've positioned the speakers equidistant from the side walls, "on the quarters," i.e the front wall being 170" across, each speaker is 42" from the side-walls. The speakers are 72" apart. Geometrically, this makes sense. I've changed the listening/mic position to be at 38% of the length of the room. This is 75" back from the front wall.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is about as "by the book" as I can get. Seems all well and good, but I'm still fighting massive peaks at 119Hz and 161Hz and an unshakeable dip/canyon at 96-98Hz. This valley has been there from the beginning, present at any listening position. And I tested the speaker by pointing the mic about 4" away from the woofer cone. The valley is NOT there, so I don't think it's a speaker/crossover issue.

Also, opening up is a huge cavernous valley at 184Hz. This occurred after I angled the speaker towards the listening position to the exact amount! See below.



And here's the real kicker: I set REW's tone generator to 96Hz, and the level is definitely quieter at the 38% position. As I move my head closer to the LCD screen, back towards the spot I would normally sit, then the 96Hz tone returns to a louder volume. However, even at this spot, the peaks are peakier and the frequency of the valleys just shift.

These peaks and valleys don't seem to go away, but can they be improved with bass trapping?

Frustrating...
Welcome to the world of acoustics! Modes/first reflections are causing problems. Treatment will help a ton, but it takes volume or tuned traps to tame modes. Etc will help identify reflection points.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #19
Gear Addict
The treatment does appear to help a good amount. The bad news, as you know, is that it doesn’t fix everything so easily. My studio has seen about 10 stages of acoustic treatment like this, and it’s 90% there! A couple of clouds will help too, and then you could build some tuned absorbers later to deal with the stubbborn modes. But it is work, and only helps a little at a time.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #20
Gear Addict
Oh, an important point, the insulation works worst where the bass is loudest - counter intuitive I know! It is generally placed in corners as it is convenient, not because of bass being louder there. I think if you place it where you’re getting nulls then you may have better results.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli_W View Post
Oh, an important point, the insulation works worst where the bass is loudest - counter intuitive I know! It is generally placed in corners as it is convenient, not because of bass being louder there. I think if you place it where you’re getting nulls then you may have better results.
But...

"Once you’ve downloaded the audio file, play it in your room as you examine all corner areas to hear where bass is building up. If you have a hand-held SPL meter, then it makes this process even easier. Wherever you notice an increase in volume, is the best place for bass trapping."

GIK Acoustics: Room Testing for Bass Trap Placement
Old 2nd December 2018
  #22
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Well that is a bit awkward! I’ll stick my neck out and say that their reasoning is absolutely 100% incorrect. Eek, there, I said it.
Corners are pretty good because you don’t lose much room space, cover more wall space, and by straddling the corner you have some absorption that is actually away from the wall, increasing absorption of lower frequencies.
Non-porous absorbers (e.g. panel, helmholtz, limp mass) do work best at the boundaries, however.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oli_W View Post
Well that is a bit awkward! I’ll stick my neck out and say that their reasoning is absolutely 100% incorrect. Eek, there, I said it.
Corners are pretty good because you don’t lose much room space, cover more wall space, and by straddling the corner you have some absorption that is actually away from the wall, increasing absorption of lower frequencies.
Non-porous absorbers (e.g. panel, helmholtz, limp mass) do work best at the boundaries, however.
Thanks for the clarification, Oli_W.

In an unrelated question to bass-trapping, a question for whomever...with respect to my room shape in post #1 , should I factor the protruding corner into any of my dimensions and calculations, i.e. determining the "short wall," the 38% rule of thumb, etc?
Old 2nd December 2018
  #24
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I’d treat the room as the larger square but bear in mind that calculations are going to be off somewhat. I’d avoid setting up on either of those adjacent walls though.
Old 2nd December 2018
  #25
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[QUOTE=M.Retra;13664854]
Quote:
...Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is about as "by the book" as I can get.
Hi,

A lot of measurements to digest... heh
BTW I noticed that distortion is quite high in your measurements...(Pic 3)

Help With Analyzing REW Results and Path of Treatment(s)-r-only-dist-2dec-plot.jpg

Are you sweeping loud? Some tip here (Link) Also try checking the gain staging carefully.

Generic tips ”by the book” aren’t working very well in reality because every room is different. Walls are different. Large windows will resonate and will pass certain(?)low frequencies to the outside...
But you can get a "rough hint" about the situation by calculations and simulations.
And its good for the brain.

REW has a Room Sim tool (Pic 1) and Hunecke calc gives a map over pressure distribution.
(Pic 2)

Did you upload any mdats with soft treatment added ?
What did you expect?

Best
Attached Thumbnails
Help With Analyzing REW Results and Path of Treatment(s)-sim-ft.jpg   Help With Analyzing REW Results and Path of Treatment(s)-m.retra-modes.jpg   Help With Analyzing REW Results and Path of Treatment(s)-r-only-dist-2dec-plot.jpg  
Old 3rd December 2018
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akebrake View Post
A lot of measurements to digest... heh
BTW I noticed that distortion is quite high in your measurements...(Pic 3). Are you sweeping loud?
Thanks for taking a look. Yes, I suppose I am (and have been) sweeping quite loud. I have been setting the output of my Saffire Pro40 at -10dB. I read that the test sweep should be fairly loud above the noise floor(?), so I just set -10dB and didn't think much about it other than to ensure stuff was being "heard." I don't feel that the loudness is negatively affecting the JBL LSR308's, but they do have a harmonic distortion in the low-mids, not caused by driver or amplifier distortion but rather the actual faceplate resonates and sounds like garbage, like a rattle. I think this is coming through as distortion. I've tested my older pair of Rokit 6 G2's at the same output volume (-10dB), and I do not hear this "distortion."

Headroom reported by REW at the -10dB output is -19.5dB. It's hot, but still leaves plenty of room.

If you feel like reading a good review of the LSR308 speakers, I recommend this: JBL LSR308 Review. The guy also hit the nail on the head, talking about the same "rattle" that I'm hearing. I never did RMA them, as he suggests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by akebrake View Post
Did you upload any mdats with soft treatment added? What did you expect?
I thought I did...mdat titled "2018.12.01_4." EDIT: Nope! Forgot it! Here it is below.

********
REW file: REW/2018.12.01_4.mdat

********

I didn't get my hopes up with the insulation rolls test, but I thought it would do a lot more.
Old 3rd December 2018
  #27
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And just an update to my room's current situation. I completely removed all of the desks, tables, and equipment except for the furniture in the back, giving me a clean slate and starting from the ground up. All that I am using now for testing is my PC, one small LCD screen on a tiny end-table, my interface, the speakers (set up on the 1/4's right now), and the microphone at the 38% point!
Old 3rd December 2018
  #28
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I would keep a couple basic things in mind that I learned over time when measuring my room:

- Not sure if your monitors are still centered at the front wall, but you definitely want that. Even better, post some pictures so we can see what we are talking about.
- Put them right up the wall, and pull them further away at 5-10 cm / 2-4 " increments and remeasure. Room modes and SBIR behave different with even minor changes. I ended up about 50cm/20" from the front wall, but this is different in every room. Here the 38% "rule" is only a guideline, or good starting point. Not a real rule.
- Follow the REW manual or the pinned topic here regarding room measurements. I.e. -12 dB in the output meter, and -18dB input at the input meter: Soundcard Preferences
- if your monitors have room correction, or some other kind of EQ enabled I would set everything on 0 first and find the optimum listening position.
- If bass freq's are louder in one place than another, it is for sure a good spot to put absorption. The lower & louder the violating freq is, the thicker you would want to apply any type of bass trapping. For anything under 250/300 hz I would go no less than 10cm/4", although personally I would gladly double that if possible.
- The usual suspect should be analyzed first: corners, first reflection points, ceiling directly over the listening position, front wall & back wall. I can not say how much that has helped me discover how some room bounderies are actually teaming up against you. For example, my front & back wall are best buddies to destroy 55hz and 90hz for me, with nulls of 19dB. Treating the back wall with 20cm/8" think absorption with a 1m/3 foot air gap really helped but only for about 70%. Now I am going to attack the front wall, and remeasure.
- Get a mic stand, and put some tape on the floor at the listening position to make sure you are always in the same spot. Also recalibrate output volume and input gain when starting each measurement session. Mine are always off by 2-3dB, even if I didnt touch the dails on the interface from the day before..
- Make sure you have a proper measurement mic. Meaning an omni directional condenser. I use a behringer ECM 8000. Its cheap, and good enough. With the calibration file its even better.

Those are just some random musings from my side. Try to create a situation where you can reproduce certain results - i.e. keep it simple. Now that your room is empty that would be a very good start. Test, make minor changes, test again. So that you can pinpoint what changed, and how it effected the results you are getting.
Old 5th December 2018
  #29
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I lowered the output volume by 2dB (now -12dB) so speaker vibrations aren't quite as bad. I got a bunch of new data in the following REW file. If someone could give me feedback on what you see, that would be great. All notes are included in each measurement. Room is still empty.

I experimented with doors and plantation blinds open/closed, speaker height/angle (though some of those measurements were deleted because they either didn't make a difference or were worse), speaker positions, and listening point change (I thought I would try 38% from front wall to the wall that sticks into the room).

The later measurements of the RIGHT SPEAKER are not that bad, IMO, but I could be way off base. I get a few peaks and valleys, but I *think* I may have found a relatively decent position for the speakers. "Equilateral" triangle is 60" from LP to each speaker, but speaker to speaker is 66". No room treatments except my minimal amounts of Auralex foam.

However, the LEFT speaker, after positions were mimicked while adjusted the RIGHT speaker, is HORRIBLE! Huge 24dB dip!

********
REW file: REW/2018.12.04_1.mdat

********

Also, I am currently in search of acoustic treatment, eyeballing panels at least 4" thick (unless informed otherwise) from either GiK, ATS, Acoustimac, or locally sourced (i.e. DIY). Any help in this department would be appreciated as well since it's quite a large expense.

Thanks...
Old 7th December 2018
  #30
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Lightbulb

Posted better dimensions and layout of my room. See attachment. For all practical purposes, would this be considered a square room in terms of acoustics? There is only a 27" difference between L and W, and the appearance is more square than rectangular, no?

EDIT: I am reviewing Hunecke Calc now. I've input my room dimensions. What should I be looking at within the illustration vs. selected frequencies? What's the point? Overall, how to I transfer that knowledge into my own, physical room, since there are no points/measurements in the illustration?

Current Issues I'm Facing:
  1. The 38% Point seems like a good starting point until I test the left speaker.
  2. Bass nulls and peaks are very close together at the 38% Point, and finding the best sound by ear is very touchy, i.e. extreme comb filtering?
  3. An area around the 38% Point, roughly 24" forward and to the sides (mainly towards the left) reveals better bass response for troublesome frequencies (tested using ears and RTA function in REW), but this would negate the symmetry of the room by moving the LP, and speakers, over to the left of the room...pretty much what I had before, but just opposite.
  4. The above, alternate LP's result in other extreme nulls outside of the "improved frequencies."
  5. If I move the speakers back against the front wall, it seems that the distance from the LP to the speakers may be too large.
  6. The LP is very narrow, and very touchy. It also seems that it sounds better (by ears) when standing up vs.sitting down.
  7. If I'm focusing on placing the speakers in a symmetrical position and arrangement in the room, doesn't that mean my LP tests should only move forward and backward?
  8. The general-knowledge advice of keeping near-field monitors within 1m to 1.5m of the LP puts everything closer to the center of the room, especially with respect to distance between the protruding corner and the front wall. It also doesn't leave much room for the desk.
  9. Listening to test music, songs with deep and strong low frequencies, it only seems to sound good and full all the way back near the back wall.
  10. The Cart Before the Horse: Most guidance makes choosing the LP as the first step, then speaker placement. However, how do you know where to place the speakers if the chosen LP doesn't work?
Attached Thumbnails
Help With Analyzing REW Results and Path of Treatment(s)-m.retra_room_1.jpg  
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