Help with acoustic panel layout?

Discussion in 'Room Acoustics, System Layout & Setup' started by Impulse, May 11, 2013.

  1. Impulse Junior Audioholic

    Impulse
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    So for the past couple of months I have tried to set my speakers in the best place possible and the basement is the only place I can set them up where my family wont bother me too much about the noise.

    However, unfortunately my speakers sound dull, boring, and harsh in my basement. In my living room it was so lively and dynamic, and then i moved them downstairs and I just feel like it is missing so much.

    Heres a pic of the layout:

    http://i.imgur.com/zCst9vu.jpg

    the basement is fairly large and the ceiling is pretty low.

    My living room had a much taller ceiling, close to 40 ft maybe. This basement ceiling is maybe 8ft.

    Would acoustic panels even help in getting that sound? What would acoustic panels do for this setup here?

    Also, is it better to DIY or buy them premade?

    I listen to a lot of rock music and watch lots of movies but I can't enjoy them as much anymore and would really love to get that back. Any ideas?
  2. GIK Acoustics Audioholic Intern

    GIK Acoustics
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    Hi there,

    Being a much smaller space in volume, and having likely much more 'wall' closer to the speakers, the sound will be dramatically different as you've experienced. Acoustic panels absorb sound, and so they're usually used to treat close boundaries so that really intense reflections are absorbed instead of filtering the response at your ears. Without treatment, these high gain reflections can slur transients and "wash" out the sound. To literally hear it's effect, play some white noise through your speakers and move your head back and fourth. You'll hear a series of dips change up and down in frequency, just like comb filtering.
    However, absorbers usually don't make the space seem any more "lively". Dynamic, yes, but not more lively. Instead, diffusors are used to keep most of the energy retained in the room while spreading the reflections out so they aren't destroying the music at listening position. Since the ceiling is so low, I would still probably recommend absorption there, but diffusion otherwise in the room.
    If it's at all possible too I would look to relocating the desk (perhaps to the small corner behind and to the right of the couch) and centering your setup left to right in that area. This will ensure the bass is more symmetric in the room which should also open up the sound a good bit (and you're not getting as strong of a reflection off the small left wall like you are right now). Also, this way you can get equally effective low frequency treatments in the front corners of the room so that your speakers aren't suffering from low frequency modes like they weren't upstairs in the open room.

    There's obviously a lot more to be said but treatment wise I would use this as a guide: Acoustical Room Advice - GIK Acoustics
    Obviously this is more set up for a studio instead of a HT or listening room, but a lot of the treatment positions would be similar. I would advise to opt towards the more diffuse route in the room, and treat the reflections off the ceiling and the bass with broadband absorption.
  3. Impulse Junior Audioholic

    Impulse
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    Interesting, thank you very much for your reply, unfortunately i have no idea if i can move the setup where the desk is, as it is not mine, and the small corner to the right of the couch will not be big enough to cover the side of the desk (its a fairly large desk). I could possibly, however, move the setup to the left of the couch, on the wall labeled "clusterf***" (the top wall where it says opt. firewall) and perhaps that will make them a tad more open? Adding diffusors there could change the sound drastically as well or not so much?
    Last edited: May 15, 2013
  4. GIK Acoustics Audioholic Intern

    GIK Acoustics
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    You'll want diffusors in areas that send reflections back to you, but you also want them in areas that are distant from you to help control the overall ambiance. As for moving the desk, yes, that would be best. Really the point of doing so is to center the speakers in between the two walls.

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