Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

B

Byron Flagg

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4
#1
I recently upgraded my home theater with new LCR speakers, subwoofer, and receiver:

NHT C-3
Rythmik F-12
Onkyo TX-NR747

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The overall room dimensions are 27' x 15' x 7.5' for a total volume 3000 ft^3.

The upgrade was made from BOSE 701 floorstanding speakers that I purchased in the 90's that were being used with an old Infinity center channel and NO subwoofer. The 701's were placed roughly where the bookshelf speakers are currently located, but about 18" away from the wall and sitting on cinderblocks to get the tweeters to ear height when seated. There are also low profile Infinity surround speakers on the walls beside the rear couch, but those are outside the scope of this issue.

My primary goals were to free up floor space in the combination use room and achieve a high level of audio fidelity. With those goals in mind I selected wall mounted bookshelf speakers and subwoofer, both acoustic suspension designs which my research indicated provide superior transient response and fidelity. The subwoofer is currently located on the mid-line of the room with the plan to add a second one at the opposite end of the room in the future to deal with any nodes I run into during calibration.

So imagine my horror when after completing the initial installation and setup, the new system has virtually no capability to produce what I will call "tactile sound". That is sound that you can feel, whether as a single impulse from a bass drop or cannon shot that you feel in your chest, or sustained vibration from a harmonic chord or thundering stampede of elephants where you can feel your clothing vibrating against your skin. The new system provides amazing fidelity at high frequencies; even the softest whisper in a movie soundtrack sounds like a real person in the room. And at the very low frequencies there is enough energy pumped into the room to shake the walls and rattle the windows. But sitting right in the midst of it, I've lost any and all tactile sound that my crumby old BOSE 701s could produce without a subwoofer. I hesitate to say that I'm looking for "tactile bass" because I don't think that the specific frequency range is the issue. As the dragon flies overhead and rains down balls of fire, or as the stampeded of elephants pounds across plains, my windows are rattling and the walls are shaking, but I'm trapped in an anemic bubble where I don't feel that satisfying tactile sound I love. (More on the bubble below. I'm not sitting in a node because there isn't tactile sound to be found anywhere in the room.)

So now that I've described the subjective problem, let me tell you what I've done so far to get to the root of the problem.

First I did a lot of subjective listening tests with movie soundtracks and EDM music containing a lot of high impact sound that should generate a tactile experience. I've ruled out acoustic nodes because no where in the room, including sitting next to the subwoofer, do I experience tactile sound. I've also ruled out insufficient headroom. The overall sound levels get painfully loud at -10dB on the receiver, which maxes out at +16dB. I've also tried turning up the subwoofer gain to maximum from its current calibrated state somewhere roughly in the middle. Doing so makes sustained bass sound ridiculously loud, but no more tactile.

Second, I broke out my Smaart rig to take some objective measurements of frequency response. While there are clearly some acoustic interactions going on, there is clearly plenty of bass energy extending well below 20Hz.

Onkyo AutoEQ Post Adj.JPG


The white trace is where I'm at now. The purple trace was prior to me figuring out that the Accu-EQ feature of my receiver was doing more harm than good (notch at 150Hz) in my particular situation and so has since been disabled and I'm running a flat EQ. Both traces are actually averages of three points across my primary seating area so any fluctuations remaining are not highly localized artifacts.

So subjectively and objectively I can show that the system is generating sound energy across the full audible spectrum with some acoustic fluctuations that are not surprising given my relatively small room. But I don't think that alone can explain my lack of tactile sound. Remember that I previously had two BOSE 701 floorstanding speakers in the same space, being driven with less wattage, and with no subwoofer support and they had no problem with high impact tactile sound.

So now I'm turning to the good contributors at Audioholics for help. Since the original install, I've been doing more reading about acoustic suspension speaker design and I think I may have made an error by going that route. While most of the literature on the benefits of acoustic suspension talk about fidelity in terms of resonance, damping, Q, etc, they don't talk about the other side of the impulse... the UP side. I have found a few white papers suggesting that acoustic suspension designs are not capable of ramping UP sound output as steeply as bass reflex designs. I haven't been able to find any objective analysis on this, only subjective descriptions indicating that acoustic suspension designs are less "dynamic" which could possibly be describing the rising side of the impulse curve rather than the back side of the curve on which all the other literature focuses.

As a side note, I have about 20 years of experience in pro audio, which is why I have a Smaart rig in the first place. Now the acoustics of large spaces are very different from home theater, but physics is physics. It strikes me that virtually ALL pro audio speakers and subwoofers are bass-reflex designs and I have designed, built, and experienced many large venue sound systems that are capable of generating "tactile sound" at overall sound levels that are not ridiculous. That is to say around 95dB. Applying my experience with large venue sound to home theater is a large part of why in hind sight I think I may have made a mistake going with acoustic suspension speakers and subwoofer.

So what are your thoughts? Am I on the right path in thinking that in going full acoustic suspension with the goal of superior "fidelity" I've sacrificed the "dynamic" capabilities required to generate tactile sound impulses that kick the chest and vibrate the clothes? Or is there something else going on?
 
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rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,841 8 4
#2
@Byron Flagg Firstly, I'll say that you've got a gorgeous home theater. Once you get it dialed in, you've really got something to be proud of. Congrats!

Anyway, that looks like a pretty large room. What is that, like 5,000 cubic feet? Sub performance is more a factor of the 3D space it pressurizes rather than the distance from sub to listening position. If I were shopping for such a space, I'd look for a sub that can move more air than a single sealed 12".

Sealed subs generally have a shallower rolloff than vented, but that rolloff starts at a much higher frequency (usually between 40 - 50 Hz). For your sub to be flat down to 20Hz or lower, a big chunk of its higher frequency output must've been attenuated to meet the demand of the sub bass. You'd definitely get more satisfying output from a vented sub, and that space would probably benefit more from a 15", like a Hsu VTF-3 MK5 or VTF-15H. If you'd feel more comfortable with a servo sub, the Rythmik FVX15 or FV15HP would've been good choices as well.

It's a common misconception that vented subs are less controlled than sealed. Properly tuned vented subs also have a quick impulse response, just with better low-end extension.

I think your NHT speakers are a fine choice. As long as they'll play deep enough to meet your sub for a seamless blend, they're not inferior to ported mains. You might consider playing with their crossover point. They'll roll off at a higher frequency than vented bookshelfs would, so your AVR's high pass filter might be too steep for a proper blend. Try setting their crossover point lower or setting them to large and see what happens. If it doesn't work, you can always change it back.

In your Smaart measurements can you smooth to 1/12 octave? That might give you a clearer picture of what you're hearing.

Have you tried putting your sub up in one of your chairs and crawling around the room to see where you perceive the most visceral response? Could be that front and center is not the optimal location for your sub.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
Ratings
4,472 17 37
#3
How did you have those 701s setup? Might help explain differences.

My first thought on seeing the back of the room is why such small speakers, especially sub, for a fairly large space. No surrounds, so everything is handled by the front 3?
 
B

Byron Flagg

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#4
@Byron Flagg

Anyway, that looks like a pretty large room. What is that, like 5,000 cubic feet? Sub performance is more a factor of the 3D space it pressurizes rather than the distance from sub to listening position. If I were shopping for such a space, I'd look for a sub that can move more air than a single sealed 12".

Sealed subs generally have a shallower rolloff than vented, but that rolloff starts at a much higher frequency (usually between 40 - 50 Hz). For your sub to be flat down to 20Hz or lower, a big chunk of its higher frequency output must've been attenuated to meet the demand of the sub bass. You'd definitely get more satisfying output from a vented sub, and that space would probably benefit more from a 15", like a Hsu VTF-3 MK5 or VTF-15H. If you'd feel more comfortable with a servo sub, the Rythmik FVX15 or FV15HP would've been good choices as well.

I think your NHT speakers are a fine choice. As long as they'll play deep enough to meet your sub for a seamless blend, they're not inferior to ported mains. You might consider playing with their crossover point. They'll roll off at a higher frequency than vented bookshelfs would, so your AVR's high pass filter might be too steep for a proper blend. Try setting their crossover point lower or setting them to large and see what happens. If it doesn't work, you can always change it back.

Have you tried putting your sub up in one of your chairs and crawling around the room to see where you perceive the most visceral response? Could be that front and center is not the optimal location for your sub.
Rojo, thanks for the awesome feedback and encouragement. Thank you also for reminding me to add the room dimensions to my post. The total volume is actually around 3000 ft^3. I consider that to be a medium sized room and based on my prior research it appeared that the Rythmik F-12 would be adequate. My response curve measurements confirm that the output is sufficient to keep up with the mains, but maybe not with sufficient headroom for dynamics.

I have heard very good things about HSU but in recent days as I've considered the possible need to swap out the subwoofer I've been seriously considering SVS's offerings with either the PB-13Ultra or possibly even going all out for the new PB-16Ultra. I'd be curious about your thoughts on those options specifically though I don't want to start another HSU vs SVS thread. :)

My testing indicates that the NHT C-3's are more than capable of performing below an 80Hz crossover to the subwoofer. I'm encouraged by your indication that a ported variant would not necessarily be superior. Maybe a subwoofer change is all I need. Maybe I'll fiddle around with the crossover point but I'm skeptical.

Lastly, I actually laughed out loud when I read your suggestion to heft the F-12 into my favorite seat and do the subwoofer crawl. That was literally the next action item on my list unless feedback from you guys steers me differently.
 
B

Byron Flagg

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#5
How did you have those 701s setup? Might help explain differences.

My first thought on seeing the back of the room is why such small speakers, especially sub, for a fairly large space. No surrounds, so everything is handled by the front 3?
Hey Lovinthehd,

The 701s were located basically where the bookshelves are currently, but forward about 18" and up on cinderblocks to get the tweeters at ear level while seated.

You're not the first person to balk at the speakers as being too small. Based on my prior research I'm surprised by that as the room is about 3000 ft^3 and I'm sitting about 8 feet away from all of the speakers. But since I've run into this issue and based on other feedback, I'm beginning to think that bookshelf speakers, while capable of sufficient nominal output, may just not have the dynamic capabilities needed to generate the tactile sound that I'm missing. I know it's not a direct comparison, but the combined driver compliment and cabinet construction of the NHT C-3 and Rythmik F-12 seem to be far in excess of the BOSE 701s that performed better in this regard.

Lastly, there are low profile Infinity surround speakers on the walls on either side of the rear seats. They are "good enough" with the limited mounting options and space I have for surrounds.

So now knowing the volume of the room and the viewing/listening distance involved, do you really think the speakers I've selected are under powered? Bookshelf vs floor standing when subwoofers are involved?
 
rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,841 8 4
#6
The total volume is actually around 3000 ft^3.
Is that including the area to the right of your television?

I have heard very good things about HSU but in recent days as I've considered the possible need to swap out the subwoofer I've been seriously considering SVS's offerings with either the PB-13Ultra or possibly even going all out for the new PB-16Ultra. I'd be curious about your thoughts on those options specifically though I don't want to start another HSU vs SVS thread. :)
I think Hsu wins with dB per $, but that's not to say the SVS subs aren't excellent. If your room truly is only 3000 cubic feet, then the Hsu VTF-2 MK5 would probably be plenty. recent review

Lastly, I actually laughed out loud when I read your suggestion to heft the F-12 into my favorite seat and do the subwoofer crawl. That was literally the next action item on my list unless feedback from you guys steers me differently.
Well, the subwoofer crawl is certainly cheaper than investing in a new sub. Just sayin'. :)
 
B

Byron Flagg

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#7
Is that including the area to the right of your television?

I think Hsu wins with dB per $, but that's not to say the SVS subs aren't excellent. If your room truly is only 3000 cubic feet, then the Hsu VTF-2 MK5 would probably be plenty. recent review
Yes, 3000 ft^3 includes the space to the right of the TV which is the bottom of a staircase that folds back toward the rear of the theater. The door is at the top of the stairs so I've included that volume in the calculation.

It's amazing to me that HSU can offer TWO VTF-15H MK2s for less than a single SVS PB13-Ultra. Very strong option if I decide to upgrade the sub.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
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4,472 17 37
#8
Hey Lovinthehd,

The 701s were located basically where the bookshelves are currently, but forward about 18" and up on cinderblocks to get the tweeters at ear level while seated.

You're not the first person to balk at the speakers as being too small. Based on my prior research I'm surprised by that as the room is about 3000 ft^3 and I'm sitting about 8 feet away from all of the speakers. But since I've run into this issue and based on other feedback, I'm beginning to think that bookshelf speakers, while capable of sufficient nominal output, may just not have the dynamic capabilities needed to generate the tactile sound that I'm missing. I know it's not a direct comparison, but the combined driver compliment and cabinet construction of the NHT C-3 and Rythmik F-12 seem to be far in excess of the BOSE 701s that performed better in this regard.

Lastly, there are low profile Infinity surround speakers on the walls on either side of the rear seats. They are "good enough" with the limited mounting options and space I have for surrounds.

So now knowing the volume of the room and the viewing/listening distance involved, do you really think the speakers I've selected are under powered? Bookshelf vs floor standing when subwoofers are involved?
Could be partly the perspective of the photos but the speakers do look small in comparison to the room, but 6.5" midwoofers are on the small side otoh. The speakers aren't particularly sensitive but are you lacking something in the amp when you say underpowered?

I was also interested in the LFE/bass setup on those 701s as well as your avr, not just their physical positioning in the room, altho on that note, have you tried moving the C-3s out into the room to see what their response is vs the wall mount? Could just be the 701 response range was more suited to your tastes?

BTW on the subject of tactile response you might be interested in the first few of these threads
 
rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
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1,841 8 4
#9
@Byron Flagg I just happened to think. Since you're trying to conserve floor space, and since you've got a 2nd row couch on a riser, you might consider putting a Danley THSpud under that couch. If that doesn't kick you in the chest, there's something wrong with you. :)
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,325 17 25
#10
We get posts like this regularly. So much so it is high time we had a sticky about it.

First of all Rhythmic are honest in their description of that sub, saying it is NOT a high output sub. However they do not state its output limit in the 20 Hz range compared to 40 or 50 Hz, which they should.

The next thing to get straight is that your sub is NOT acoustic suspension. It is a low Q sealed sub and that is very different.

An acoustic suspension design uses a high Q woofer, which therefore has a very floppy suspension and almost all the restoring force comes from the air in the box.

Whereas a sub like yours is a sealed sub with a much stiffer low Q woofer providing a lot of the restoring force. This is a much better and more musical approach. High Q speakers are really awful in terms of bass quality.

Now the next issue to understand, is that the front cone of the driver in a sealed design has to produce the entire output, which means large cone excursion and the smaller the cone the larger the excursion. The entire rear cone radiation is lost. Not only that but a loudspeaker cone is a very inefficient coupler to the air space in the room. So pretty much everything is against you demanding a highly inefficient and expensive brute force approach. However if you want quality bass from a small box at high output you must pay the piper.

So this approach requires very expensive high excursion drivers, with massive voice coils that can handle enormous power without burn out. Obviously this takes huge power amplification. That means much more than your 340 watts to get tactile bass, like I think you want for movies like Interstellar. I reckon it would probably take six of those subs to do what you want in that space.

The next issue is that if you want good quality it means using low Q drivers. Now the lower the Q the higher the F3 without Eq, so to improve quality the Eq of 12 db/octave has to start at a higher frequency. By the way a servo system is just one way of providing this Eq. Now every 3db boost doubles the power the driver has to accept. So you can see that to produce large output quickly runs up the bill for very robust high power drivers and amps. I have previously posted how power demands go up in proportion to enclosure size no matter how the driver is loaded.

Now ports from tuned reflex enclosure, pipe and horn mouths are much better acoustic couplers to the space than loudspeaker cones. Because of size and simplicity reflex loading is the most popular. However, reproduction can never be totally non resonant. With careful design and not playing the my F3 is lower than your F3 game, good design can make for very good reproduction indeed from ported reflex enclosures. They will be a lot bigger, but need less amp power and less expensive drivers.

Pipes and horns, and I favor pipes, can produce truly non resonant reproduction with good efficiency and output. In addition the output can aid the driver over a much greater frequency range than a reflex port. The big draw back is size and complexity. However if you are prepared to devote the real estate to it, the quality and realism of the reproduction is without parallel.

If you click on my links below you will see TL pipes that produce what you are looking for with very modest drive power indeed.

In essence your problem is that you have a high quality but modest sealed sub. It will have far greater output at 40 or 50 Hz than it will at 20 Hz, because of the limits of driver excursion and heat dissipation in the voice coil. So a 340 watt amp I'm sure is appropriately sized for that driver.

So your options are more subs, to up the SPL, or a couple of expensive high powered sealed subs. The other option is moving to a design that uses acoustic transformation, which means a reflex port design, pipe or port. Of course the latter approaches will necessitate much larger enclosure volume.

That is a quick primer on subs.
 
ski2xblack

ski2xblack

Audioholic General
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749 6 3
#11
I'm beginning to think that bookshelf speakers, while capable of sufficient nominal output, may just not have the dynamic capabilities needed to generate the tactile sound that I'm missing.
I suspect so. Impact and tactile feel requires a lot of headroom, and not just down low but also at frequencies above those your subs are producing.

Didn't Bose use multiple 8" woofers and one 6" driver per speaker in the 701? That's a lot more driver surface area than your NHT's bring to the party.
 
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TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
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7,325 17 25
#12
I suspect so. Impact and tactile feel requires a lot of headroom, and not just down low but also at frequencies above those your subs are producing.

Didn't Bose use multiple 8" woofers and one 6" driver per speaker in the 701? That's a lot more driver surface area than your NHT's bring to the party.
I think you are correct to a point. However the tactile stuff is the low frequencies form 25 to 16 Hz largely. When the F3 gets to 27 Hz and above, especially if it is fourth order roll off you start loosing the tactile effect quite quickly.

Having said that, I do not subscribe in the least to the view that a couple of bookshelf speakers and a sub can be the equal, or even close to capable larger speakers and a sub or truly full range speakers. As you know I favor the latter, but that is not easily done.

The fact is that what we perceive as bass is the region between 80 Hz and 400 Hz. That is well out of sub range. Added to which that region is the range where BSC is required. So that means that range takes about 2/3 of the amp power generally. The acoustic output in that range is much greater than the sub acoustic output. Bookshelves are not high powered speakers in that range. If that range is deficient then the sound has that puny thin effect. I find that if the drivers reproducing that range are below 8" then at least two high powered drivers are required.

What I note people tend to do is over drive the sub when using small speakers. That seems to satisfy some, but it is not realistic reproduction, far from it.

The OP in his room really does need a capable front three plus one and preferably two good subs. Then I think he will get what he wants.
 
B

Byron Flagg

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#13
BTW on the subject of tactile response you might be interested in the first few of these threads
Thank you so much for the direction to the AVS threads. Considering that my theater is below grade and my primary seating position is sitting on carpet/plywood/concrete, this reading has given me a lot to think about regarding decoupling the couch from the floor and even possibly some linear transducers once I get the audible part resolved.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Overlord
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#14
Thank you so much for the direction to the AVS threads. Considering that my theater is below grade and my primary seating position is sitting on carpet/plywood/concrete, this reading has given me a lot to think about regarding decoupling the couch from the floor and even possibly some linear transducers once I get the audible part resolved.
You might also check out some of the threads there on the subject of mid bass modules.
 
B

Byron Flagg

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4
#15
I suspect so. Impact and tactile feel requires a lot of headroom, and not just down low but also at frequencies above those your subs are producing.

Didn't Bose use multiple 8" woofers and one 6" driver per speaker in the 701? That's a lot more driver surface area than your NHT's bring to the party.
That is a very good point. Yes, the 701s from the 1990s had two 8" drivers inside ported, one 6" driver on the side at the top, and two tweeters on the front and other side.

My thought was that the NHT bookshelves would provide better fidelity (and they do) and that the lower frequency output could be made up for by the subwoofer. But as you and TLS Guy have pointed out, tactile response may include frequencies above the 80Hz crossover.
 
B

Byron Flagg

Enthusiast
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4
#16
The OP in his room really does need a capable front three plus one and preferably two good subs. Then I think he will get what he wants.
Wow... just wow. See, that's why I love Audioholics. Thank you TLS Guy for the mic-drop posts; and not in a bad way. Unfortunately I foresee some additional expenditures and trying to figure out how to repurpose my nearly brand new F-12. Fortunately I'm a life long learner, because this week I'm getting schooled.

So based on everyone's feedback so far, I'm 95% certain that the first item on my Pareto chart is to swap out the F-12. Hopefully that change along with floating the primary listening position will allow me to avoid also having to abandon the C-3 bookshelves for floorstanding speakers as well. (At least until the itch comes back.)

So TLS Guy, at the risk of offending everyone by rehashing an well trod topic, I'm interested to hear your pointed thoughts given my specific application: Dollar for dollar would I be better off following rojo's lead with dual HSU VTF-15H MK2s or a single SVS PB13-Ultra? Factor in the fact that I really only need accurate low frequency response at one or two seats and am open to adding a second sub in the future if needed. Slightly higher performing single sub now with the potential to add a second later, or really good dual subs now?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,325 17 25
#17
Wow... just wow. See, that's why I love Audioholics. Thank you TLS Guy for the mic-drop posts; and not in a bad way. Unfortunately I foresee some additional expenditures and trying to figure out how to repurpose my nearly brand new F-12. Fortunately I'm a life long learner, because this week I'm getting schooled.

So based on everyone's feedback so far, I'm 95% certain that the first item on my Pareto chart is to swap out the F-12. Hopefully that change along with floating the primary listening position will allow me to avoid also having to abandon the C-3 bookshelves for floorstanding speakers as well. (At least until the itch comes back.)

So TLS Guy, at the risk of offending everyone by rehashing an well trod topic, I'm interested to hear your pointed thoughts given my specific application: Dollar for dollar would I be better off following rojo's lead with dual HSU VTF-15H MK2s or a single SVS PB13-Ultra? Factor in the fact that I really only need accurate low frequency response at one or two seats and am open to adding a second sub in the future if needed. Slightly higher performing single sub now with the potential to add a second later, or really good dual subs now?
Those subs have very comparable performance, but the HSU is half the price. Outputs at 20 Hz are very comparable.

It is usually better for room smoothing to have two subs. I would get 2 HSU subs on balance using them in 20 Hz mode will give you the greatest output. That will give you 120 db at 20 Hz, which will definitely be tactile.

Now the issue of your main speakers being under powered for your room is significant. The route to the most realistic reproduction has to be the primary aim. The primary purpose of an audio system is not a demolition unit! I do think those diminutive speakers need to be put on the list for replacement given your room conditions.
 
KEW

KEW

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4,593 22 4
#18
On a positive note, two of your NHT's and the Rythmik will make for a nice music/stereo setup in a smaller room (bedroom, office). You've got good stuff, just in the wrong space!
If it was mentioned I missed it, but you have a lot of acoustic panels in that room. That will deaden the sound and cause you to need speakers with more output. I think Dr. Toole would maintain that reflections should not be eliminated quite so aggressively.
I think you've got nothing but good advice above, but I might suggest that once you get your new subs in play, listen, then try removing about every other panel and listen again. Just pay close attention and figure out what sounds better. Unless it is obvious maybe give it a month one way then switch to the other and see what you think.
That said, there is something to be said for higher efficiency dynamic speakers (especially for HT).
 
B

Byron Flagg

Enthusiast
Ratings
4
#19
On a positive note, two of your NHT's and the Rythmik will make for a nice music/stereo setup in a smaller room (bedroom, office). You've got good stuff, just in the wrong space!
If it was mentioned I missed it, but you have a lot of acoustic panels in that room. That will deaden the sound and cause you to need speakers with more output. I think Dr. Toole would maintain that reflections should not be eliminated quite so aggressively.
I think you've got nothing but good advice above, but I might suggest that once you get your new subs in play, listen, then try removing about every other panel and listen again. Just pay close attention and figure out what sounds better. Unless it is obvious maybe give it a month one way then switch to the other and see what you think.
That said, there is something to be said for higher efficiency dynamic speakers (especially for HT).
I kid you not, this afternoon after processing everyone's feedback and ordering my first HSU VTF-15H MK2, I was thinking to myself how I might repurpose my Rythmik F12 and NHT C-3s in my bedroom or home office. Thanks for the encouragement.

You also touched on an acoustic issue I've been meaning to address. I really like the clarity that comes from eliminating first reflections with 2" fiberglass on both side walls and ceiling. You are probably right that I'm losing a decent amount of overall energy from the room, but I've also noticed that the stereo image, while very well defined, is not as immersive as it was prior to the treatment. I found some whitepapers that suggested that in small room acoustics, diffusion is a better way to address first reflections than absorption. So I've been thinking about swapping out the fiberglass for some low profile diffusers and see if that strikes a better balance of impulse response versus immersive soundstage. I know it will limit the effective frequency of the diffusion, but due the width of my room I'd like to keep the panels fairly low profile. Something like Acoustics First Model F: http://www.acousticsfirst.com/diffuser-art-diffusor-model-f.htm
 

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