DIY Room Treatments for this Impossible Room

Hi. Newbie here. Thanks for having me!

Couple of questions for the knowledgeable folks out there:

  1. I have a small room, 16x11. One corner opens to my kitchen. Another corner opens to an open curtained closet. Another corner has a door. Only one corner is a typical wall meets wall. How to treat these corners? Bass traps are too wide for these atypical corners.

  2. My speakers usually stand next to a tall wooden entertainment cente (taller than the speakers). Is this problematic sonically? Do the sides of the speakers reflect on that wooden piece. Do I have to pull them out and away?

Thanks for any responses. I have done my due dilligence in searching out answers on other forums but have not found any info with real specificity as it applies to my situation.

-Paul

1 Like

Welcome. Why do you think you need room treatments?

The first step is to setup the room without any treatments and see what needs treating. Are your speakers positioned well? How does it sound? Are your frequency response measurements in REW looking hot or hollow in certain bands?

2 Likes

Welcome to the Forum, you’ll get good friendly advice here. That said I won’t give any! I would like @vee ask what you feel is missing and then look to potential fixes before offering to fix what may not be broken. I am guessing since you brought up bass traps that you’re seeing too much bass, the reflexive answer to that is move the speakers out from the wall. I guess that counts as advice, oh well. Good luck in the journey. Cheers, Jim

1 Like

I like your response Vee, because it leads me to the possibility of not needing room treatments. : )

Unfortunately, both my amp and pre-amp are being serviced at the McIntosh repair shop, so I have been sans audio for a month and it might be at least another month until I get these components back so I can’t tell. I have been salivating for the return of these components, as I am now just beginning to really be serious about the audiophile thing.

My interpretation of the conventional wisdom out there is that you should always treat the corners of your room, period. Maybe I have that wrong.

When I did have my beloved components, I don’t remember a bass problem. What I do remember is having to adjust volume on dynamic symphonic music, because softs were too soft and louds were annoyingly loud and unbalanced. That’s what I want to fix.

Speakers are 5’ from wall, 1/3 into the space, but standing right next to tall entertainment center. The room has a bunch of windows with just vinyl blinds on them which also might be an issue.

Corner treatment is only needed if your ideal speaker and seating position show bass nulls or peaks. It sounds like you don’t have that issue.

Symphonies have high dynamic range, so an imbalance in light and heavy moments may be your speaker or setup where the details aren’t detailed enough to enjoy, so you turn up the volume and get overwhelmed when the whole orchestra joins in. A roll off in details could be as simple as toeing your speakers in, moving them closer together, or both.

I would wait for your system to come back, pick up a UMIK-1 in the meantime and learn REW so you can measure what’s actually happening when the gear gets back.

3 Likes

That is a very helpful response Vee. Just learning about REW today. Thanks.

1 Like

I used a company called GIK Acoustics. You can give them a sketch of your room and they will advise what you need. You can go from basic to extreme. They are a great company to do business and they make great products! Welcome and good luck!

2 Likes

I, too, have had excellent experiences with GIK.

3 Likes

What brand of speakers ate you using with your McIntosh equipment? What does the manufacture recommend for placement? I like to start there. If room allows that. What are the distance of mids and tweeters from the centerr to the entertainment center. A foot to 8 inches is a good rule of thumb. Some of the vintage McIntosh speakers like to hug the wall for flat bass to 20 Hz. Pulled away the bass muddies.

1 Like

paul172, I did just that on your suggestion. Thank you.

Vmax, I will start to use Elac Uni-Fi UB5’s, but had been using old Paradigm Monitor 7’s. I’m not sure what Elac recommends since I got no paperwork with my speakers as they were bought used. I’m sure I can find out from Elac.

From the tweeter to the edge of the entertainment center is 6 inches.

They usually get back right away but might be delayed due to Covid. I ordered some panels and it took a little over a month to get them, again Covid. My first shipment pre-Covid came much quicker. High quality products tho and perform fantastically!

1 Like

Paulo, i would experiment to see if you can hear edge reflection by opening that distance to the cabinet first at12 inches then try moving inward to nine. Your imaging will be improved without the cabinet edge reflection. If bass is right by pulling the speakers closer to front of cabinet that could be a good solution if front of cabinet is not a flat door versus taking speakers further outboard.

1 Like

I’m in the other camp where I think room treatments are needed more often than not, especially in a room that is only 11’ wide, and especially if you ever listen over 85dB.

Bass traps, not necessarily corner traps, will do a great job not only taming any nodes, but actually will enable you to HEAR more bass and clean up the rest of the frequency spectrum. You don’t need corner traps, necessarily, with your room setup - check GIK’s 8” 2x4 monster traps. They may do a great job absorbing behind your speakers - or you might even get away with a 2x2 behind each if your speakers are on the smaller side.

Beyond that, first reflections on the sides are good to tame, but my favorite treatment of all are Vicoustic Multifusors in the center between the speakers. No other treatments did a better job of improving imaging to make the center become massive and holographic, while widening the soundstage and improving the spectrum.

Depending on the size of the room and SPL of playback, of course, the amount of amount of treatments would vary based on measurement, etc. But while measurements are great, I admit I’ve tested and placed everything by ear across my two setups.

I concur with the more practical advice above:

  1. Use REW with a UMIK microphone to see if you have an issue at all, try and fix by moving speakers to the extent socially acceptable

  2. Speak to GIK, but when I ordered some modest panels from them my wife politely insisted that I send them back the next day.

1 Like

I think you should switch the speakers between rooms.

Thiefoflight, your second picture shows a ceiling almost identical to mine. It slopes at the same angle and with the same paneling. Did you do anything to treat it?

Hah! I’d be like the Maxell guy, literally blown away!

I haven’t treated it, no. The room is 23’ deep with my chair right in the middle of it, and the ceiling is 18’ on the high end. As such, I’m not feeling the need to treat it, though I was at one point considering cloud mounts. The Aeris does have an open baffle for its top half, so if I were to treat it, it would likely be near the corner of the lower half.

I was thinking you could give the ESL a bit more room to breathe. The little room with the red/brown speakers moved in could be rented out to the KGB, CIA or any other local club that uses “extended” interrogation techniques.