Has anyone hired an audio consultant to evaluate their listening room?

I’m not satisfied with the sound in my (highly imperfect listening) room. Although I am aware of retailers that will evaluate your room using images you supply, and also software that can assist with this, it occurred to me that it might be better to hire someone with extensive experience to spend a couple hours at my house evaluating my room, and then recommending acoustic treatments based on what they measure/observe/hear. Has anyone tried this route? Any suggestions on how to find such a service? I live in Athens, Georgia, which is roughly fifty miles north of Atlanta.

This is a good question. If you want to try the free route, the community would most likely be able to suggest some things to try. We would need to know about the room, speakers, possibly the equipment, and locations you have tried, and descriptions of what you think needs improvement.

Thank you, I may do just that!

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Mike Powell does that service for a small fee and I think he lives in Athens or very close. He doesn’t answer emails at all so best to contact him directly by phone.
His phone number is at 11stereo.com
Good luck!


Thank you so much, I’ll be phoning him soon. His web site for 11stereo is worthwhile:

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He’s a good guy who is genuinely interested in pointing you in the right direction no matter what your budget is. Tell him Vern V. sent you.


If Mike for some reason can’t do this for you, contact Stirling Trayle and ask him if he’s going to be doing work soon for anyone else near you. He’s a West Coast guy, I think, but travels to customers homes to do this. He’s among the best there is. Typically needs at least two solid days to characterize a room.

I recommend buying the book, Get Better Sound by Jim Smith.


I think the “Get Better Sound” Jim Smith lives near Atlanta.

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Highly recommend.


One of Jim Smiths biggest recommendations is to move your stereo rack to the side of the room so nothing is between your speakers. One of the best investments I have made was long balanced interconnects to have nothing between the speakers.


Thanks! I’ve always been attracted to that idea, but I’m not sure how much it would help in my situation. I am unable to pull my speakers (FR10s) out more than 22 inches from the front wall. I wonder if this is far enough to allow the improvement that can result from moving the equipment off to the side. I’d welcome comments from anyone with a similar limitation in speaker placement.


His MPD-8 review is really fun. And it’s only $26K. I thought it was a lot more. I wish there was a way I could use it but there isn’t.


I’m not sure how much it matters, but is that 22” from the baffle or rear of the cabinet?

Good point! I measured from the rear of the speaker to the wall.

Are the front faces of the speakers fully in front of the face of the cabinetry?

If not, I would bump them a bit further into the room

So long as the cabinet and the gear atop it are a few inches below the HF drivers and, ideally, the mid-frequency drivers, the impact of the equipment between them should not be too material.

Consider orienting the loudspeakers such that the distance between the midpoints of the HF drivers is 85% of the distance from the face of the HF drivers to your ears, while seated in your primary listening position with no toe in.

Then experiment with moving the speakers a little closer together and a little farther apart. IME, 83% to 85% will provide the best sound stage left to right while holding on to a solid center image.

Once you feel like it just sounds “right”, play with the toe-in to optimize the sound.

FWIW, I have found that I like to fire the speakers straight ahead when the speakers have HF drivers with great all around dispersion capabilities.

Have fun.


Yes, the front of the speakers are easily in front of the cabinet, etc. I’m pretty close to your suggested 83% to 85% distance but will play some with this. Thanks!

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Easy stuff first. Sit where you listen and clap your hands. Do you hear a “ping” like echo? Do you hear a dull lifeless clap void of vibrancy? Do you hear a natural and realistic clap with a solid but sharp edge decay?

Check a few rooms for your claps timber, but a ringing (needs some high frequency absorbers) or a real dull clasp (too much high frequency damping) are fixable over bass nodes. Fix the bass first!

The real hard stuff is the bass. You need to get a chair with wheels on it and move towards and away from your speakeer to find the neutral bass node in your room with an SPL meter. All rooms of reasonable size will have a null and a peak in the bass region. Attack the worst one. You want to cut or boost bass with the room as much as you can and not tone controls. Once that spot is found and you EQ the bass at that spot, then check the upper frequencies with the hand clap. A hint, if you can’t sit where the SPL says the bass is most neutral between the dip and the peak…it is still fair to keep the listening position where the room demnds it, and move the speaker! Yes, we can cheat and do that. A little distance change from a rear wall can go a long way to add or subtract from bass nodes where you sit. Real small, rooms are tough…so don’t be too hard on yourself on the bass. Just get it “better” to the rooms limit.

For upper frequencies you may need to just add or remove damping at the initial reflection spot on either side of your speakers in most normal rooms. Use some varying thickness blankets held up with broom handles if it echos. Ugly but it works. If it is too dead remove surfaces at the initial reflection point. Some speakers need ceiling treatment if they are point source and not line array type that ignore the floor and ceiling.

Don’t worry about this upper EQ too much until you EQ your bass at the neutral node point as close as you can. The general thing is to not fight the room. Agree with the room’s deficiency with listening location as best you can. Then and only then are the primary reflection points apparent for the clap of hands test.

I use some fabric on wood frames to soften a basement wall, as an example of a method that isn’t too ugly or mecanical looking. You can do a lot just by the simple steps and even better, the new stuff help you a lot (digital EQ subs!). Have some friends help. This isn’t challenging your musical taste, it is just getting a neutral balance we all want.


Given my room, system configuration and cable cost (Nordost), that’s not practical for me. That said, I’ve thought of the cabinet between the speakers as diffusion more than impediment. It helps me sleep at night.


Sleep is important!