Looking into Room Treatments... Finally

Since yesterday afternoon or so, I’ve been actively researching something I’ve never bothered with before, treating my room which is said to be more effective than swapping equipment, which I can completely understand.

Naturally, the first company I looked at is GIK Acoustics. I was prepared to be shocked at the prices of the various panels and such, and I was, but shocked in a different way… Shocked at how affordable their products are! Granted, they’re not bargain basement cheap, but they’re certainly not expensive either. Think of them price-wise to a pair of decent interconnect upgrades, and more than likely much larger sound improvements than those new interconnects.

So anyway, after looking around on GIK’s site, I went ahead and filled out their “Free Advice” form and submitted it with a set of pictures of my current 11.5’ x 15.5’ x 8’ room setup. One thing I forgot to mention on that form was the fact that this is an old house, so all of the walls and ceiling are plaster, which obviously is harder than regular drywall. But I did mention the wood floors and the fact that I put down a 6’ x 8’ shag area rug to help reduce/eliminate those first reflections off of the floor, which it did quite well. That and that I have IsoAcoustic ISO-200 subwoofer isolators under the subs which definitely helped clean and tighten up the bass.

I run open baffle loudspeakers (GR Research X-Statik’s) and dual subs. Surprisingly, everything sounds pretty darn good, especially after adding the area rug, but there’s still just that last 10% that I want to chase down. I still have minor imaging, sound staging and phasing issues which I can hear as I move a foot or so forwards or backwards in my listening position. Some of it sounds a little bit like out of phase echo. And as for bass, I sit in a bit of a null. It’s a little quieter and weaker where I sit, but move a foot forwards or backwards, the bass gets a little stronger and possibly a little deeper, but not boomy.

Again, I’ve never dealt with room treatments before, but one thing I picked up on pretty quickly is that behind the speakers, I would want absorption/diffusive panels to still get the benefits of the rear wave of the open baffle loudspeakers. But other than that, I’ll leave that up to the ones in the know.

Here’s the pictures that I submitted…

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Charles

Also look at the diffusion panels from PI Audio. A lot of guys on AC use them and they are a bit cheaper than GIK which I have a room full of.

ATS Acoustics is another source

I looked at both of those companies, and the issues are that the PI panels are all made from a soft plastic/foam based material, and the ATS panels are covered in cloth only.

The issue in my situation are six cats, all with very sharp claws. If I have bass traps from floor to ceiling, they might see them as giant, expensive scratching posts, and that wouldn’t be a good thing.

On top of that, I will likely need panels that both absorb and diffuse sound. The PI panels only diffuse and the ATS panels only absorb, except for the QRD’s of course.

I don’t have cats so my bass traps are from ATS but everything else is a mix of Alpha and Impressions panel. I’ve got some 48" freestanding Impression panels that I used behind the OB Spatials. Another pair is in the other room behind the rear firing Verity’s. Light weight and easy to move out of the way when not needed.

Yeah, I’m not saying that the cats would do anything with them (they don’t touch the speakers or furniture), but that’s all totally different from giant cloth covered columns standing there, easily to stretch up on and do naughty things to. LOL

I’m thinking GIK may suggest bass traps, and if so, I’ll go with the Impressions Corner traps as they have no cloth exposed except for behind the wood plates. Plus I could easily just stack them in each front corner. And probably something like the narrow or rectangle Impressions 2" directly behind the speakers.

Dennis’ videos are very helpful in understanding the science and the solutions which will ultimately be more effective than many of the competitor’s offerings, and most of the DIY solutions:

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I’ve watched quite a few of his videos. Very informative indeed. In fact, his videos are what got me sort of thinking about room treatments a while back, but then I got involved and focused on selling a car and purchasing another (long, unnecessary process I might add) and the whole room treatments thing kind of slipped my mind for a while.

Lovely room and great system. Please share the advise you receive from GIK - always interesting to see their approach. I asked them some months ago and their response made a lot of sense (but I was not able to start the treatment yet).
These questions come to my mind: Do you know what you want to achieve OR what are the acoustic issues you want to tackle? Did you do any measurements of the room e.g. with REW?
I did the measurements, and besides the obvious nulls and dips in the bass response (which are hard to treat anyway, there it’s all about positioning the LS and the listener), the interesting issues are not in the frequency but in the time domain. Reverberation, especially in the bass region, is something that can be controlled by e.g. bass traps. Yes, you need a lot of them and the big ones (there is no such thing as overdamping in the lowest region), but it’s probably the biggest step forward for SQ.
Very curious how you room will evolve. Have fun!

I found the GIK tri traps with range limiter option in the front corners worked great with my stats. Needed bass trapping but wanted some high frequency reflection from the back wave of the stat panels. Highly recommended for planar owners.

“Vicoustics” is another manufacturer worth looking at.

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GIK and Vicoustic are on my radar/top of my list, when I get around to doing some bass trapping/corner treatment. Vicoustic is a bit spendy though, so be forewarned. :slight_smile:

I made my own using a 12 pack of 2” Owens Corning 703 rigid fiberglass insulation, 1x4 lumber, fabric and a staple gun. Make the 1x4 frames the same size as the insulation. Stack 1 or 2 sheets on top of the frame and pull the fabric taught and staple. I made (4) doubles and installed them straddling the corners, then I made (4) singles and installed them at the first reflection points on the left and right wall, first reflection point on the ceiling and directly behind my listening position.

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I would also look at Acoustimac. I got one of their well constructed 6" x 48" bass traps for a lot less than GIK and it’s helped a lot. Another thing is to find the first reflection points for putting up panels. Each speaker has three. That takes a mirror and preferably the help of a friend, although I’ve done it alone.

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Thanks for all the tips. I’ll be looking into them all in a bit.

For now however, this little project is put on hold for a short while. My laptop decided to not want to use its screen anymore. After dealing with it for nearly an hour flat with the screen flickering randomly, looking like a darn strobe light in my face, or the screen just going out completely, I had no choice but to purchase a new laptop… And this new laptop cost quite a few pretty pennies. Put this this way, I could have bought two more Schiit Aegir amps for the same amount of cash!

At least now, I have more time to research and explore different brands of room treatments.

The good thing about Acoustimac is that they are about a half hour away from me in Tampa and their prices are excellent. Thanks for the tip!