Most important component - the room

This never seems to get discussed.

I’m fortunate after 25 years of time served to get a room on the ground floor, about 16’ long x 12’ 8" wide x 9’ high, furnished for music, reading and the consumption of alcohol.

Speakers are exactly 7’ apart and my head 8’ 6" from the speaker centre line.

Recently rebuilt, the only part that remained was a suspended floor, antique oak that we bought in France in 1997 and had milled to 1" thickness, so pretty firm. Otherwise, the party wall (with the house next door) is lined with -60dB Karma Acoustiwall, the other walls with Soundbloc and the ceiling is Soundbloc with a dropped central section to help break reflections. The walls are all brick. Wall behind listening position is four bifold doors that open up into a 40’ deep room. Two velvet single chairs. Left first reflection has a velvet chaise longue and right first reflection is a record cabinet. Rug in front of the speakers. Windows behind speakers have -40dB acoustic glass, privacy drapes and thick Venetian blinds.

No air conditioning, raw steel classic radiator, very clever voice-controlled lighting. All new electrics. Only 18" of visible speaker cables. Hifi tucked in a corner. Due to the limited space, I made the unit myself, it is 450mm deep by 484mm wide, with industrial quality damping.

By USA standards this is probably very small, but seems to work very well.


Fine job on the room rebuild, I’m sure it sounds wonderful. We recently added 6" thick front corner bass traps and more acoustic traps at the rear of our listening room (in addition to the previously installed bass traps and diffusers.) The resulting increase in imaging specificity, reduction in room node effects, and increased bass accuracy were improvements beyond my expectations. As you say, the room is an often overlooked or under rated factor in the pursuit of the best possible audio. I’m lucky to have a wife that’s passionate about music herself and was enthusiastic about making changes to the room that many significant others would nix on aesthetic objections.

The room sounds like it sounds lovely. Your description creates a nice image in my mind of what it looks like.
I’m not sure how many would consider your space to be small. I suppose it depends on if you are talking about dedicated or shared space. I feel fortunate to have a dedicated 11’x14’ space carved out of an office/ bonus room.
I totally agree room isn’t stressed more, especially when discussing with someone new to to the hobby. So often we hear advice given to the novice that speakers are the first thing they should get. I think the first they should get is a plan for those speakers and everything else.

Yes. Yes you are! I’ve had some of that nixing recently but overall she’s been pretty accommodating.

Very interesting thread Steven, a few pics would be very appreciated from OP and contributors.

Someone usually says, without pics it doesn’t exist!

As you probably know I’m going to rebuild my room and I’m sharing every step on another thread

I’ll post here too my final results as the room is finished.

Right you are, Steven. It’s been something I’ve finally been able to address in my current home. A dedicated room, properly sized for my speakers and gear, dedicated electrics, proper treatment (currently in progress). The room is the key.

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Fortunately the room had a front bay and the ceiling is relatively high for the width. There is always going to be some bass cancellation, and I have no room for a subwoofer at the front of the room, so I have one in the rear corner. It works well from there and I can turn it down or off depending on the music.

I one bought some GIK panels, they almost caused a divorce and went back in the return window. Hence the acoustics had to be done mostly the old fashioned way with furnishings, even though the walls and ceilings are lined with acoustic board.

I had a stereo system in my office, smaller than your room, and I was planning on damping the rear wall inoffensively with this brand of acoustic tiles. You can go as boring or crazy as it suits you. I then went for ceiling speakers with excellent DSP.

My electrics were key. All brand new for the 11kw 3-phase supply in the street. Short dedicated cable run using a phase separate from anything else. The power is now so good I sold my expensive conditioner and power cables, got much cheaper ones. The line impedance is 0.4ohms measured at the socket. I have a very steady 218v, it is a bit low, but my audio gear is not fussed. My main component can operate off 50v.

My (wife’s) styling is very different to yours, and this room is very different from the rest of the ground floor, which is all Axel Vervoordt earthy colours, stone and wood. The only common feature are the bookcases, which are made from the same veneer (striped eucalyptus) as some of the kitchen and other built in furniture.

This is the best I can do at the moment, the hifi is off to the left, the photo makes the room look about twice as long as it is. You can see the top of the speakers lower left and right. This is the view no one ever shows!

One advantage of dropping the ceiling, which is very quick and easy to do, is that it means you don’t have to drill holes in the main ceiling layer and it retains it’s structural integrity and sound isolation. There is only one small hole to feed the power cable for the lights.


I wish there was a thread called room photos that was akin to the system photos thread with pictures from at least four vantage points. (1) from between the speakers to the listening chair and back walls, (2) and (3) the sides of the system halfway between the speakers and listening chair from both sides and (4) from behind the listening chair to the speakers. Also dimensions of the room would be helpful as well as relative position of the chair and speakers.


"Very interesting thread Steven, a few pics would be very appreciated from OP and contributors.

Someone usually says, without pics it doesn’t exist!"

This shows the listening area’s distribution of acoustic treatments. The PS Audio M1200 amps & ModWright preamp in this system have been replaced with Luxman separates but is otherwise the still the same.


my listening room has been tidied (last night).
it has been said that this is an external representation of the inside of my head.
i cannot argue with this :slight_smile:


That’s fabulous. I do like how the panels and hifi rack are cooler coded to disappear as well as possible, and in a bright room with light colours you don’t notice them that much. The recesses also allow the bass traps to be fairly inconspicuous.

I trust you have it arranged that someone passes you coffee from behind as you enjoy the music.


You look well set up for a nuclear winter. At least three sets of speakers and what looks like some 1970s receivers that have stood the test of time. And if the power goes you can always have a game of Boggle by torchlight. It is a real shame you didn’t take a picture before you tidied up.

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A pic of the garage (storage dump attached to the house) would do as a substitute :slight_smile:
All I need is 3 more rooms and I’d be sorted!

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Thanks. It would be preferable to one day build a room with all acoustic trapping and diffusion built into the walls. That said, we were pleased with the way the Guilford of Maine cloth on all the traps made things relatively well integrated with the wall color.

We very seldom drink coffee but do enjoy a good proper cup of tea every night while listening.

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This is the way.

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If you had 3 more rooms it wouldn’t take long for them to look like the other ones.

When we rebuilt our falling down house, before the builders arrived we struggled to get rid of crap, perhaps 10% or 15% of the contents got removed. By the time we unpacked 7 or 8 months later we’d got rid of about 60%, and there’s still more to go. The washing machine and tumble dryer just got replaced because the old ones obviously didn’t like spending 8 months in the garden getting rained on. I’ve become a kitchen gadget nerd, far more fun than audio. Instruction manual for the washing machine is an epic.

Meanwhile, if you think you’ve got problems, my wife sent me this picture a few minutes ago of some bloke, or it could be a woman, wherever she is. I hope she’s OK.

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Just checking - that’s a plastic sword, right?

It does at least look warm there :slight_smile:

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Hmmm. Probably right. We moved from a 7 bedroomed Victorian house (just about right) to a 30 * 9 “trailer-trash” home, and then to a 3 bed terrace with a garage.
In each case we have had more stuff than rooms…