What type of room treatment is necessary (if any) in near field listening?

Hey folks, My system is in my bedroom 15x15x11. System has speakers (open baffle) with equipment rack in between. They are about 4 feet apart tweeter to tweeter and about 2 to 3 feet out from wall with the listening position about 7 feet from the speakers. The sidewalls are dominated on one wall with a window and on the other with a large dresser/mirror combo so no treatments can really be placed on the sides. I thought about diffusion behind and in between the speakers but the rack is so close to the back wall I’m not sure any of the things I have seen will fit back there or even be of use. I do get some harshness at times in upper frequencies which is why I am posting this. Does it sound like any treatments could be used in my situation or would I be better off looking into DSP for my situation? I realize my situation isn’t ideal but would be grateful for any pointers anyone could give me to help tweak my situation. Thanks very much!

A picture of your setup would help.

Can you move the speakers to the other wall? Or set up on the diagonal, so one of the corners is between the speakers?
There is no rule that says you can’t move your rack out a foot or more from the rear wall either. Although that is not where treatments are most needed.
If your only problem is some harshness, no bass bloat, then you could get some lined drapes, or acoustic foam. Might not be able to open the drapes with foam. Is the mirror detachable from the dresser? If so remove it.
As it is, your setup is kind of odd. Do a search for Audio Physics, I think that is right brand. They used to recommend a setup with the speakers wide apart with the listening position at the distance you are at, if I remember correctly. Sam Tellig of Stereophile liked it, and would use it with some of the speakers that he would review.
What you are describing as a harshness, might have been similar to an upper midrange brightness that I am sensitive to. I finally got rid of it with different speaker cables. Old style Kimber 4TC were first and the worst, Mapleshade Clearview was better, but not ideal. Both of those were two pairs, biwiring. When I got a biwire pair of AudioQuest Rocket 88s, it solved that. My room is also treated with 5 DIY basstraps, DIY acoustic panels, and I Velcro a piece of 2" pyramid acoustic foam over the HDTV, when not in use. The Foam Factory has lots of options at good prices.
For DIY recipes, go to Audio Asylum and search on John Risch.
Might you be one of our younger members? If so, you are way ahead of many of us, that did not have any knowledge of setup or room treatments.
I had a pair of Klipsch LaScala packed in to a bedroom smaller than yours, with a queen size waterbed in between them.

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Treating the corners might help. When I first started this hobby, I had limited budget so I stacked used books (include my textbooks:-) from floor to ceiling at 4 corners and it actually helped; Try toe in the speaker on window side a bit to your listening position to reduce first reflection; meanwhile, I always try to move speaker away from wall as far as I can; In my current listening room I placed thick memory form mattress topper (wife didn’t like it) on the floor to further absorb the reflection. hope this helps;

High frequency harshness is not a room related issue, but ‘hot’ tweeters. Adjusting via speaker cable is a backwards approach.

Very helpful, what do you recommend?
Replace the tweeters? Or the speakers?

Without knowing what speakers the OP has, and it not being a problem all the time, I am not ready to blame the tweeters. If it was a brightness issue, all the time, then I would suggest experimenting with toe-in.
Euphonite, could you tell us about your system, just list everything from source to speakers.

Sure! I have a Windows 10 PC which I use to stream to a Singxer SU 1 via USB to PS Audio DS Senior via IIS Amp is Wyred 4 Sound ST-500. Speakers are Emerald Physics EP 3.7 which are dipoles (open baffle) cabling is wywires and wireworld. rythmik f12 rounds out the bass.

OB can install close to wall, but leave 2ft in the back. No absorbent behind speaker but diffusor is ok. Absorbent and diffusor on first reflection sidewall.

Jeffstarr thanks for all your suggestions. This is a bedroom and one of the reasons the rack is against the wall is because my bed, which is also my listening position stretches out from the back wall to just about 2 feet in front of the rack. If I pull the rack out from the wall I cant walk past the foot of the bed without turning sideways. Wife stays here too and I must accommodate her as well. I have the speakers toed in slightly as I am thinking that the high frequency problem could be coming from the dipoles projecting on to the bare walls behind them. Window has curtains. Mirror is not detachable. I will see what google says about Audio Physics.

Frode diffusion on the wall behind the speaker, correct? Right behind each speaker I am guessing.

The high frequency problem seems to be at certain frequencies only. System sound great except for this. For example a high piano note tends to “bite” my ears. A high sax note or the high notes of a soprano voice can also have this effect. Mid range and bass all sound very good to my ears.

Yes, behind ribbon, but not behind woofers.

I like Vicoustic as they publish product performance and if you want aesthetic they also have that covered too. MultifuserD2 is a good performing piece if you don’t mind the “industrial” look.

Soundacoustics are another company making good products (I use both SA & Vicoustics) but they are in Australia (https://soundacoustics.com.au/) .
There are also many DIY sites with good info as well.
Quadratic diffusers can be made to look “nice”.
Most diffusers are designed to work at higher frequencies than your woofers - the wavelength of low frequencies mean diffusers would have to be physically very large (and deep) , also a large distance away from your speakers to be effective.

You might also try GiK Acoustics Tri-Traps placed in at least the front two corners. All listening rooms need as much bass trapping as possible and since your room is square even more so. What’s really unique about the GiK traps is they offer an option with a membrane that allows bass-only trapping with 75% reflection of the mids and highs. I have Sanders 10e electrostats and needed some bass traps without mid/high absorption to reflect some of the back wave into the room.

Good Luck.

in my similarly sized bedroom, when i lived in a condo…

in addition to a floor rug, i used an artful designed, and cheap, rug that i hung on the wall in back of the equipment (8’ x 10’) and used floor length curtains on other walls and/or a printed background floor to ceiling cloth (mine was a forest scene)…don’t forget to do something on the back wall, as well…

also, for your mirror, you can cover the mirror with a towel, when not enjoying the view…

AND for significant other approval, i asked her to help me pick out colors and styles…don’t overlook this Most Important step…(~;

By most, your setup is not near-field, which is usually defined as less that 6ft between listener and speakers. Even mid-field is typically defined as 6 - 10ft between listener and speakers. Note that near/mid-field setups also imply significant distances between speakers/listener and walls (3 - 5 ft normally) to minimize excessive room reinforcement of bass.

Frankly given your room/furnishings constraints, it’s my opinion that you’ve over geared and will never achieve the potential of your system, sorry.

It might make sense to negotiate a bigger room, but that you say you are happy with the sound other than the brightness. That tells me that if you solve the tweeter issue, you will be content, until you can get a bigger room.
Two thougts, one you could move your rack to a side wall. In my bedroom, I have the equipment next to the bed, in a corner. Now I would never recommend putting equipment in a corner, but I only use the system for the TV and quiet bedtime music.
My second idea is to contact Emerald Physics. I seem to recall he has a device for bass, so he might have something to help with tweeters. I don’t think room treatments are going to solve the brightness. Different speaker cables might, or EP might have a solution, none of us has considered.
Usually putting a system in a too small room creates bass problems, or integration of the various drivers. Make the call.

Thanks for all the input guys. Yes I am over geared in this room no doubt. Have a much better room downstairs which will at some point be my listening room again (22 x 14 x 9)
My family has grown too much since I have moved into this place and my old listening room is being used as a bedroom for one of my kids. That room will be free within the next year or so as my son leaves for the service. Until then I am stuck here in my bedroom with my gear. At any rate I think I will probably try some diffusion or absorption behind the speakers. If that doesnt work I will more than likely try some dsp solutions with REW and some active crossovers. I am thinking that if I do a sweep with REW my problem should stick out like a sore thumb. I just don’t like dsp seems counter intuitive to me for some reason. Thanks a lot folks for your suggestions I will keep you updated on what I do.

If a Mac/PC is your music source I would recommend trying out Dirac Live, stereo version.
I have it, and I love it. Be aware though, it does not always work that good (or even at all…) in every room so trying it patiently before buying it is important. It does work great in my not so audiophile room for near field listening, but YMMV.
Read about it here : https://kenrockwell.com/audio/dirac/live.htm
And yes - I know a dedicated listening room with optimal placed speakers and all that is the best, but my mancave where I combine music listening with other interests does not allow that :slightly_smiling_face:

Try headphones