Basic Room treatment advice please

I know there is a very large thread currently on this, but I think it may have become rather more ‘detailed’ than is necessary for me.

Our lounge (home of the main rig) is 3.5m wide by 6.5m long by 2.3m high, quite regular in shape and consists of plasterboard type construction with a carpeted floor and curtains. The main speakers are along one of the short walls firing down the length of the room. Over a period of time I think I have finally gotten the speakers (Tannoy R2s - 44 - 20khz) placed correctly. The sub (Tannoy R-sub 15) is located about 2m down the left hand long wall - much better than between the two stereo speakers.

I have often wondered what benefit would some basic room treatment bring? Today I substituted the Tannoys for my much smaller Piega TS3 speakers from the bedroom system and the results were interesting. The Piegas are great little speakers and ideal for their current use - very clear and cohesive. I initially ran the speakers without the sub then switched it on with the crossover point raised to the low Frequency response of the Piegas - circa 60 hz. They worked surprisingly well in the room but lacked a little scale. I then switched back to the Tannoys (dropping the sub crossover back to its lowest setting - 50hz) and the clarity was still there but the sound had more body and scale - it was more interesting. However, one thing did seem not quite so good - a slightly too high output in the mid - upper bass and this was present on a range of music.

This has got me thinking, would some basic room treatment help reduce the effect of this. In particular would some form of ‘bass trapping’, such as the 10mm free standing Impression panels from GIK acoustic word be worth trying? I don’t think full corner traps are an option and this is a lounge rather than a studio after all, but the GIK panels, with the veneer fronts, actually look quite attractive and have so far met with passing wife approval! They would sit behind the main speakers, with the possibility of moving them into the corners if desired and under the large World map we have on the wall - obscuring any of that is NOT an option!

I also wonder about treating first and second reflection points with the Art panel range - would this be beneficial? The main issue with this would be that the right hand long wall, as viewed by the listener, has glass French doors located near the speaker on that side. Would a movable stand alone panel work that side and an art panel on the other.

I really would not want to do any more than this but, if people think it worthwhile, I am certainly tempted by some mid-bass trapping and then see how I get on.

Related to this, in the office I use an old Arcam Alpha 5 CD, 7r amp and Mission 731is located on my desk. This is essentially a nearfield set up and gives quite a different experience. Not as clear or smooth as the main system but very immediate and ‘pure’ - presumably because the bass output is limited (increases as I move back from the speakers), there are no 1st/2nd reflections affecting the sound and the bookshelf behind me (full of books) acts as a diffuser.

As always, any advice would be greatly received.


Best advice I can give is get a copy of REW (free software, short for Room Equalisation Wizard. Connecting computer to hifi system you can use a frequency scan to listen for significant peaks or troughs - but more usefully buy a measuring microphone (e.g. the one recommended by REW, UMIK-1, which IIRC is of the order of £100 new, but half that on fleaBay). With that you can gather full data, some people on the forum may help interpret, however some room treatment specialist suppliers - GIK is one - offer a free assessment service and can take and interpret your REW files (and advise what measurements to do).

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Many thanks for this information. I have downloaded REW and read through much of the information. It does look complicated! I am a bit concerned about the effect that the computer hardware may have on the accuracy of any measurements, though I understand this can be dealt with with some form of calibration.

As yet I do not have a calibrated USB microphone to take measurements, however, you suggested that I can “use a frequency scan to listen for significant peaks or troughs”. Could you please point me in the direction of how to do this? Which type of ‘frequency scan’ would be best to do this with? There seem to be several options within the software. Sunday’s experiment suggested to me a raised bass output that was above the subwoofer level (above 60hz) and only prevalent with the Tannoy floorstanders rather than the tiny Piega ‘bookshelves’. The Tannoys clearly produce more bass output than the Piegas though the sound higher up the frequency spectrum was remarkably similar to my ears - a similar tone and clarity but the Tannoys sounding more ‘full’.

A picture of your room and set-up may help.

Hi, I wouldn’t use digital eq to compensate for major room problems… only use it for subtle tweaks if at all… it can’t compensate effectively for significant room issues without mangling the sound to some extent…
There are many guides on the web… but simplistically move your speakers into the room with respect to your listening position and experiment. Point your speakers into the listening position and away from the walls.
Plenty of soft furnishings, carpets and curtains will help massively … try and incorporate as many soft furnishings / curtains across the room from the speakers. I also find it helps to use soft furnishings behind the speakers.

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Thanks again for the feedback. I have taken pictures which I have sent off to GIK acoustics but they are on another device - will post when I have access to them. It will be interesting to see what they suggest.

Although I use active EQ and DSP/timealignment succesfully in my MGB I am not so keen in a home situation. For me REW, as recommended above, would be for identifying ‘problem frequencies’ rather than permanent use in the system. I did run various frequency runs/sweeps today using the software and my ears to measure - the results were rather interesting. I sat in my usual listening position with the volume of the A28 set to 42 (out of 72) - I usually listen between 35 - 48ish.

First, I did not hear much above 16 or 17khz. Whether this says more about me than anything else I don’t know.
Secondly, as I went up and down the frequencies there were no glaring issues, however:
a) I initially heard very little below 44hz (the Tannoys lowest frequency) - I had to turn the sub up quite a lot (from qtr to almost half volume) for frequencies below this to be as loud as those above. However, when listening to music afterwards , this level was too much and I had to turn the volume of the sub down a bit.
b) There were a few instances during the sweeps where certain frequencies appeared to ‘drone’/excite the room/be slightly uncomfortable in my ears. From memory these were around 120hz and near 190hz + there may have been a few more between 300 - 500 hz. They were not terrible but were noticeable.
What did surprise was how much sound/music is actually below 2000 or so hz.

After this I moved the speakers forward another couple of cm which seemed to make Lana Del Ray’s Born to Die clearer and with a more defined soundstage than I have experienced before.

Regarding soft furnishing, I might try putting old pillows/a duvet behind each speaker and/or to the side to see what effect if any they have. Overall I don’t think there are any serious issues but some subtle treatment may just help get the maximium performance I can from my system.

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Hi Alex, sorry I missed your request and can’t get to open REW to have a look until tomorrow. But it sounds from your last post as if you worked it out?

Hopefully these might be useful.

Many thanks. Yes I spoke to Lucas at GIK acoustics who told me to try a sine wave - I then found several other types that I could try in the same area of the software.

I took the pictures to send to GIK - I would have tidied things up a bit more if I knew they were going on here!

The TV ‘system’ is not in the equation. As you can see, the walls are pretty bare - this is because of the hollow wall construction. When we moved in there was a hole above the fireplace where a previous owner had hung something too heavy and this has rather put me off putting anything else up - time to review this?

The height up to the dado rail is 83cm. GIK do 600mm x 600mm x 100mm bass trap type panels - I wonder if one behind each speaker would do the trick for the bass response? Regarding corners, I don’t think corner traps would work because of obstructions. Regarding first reflection points - a movable 600mm x 1200mm free standing panel in front of the French doors may work. As for the other side - how about something from their art range of geometric shape range - would that do the job? As mentioned, anything covering any part of the map or hanging from the ceiling would be a no-no! I don’t honestly know what effect if any the radiator has.



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