Is a “dead room” the ultimate room?
Before discussing the “dead room” problematic we should establish what a perfect listening room is.
The answer to that question is both simple and extremely complex.
The perfect room would be a room with no boundaries, no walls.
Having walls results in interactions between direct sound (from the speakers) and reflected sound (from the walls).
In short, what you hear not only is what your speakers fire at you. And that’s bad.
Direct sound + Reflected sound = problems.
So yes, the perfect room would be no room at all.
- Place the HiFi in a large back yard (no walls)
- Headphones (nearly no walls)
- An anechoic chamber (no reflection capable walls)
The two first options are nice, but not for a speakers based system.
So what about the anechoic chamber?
Well, building an anechoic chamber is both complex and extremely expensive.
More importantly, we mammals aren’t designed to live in a reflexion free environment.
I won’t rephrase psychoacoustic textbooks; we all can access them online, or buy them (I did).
In short we don’t feel well in a reflexions free environment. We need at least some kind of hard floor.
That leads us to a so called “over damped” or “dead” room.
But what’s an “overdamped” or “dead” room?
Those expressions are often used but probably not well understood.
A “dead” room is a room that over absorbs, or doesn’t reflect, frequencies within the 1800Hz-5000Hz range, and above of course (medium driver and tweeter).
The unpleasant feeling we experience in such a room is the result of an inadequacy between what we see and what we hear.
Now my point :
Most of our listening rooms aren’t designed for music replay. In fact, most of our rooms are simply horrible from an acoustic point of view.
So why not “over absorbing”?
Not only the sensible 1800Hz-5000Hz range, but everything from 70-80Hz up to 20kHz. That would be possible with a lot of “broad band traps” (wrongly called “bass traps”).
Such a room would feel (not sound) rather unpleasant, a least for us mammals.
…when hitting the play button, we would get the sound from the speakers, and speakers only, which is what we all wish we could have.
Unpleasant room when silent, perfect room when playing music
So why not a "dead room?"