New room and lack of bass

Dear Naim forum users,

I had to move my Hi-Fi system to a new room. Everything seemed great till I started listening to music. I quickly realized that the soundstage became compressed and messy, reverberation appeared and there was a lack of bass extension.

I corrected most problems with some audio correction panels, moving the the two loudspeakers closer to each other and moving my right loudspeaker far from the corner.

However I still lack of bass extension even if the correction panels helped. A strong bass appears at the opposite wall of the Hi-Fi, but I can’t move my listening position which is almost in center of the room. My room is around 16.4 x 16.4 ft.

Does anybody have a possible solution?

Thank you very much in advance for any advice.

Actual centre of the room is a bad position generally 38% of room front-back length as distance from front wall is often very good, and 38% from wall behind nearly so (though a lot depends on the remainder of the room. Both speaker and listening positions very likely need addressing, and try to be as flexible as you can with them.

Do you have a lot of hard surfaces? If so softening is likely to help (thick carpet or rugs, big soft furniture, heavy curtains etc). You don’t mention your room dimensions. is it nearly square - if so that tends to mKe things worse (cubic worst of all).

I had a similar problem when I moved into my present home, and set things up according to a prior plan. I ended up with a complete rearrangement of the room! I suggest getting a copy of REW (“Room Equalisation Wizard”) software, which is available free of charge, and a measuring microphone (the one REW recommend is good and relatively inexpensive - not much over £100 last time I looked - and can be bought secondhand for mabe only 2/3rds new cost and sold on for similar afterwards if you have no more need). With REW you can do some room measurements to start to find out what is going on in the room, and play with positioning.

Meanwhile I commend this thread - though long, there is a lot of useful content, including some simple guides: What do you think? Speaker placement advice


Unfortunately, I believe a square room is the most difficult to get right in terms of acoustics. I’m sure others with more knowledge than I will chime in, but it may prove very difficult to get a result you are really happy with. For your sake, though, I hope that is not the case.

I had one of those “moved house and the sound collapsed” moments a few years back, very frustrating.
I think the root cause was the room construction, plaster board with large gaps - seemed to suck the bass out of the system and leave an incoherent mess…. Very fatiguing.

It was probably the sum of the parts in terms of the actions I took but it maybe worth exploring a sub as that was what brought it all together for me.

I went Rel as that’s what me dealer recommended- their website is pretty useful with good info and video clips.

You can play with positioning etc but for me that was more fine tuning which was futile until I got the bass issue resolved


Sorry, I don’t know how I missed that (maybe through reading on a phone). Yours is indeed square - and given your length and width, if the height is around 8.2 ft that would compound the problems. The square format means cancellations are, erm, squared… (actually at some frequencies the reduction is far worse than by the square of the reduction that would be if not a square room). I am sorry to tell you this, but unless you can put a massive amount of bass absorption, I don’t think the centre of the room will never get a good bass response. You need to seriously rethink sitting in the centre, or change room, or do a lot of serious room treatment with bulky bass absorbers, or live with seriously compromised sound

(N.B on no account attempt to use DSP room correction to resolve the problem - if it is bass cancellation, as it seems to be, trying to boost the level is completely futile and will rapidly lead to speaker destruction.)

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Vicoustic corner bass traps ( bass extreme ? ) did the biggest job for my room ( 4,35x4,56 )
T Hannu

Thank you all for the support @Innocent_Bystander @TabooKahuna @Farthings-cat @Hannu

I agree, indeed I noticed the sound is better in the 38% you mentioned. I changed the loudspeakers’ position many times and I think I found a good spot overall which I can’t really complain about, but the lack of bass is a pain to my ears, I would like the full spectrum back.

I would esasily move my sofa near the rear wall if I didn’t have a big desk behind it, that’s why it’s not an easy fix (and I can’t throw my desk away or move it somewhere else, unluckily). I’m aware that my listening position shouldn’t be where it is… My previous room was square as well but the listening position was much closer to the rear wall and the results were very nice.

The floor is made of wood and the walls have a hard surface. I’ve already put a carpet and I’ll get some curtains sooner or later. By the way the room is 9.8 ft high.

The rear acoustic panels did help to focus the bass towards the listening position but it’s clearly not enough. @Innocent_Bystander As you said, DSP correction is surely futile.
@Farthings-cat Considering my room characteristics, my dealer told me that I would need speakers with bigger woofers or get a sub at this point.

In the end I suppose I don’t have many options left…

Depends how far you want to go…

Take a wall out? Open plan is popular these days… :wink:

Interesting idea, but I wouldn’t mind if the roof was not to fall down on my head ahah :wink:

Sorry to read of the problem in the new room.

I’ve heard it said that firing speakers more diagonally across a square room can improve things. I’m not saying exactly diagonally because that would probably look ridiculous.

No actual experience of this myself, or knowledge of any science behind it, I’m just wondering if it might help?

Trying a sub sounds a no brainer and more predictable to judge v room acoustic correction.

Find a local dealer do a home demo and see what it does, I tried stereo subs with a second on loan so will likely do that over time but one certainly sorted my system out… Without a sub my 552/NDS/ATC40A’s is fatiguing but with the Rel it all comes together…

Appreciate it’s frustrating but exploring a sub and experimenting with positions sound sensible - my counsel is be patient and have a good dealer supporting you.

Good luck

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In what way? Acoustics are the same, although it is often said that a sub has more flexibility in placement as it is relatively non directional (except inappropriate placing could cause phase/timing problems).

I meant trying a sub via a dealer is easier than ordering and playing around with acoustic panels.

Thanks everybody for the wishes!

@Christopher_M My speakers aren’t parallel to the rear wall, but they are slightly oriented towards my listening position. I’ve always found that more satisfying: the image and soundstage are clearer, also the bass is a touch better. My speakers aren’t placed diagonally, yet I find it a bit ridiculous to see my speakers so close to the Hi-Fi rack.

@Farthings-cat Before moving my Hi-Fi, I was happy with a 2 channel system, but if I won’t be able to find a decent setup, I suppose I’ll end up buying a sub if that’s the way to solve the issue without destroying the look of the room (if only I didn’t have a desk behind the sofa…). My dealer says my speakers’ woofers are too small to fill the room properly, the only solution is to get bigger woofers. So there’s only two ways to solve that: buy a new set of speakers (I would need to change the amp as well) or get a sub that’s properly integrated with the rest of the system. So far I’ve been very happy with my dealer support thankfully.

By the way I tried the acoustic panels before buying them, I had one week to experiment. It’s been an interesting nightmare.

No harm in trying subs and bigger coned speakers, as long as it is without commitment - however if the problem is cancellation, as I suspect it is, the more you increase the bass signal from source, the more you also increase the out of phase signal that cancels it, so things could only improve by stopping the cancellation. I mentioned solutions in a previous email, however I omitted one other possibility, and that is the introduction of additional speakers (e.g. subs) in positions not triggering cancellation, though as noted in another post there could be negative effects, however of course they may be less significant than the primary problem.

Your solution would be perfect if I could get rid of my desk. The 38% rule seems almost perfect in my case, so despite being interesting I might not need to use REW (you never know though). I hope time will help me to get an idea where to put my desk and get the sofa closer to the rear wall.

I was wondering, where did you read about the 38% rule?

Hi Blacknote, sorry that I cannot provide any solutions beyond suggesting finding another space. A square room is a killer for sound making complete fog of whatever music you throw at it. Changing gear will not save anything I’m afraid either in fact easily be making things even worse :face_with_head_bandage: Good luck Peter

Try to play some music with bass to local bass room mode and see where is the best place for sitting position. Then move the speaker after… acoustic panel can be added later

Setting up in a Square room is not easy but can be done

Cardas positioning for square room. Google will lead you to the full details

Or headphones :grinning: