How Low Can You Go with Keith Yates - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 60 Old 03-07-2014, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Theater designer Keith Yates talks about how to get the best bass in all seats, including classic room-dimension ratios and how they don't really apply to real theater rooms, how the walls in modern room construction act like diaphragmatic bass absorbers (which is generally a good thing), the importance—and expense—of computational fluid dynamics in determining a room's bass performance, how four moderate subwoofers can sound better than one really great sub, listening to the sound of a room on headphones before it's built, answers to chat-room questions, and more.

 


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post #2 of 60 Old 03-07-2014, 01:01 PM
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Haven't watched this one all the way though yet Scott, but excellent work!

 

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post #3 of 60 Old 03-07-2014, 03:15 PM
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You really do a great job with these podcasts, Scott. I get the feeling you could do an entire afternoon talking high-end home cinema with Mr. Yates. He certainly is a wealth of good information. I wonder what his take is on the imminent introduction of Atmos and Auro sound in private theaters. I'm sure his clients are clamoring for it.
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post #4 of 60 Old 03-07-2014, 05:38 PM
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Nice interview Scott. When you announced last week that Yates would be your next guest, I was hoping for more practical info than I probably should have expected. The two podcasts you did with Anthony Grimani were overflowing with useful tips. Still, it was an interesting peek into the ultra high end home theatre business. When he mentioned using several hundred thousand dollars worth of a certain manufacturer's speakers, it really gave scale to the projects he works on (if that's just the speakers, imagine the cost of all the other gear, not to mention building/treating/tuning the room).

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post #5 of 60 Old 03-07-2014, 11:32 PM
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I love how he says the only way you can test a sub is outdoors! Otherwise you're simply testing the interaction of your room with the subwoofer! Love it! And love Data Bass for doing exactly those tests!

Also, this episode makes me feel a lot better about the issues I have in my room. It's in a rectangular 5000+cuft basement that is sheetrock with 1" furring strips over cinderblock with foam in-between, ceiling is 16" floor Joyce's to the upstairs so it's one nice absorbent diaphragmatic hollow space, but I imagine the other 7 rigid surfaces cause all the problems and it has some of the strongest modes/nodes of any room I've personally been in. Thus the addition of a second subwoofer did wonders!

Great discussion, keep it coming!

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post #6 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Nice interview Scott. When you announced last week that Yates would be your next guest, I was hoping for more practical info than I probably should have expected. The two podcasts you did with Anthony Grimani were overflowing with useful tips. Still, it was an interesting peek into the ultra high end home theatre business. When he mentioned using several hundred thousand dollars worth of a certain manufacturer's speakers, it really gave scale to the projects he works on (if that's just the speakers, imagine the cost of all the other gear, not to mention building/treating/tuning the room).

 

The tip I gleaned from the interview was just how far behind I am!  Well me and 'most everyone I guess. Listening to Keith talking about acoustic modeling and how he could listen to a room before it was even built, with the ability to determine, for example, speech intelligibility for any seat, was just fascinating. I would love to have the opportunity to listen to one of his theatres. It was one of the fastest hours I have experienced for some time.



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post #7 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 10:27 AM
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wow this guy gives off one heck of an elitist vibe like hes better than everyone else and everyone else is wrong and stupid lol, to bad I was expecting more from this episode then him saying its complicated and you should hire my fancy company...
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post #8 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 11:05 AM
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wow this guy gives off one heck of an elitist vibe like hes better than everyone else and everyone else is wrong and stupid lol, to bad I was expecting more from this episode then him saying its complicated and you should hire my fancy company...

 

Example?



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post #9 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 11:09 AM
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Example?

No I am not going to pain myself again to watch that just to list all the times of him bad mouthing other people, or saying people who have been doing this for years is wrong and so on, just read the youtube comments a couple people hit some good marks about this guy, either way one of the worst informative videos yet, half of this was just him boasting about his company and how no other company can every do it as good as his and how major players in the industry dont know enough about the science and shouldnt be involved and so on.
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post #10 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 11:43 AM
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Scott, I howled when I heard "Imagine a spherical cow". I was introduced to the the phrase "assume a spherical cow" about 10 years ago by an engineer as an illustration of just how many variables the chaos of real-world physics adds to any scientific test. It's a phrase he and his coworkers used a lot. It kind of made me frustrated at my scientific education, because(I'm sure like most of us) my primary school science education was full of oversimplifications. It's hard to believe a teacher who claims science has the answer to everything when they follow it up by pretending every variable and nuance in the lesson doesn't exist. Truth be told, there wasn't much difference between them and the many preachers I encountered around the same time...... rolleyes.gif

But I digress! I imagine in 20 years we'll have fluid dynamics apps on our mobile devices or cerebral implants or whatever it is we'll be communicating on(if that's even a thing we'll need to do), and they'll be mostly freeware because fluid dynamics is really only so nuanced and doesn't take into account whatever greater complexities we'll have discovered by that time. How about a freeware app that measures the reflection angles and response times for every frequency above 200Hz, of course taking into account the individual physical and spatial characteristics of each splatter of wall texture and curvalinear space occupied by the trim and molding.

Seriously though, It makes me wonder about all the competent and well regarded guests representing companies you've had on your show. Rives audio comes to mind, as they designed a listening room for an acquaintance of mine and his Revel Ultimas. I fully believe that Mr. Yates and his company offer an unparalleled service. I wonder, though, how much difference most of us would be able to discern between a setup designed by Mr. Yates's Firm, and any number of competent theater design firms. I guess the answer depends on whether we get to sit in the money seat or not!
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post #11 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 12:00 PM
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No I am not going to pain myself again to watch that just to list all the times of him bad mouthing other people, or saying people who have been doing this for years is wrong and so on, just read the youtube comments a couple people hit some good marks about this guy, either way one of the worst informative videos yet, half of this was just him boasting about his company and how no other company can every do it as good as his and how major players in the industry dont know enough about the science and shouldnt be involved and so on.

I can see where you're coming from, but I didn't take it that way. He was using hyperbole to try to illustrate how much more complex the physics are to low-end frequency than most other approaches can deal with. There's a difference between knowing the truth and using the truth to make one'sself appear superior.

He's also coming from a different approach than the rest of us because at best, we're taking measurements from 4 or 5 locations, and usually just one. His job is to get linear LF response from every location in the room. That's infinitely more complicated and I don't fault him for saying so. It might mean that 70% of his information has no practical use for the way I build my room, but it's still valid information, even if it's beyond me.
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post #12 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 01:36 PM
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I agree with some of the others. This guy came across a bit too elitist. The video has a description about finding out the best place to put your subwoofers, and the only one that talks about placement is Scott (thank you Scott). Keith spends a lot of time talking about tools that are only affordable to people like him who do this for a living, and he basically says that he is the only one worth using for such services. Oh, and don't forget the comment about how people that have double (or triple) layers of wall material (gypsum in his example) are basically idiots. I guess if you don't care about any level of soundproofing, then you are way smarter than the many people that actually want to improve their ability to keep sound in (or out) of their theaters. We are all stupid beyond belief.

Basically, Scott has already covered in previous (more informative) videos things that a lot of us have known for a while, like 4 subs are better than 1 (and Keith did confirm that after Scott brought it up) but the only placement point brought up was to put them in corners if they aren't "really good" subs so that they excite more room nodes. Of course, the best placement for someone with 4 decent subs is in the middle of each wall but that isn't really covered here. I knew this already, but was hoping to get something more from a guy who obviously is smarter (in his mind) than the rest of us. I bet he is about audio acoustics, but come down a couple of hundred feet off of your pedestal and share some information besides "there are awesome tools by Lake that use really complex algorithms" and maybe talk about what those tools are doing and how they differ from what people do with REW, and SPL meter, Audyssey YPAO, or whatever... Of course, that would mean that he would have to know what those other tools do, which he doesn't because they must not exist on his planet that he lives on.

Again, I am sure that this guy is great at what he does, but he isn't good at communicating useful ideas to others and defaults to giving a long sales pitch without any details of what you get for his services.

This also is not a negative reflection on Scott. I love these videos and watch them all, even if I already know what they are going to talk about or if the topic doesn't relate to me personally. I just like learning as much as I can about just about any subject, and this video just came across as lacking information.

For those of you that got a good feeling about this, great. I am not going to say that you are wrong to have enjoyed it. We all get different things from different sets of information.

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post #13 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

Example?

No I am not going to pain myself again to watch that just to list all the times of him bad mouthing other people, or saying people who have been doing this for years is wrong and so on, just read the youtube comments a couple people hit some good marks about this guy, either way one of the worst informative videos yet, half of this was just him boasting about his company and how no other company can every do it as good as his and how major players in the industry dont know enough about the science and shouldnt be involved and so on.

OK. I thought you'd remember some of them. Strange how different people can listen to the same thing and come away with entirely different impressions. I really enjoyed listening to the guy.



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post #14 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 04:37 PM
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OK. I thought you'd remember some of them. Strange how different people can listen to the same thing and come away with entirely different impressions. I really enjoyed listening to the guy.

What did you get out of the video (besides the stuff you mentioned above that)? Since you got more out of it that I did, I would love it if you would share your thoughts and insights as it relates to the subject of subwoofers and description of their placement as in the YouTube link?

Maybe that is my problem... If the video was titled differently and the description not saying that the watcher is going to glean some level of insight into subwoofer placement, then I would be fine. I guess I will just take it as that... Nothing new to learn for those of us not in the business that he is in, and just some high level description of the stuff that his company does, but if I knew that going in, I'd be fine with it. smile.gif

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post #15 of 60 Old 03-08-2014, 06:13 PM
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The guy was an elitist, no doubt about it, what I gleaned from it was that rooms suck, nothing is perfect. Absorbent/Floppy walls are better than solid walls for bass, Four ****ty subs are better than any single high end awesome sub. This coming from a guy who builds rooms for the rich and famous!

Made me feel a lot better about my decisions, gave me ideas for the next changes!
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post #16 of 60 Old 03-09-2014, 04:19 AM
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OK. I thought you'd remember some of them. Strange how different people can listen to the same thing and come away with entirely different impressions. I really enjoyed listening to the guy.

What did you get out of the video (besides the stuff you mentioned above that)? Since you got more out of it that I did, I would love it if you would share your thoughts and insights as it relates to the subject of subwoofers and description of their placement as in the YouTube link?

Maybe that is my problem... If the video was titled differently and the description not saying that the watcher is going to glean some level of insight into subwoofer placement, then I would be fine. I guess I will just take it as that... Nothing new to learn for those of us not in the business that he is in, and just some high level description of the stuff that his company does, but if I knew that going in, I'd be fine with it. smile.gif

 

I listened to it as a podcast so I didn't see the (misleading) description of the proposed content. I can see where you are coming from if you expected a discussion about subwoofer placement.  So I went into it with a totally open mind. I just found it interesting to listen to some stuff that I wouldn't normally get into contact with and some stuff I had never even heard of before (his 'acoustic modeling' for example).

 

My take on Scott's programs is that some of them are instructive, some informative, some entertaining, and some all of the above. I don't tend to listen to every week's podcast but I do download them all and browse through them periodically and select the ones that might appeal to me. If I find them irrelevant to my needs, I just stop listening and delete them. Most of them I do enjoy though.

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post #17 of 60 Old 03-09-2014, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

Listening to Keith talking about acoustic modeling and how he could listen to a room before it was even built, with the ability to determine, for example, speech intelligibility for any seat, was just fascinating.
Yup, like I said earlier, despite being low on practical tips it was still a fascinating glimpse into the world of ultra-high-end home theatre design. I used to wonder what hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, would buy you when building a home theatre.

Just one of those things would be the ability sit down with the designer, snap on a pair of headphones and get a binaural simulation of what my theatre will sound like (with speaker dispersion and room characteristics taken into account). All before the physical room is built, before my speakers are delivered, etc. That sort of re-assurance is invaluable (although Yates did manage to put a price tag on it, haha). It's a lot more re-assuring than 'trust me, it will sound good'.

I might not be able to afford even an entry level Trinnov room correction box, but I'm still curious what their flagship unit does. Likewise, unless I hit the lottery I won't be able to afford Yates' services, but I'm still curious what he offers for the money. Nothing wrong with being curious about the current state of the art. Scott's interview went a long way towards satisfying that curiosity.

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post #18 of 60 Old 03-09-2014, 02:52 PM
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Scott,

When do you anticipate part 2 with Keith?

I enjoyed this one for sure.
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post #19 of 60 Old 03-10-2014, 05:22 AM
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Listening to Keith talking about acoustic modeling and how he could listen to a room before it was even built, with the ability to determine, for example, speech intelligibility for any seat, was just fascinating.
Yup, like I said earlier, despite being low on practical tips it was still a fascinating glimpse into the world of ultra-high-end home theatre design. I used to wonder what hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, would buy you when building a home theatre.

Just one of those things would be the ability sit down with the designer, snap on a pair of headphones and get a binaural simulation of what my theatre will sound like (with speaker dispersion and room characteristics taken into account). All before the physical room is built, before my speakers are delivered, etc. That sort of re-assurance is invaluable (although Yates did manage to put a price tag on it, haha). It's a lot more re-assuring than 'trust me, it will sound good'.

I might not be able to afford even an entry level Trinnov room correction box, but I'm still curious what their flagship unit does. Likewise, unless I hit the lottery I won't be able to afford Yates' services, but I'm still curious what he offers for the money. Nothing wrong with being curious about the current state of the art. Scott's interview went a long way towards satisfying that curiosity.

 

+1.

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post #20 of 60 Old 03-10-2014, 10:34 AM
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I met Keith back in the early 1980s and very much respect what he says... I found it especially interesting what he said in the last 10 minutes about designing a room in 3D and listening to music through headphones to hear how it will sound in the built room.

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post #21 of 60 Old 03-10-2014, 12:37 PM
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Interesting conversation. The bass modeling sounds ver, very cool (and quite expensive). I wish I could employ such. I have a Trinnov MC in my room on trial and it is a pretty amazing 'box' as he calls it. I wish it had some bass modeling... Enlightening conversation and I didn't feel he disrespected anyone. I think at his level, he has little time for courtesy in describing once well regarded theories, etc that have been long since proven inaccurate. Good interview.


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post #22 of 60 Old 03-10-2014, 02:07 PM
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I would love to hear or read more from this guy. Great stuff.

I agree that he needs to talk more about his stuff and less about what other people and companies do not know.
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post #23 of 60 Old 03-10-2014, 04:24 PM
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I'd like Scott to do a roundtable discussion with Anthony Grimani, Chris Huston and Keith Yates - think there might be some acoustic disagreement?
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post #24 of 60 Old 03-10-2014, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
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I love how he says the only way you can test a sub is outdoors! Otherwise you're simply testing the interaction of your room with the subwoofer!
That, as my math teacher used to say, is Intuitively Obvious and Blatantly Apparent. And...

...was the only method used to evaluate bass radiators (and arrays of same) for twenty years at the MI/Pro section of my loudspeaker company.
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post #25 of 60 Old 03-10-2014, 09:03 PM
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I love how he says the only way you can test a sub is outdoors! Otherwise you're simply testing the interaction of your room with the subwoofer!
That, as my math teacher used to say, is Intuitively Obvious and Blatantly Apparent. And...

...was the only method used to evaluate bass radiators (and arrays of same) for twenty years at the MI/Pro section of my loudspeaker company.

You'd think it was blatantly obvious, but reading the common sub review or comparison it sure doesn't seem that way! Moreover it presents a false impression of how one sub might actually compare to another. As an example Rhythmic lists some of their subs out performing something from HSU, but when you look at tests like from Data-Bass, clearly that is not the case!

Just good to hear what should be obvious get stated by a pro. smile.gif

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post #26 of 60 Old 03-11-2014, 03:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Orbitron View Post

I'd like Scott to do a roundtable discussion with Anthony Grimani, Chris Huston and Keith Yates - think there might be some acoustic disagreement?

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post #27 of 60 Old 03-11-2014, 09:56 AM
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I am afraid I have to side with those of those who found this interview fairly obnoxious. I can see why he works with Hollywood! Another group with ego's approaching his own, I am sure. After my own 30 years in the computer software industry, 10 of which as a Management Consultant at high billing rates, I can smell a sales pitch when I hear it. Dropping names of Stanford professors and saying we just happened to be lucky enough to find just the ONE guy overseas who had the expertise to write our software, just smacks of the "secret sauce" approach to sales. I guess it is downright impossible to have decent bass in your room without the assistance of Mr Yates and his software. I guess all the sound reinforcement guys in every hall in the world aren't worth their salt because the haven't used fluid dynamics in their analysis.

No wonder people are turned off by high end audio. Found your other interviews with real world solutions much more informative, I am afraid. Thanks Scott, however, for the attempt at trying to extract some real world substance.
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post #28 of 60 Old 03-11-2014, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orbitron View Post

I'd like Scott to do a roundtable discussion with Anthony Grimani, Chris Huston and Keith Yates - think there might be some acoustic disagreement?

that could be epic, but he would have to set a side like 2 hours so it can be done right, I would love to see this happen.

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post #29 of 60 Old 03-11-2014, 10:25 AM
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Kbarnes, I wonder what you think of his comments regarding room correction, including Audyssey. He didn't seem to be too hot on Audyssey.
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post #30 of 60 Old 03-11-2014, 10:27 AM
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I will say, though, having had a slight exposure to CFD, the software in that area is pretty much as he described it, at least the good stuff. You pretty much need a PhD in CFD, or similar experience, to use it. It's not built for a user to toss in a model, turn on the virtual "wind," and read a few numbers. I'm not sure that's an elitist comment on his part, but one that describes the state of CFD these days. Setting up initial conditions, in particular, is something that requires very deep and specialized knowledge.

Now, whether those particular CFD tools were the best tools for his particular application might be open to debate, but there's not enough data here, and not enough expertise on my end, to judge that. My impression was that he was a guy whose market space (very high end theater) provided him with a lot of resources to go down particular paths that aren't often explored, and he reached out to the nearest people who could help him which, in parts of California, means you have Stanford or Cal Tech profs assisting you, depending on whether you're closest to the Bay area or LA.

Kind of reminds me when I tried model sailplanes in the Boston area. I was having a minor technical problem, and as a few club members assisted me out at the flying field, I realized that I had not one, but 2 MIT Aero E profs working on my little glider!
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