Supreme Home Theater Hall - Where Decor Meets Acoustics - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 80 Old 02-26-2011, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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This is a room that is in the process of being built as we speak. I drew this room on the MAC with "Live Interior Pro" Software.

My goal is a GREAT music space which will also double as a great theater. It will be EXTREMELY quiet and contain an amazing amount of diffusion and bass trapping both. I am putting in anything and everything I have ever learned about music while trying to accomplish the architecture within my personal budget.

Dimensions 25x19 and 12 feet tall (over 5000 cubic feet). The niches at the side of the room are 2x1 spaces. The large room helps with reducing the effect of direct reflections and the unusual side walls will help in the sound diffusion process. I want a concert hall feel to the room that is very live and diffusive.

Features:
1. Major diffusion surfaces - note the curves on the ceiling, the grille work on the side of the room, the stone work on the front and back walls.
2. Hydronic Heated travertine hard floor - The Pex tubing was laid down this week in fact for the floor.
3. Diffusion materials to be placed within the acoustically transparent "cabinets" at the side of the room which were essentially designed to accommodate diffusion materials within. I may even place statues in there to increase the diffusion effects.
4. Blue rectangles are bass traps of Owens Corning Fiberglass panels stacked and wrapped in acoustic blue fabric.
5. 11.2 surround system using an Audyssey based DSP system. The receiver I need for this room will be a future high end Denon unit to achieve the DSP effects.
6. I will add B&O Icepower 1000 module amplification of the mains. I love the sound of these.
7. B&W 802 Diamond and HTM2 Diamond front stage.
8. BG Radia BGX THX Ultra2 In-wall Subwoofer system is already purchased and tested in my brother's house... sounds amazing and musical.
8. Retractable movie screen and retractable motorized shades.
9. Under concrete wiring for the main speakers.
10. Subtle bass shakers under the couch.
11. The house will be soft foam insulated for sound/energy savings.
12. The room will have staggered studs for a "room-within-a-room" style
13. Studs will be 2x6.
14. Double sheetrock for the room with green glue in-between and mass-loaded vinyl sandwiched inside the wall also.
15. The home air conditioning unit will be on the other side of the house and will be a Lennox super quiet mode. Heating is the floor so no heater noise in the winter. Dual speed AC unit so no air motion noise from the cooling system.
16. The audio cabinet will have dedicated power lines and will be hidden in one of the niche cabinets on the side (to the left/back). All wiring will run to this room to avoid any ground loop issues. The equipment will be accessible from the back via the men's master bedroom closet. The audio closet will be cooled using superquiet inline attic fans that vent far away into the attic using large ducts.

I am still trying to figure out what to do for surround sounds for the 11.2 system. I will need 2 "wide" speakers for audyssey for which I will likely do B&W brand. For the side surround I would like to do some dipoles perhaps and then for the back I am not sure. For such a large room I am thinking that Klipsch THX ultra2 speakers may be a good in-wall choice all around for surrounds and effects speakers. I'm not sure how much more I want to spend.

The ENTIRE house was designed by me personally with intent getting this room acoustically right... There are literally no sound interfering sinks, plumbing, ac ducts, Ac furnace units, nearby neighbors, or anything else close to affect the acoustics. The room will rival recording studios in terms of noise floor and acoustics. The concrete for the house is being poured this week so this dream is finally becoming a reality after planning for the last year. The room will be a great place to live in once it's done!

Comments and suggestions would be appreciated!! particularly with regards to low price acoustics materials to surface the room with and also the surround speakers issue I mentioned before.
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post #2 of 80 Old 02-26-2011, 08:57 PM
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I can see you've put lots of thought and effort into the design. A few comments to add to your arsenal...

I'd consider changing the concave 'diffusers' on the ceiling to convex. Concave focuses sound and could create hotspot issues, exactly the opposite of what you want. Also, repetetive cylindrical diffusers creates an interference pattern that emphases certain frequencies at certain locations. You want to avoid this. Perhaps some of them can be hard for diffusion and some rigid fiberglass for absorption?

With travertine floors and diffusion everywhere, you will end up with a very very live room, more live in fact than you may be bargaining for. I see the bass trapping. Consider letting some of the alcoves around the room contain broadband absorption instead of diffusion. This is particularly important with a multichannel system. Analysis and measurements play a huge role here.

Consider something other than the inwall surrounds you have mentioned. You really want them to be just as matched to the front l/r speakers as the center. This typically implies same brand and similar or complimentary line from that brand. It also applies to height and wides. Budget is obviously an issue.

Consider a center that is identical to the mains. I know you already have the center. This could be a down the road upgrade. Don't underestimate the benefit of this change.

I'm sure we all could list tons of things that would transform your idea of a perfect room into our idea of a perfect room, but I've tried to suggest subtle changes that work within the basic design you've worked so hard on.

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post #3 of 80 Old 02-26-2011, 09:09 PM
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Oh, and plenty of av equipment is greater than 12" in depth. It isn't clear from your dimensions that your proposed location can accomodate that.

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post #4 of 80 Old 02-26-2011, 09:31 PM
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Why not configure the seating so that it's more appropriate for a theater?

It would still be more than adequate for music listening with a couple of rows of tiered seating.

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post #5 of 80 Old 02-26-2011, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I was considering convex curves but I wasn't sure it would look as good as the concave ceiling in the drawing... I will strongly consider it though as you are right about potential acoustic issues. Or I wonder if I could texture the ceiling further for more diffusion.

The seating is this way so that the room can also serve as a general living room or party room. I usually don't have a big group watching at one time, just the immediate family. For those rare exceptions those couches are designed to be put together into a big divan.


The cabinets are only 12" in depth in order to decorative things like put in statues. I wasn't planning on putting in full range speakers in there since I don't care nearly as much about movies as I do about music. The 12" depth cabinets are there for allowance of acoustic materials without making the place look like a recording studio or the typical home theater "padded wall" look. I can put in diffusion, absorption, or even more speakers in the future. I was largely looking for creative ways to enhance diffusion dramatically.


A very diffusive room should not end up sounding "too live"... I have a room with side wall absorption now, and to me the room sounds too awkward. In either case, the current design offers lots of options for mixing and matching diffusion/absorption depending on room analysis.

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post #6 of 80 Old 02-26-2011, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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[quote=Bigus;20069159]I can see you've put lots of thought and effort into the design. A few comments to add to your arsenal...

I'd consider changing the concave 'diffusers' on the ceiling to convex. Concave focuses sound and could create hotspot issues, exactly the opposite of what you want. Also, repetetive cylindrical diffusers creates an interference pattern that emphases certain frequencies at certain locations. You want to avoid this. Perhaps some of them can be hard for diffusion and some rigid fiberglass for absorption?

********

Do you think such a subtle convex curve like in the drawing will cause serious problems with acoustic "magnification". I have been in rooms with dome ceilings with wierd acoustic properties and I obviously don't want that effect. Perhaps additional texture on the ceiling would help also?

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post #7 of 80 Old 02-27-2011, 03:57 AM
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Good luck on the project...very ambitious. Just a few items for you to consider:

1. As designed, there is insufficient lighting in the room for a multipurpose space;
2. The MLV you plan in the walls is not going to be helpful ... based on many installations, the between the wall method creates a triple leaf ... more to the point, the MLV adds mass and less mass than an additional layer of drywall at much higher cost.
3. B&W makes some nice equipment, on the other hand, at your seating distances, those speakers will not be able to reach reference levels in the room ... you'll have significant high frequency roll off.
4. The concave elements, if made of a hard, non-absorptive material will have to go.
5. Your plan for access to your equipment will defeat the efforts you're taking for sound isolation.
6. Ditto for all the windows...you'll need a specialty window for this application.

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post #8 of 80 Old 02-27-2011, 05:14 AM
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I'd say with what you are spending on this room you need to hire Dennis to fine tune your plan.

I notice that you have a pretty big screen. Have you picked a projector model?


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post #9 of 80 Old 02-27-2011, 08:37 AM
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The 12" depth was in reference to electronics - avr/prepro/amplifier/sources - not speakers. I'm not sure they will fit in the space it appears you have dedicated for them.

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post #10 of 80 Old 02-27-2011, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

The 12" depth was in reference to electronics - avr/prepro/amplifier/sources - not speakers. I'm not sure they will fit in the space it appears you have dedicated for them.

Oh no, the equipment wont go in the 12" depth space, if you look at the plan, there is an access panel which will be closed that will allow access to the "equipment closet" which is shown on the floorplan. I should be able to isolate the closet effectively in terms of sound penetration into the main room.

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post #11 of 80 Old 02-27-2011, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

I'd say with what you are spending on this room you need to hire Dennis to fine tune your plan.

I notice that you have a pretty big screen. Have you picked a projector model?

I was planning on a Draper screen that is 161" diameter 16:9. It will be a recessed system with the box for the motor put in during framing.

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post #12 of 80 Old 02-27-2011, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Good luck on the project...very ambitious. Just a few items for you to consider:

1. As designed, there is insufficient lighting in the room for a multipurpose space;
2. The MLV you plan in the walls is not going to be helpful ... based on many installations, the between the wall method creates a triple leaf ... more to the point, the MLV adds mass and less mass than an additional layer of drywall at much higher cost.
3. B&W makes some nice equipment, on the other hand, at your seating distances, those speakers will not be able to reach reference levels in the room ... you'll have significant high frequency roll off.
4. The concave elements, if made of a hard, non-absorptive material will have to go.
5. Your plan for access to your equipment will defeat the efforts you're taking for sound isolation.
6. Ditto for all the windows...you'll need a specialty window for this application.

the arches on the ceiling were going to be framed and sheetrocked essentially. My goal with those was simply to eliminate the large parallel surface that would otherwise cause significant echo with the floor. I could possibly add more textured surface on to the sheetrock to cause further diffusion but I'm sure if this will be overkill or what.

I have seen this done in a variety of commercial applications and it seems to work quite well without breaking the bank on true quadratic diffusers and whatnot which would cost a ton for a room this size.


I have been using the 802D B&W speakers and they seem like pretty decent powerhorses for large rooms. The I have used them in my brother's living room with an open floor-plan (large volume room similar volume to mine) and they give a pretty decent curve in the upper range before any equalization. I figure I can use some pretty powerful amps to get a few extra decibels out of them. What audiophile type speakers would you recommend that would work out better for a similar price? I do love the sound of the 802Diamond already and I think I would have a hard time auditioning anything else where I live. I am not in favor of "in-wall" main speakers since I think floor standing generally sound better. I have a hard time imagining buying speakers any bigger than these for the volumes that I usually listen at. Since I am focusing mostly on a diffusive room, I was assuming that I wouldn't lose too much high frequency in the room. Am I wrong in this assumption?

I haven't seen too many people do a mostly diffusive room so I don't know that there is a good "reference" example of this on these forums.


The lighting in the room is not completely drawn in the rendering. I will probably have lighting inside the "niches" and also sconces on the side posts in the room. I will likely have plenty of lighting within the ceiling beams as well. Also since the windows face west, any opening of the shades will result in a lot of evening sun.

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post #13 of 80 Old 03-04-2011, 01:24 PM
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Lesson 1 - dont argue with Dennis on these points

Lesson 2 - hire Dennis

Your approach is very gear centric, you need to consider implications of the room first and then what gear migh be suitable....a late second

....to give you some idea as to what he was getting at:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post
This will likely be long; but, first, there isn't anything wrong with the use of 1" dome tweeters. They are like any other "tool" ... they must be appropriate to the task. One other preface ... pro speaker companies publish the polar radiation plots of their speakers. Pros must know the radiation characteristics of any speaker so it can be used in an appropriate application for the specific speaker. Consumer speaker companies do not, will not, or simply have never done the measurements...scary thought eh? (I think they rely on marketing hype and a lack of consumer education to sell their stuff ... there are still some very excellent consumer speaker manufacturers who really do care.)

Here are some basic principles. Sound will decay in air. Generally, you can figure on a six dB loss for each doubling of the distance between the listener and the speaker. That being said, high frequencies decay faster than low frequencies...by a lot.

Given that, as you move further from the speaker, you'll experience a decrease in SPL. In addition, you'll experience a greater loss in the high frequencies than the mids and lows. What are then some of the practical considerations?

First, when you have multiple rows of seating, you want a greater distance between the first row and the speakers than with a single row of seating. The reason is that overall loss of 6dB for every doubling of the distance ... the purpose is to reduce, as much as possible the difference in SPL between each row. Second, we have the problem that as we move further from the source, the high frequency loss is greater than in the mid and low frequencies. For accurate reproduction we therefore need to increase the high frequency output of the speakers to compensate such that when given a flat 20Hz to 20kHz input signal, you get a flat response at the seating location.

Let's look at a fundamental difference between a true studio monitor and a typical consumer grade speaker. The designer of the studio monitor has very specifically designed that speaker with the expectation the listener (mix/sound engineer) will be listening in the near field of the speaker. If you were to measure the FR of a true studio monitor at 1 meter (maybe less for some monitors), you should see bascially a flat response to 20kHz. If you were to do the same with a speaker designed for consumer use, you should see not a flat response; but, a rise in output above 10kHz to 20kHz. The amount of this rise would tell you what the speaker designer thought would be the typical listening distance by consumers purchasing that speaker. Because of that rise in high frequency response, if you were seated closer than expected, the speaker would sound overly 'bright' and you're likely not going to like it.

So now, let's consider speakers designed for large rooms. You'll find they use any number of techniques to compensate for the HF rolloff in air. These would be in the form of wave guides, compression drivers, and horns. All of which have the singular purpose of increasing HF energy from the speaker. In this case, if you were seated closer to the speaker than its designed intent, you'd find it harsh and bright (this is one reason I suspect many dislike horns ... ala Klipsch and others ... simply because they are too close to the speaker). Have you ever had a consumer electronics sales person tell you not to buy the Klipsch speaker because your seating distance is six feet? Nah. In fact, they'll try and sell you the bigger one because it is totally awesome, dude.

So, how does this align with 1" dome tweeters? There are very, very good 1" dome tweeters on the market and they do an excellent job of accurately reproducing high frequencies; but, within the physical constraints of the tweeter and its engineering design. When over driven, they will distort, overheat, and blow out (as would any other driver when driven beyond its design limits). Unaided, they are not high output devices.

Once you get beyond 8 to 10 feet that tweeter cannot keep up with the mid/lf drivers, to overcome the in air decay over distance. Your solution ... turn up the volume. The response is distortion and blown drivers. It really isn't the 1" dome tweeter's problem, it's the problem with the sales person's lack of knowledge and the fact the speaker selected doesn't match the application it is being asked to accomplish.

In the end, with multiple rows we need:
1. more distance between the speakers and the first row to reduce row to row SPL differences;
2. we need to overcome the loss in energy over distance (which is now greater) to compensate for that greater distance; and,
3. we need even more HF energy to compensate for its high decay rate over distance.
We're talking about some serious output/amplification/speaker out put issues here.

The designed capabilities of the speaker(s) must be matched to the engineering requirements of the space and seating distances and once you get beyond about 10' and you have more than one row of seating, that 1" dome tweeter (and the speaker you were sold *before* the room was designed) simply won't cut it. There's nothing wrong with the tweeter. The problem is you (and/or your HT 'expert') are trying to move a ton of coal with a wooden tea spoon.

How many times have we seen: "Hey guys I just bought the following gear (list of "stuff") and will be building a home theater in my basement. I have two difference places I could put it ... need your help." At this point, he is likely beyond help. How many times have you seen an "experienced, we know our s**t" home theater company with here's the list of stuff, let's design and build this thing?.

Oh, well. There's more to this room design thing than dimensions, isolation clips, and fuzzy stuff on the walls.

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post #14 of 80 Old 03-05-2011, 12:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I am definitely noting all the points mentioned.

I am trying to setup the room with maximum flexibility in terms of future space to put in whatever treatments are necessary. Opinions on the use of QRD diffusion materials in a space like this? Diffusion on the columns behind the speakers or on the doors behind the sitting position? On the ceiling?

I understand what is being said about the polar radiation plot for speakers being largely unpublished most of the time. One option that I have is to move the speakers closer to the sitting position and move the sitting position closer. There will not be multiple rows because we usually don't have that many people coming to watch. I am only concerned from an "audiophile" standpoint about the main sitting position. During any community event, the room will be used for lounging around but not for any critical listening.

My brother has my 802D speakers now and I am planning on getting new speakers so any suggestions along these lines would be appreciated. Line source speakers perhaps?

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post #15 of 80 Old 03-05-2011, 01:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I have modified the design to go with convex ceiling elements instead of concave as suggested. I think it still looks aesthetically pleasing.

Based on concert hall pictures, it is obviously possible to get much more technical with ceilings and do suspended ceilings, etc. I am mostly interested in getting some of the desired effect without spending a massive amount of money.

Here is the new image:
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post #16 of 80 Old 03-05-2011, 08:54 AM
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I understand the "massive amount of money" consideration. A constraint we all have to live with. On the other hand, spending a moderate (whatever that is) amount of money and not achieving your desired results is perhaps a worse alternative. (Not saying that "massive" is required; but, you will not overcome physics with a different brand, type, style or pretty wood grain cabinet speaker.

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post #17 of 80 Old 03-05-2011, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Dennis, any suggestions on what avenue to take for hardware? If not the 802d, then line source speakers perhaps? My priority is still 2 channel experience.

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post #18 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the tubing for the heated floor. Which incidentally will make the house SILENT to heat in the winter!
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post #19 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought this home lot with the idea of having something to look at while listening to music.

I really don't like the 'home theater' dungeon look.
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post #20 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 10:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are some various shots of the framing process.

As you can see, they reflect the original 3d design images from the beginning.
LL
LL
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post #21 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
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1. Wiring was completed at this point for the 11.2. I did this personally to save some money.

2. wiring was done by an installer for the 4 window motor shades.

3. I decided to put in a Control4 system to control most of the house, including the stuff in this room. This includes the projector/screen/AV, lights, ac, heated floor, alarm, door locks, sprinkler system, window shades for the entire west face of the house, and music distribution.

4. I put in all the speaker boxes for the BG radia speakers which are the in-wall speakers for the sides of the room and the back of the room. Also the four subwoofer boxes were also mounted to the frame of the room in the four corners. I considered putting them in the ceiling based on some white-papers I have seen but this was going to be aesthetically messy. I figured I could control the sound with more bass trapping as necessary within the niches on the side walls.

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post #22 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 10:51 PM - Thread Starter
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1. The room has a staggered stud wall between this room and the adjacent living room.

2. The windows are double pane with argon filling.

3. soft foam insulation was done in all the walls and ceiling (also with an air gap between one layer of sheetrock). soft foam keeps mid to high frequencies out of the room and keeps these frequencies from escaping the room as well. It keeps footfall noise from upstairs from easily penetrating into the room.

4. In one wall and in the ceiling, mass loaded vinyl was also added to help keep bass inside the room.

5. Mass loaded vinyl was added to other room walls that are nearby (but not directly adjacent) to keep bass from easily entering those rooms. Soft foam insulation was added to those walls also to improve other frequency soundproofing.


Obviously I could still have added green glue and double drywall... but what we have done so far should help a LOT since the room is already somewhat isolated from other rooms.

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post #23 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the hall outside the media room.
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post #24 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Notice the foam insulation in the bass trap cavities. These holes near the ceiling will be filled with bass traps later.

Notice the nice little touch with how I am hiding the HVAC air supply inside the side niches. In fact, when the trim work is done, you won't see any HVAC stuff in the room.
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post #25 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 11:03 PM - Thread Starter
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HVAC noise will be kept to a bare minimum:

1. heated floor in the winter will be 100% silent. The boiler for the floor is on the other side of the house in a room surrounded by foam insulation and concrete.

2. A multispeed Lennox furnace/ac system will run continuously but very slowly so air turbulence noise of air entering the room will be minuscule.

3. foam insulation for the house will keep the house very cool so that the AC barely needs to run.

4. The light yellow/brown (reflective) color of the house and the concrete tile roof are extremely energy efficient so the AC will barely need to run to keep the house cool.

5. AC ducting has been covered with foam insulation and mass loaded vinyl in addition to the usual sheetrock. Also the AC ducting is very large to reduce turbulent airflow.

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post #26 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 11:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Based on suggestions earlier in the thread, I did not make concave arches in the ceiling.

Instead I had them frame and sheetrock triangular arches. Later, I can use convex wood trim on these surfaces to further improve echo reduction and general diffusion properties.


So far, echo is already substantially reduced but the room still sounds "live" as intended. No music listening has been done yet.

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post #27 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
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We used 4" thick owens corning 703 to fill each of the niches at the top of the room near the ceiling. This is quite a bit of surface area for bass trapping thusfar and more can be done based on acoustics testing later on. In the event that this is not bass trapping enough at certain frequencies, the next step will be to fill some of the side niches, especially the ones in the corners, with more OC703 wrapped in fabric. Again, I want to be careful not to deaden the room too much.

An additional detail is that each of the tall vertical niches at the side of the room has a hard to notice detail: The "wells" are actually of varying depths so these massive wells actually should function to "diffuse" low frequencies.

I hope my somewhat unorthodox approach ends up sounding good, but of course I have lots of options for additional acoustic materials placement if needed.
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post #28 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 11:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Based on researching various sources, I decided to use the customary Guilliard of Maine fabric (dark color) to cover the openings to the bass traps shown above.

In addition however, I am going to do what most people do not do: I am adding a perforated metal sheet on top of the fabric to provide an even more finished look. The perforated metal sheet will ensure that any wrinkles in the fabric behind it are not visible. This strategy makes it easier for me to install without having to worry about fabric tensioning frames.

A study that I looked at compared bass trap effectiveness when OC703 is covered with perforated aluminum vs bare OC703. The study did not show any significant change in bass trapping ability.

Finally the perforated metal will be covered with wood trim around the edges of the bass traps. This will serve to make things look nice but also the trim will help add additional diffusion properties.

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post #29 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 11:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

I understand the "massive amount of money" consideration. A constraint we all have to live with. On the other hand, spending a moderate (whatever that is) amount of money and not achieving your desired results is perhaps a worse alternative. (Not saying that "massive" is required; but, you will not overcome physics with a different brand, type, style or pretty wood grain cabinet speaker.

I have long considered your points about 1" dome tweeters and their ability to perform at sitting distances beyond 12 feet.

SO much of the audiophile grade speaker market is dominated by 1" tweeters that buying anything other brand is a crap shoot without listening and comparing first.

What I decided to do is move the siting position forward, especially for music listening.

Moving the sitting position forward also will allow me to use diffusion on the back wall more effectively. I am going to have a diffuser actually carved into the doors to the room which sit behind the audience. I am going to duplicate a design used in a commercial diffusion panel product that uses parallel vertical notches with varying well depths.

By incorporating this diffusion design into the door, I don't need to apply diffusion materials to the doors afterwards (which I think won't look as good).

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post #30 of 80 Old 07-16-2011, 11:40 PM - Thread Starter
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I am seriously considering Focal Scala speakers for the front mains if I find a pair used. I auditioned these and they sound pretty amazing to me. I think I liked them better than the 802 diamonds and Revel Salon2 that I had a chance to compare them closely with.

I am betting that the "louder" sound from the Salon2 might also sound a lot better once the acoustic materials and room correction are in play.

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