What's wrong with my ears!!! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-22-2007, 06:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I have completed my theater room and I am stupified by the thought that I cannot even tell if my room sounds acoustically good or not.

I have the following equipment:

B&W 804s
B&W HTM3s center
B&W DS8's in the back
Sub is a SVS PB12-Ultra

My receiver is a Denon 4806Ci.

I know I have decent equipment and to be honest, it sounds good to me. This is frustrating to admit but I do not know how to tell if it would sound better with acoustic treatment or not.

I am considering getting an acoustic package from Ethan whose opinion I trust but I hate to spend the money if my ears are not going to be able to tell the difference.

So why not leave it alone and enjoy? Because I cannot stand the idea that I might be able to hear a difference!

I have this eery feeling that some could come and begin pointing out to me acoustical issues that I would then see but now I am pretty clueless.

Is it a 100 percent fact that if I pur Acoustic shields at first reflective points and bass traps in the corners, that my room will sound better when it sounds pretty good already.

I attached two pictures under the attach files. hopefully you see it.
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-22-2007, 07:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daxhughes View Post

I do not know how to tell if it would sound better with acoustic treatment or not.

All rooms benefit from acoustic treatments. If your walls are plain drywall, you definately need room treatments. Try panels at the first reflection point and a couple bass traps....you will be amazed.
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-22-2007, 08:25 PM
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No doubt, acoustic treatments make a difference. However, how big that difference is perceived to be is the question. In my theater, I have bass traps and first reflection points covered and well as eq for the low end. I've made measurements and the difference is definitely there and I can hear it too. But friends and my wife who have heard my theater before and after treatments can't really tell much of a difference. So I am not debating the benefit of treatments, but it really depends on the person and on how able they are at perceiving the improvement.
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-23-2007, 04:03 AM
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I would do it, just for the placebo effect. It will sound better to you for about 6 weeks, whether it truley sounds better or not

Gonzo

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post #5 of 21 Old 05-23-2007, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mbgonzomd View Post

I would do it, just for the placebo effect. It will sound better to you for about 6 weeks, whether it truley sounds better or not


Having said that,,I am SURE it will make a difference.

I would start with corner bass traps, easy to make and should make a difference immediately. Then move on to the first reflection points.

I thought my equipment was fantastic without any room treatment, boy was I wrong! After fully completing my acoustic treatment, my theater sounds out of this world, I use my setup to listen to music about 50% of the time its used. So sound quality was my first goal. Surround for movies was next. But with the acoustic treatments both of those conditions have been satisfied.


" All I need is 1 more hour in the day...well maybe 2"
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-23-2007, 07:26 AM
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daxhughes -

I had the same issue as you but can tell you for a fact that I hired BPape to help with my acoustics and the sound is 10x's better than it was without acoustical treatments.

Good luck.

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post #7 of 21 Old 05-23-2007, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daxhughes View Post

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Is it a 100 percent fact that if I put Acoustic shields at first reflective points and bass traps in the corners, that my room will sound better when it sounds pretty good already.


Yes. You think the room sounds good, because you've not listened to a treated room.
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-23-2007, 08:20 AM
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The big difference I hear is with dialog vs. action scenes. I was constantly turning up the volume for dialog then having to turn it down when the action started. I now can pretty much leave the volume at one level. I still need base traps but will hold off until my new theater is completed. I did 1" OC703 all around the room at 44" high and the screen wall 100%.


New Theater Construction

Existing Theater Walkthrough Video

Existing theater photos

2.35 AR is suppose to be bigger than 1.78 AR not smaller!
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-23-2007, 08:32 AM
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WillyGib,

That looks very nice there. I never thought about raising the treatment level for risers. Interesting...
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-23-2007, 10:53 PM
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dax-

To put it simply, I've heard many untreated rooms, and I've never heard an untreated room that sounded good.

Typically this manifests itself as

1) poor dialogue quality - hard to hear, constantly need to adjust level
2) uneven bass - every seat sounds different, some boomy, some have none, no definition
3) harsh overall sound character - high frequencies reflecting too much and decaying too slowly
4) all audio has the sound of your room shape overlayed on it - recordings have the ambience in them, your room shouldn't add much, if it does it will also mask the true ambient character in the recording

I recall having a similar worry about 5 years ago when I first considered buying a box of Auralex 2" sound panels. Would they have virtually no impact on the sound I was getting? Would they be as ineffective as when I tested out hanging blankets on all the walls? The result was no, they completely changed the sound of my previously blank drywall room. Since then I've had at least 3 friends buy the same case of Auralex panels once they heard the difference.

Hope that helps.
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post #11 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 12:09 AM
 
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Room treatment is hugely important and very easily heard. If you can hear differences between speakers, you can hear differences between rooms. They are at least of equal importance, and arguably the room is more important than the speakers.
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post #12 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 06:30 AM
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Firstly, you have had some great and accurate responses so far. Just thought I would add my subjective view to the mix. I had BPape design my room and there are a bunch of things I noticed immediately when I got the treatments up:

- Even before the system is turned on, you perceive the difference when you walk in the room. Hard to describe but it just sounds entirely different. Friends we have had over described it as sounding like a movie theater even before the sound comes on.

- You don't have to chase the volume control as others have mentioned - this was huge for me, and my wife LOVES it

- You can push the volumes up extremely high without it creating fatigue or making you want to turn it down (or your wife asking you to turn down the action scenes because its too "loud"). Smooth is the best word I can find to describe it.

- With volume levels very high you can still carry on a normal conversation with someone next to you - there are no competing echos making it hard to hear them

- Just as I was finishing my HT and before I got my Monitor Audio's I had an old pair of B&W 602's in there and they sounded amazing - I couldn't believe they were the same speakers I had been listening to for close to 10 years.

There are many other intangibles that I missed, but those are the things I noticed most. And EVERYONE who has been in the room commented on how incredible it sounds and noticed how their voices sound different in it.

Bottom line is you have some fantastic gear - IMO, you're doing it a great injustice by not hearing it at its best. You'll be blown away.

My $0.02

Craig

No changes are permanent, but change is - Peart
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post #13 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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WOW, Thanks guys. Bottom Line: I be an idiot not to treat this room!

Here is what i am thinking: (I included pictures so you can envision this)

1) Cover the whol front wall around the screen with 703 Owens Corning and GOM black to cover it.
2) Hit early reflective points on side wall and ceiling for front left and right speakers.
Where is the early reflection points for the center????
3) Bass traps in the front corners and back corners.
Should I put them where the ceiling and wall hits in the center fo the back room as well?

4) Should I put 703 Owens Corning on the side wall directly beside my front left and right speakers?

5) What about the back wall?? I sit about four feet away form the back wall. Do i need anything on them as they are huge hard surfaces.

Thanks for all the help.
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post #14 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 10:51 AM
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daxhughes - Every room is unique and should be evaluated by a professional (IMO) for maximum results unless you want to spend LOTS AND LOTS of time and effort with trial and error and researching. Ethan, BPape (Bryan), or another acoustical engineer would be the best people to ask those questions to. I recommend doing it the right way and hire a professional to guide you to the best treatment solution for your unique room.

Get quotes from Ethan, Bryan or any others. It was the best money I spent on my room and it was not much in the grand scheme of things.

Good Luck!

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post #15 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 12:14 PM
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I think you are overstating the "lots of time and effort with trial and error".

Dax- you are right on track for covering the basics. For the back wall you might want some small panels at sitting ear level to absorb the reflections since you sit fairly close to the back. Just try to keep the upper area reflective so you don't smother your surround diffusion. If you want to get fancy later you can buy/build a diffusor to break up the simple reflections off the back wall but that's less important than bass traps and front wall/first reflection points.

To find reflection points use a mirror where you think they are and sit in your chair. Wherever you see the speaker is where the bounce is.
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post #16 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 02:04 PM
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Am I? I have been wrong before.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse S View Post

I think you are overstating the "lots of time and effort with trial and error".
.


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post #17 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jikkjack View Post

daxhughes - Every room is unique and should be evaluated by a professional (IMO) for maximum results unless you want to spend LOTS AND LOTS of time and effort with trial and error and researching. Ethan, BPape (Bryan), or another acoustical engineer would be the best people to ask those questions to. I recommend doing it the right way and hire a professional to guide you to the best treatment solution for your unique room.

Get quotes from Ethan, Bryan or any others. It was the best money I spent on my room and it was not much in the grand scheme of things.

Good Luck!

Couldn't agree more. Looking at the gear you have you are obviously willing to spend money to get good stuff. So consider your room another (and arguably the most important) piece of gear.

Craig

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post #18 of 21 Old 05-24-2007, 09:10 PM
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Craig-

You did it yourself no? Does that mean you have a pile of junk?

Dax can try doing this himself. Worst case he can hire someone to reposition the panels, it's not like he'd have to throw them in the bin and start over. Can Ethan do a better job? Of course. You can always throw a little business his way and buy his excellent, reasonably priced bass traps.

Another option is to ask for his advice on the musicplayers forum, Ethan has his own section.
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post #19 of 21 Old 05-25-2007, 01:04 AM
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Looking at your pictures, esp. the one of the back/side walls..

Putting bass traps in the corner with the AV stuff might be difficult? What is in that second cabinet/drawers? As it is close to the corner.

You could do a compromise with the bass trap on that side, make a free standing column instead. It could look cool, would provide some trap effect and also you could move it to 'tune' its position.

I would make a heavy base, then use either a central pole or 4 pieces of wood to attach the insulation to.

That back wall/ceiling area is begging for a treatment of some kind.

Maybe cover it in a panel/diffusor type treatment. Do you get short sharp echoes from that wall/area?

" All I need is 1 more hour in the day...well maybe 2"
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post #20 of 21 Old 05-25-2007, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse S View Post

Craig-

You did it yourself no? Does that mean you have a pile of junk?

Dax can try doing this himself. Worst case he can hire someone to reposition the panels, it's not like he'd have to throw them in the bin and start over. Can Ethan do a better job? Of course. You can always throw a little business his way and buy his excellent, reasonably priced bass traps.

Another option is to ask for his advice on the musicplayers forum, Ethan has his own section.

I think we're misunderstanding each other. I had BPape do the DESIGN, not the build. I paid him to tell me what materials to put in and where to put them, then I built it. I also asked him a lot of questions as I ran into things that affected what he originally recommended. I don't think anyone is suggesting he contract it all out - only that he get some advice on placement and materials. The point I was trying to make - and perhaps not clearly - is that given the money spent on his gear, spending money on professional acoustics design would seem appropriate.

Craig

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post #21 of 21 Old 05-28-2007, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strange_brew View Post

I think we're misunderstanding each other. I had BPape do the DESIGN, not the build. I paid him to tell me what materials to put in and where to put them, then I built it. I also asked him a lot of questions as I ran into things that affected what he originally recommended. I don't think anyone is suggesting he contract it all out - only that he get some advice on placement and materials. The point I was trying to make - and perhaps not clearly - is that given the money spent on his gear, spending money on professional acoustics design would seem appropriate.

Right. Me too. Maybe that was what I missed detailing out in my original post. You are paying for the design and advice on placement...not contracting the entire job out. You get to DIY off of a professional design.


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