Originally Posted by Mr.Q
Alright, so yesterday I put the final treatments in the right place.
Here is what I have done:
I first bought myself some measuring equipment. I just searched the net a bit for affordable equipment that is good enough for measurement. I came down to the Tascam US-122MKII as a sound card, since it is ruler flat out of the box, so no bothersome calibrating. For a mic I choose the Behringer ecm8000. Both are quite cheap and good out of the box. Why? because measuring beats guessing and helps fine-tuning stuff like your listening position and pin pointing problems.
Next I ordered a book called "Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms" By Floyd E Toole (http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reproduction-Acoustics-Psychoacoustics-Loudspeakers/dp/0240520092
). Why? Just to get my own knowledge a bit up. I like the book, because it also takes into account psychoacoustics and is based around a lot of tests. What I learned from all this:
- To fix low frequency problems, the best way to do this, is to use multiple subwoofers, with an optimum having four subwoofers, one in each corner. You could also use an EQ, but it can't fix severe nulls, and an EQ only works on a single position, making other listening positions worse. Bass traps only work well from around 70Hz and up, meaning the true problem area of loud and deep bass humps can't be fixed with treatments. The guys @ GiK also confirmed this and suggested EQ'ing.
- The book advises to not treat the first order side wall reflections for stereo listening. Multiple tests showed that people actually prefer untreated side walls, because it makes the sound image wider and ads spaciousness and envelopment.
- Over-treating a room is a bad idea. Reflections are not a bad thing and tests showed that reflections are actually needed to make speech more intelligible.
- Front and back walls can be treated, since those walls don't add anything good and cause comb filtering (though there are doubts that a human can actually 'hear' the comb filtering you see in the higher frequency range).
Alright, now I am 'smart', now what?
Next I filled in a contact form at the website of GiK Acoustics to get some free advice for my room. Got a reply pretty quickly.
It was no sales pitch at all. I think the first week I've been moving with my listening position and fiddling with my sub, sending measurements to the guy from GiK to get everything as optimal as possible. We hadn't talked about treatments at all, until I suggested we should.
I ended up moving my couch a little forward and moved the crossover of my sub to 22Hz to make the hump @33Hz and the dip @46Hz smaller. I also asked what to do with the soundstage that is leaning to the left. The guy from GiK suggested it was caused by both the slanted roof on the left side, causing louder reflections and the cabinets that hang on my right wall, that absorb reflections. He suggested to hang treatments on the slanted ceiling.
So what did I end up ordering?
- Three monster bass traps on the back wall with my very own artwork on it *looks proud
- 2 black 244 bass traps on the front wall.
- 2 white 244 bass traps on the slanted ceiling.
I already had the four white Tri traps.
Here are the obligatory pictures:
The sound? Better then I expected. My expectations weren't to high since I am very down to earth when it comes to audio. I am not the type of person that can rave about huge differences between great gear and other great gear.
The biggest change is in the overall clarity of the sound. The soundstage is clean and precise. The soundstage even became a little wider and extends slightly further to the right, but still a major bias to the left. What is exciting me the most though is texture and timbre. It's almost scary how 'real' and 'unique' instruments, voices or even digital sound waves sound. The first thing I played was some real old 8-bit video game music and I immediately heard a difference in the sound of the square and pulse waves and their raw texture. The sound also feels more airy and playing it loud is awesome!
I must say I am happy with the result and glad I made the investment. It even looks much better then expected (again, low expectations).
Wooo wait, that was not all!
I also ordered a MiniDSP, which is a small, cheap analog equalizer to straighten out the frequencies below 200Hz. I tried it out yesterday, using REW measurements as input, but the sound felt incredibly downgraded. All the great things I gained with the treatments, seemed to be gone. The bass felt very dull. Maybe I am a bass head
, I dunno, but it didn't feel good at all. I thought I maybe dreamed that the room treatments sounded so good, but when I removed the MiniDSP the great sound was back again.
I haven't really researched how it set it up the right way, but out of the box, no. I will give it another chance once I've done a bit more research. Maybe I should've went with an all digital EQ after all, to prevent any degradation of the sound.. maybe.. at least I have something left to toy with in this current room.