Creating an acoustic environment for a hi-end stereo - AVS Forum
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi all. I have a rather "large" problem. How to "inexpensively" create a sound friendly environment for my stereo. I have a Krell KVA 300i integrated amp, Theta Miles CD player & a pair of Thiel CS2 2s for speakers. I recently moved to a brand-new condo that has a huge living room area with high, vaulted ceilings & wood floors.  The stereo sounds terrible. The sound is bouncing all over the walls, floor & ceiling. Installing large rugs, acoustic tiles, etc. is both very expensive & a potential decor disaster! I would appreciate any input and experience you have in resolving problems of this nature.

Thanks! EZ

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Old 04-28-2014, 11:18 AM
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If you are unwilling to install large rugs and things of that nature, then you will have bad acoustics.

Generally speaking, the more stuff you put in the room, the less you will have problems with echos. Even hard furniture helps, though soft is better. Bookcases with books, etc., all break up the flat surface areas for the sound to bounce back and forth, and have some sound absorption as well.

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:32 AM
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...How to "inexpensively" create a sound friendly environment for my stereo. I have a Krell KVA 300i integrated amp, Theta Miles CD player & a pair of Thiel CS2 2s for speakers....
Ironic that you want an inexpensive fix for Krell, Theta and Thiel equipment. Acoustic room treatment should consume a good portion of your audio budget and is the most influential part of the audio chain (as you can hear). There are some experts here that may can offer some constructive advice but to get Krell-Theta-Thiel worthy sound will require some investment.
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Old 04-28-2014, 11:44 AM
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Ironic that you want an inexpensive fix for Krell, Theta and Thiel equipment.

I noticed that too. A budget setup with $1,000 of audio gear in a well treated room will sound vastly better than $50,000 worth of gear in the typical bad-sounding room!

--Ethan

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Old 04-29-2014, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Jack...  This i know to be true. My previous home environment was much smaller with much better acoustics. My not budgeting a pile of $$$ for my new home to accommodate my stereo was the result of not realizing that it would be necessary. I've pretty much exhausted my funds in the move, hence the query for an "inexpensive" way to improve the sound. Looks like I'll have to get out the old credit cards and start piling on more debt to buy stuff that will improve the sound. Can't live without it.

 

EZ

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Old 04-29-2014, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi William... As I replied to Jack...

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Old 04-29-2014, 07:58 AM
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Hi William... As I replied to Jack...

Here is a forum detected to room treatments (or at least predominantly) that would likely have some useful info.
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Old 04-29-2014, 10:07 AM
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Have you thought about using panels with art on them? Something along these lines.
http://www.gikacoustics.com/product/gik-artpanel-acoustic-panels/

I am not sure what your budget is (or could be) but you would be surprised how much you DON'T have to spend. Also there are a lot of different fabrics that look pretty darn nice from Guilford or Maine that a lot of acoustic companies use.

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Old 04-29-2014, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EZramon View Post

Hi Jack...  This i know to be true. My previous home environment was much smaller with much better acoustics. My not budgeting a pile of $$$ for my new home to accommodate my stereo was the result of not realizing that it would be necessary. I've pretty much exhausted my funds in the move, hence the query for an "inexpensive" way to improve the sound. Looks like I'll have to get out the old credit cards and start piling on more debt to buy stuff that will improve the sound. Can't live without it.

EZ

It does not necessarily have to be a lot of money. You just need things in there that absorb sound and that prevent sound from simply bouncing back and forth between parallel opposing surfaces (i.e., in a rectangular room, the front and back walls, the right and left walls, and the floor and the ceiling). Hard furniture disrupts the large flat surfaces, so that helps some, but furniture that absorbs sound works even better. The reason for rugs is that typically the ceiling will have nothing on it, and it typically is such that it will reflect a lot of sound, as will most uncarpeted floors. By putting a rug on the floor, you absorb some sound that otherwise would bounce back and forth between the floor and the ceiling. Of course, having a couch and chairs and other things on the floor helps some, but as the entire ceiling is often just reflecting sound, it is good to have as much of the entire floor covered as reasonably possible.

If you have a curved ceiling, it could really focus the sound in a bad way, depending on the exact shape of the curve, where you are, and where the sound source is. So the same idea still applies to breaking up large areas that reflect sound.

You may have noticed when in an empty room, there is often an echo. The more furniture and decorations and such that go into the room, the less there tends to be an echo. Echos are bad (generally speaking), and so just filling the room with things helps considerably, even if one puts little thought into the acoustics. Having paintings or tapestries on the walls, curtains, or even, as stated previously, bookcases full of books, works much, much better than having nothing.

Often, what works well aesthetically, works tolerably well acoustically. Usually, for example, one puts wall decorations on wall space that is otherwise vacant, and that is precisely the sort of surface that you want to change for acoustics. Naturally, "tolerably well" does not mean that it will necessarily be perfect, which I mention for those who might see this who have reading comprehension problems but still reply to online posts with irrelevant complaints that go against what was not stated instead of posting something relevant to what was stated.

Since it is your living room, you probably want it to look nice, instead of having it look like a recording studio with egg crate acoustic panels on the walls. You can have it look nice and be decent for sound.

God willing, we will prevail in peace and freedom from fear and in true health through the purity and essence of our natural fluids. God bless you all.
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:08 AM
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Generally speaking the reason a small room does not sound good has to do with early reflections (comb filtering) and low end decay. For the low end decay you really need much more then just rugs and so on.
http://www.gikacoustics.com/video_bass-traps/
Normal pictures on the wall will do pretty much nothing.

Glenn Kuras
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:39 AM
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Ok, EZraymon, if it were me, and had a room that needed significant acoustical treatments on a tight budget, here is what would be optimal, and way cheaper than buying pre-made acoustical treatments. ( note-This is just a primer on this particular topic. I can't cover all of the details in one post, but, here is the basic idea. Do your own research in any questions that you might have)

Now granted, I am sure you have a wife to contend with, so I doubt you could get away with a ceiling cloud, or bass traps. So what I would do is build some absorption panels for the side walls and rear wall. Construct them using two layers of 2" OC703 stacked together for a total of 4" thickness. Build a frame for them, and space them with a 4" air gap between them & the wall. Build two panels at 2' by 4' for each wall, and for the side walls, place them at the first reflection points.

You can search for good looking fabrics or art paintings to cover them with and make them look good to your significant other. No need for them to be ugly, and no need to buy pre-made acoustical treatments for much $$!
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