I am just new and just dabbling in this so am not arguing a point, but rather asking to learn....
It seems Floyd E Toole is considered one of the most knowledgeable men on room acoustics. He is not against bass traps but doesn't use them in his own home http://www.soundandvision.com/conten...-audio-insider
and says that furniture and curtains can do a lot to tame room acoustics
"... I suggest more furniture, or more acoustical treatment
, mostly on the side walls. Either or both will be beneficial.
In general, surface irregularities - bookcases, display cases, tilted pictures, etc - are useful, as are purchased "diffusers"...
. A certain amount of absorbing material may be needed if the room is too live, but don't overdo it
; excessively dead rooms are not pleasant places in which to spend time. Scattering the sound using furniture or irregular surfaces makes whatever absorption that is in the room work harder, and the sound energy is preserved."
"Of course, all of this and more is explained in my book: "Sound Reproduction", Focal Press 2008."
(I should note he does see important uses for acoustic treatments in certain rooms - see the link. Also please note - I have not read the book. In it he recommends bass traps for certain setups - from what others on the forum have said)
His former colleague at the NRC, Alan Lofft, goes further:
"The answer (to wayward reflections) to this is to have a reasonable mix of domestic furnishings that reflect and break up sounds as well as providing some absorption. Indeed, a typical North American living room--with carpeted floor, fabric-upholstered furniture, drywalls at the side with some shelves, bookcases, and some fabric window treatments--usually results in a room that works well acoustically for both music and home theater.
It's easy to get obsessive about applying special "treatments" to a home theater, in the misguided belief that this will bring huge gains in sound quality."
"And what of "bass traps," those expensive padded cylinders and screens that are sold to naive audiophiles and claimed to absorb problematic standing waves in the low bass? For the most part they don't work,
because the wavelengths of low bass frequencies are so large that any "trap" would have to be of ungainly dimensions to become effective. They can be built (there are several in the NRC's listening room) but they are large and ugly. No domestic partner, no matter how tolerant, would put up with them."
"So there you go, Danny Decorators, a little holiday project for the whole family: scatter a few throw cushions about the room to soak those nasty reflections."
Compare this with the many professional opinions and research that shows that some (most?) people strongly prefer tamed bass and suitably controlled reflections. And reading what many purchasers of these products say - that they make a ton of difference - one is left scratching one's head. Many many satisfied customers with measurements.
Seems that a lot of bass trapping and side reflection taming is not every expert's recommendation. Maybe it is better to measure first, do a little at a time, and not too quickly buy into the recommendations of acoustic treatment companies, but keep an open mind.
In my limited experience and reading, treatment companies like GIK and Real Traps are honest and well informed/experienced dealers who go out of their way to help even folks who are not buying their products - so no slam against them personally. Just noting the difference of expert opinions. Unless I am misunderstanding the above links.