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post #1 of 8 Old 06-06-2016, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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bafflesteppe's sound room

Earlier this year I bought my first home with my wife and I have pretty much a blank slate to work with in the basement. I'm beyond excited, and with the wedding in the rear view mirror I can start planning on the basement build. I have an entire room to build out, and I have adjacent rooms to house electronics as well. I'm a 90% music (eclectic in taste, like most of us), 10% theater type of guy.


The previous owners had the main room down there finished out with heavy duty carpet over the poured concrete that exists in the other four rooms in the basement (they connect to the main room via two open doorways). The main "bafflesteppe" sound room has sealed/painted cinderblock walls and a popcorn plaster/drywall ceiling with a small lower-hanging portion for the HVAC ducting. There are three below-grade half basement windows in the listening room, too.


Right now, I'm running a pair of homemade Aviatrix MTM MLTLs through a Pioneer VSX-820 receiver. Source is usually a hardwired FiiO X1 loaded with flac files, or streaming over Spotify and a Chromecast (barebones for now)! For the time being, I'm using a 52" Mitsubishi WD-52628 that I got for free from a coworker—I'll have to put up with only being able to view video in 720p.


With that said, the room doesn't sound horrid: the Aviatrix are the best speakers I've had up to this point (I've also made the Tritrix TM ported bookshelf and Overnight Sensation TM). I knew going into it that the Aviatrix were meant to fill enough of the low bass to be acceptable home theater speakers, but even with the transmission line damped to the point I think they may be
overdamped, the bass sounds extremely tubby in-room. Enough bass down to 30 Hz or so, but below and they unload quickly. I constantly have to adjust my receiver between Direct and Stereo (where I can adjust the bass band down a few dBs) to get the midrange to poke through.


Dimensions of the room are 7' tall ceilings x 32' long x 12' 7" wide.
The speakers, tuned by ear mind you, are on the short side and have their tweeters 26" from the back wall, toed-in a bit at 40" from their adjacent walls.

My listening position in the center of the listening position is 12' from the speakers.


Obviously, I have a bunch of hard surfaces surrounding the speakers, save the no-pile carpet floor. I know I need to build some DIY corner bass traps and panels for the walls. No idea about the ceiling.


I had some time during a few rainy days and set the room up according to the Cardas room setup and speaker placement guide: apparently the speakers are either over damped with stuffing or I've been relying on room modes to supplement my bass because all of it disappeared. With how my room is situated now, my receiver on a volume of 60 is plenty loud. With the Cardas setup, I had them cranked at 72 and I could hear the woofers starting to bottom. All the bass was gone so I went back to my old setup. Going closer to the back wall increases the bass boom of course, and going really wide seems to force a funky soundstage.


The only sound treatment I've done is stuff a pillow up on each of the windows so they don't rattle.


Future plans?
Statement II LCR
Two sealed or ported 15" or 18" subs (which?!)
Separate source components
Projector screen or large TV
HTPC


Where should I start with the room, or speaker positioning, to get it sounding a bit better? I'll hopefully be able to pluck away at this and have a nice room complete and outfitted in a year or two. I also have a lovely mixture of flourescent and incadescent can lighting, which I'll change over to recessed LED or something.

I'll post pictures when I can: not enough posts! Sorry for the wall of text ... I'll edit this post in the future when this turns into an actual build thread.


Thanks for the help!
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post #2 of 8 Old 06-06-2016, 07:06 PM
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The best thing is to start by buying a measurement mic, so that you can measure any speakers/subs you have now or will in the future.

This one is rated for 5hz to 24khz, and is professionally USA lab calibrated. Well worth every penny...
http://cross-spectrum.com/measuremen...ated_umik.html

Once you have a mic, pretty much everyone uses REW for acoustical analysis, because it's detailed, and free:
http://www.roomeqwizard.com/

One thing you will notice with concrete floors is that they don't vibrate, not even with 6 18's pumping full blast.
A lot of people build raised flooring, even if it is just a 2x4 laid sideways, or a riser for just the seats.
Wood vibrates a lot more than concrete, even when the subwoofer isn't touching it or even near it.

A lot of people place subwoofers firing directly into the back of their seats (nearfield), potentially even at head level. It seems silly, but you can eliminate almost all room-modes and gain like 100x louder bass by doing it this way. Which means saved money, smoother bass, instead of needing 16 18's and 8 amplifiers + massive bass EQ at 10ft away.

For corner bass traps, it is best to make them HUGE corner wedges (the thicker the better), and then cover the fronts with plywood that has holes drilled into it. This causes the bass to be trapped but more importantly, doesn't become a blackhole catcher of tweeter/mid frequencies. The plywood reflects the highs and the bass gets stuck behind the plywood. They cover the plywood with colored fabric to make it look nice.

It takes up to 10 to 40% wall coverage to reduce the clap echo you hear from bouncing off the walls/ceiling/floor and sounding nasty.
Anything above 50% coverage will start sounding dead, which you want to avoid.
A lot of people are using staggered treatments, as you only need to absorb the sound on one of the two parallel walls (50% cost savings.) Treating both sides of the walls in the same spots often is counter productive, needlessly expensive and isn't necessary unless it is required to maintain a good stereo image.

When nearfield subwoofers aren't possible, the next loudest spot would be either one sub in each of the 4 corners, or mid-wall points.
It is said that subs placed at the 1/4 wall points will have the smoothest bass, but often you'll lose a few db overall.

Keep in mind that subwoofers that are placed within 3ft of each other, act like a single subwoofer. Which basically causes them to increase the SPL by the full 6db. If they are spread on opposite sides of the room you might only gain 1-4db per doubling-up of subwoofers.

Obviously if you fill the room with subs, not only would it be loud from brute force, and smooth from multiple placements, but also loud because they'ed sum like a single subwoofer without even needing to apply delay/phase DSP.
But that is pretty impractical, because it costs a lot and consumes lots of floor space (unless we are talking 5 IB walls )

Last edited by BassThatHz; 06-07-2016 at 04:56 PM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 06-06-2016, 07:32 PM
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For the projector and components, I would wait.
The first set of 4K projectors that are sub $6000, are coming out in the next 6-8 months here.

Right now the cost of 4K projectors and disc players are sky high (a waste of money for a system that is 10% movies, unless you just gotta have it right now!)

Just make-do with a 1080P sub-$1000 ebay projector, and walmart 1080P bluray player.

A lot of people are waiting for Oppo to release their 4K player to see what features it has; we already know it's SQ will be elite.

You can spend money on a good projection screen though, those almost never go obsolete.
My projection screen is 10 years old and it looks like I bought it yesterday.

For a HTPC, if all you need is something lightweight, you should go to BestBuy and get the newest Intel compute stick.

Then get one of these and a cable:
http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=2781
http://www.monoprice.com/search/inde...0ft+HDMI+cable
Then you can throw the thing anywhere.

Not sure but I believe the newest compute sticks have bluetooth, so just get a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.
If not, you can attach a USB hub, with a normal wireless USB keyboard/mouse set, and a USB multi-TB NAS for big storage.
http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=10931

Alternatively you could buy a 200gb usb flash drive if you need more space than what the compute stick has on board, for music/files.
A flash stick might be too slow for 1080P movies though (haven't tried it...)

It blows my mind that you can fit 200GB underneath your tongue these days:
http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Ultra-.../dp/B00V62XBQQ
Try that with a 1MB floppy disk.

Last edited by BassThatHz; 06-07-2016 at 05:01 PM.
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post #4 of 8 Old 06-07-2016, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, thank you for putting time into those replies! A lot so soak in. My absolute next step is to get a functioning computer together (whether that's building the gaming/HTPC rig or getting a laptop) and getting a UMIK-1 and REW. We're limited to a Chromebook right now. I'd like to take a baseline and be able to justify any changes made with REW—that'd be fun. The Pioneer VSX-820 (non-"K" version) receiver has MCACC, but I bought it second-hand (for $100!) off Craigslist and it didn't come with its mic. I don't know how accurate the dated MCACC technology is, but I'd like to find a mic for it and run it through a couple times using the guides here—seems Audyssey is more prevalent around these parts for built-in auto calibrating (I haven't done it before).

In terms of getting some sawdust thrown around, I'd like to start with some bass traps: I have a full wood shop to organize and start having fun with!

Here's some shots of the room since I padded my posts a bit and can post them (I also noticed we cannot edit posts past a certain time, getting used to this forum). I also have a room layout attached that I whipped up in Paint (oo la la). I have the basic jist of the room laid out there, where the traps/deflectors/absorbtion should go. Notice I also have a weird situation with the old brick stove pad (the functional though plugged flue is right above it on the wall) that raises the right speaker up about 1–2", so I have some extra carpet under the left speaker to keep the tweeter at the same height. Depending on where the Statement IIs end up being positioned, I'll have to make a small riser for the left speaker.

Bass-wise, I'm thinking a Full Marty in two corners should be enough. Wouldn't have to upgrade from that, now would I? Don't answer that ... I know the mindset.
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Last edited by bafflesteppe; 06-07-2016 at 10:52 AM.
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-19-2018, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Been a year and a half since my initial posts here, and now I can start getting serious.

Built some acoustic panels. Here's the easy as pie method:

1" x 4" standard board (pine?) for the frames, 17" W x 47" L

One sheet of Rockwool Safe n Sound insulation per panel. They're 17" W x 47" L and 3" thick.

I used door/window screen, fiberglass not the steel kind so it was easier to cut with a razor knife, secured with 5/16" staples after some light stretching. The screen is made in rolls (I got a 25 foot long roll and needed some more for 10 panels front and back) and they are 48" wide. Made it really easy to just roll out, staple and stretch, cut and on to the next one.

The plan is to order some movie and music posters printed on acoustically transparent cloth something and wrap it around each panel. I know there's a specific thread (link here) for that that I need to read through.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-19-2018, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Initial reaction is very positive. The clap test yields much less echo, but I'm getting a calibrated mic on REW to see what specifically I'm solving here. I know I have a lot of bass reinforcement from the room so bass busters in the corners are next. Then, a Full Marty subwoofer build.

I put three panels on each side, one straddling each corner, and one directly behind each L/R speaker—ten total. I think maybe two more for the front wall, and two cloud panels for the ceiling (only going to be 2" deep there I think since my ceilings are low) are in order. Diffuser panels for the rear wall behind the drums set with some more acoustic panels on the walls after I disassemble the bookshelves and get my walls back.

I'm also painting the room this summer, a dark grey of some sort in the theater area, transitioning to a lighter color in the band area. Projector within the next year is the plan, 100 to 120" probably a DIY. I like the BenQ HT2050 or W1070.

The panels will be mounted off the walls ~1-2" for best bass absorption using a french cleat. They'll be adjustable since I'll be swapping speakers every once in a while once my DIY bug kicks in and I'll want to fine tune.

I need to cut down the useless coaxial cables buttoned to the heating pipes the run across the ceiling and cover those pipes somehow ... they are unsightly. Long term plan is to tear down the ceiling and throw some mass up there for sound deadening and remove the HVAC ducts since they aren't needed. It stays ~68° down here regardless of the outside weather.,but the band is loud and the sound proofing of his room is necessary. The Marty subwoofer will be loud, too.
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Last edited by bafflesteppe; 02-19-2018 at 11:07 AM.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-19-2018, 11:34 AM
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Looking good so far! I really need to make up some panels for myself.
Are you planning to knock out that brick hearth section? I have done that kind of work, and it's not that bad. Bash it all out and then fill in the depth with some new concrete to blend with its surroundings.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-19-2018, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtsdig View Post
Looking good so far! I really need to make up some panels for myself.
Are you planning to knock out that brick hearth section? I have done that kind of work, and it's not that bad. Bash it all out and then fill in the depth with some new concrete to blend with its surroundings.
Yeah it's really annoying as far as tweeter height goes, so I'll be doing that at some point. Just have to commit to completing it since my system will be down in the meantime!
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