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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Morning all
I have plans to make a dedicated listening room in my basement and have full sign off from the wife. Any advice on size (within reason) and things like wall treatments room setup etc for the best sound would be much appreciated. I'll be using KEF reference 104/2 speakers. I was going to base the width of the room off KEF recommendations. would it make sense to have the room be square or should it be longer? I read a few articles about foam wall treatments that seemed to say there is little to be gained and there are other things that balance pressure that work better. does anyone have any experience with this. I tried hard to read the articles but to be honest they were very long and a bit dry.

Thanks for any help you can offer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What are the dimensions you have to work within?

Square is less preferable.

Treatments can be effective.
Thanks RayDunzl
We haven't moved into the house yet so i don't know the exact area i have to work with but it's basically a blank canvas right now, i need to fit a bedroom and bathroom down there but i'm planning to size that around my music room.

the KEF instructions suggest that the speakers should be placed 1m from a side wall, 50cm from a rear wall and 2-4 m apart. Based on that i was looking to create a room about 5m wide. What would be a good width to length ratio and if i could only make a square room are there any ways to cheat and make the room sound longer? My wife is being very encouraging but i have to keep it reasonable.
 

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Thanks RayDunzl
We haven't moved into the house yet so i don't know the exact area i have to work with but it's basically a blank canvas right now, i need to fit a bedroom and bathroom down there but i'm planning to size that around my music room.

the KEF instructions suggest that the speakers should be placed 1m from a side wall, 50cm from a rear wall and 2-4 m apart. Based on that i was looking to create a room about 5m wide. What would be a good width to length ratio and if i could only make a square room are there any ways to cheat and make the room sound longer? My wife is being very encouraging but i have to keep it reasonable.
I could only guess, not being an acoustician, though there are some here.

5m is a decent width, a little wider than mine.

Mine is 5.642m x 4.210m x 2.833m but one rear corner is wide open to other areas.

Will your room be closed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I could only guess, not being an acoustician, though there are some here.

5m is a decent width, a little wider than mine.

Mine is 5.642m x 4.210m x 2.833m but one rear corner is wide open to other areas.

Will your room be closed?
I plan to have a hall way down there so i cold leave it a little open if it would help. what size speakers do you have in your room and are you happy with the sound? do you have the speakers on the shorter wall?
 

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Regardless of the dimensions you end up with its a good idea to put room treatment into the budget. You won't be sorry. A friend of mine many years ago (early 70's) did the same thing with a basement - walled it off and ended up with an enclosed space of about 10x14 room - what he did with the walls and ceiling were unique - he had an almost endless supply of these rectangular pieces of styrofoam from where he worked. They were about the dimension of a shoe box cover except were not flat on the tops - they had these little cutouts that held parts. They were used to ship small electronic parts to where he worked from some place overseas. The company were throwing these away. He laid down heavy carpet and installed one chair - his! He did allow me to shoehorn a kitchen chair in when I came over for a listening session. He had a Marantz integrated amp - turntable - tuner and a set of Large Advents on stands spaced very carefully and over a long period of time. He was quite meticulous with placement of his chair and speakers. This is where I learned just how bad Bose 901s were - and how good the Advents were - and the value of good room treatment. There is nothing like DIY room treatments.
 

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If you are buying the house, or moving to the house, you must have seen it. Can we assume it is an unfinished basement so you can partition it off anyway you want?

Still, you must have some sense of the approximate range of dimension that are possible. What we are fishing for here, is that the room is not excessively large (25ft x 40ft) or that it is not excessively small (10ft x 8ft).

You've give us your speakers (KEF reference 104/2) but what other equipment will they be used with, and yes, it does matter?

Stereo or AV Receiver?

Mostly Movies, or mostly Music?

Loud or Quiet?

Dedicated room or multi-purpose?

I would suggest Acoustic Tile, the type with the tiny holes in it, on the ceiling. That's a Start.

Then depending on how far you are from the speakers, a couple of acoustic panels on the side walls at the point of first reflection. Sit in your chair, have someone slide a mirror along the wall, when you can see the speakers in the mirror, you've got the point of first reflection.

Next would be the back of the room, how far will you sit from the back of the room? And yes you need some distance behind the prime seating location. Typically recommend is that you are either 1/3 from the front of the room or 1/3rd form the back of the room.

Next carpets or at least a large rub between you and the speakers.

Depending on how far you want to take it, and depending on where your speakers are placed, bass traps in the front corners, or acoustic panels behind the speakers.

The back wall, the wall behind the seating position, is the most tricky. Just as a broad overview, I would say the back wall needs both absorption and diffusion.

So, again as a broad generalization, I would say either two Acoustic Panels flanking a Diffusion Panel, or two Diffusion Panels flanking an Acoustic Panel on the back wall.

Here is a helpful thread -

Primer: Acoustics -Absorption and Diffusion -


https://www.avforums.com/threads/primer-acoustics-absorption-diffusion.1783772/

YouTube is a huge resource for both general acoustical concepts and DIY Acoustic Panels and DIY Diffusors. You'll find some links in the thread linked above.

Generally, a larger room is a better room, but all rooms can be accommodated.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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Mostly Movies, or mostly Music?

Loud or Quiet?

Dedicated room or multi-purpose?
he was pretty clear, he said Dedicated listening room
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you are buying the house, or moving to the house, you must have seen it. Can we assume it is an unfinished basement so you can partition it off anyway you want?

Still, you must have some sense of the approximate range of dimension that are possible. What we are fishing for here, is that the room is not excessively large (25ft x 40ft) or that it is not excessively small (10ft x 8ft).

You've give us your speakers (KEF reference 104/2) but what other equipment will they be used with, and yes, it does matter?

Stereo or AV Receiver?

Mostly Movies, or mostly Music?

Loud or Quiet?

Dedicated room or multi-purpose?

I would suggest Acoustic Tile, the type with the tiny holes in it, on the ceiling. That's a Start.

Then depending on how far you are from the speakers, a couple of acoustic panels on the side walls at the point of first reflection. Sit in your chair, have someone slide a mirror along the wall, when you can see the speakers in the mirror, you've got the point of first reflection.

Next would be the back of the room, how far will you sit from the back of the room? And yes you need some distance behind the prime seating location. Typically recommend is that you are either 1/3 from the front of the room or 1/3rd form the back of the room.

Next carpets or at least a large rub between you and the speakers.

Depending on how far you want to take it, and depending on where your speakers are placed, bass traps in the front corners, or acoustic panels behind the speakers.

The back wall, the wall behind the seating position, is the most tricky. Just as a broad overview, I would say the back wall needs both absorption and diffusion.

So, again as a broad generalization, I would say either two Acoustic Panels flanking a Diffusion Panel, or two Diffusion Panels flanking an Acoustic Panel on the back wall.

Here is a helpful thread -

Primer: Acoustics -Absorption and Diffusion -


https://www.avforums.com/threads/primer-acoustics-absorption-diffusion.1783772/

YouTube is a huge resource for both general acoustical concepts and DIY Acoustic Panels and DIY Diffusors. You'll find some links in the thread linked above.

Generally, a larger room is a better room, but all rooms can be accommodated.

Steve/bluewizard
Thanks for the info

The space available will depend, it's currently a totally unfinished basement of a 3500 Sq Ft home. we plan to have guest room, a small gym and a listening room down there. my wife is goign to lean more towards a big guest room, i'm ging to lean more towards a big listening room but something around 5m x 6m, maybe 7m is what i'm thinking woudl work. whats the ideal length - width ratio? is there a rule of thumb?

The room will be exclusively for listening to 2 channel music and predominantly Vinyl. here is my current system.

Amp – Denon AVR-2112CI
Phone Pre Amp – Cambridge Audio 651P
Turntable – Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (music hall cork mat)
Speakers – KEF Reference Series Model 104/2

However the amps and turntable will be changing soon. I'll be switching it for some of my dads gear, Linn Sondek and some Naim amps from the 90s. I don't have the models but they still sound great.

I'll be listening to music moderate to loud.

I'm a totally noob when it comes to treatments so i'll have to go do some research on the items you mentioned. Am i right in interpreting this as reflected sound is bad so the idea is to disrupt sound that woudl usually bounce off walls, floors, ceilings etc to not interfere with the sound coming straight at you from the speaker?

What is the purpose of Bass traps? will i need these if the corners are in line with KEF's recommendation for side and back wall placement?

thanks again for taking the time to respond.
 

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As to using Foam Acoustic Panels instead of deeper non-foam panels, it depends on what you are trying to do. The Foam Tiles will help control Mid/High reflections. Though truly controlling bass reflection is difficult, but controlling the Mid/High is important.

So, Foam Panels or Foam Tiles do have their place in treating a room.

If you go the link I proved, there is a drummer in a larger room. You can hear the difference as he adds more foam panels to the room.


In another video in that thread, there is a person who does Podcasts from a somewhat small room. He is not concerned with controlling the full frequency range, just in cleaning up the vocal range. In his case, DIY acoustic panels that were about 1" thick did the job. He could have just as easily used Foam Tile, but the fabric covered acoustic panels had a much higher wife approval factor.


More Studio oriented, but here is a video from Auralex that explains how and where to put Foam Tiles.


Searching YouTube for Acoustic Panels, Acoustic Treatment, Bass Traps, and similar acoustic related terms will give you a good sense of what is possible.

Generally, the deeper the Foam, the deeper the Acoustic Panels, and the deeper the Diffusers, the deeper the frequencies it will effect.

As to room side, I think as big as possible within reason.

You want the room wide enough that you can have the speakers forward of the wall behind the speakers, and at LEAST 18" to 24" from the Side walls.

You want the room deep enough, or long enough that you can sit a reasonable distance from the speakers. I would say 10ft to 15ft. And you do not want to be seated at the end of the room. That is with the sofa right up against the back wall. Like I said before, you will like want to e 2/3rd back from the front wall. If the seating distance is 15ft, then the implied room is in the neighborhood of 20ft to 24ft in length.

If the seating locations is 10ft, then that implies a room of about 15ft. But that leaves the room a bit square at about 15ft x 15ft, so best to add another 2ft to the length making it 15ft x 17ft.

So, best guess, that implies a minimum ideal room of about 15ft W x 20ft L.

Certainly other room sizes can be accommodated. But since the room seem currently unconstructed, strive for the biggest room you can reasonably accommodate.

My listening area is about 16ft x 17ft, my speakers are about 5ft apart, though that's pretty close, and I sit about 11ft from the speakers. My overall space, open floor plan, is about 17ft wide and about 35ft long. I have large speakers, and this space accommodates them very well.

Ideally, my speakers would be about 8ft apart, and my listening distance would be closer to 12ft to 14ft, and I would have an additional roughly 10ft behind the seating location. But we are all slaves to circumstances, and I've done the best I would with the space I have.

Hopefully, I'm providing something that you find helpful.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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If you think your final room will be 5m x 6m, which is about 16ft x 20ft, that's not that far from the room I suggested. I think you can do very well in a room that size.

Though, it assumes that the system will be placed on the 5m (16ft) end of the room.

In terms of seating position, though again we are all slaves to our circumstances, you don't want to be sitting at the end of the room or in the middle. If you can sit ahead of center, or more likely just behind center, I think you will get good results.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you think your final room will be 5m x 6m, which is about 16ft x 20ft, that's not that far from the room I suggested. I think you can do very well in a room that size.

Though, it assumes that the system will be placed on the 5m (16ft) end of the room.

In terms of seating position, though again we are all slaves to our circumstances, you don't want to be sitting at the end of the room or in the middle. If you can sit ahead of center, or more likely just behind center, I think you will get good results.

Steve/bluewizard
Thanks, you have definitely educated me in all this and provoked a fair bit of online video watching and reading. I feel a lot more comfortable with where to place stuff now, particularly first reflection zones. I'm still a little sketchy on the best way to set up the wall behind the listening zone but i think i can experiment with absorption and diffusion for that.

I'm pretty excited to start setting the room up and seeing how much difference each phase makes.
 

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Try to avoid any dimension with the same multiplier as another dimension. 16 and 20 both share 4 feet. You will get some nasty room modes at those multiples.

Ideal room is 17 feet wide, 10 ft high by 23 feet deep.

Check out the Cardas website for formulas on room sizes and speaker placements. The 1/3's mentioned above is an excellent starting point. When the room is compromised, and they always are, then you can treat for conditions like sidewalls and front walls being too close to the speakers. Ceilings are just as big an offender as the floor and walls and unfortunately basements usually do not have high ceilings. ugh

And don't fall into the trap that first reflections should always be absorptive. I have had excellent results with diffusion in the near field spots. You can address all that after construction is done. But don't go down the home theater overdamped route. Different animals. The double drywall, hat channel, isolated room is however, recommended as the HT builders use. I have been fortunate enough to have had a 2 channel room and separate HT at the same time. Treated much differently.

I am jealous you get to do this. Right now I rent a house and cannot do much to my space. I will live vicariously through you!

Almost forgot:

http://www.bobgolds.com/Mode/RoomModes.htm
 

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I'll be listening to music moderate to loud.

I'm a totally noob when it comes to treatments so i'll have to go do some research on the items you mentioned. Am i right in interpreting this as reflected sound is bad so the idea is to disrupt sound that woudl usually bounce off walls, floors, ceilings etc to not interfere with the sound coming straight at you from the speaker?
Others may/will disagree, but as I see it: You have it exactly right, especially with "loud" music.

One way to improve the absorption of the ceiling structure is to first fill the ceiling joist cavities with R19 insulation and then cover this ceiling with acoustical tiles, using batten strips if necessary. This construction will absorb much more sound than just covering drywall with the tiles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everyone for the input everyone.

so after a lot of reading am i right in the following statements

1. First point of reflection on walls floor and ceiling is the most important and should be treated with absorption 2" - 4"
2. The rear of the room should be live and so should be treated with diffusion (i found plans to make some pretty cool looking diffuser
3. the corners should all be treated with absorption, the deeper the better to work with bass

I'm guessing for my ears if i do all of the above then it will be pretty damn good, however i'm thirsty for knowledge now and I'm a little confused about behind the speakers, this seems to be an area of debate, some say leave it, others recommend absorption but say that it must be very thick to absorb low sound levels. thoughts?
 

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The wall behind/between the speakers might be a good place to try uninstalled panels.

Also: Consider futureproofing the ceiling by running extra cables up there for Atmos speakers, an HDMI cable for a ceiling-mounted projector, and an AC line for same.
 
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