Is a very big listening room as bad as a very small one?

Sep 11, 2016
53
0
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Istanbul
#21
"Is a very big listening room as bad as a very small one?"

Is a concert hall too big for a small instrument like a violin to sound good?
Hello Socrates :D

I'll prefer to listen to a solo violin in a room instead of even a small concert hall.
 
Oct 30, 2017
496
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USA
#22
Thanks Paul. You are correct to point out to a good acoustician but unfortunately I don't know if there is an acoustician specialized in hi-end stereo audio in my country.

I know and even friends with a couple of great acousticians but they are building recording studios and av systems all the time. I happen to get a couple of advices from them from time to time and they all ended up bad. The room became dead most of the time. It is magic to create an intimate sounding system and I think you need a very focused acoustician on this particular field.

It is a great investment for me and I don't know any acoustician that I can trust for hi-end stereo so I am trying to learn myself first and then monitor the acoustician that I will hire.
Well I worked with Nyal at Acoustic Frontiers in California USA and was very happy. I live 2000 mile from him and have never even made his acquaintance. It was all done online/phone.



Nyal Mellor, Acoustic Frontiers LLC, specialists in the design and creation of high performance listening rooms, home theaters and project studios for discerning audio/video enthusiasts.

Office: (415) 524 8741
Mobile: (415) 254 4204
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,225
11
38
E. England
#23
Parkcaka, until 2 years ago I ran my system in a 27x22x13 space, and in hindsight realise I had lots of issues.
Maybe not the size/dimensions, but certainly the preponderance of harsh surfaces, glass and concrete, and too many alcoves/mezzanine.
In the last year I’ve been running my system from a custom built dedicated space (within my roof/loft void), 18x38x10 (max midline apex ht with eaves descending right and left to side walls 4’ high.
I really fretted over the descending ceiling, but in fact I think it’s aided acoustics here (one less parallel to worry about).
Having my spkrs 4’ from side walls, 9’ from front wall, is a total luxury, and critical I think in reflections being less of an issue, and the spkrs just breathing.
Photos of my room on another thread, General Audio Discussions “Visit To Marc C’s Room”.
 

manjy

New Member
Aug 31, 2011
10
0
0
#24
Thanks to Parkcaka for starting this thread. I am also building a dedicated room and was searching for ideal room sizes while all I too could find were ratios.

I finally settled on 26' x 18' x 11' after using various online calculators and reading plenty of articles. My current speakers are large with 2 x 16" woofers per side isobarically loaded. These were way to bassy in my existing room and hopefully the larger room size will solve that issue.
I hope I have selected the right size.. although I could still make a few changes since construction has just begun.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
10,986
1
38
Manila, Philippines
#25
If I may offer an added angle to all this. I think many forget to consider the boundary reinforcement factor. Every speaker has a range in which bass evens out with the help of said boundary reinforcement. So, if you have say really small speakers and set them within this optimal range you can have excellent sound in a crazy big space (think open plan) PROVIDED you sit close enough to the speakers too e.g. ideal listening position. The rest of the space is free for other use.

Now if we are talking about dedicated spaces then we are looking at visual as well as sonic harmony within the space. We start seeing speakers taking up roughly the first third of the room. Like in photography there is something about thirds. It looks pleasing and sounds good too. IME 50sqm to 60sqm is the sweet zone in that these can accommodate and do well by a range of speakers from say Vr-55s to VR-11s, S3s to Q7s, Watt Puppies to XLFs, G5s to G2.2s, you get my drift. Somehow when one breaches the 80sqm mark and especially into the 100sqm mark given ceiling heights 3m and above we're looking at the need for massive bass support. We see added subs or the use of bass towers come into play. This is typically because now the speakers are pulled out to a point that reinforcement is reduced and must be made up for.

Just my 2 centavos :)
 
Sep 11, 2016
53
0
6
Istanbul
#26
Thanks guys for great responses.

With the new information I have from you, I downsized the plan to 23 x 39 x 13 at the moment.

It may still look big on the paper but I want to be on the safe side.

If it ends up too big there are always solutions to make it smaller but not vise versa.

I hope I'm on the right track:)
 
Apr 26, 2017
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#27
My room is 19x32x10, so not a big difference. The big room size is good but you will need more acoustic absorption to keep a decent and homogenous decay. For a room your size, you can go from around 0.4ms to 0.6ms decay time controlled across the audio band and once you hear a room with controlled decay you would not be able to go back. You can figure out how much sabines worth of absorption you need to achieve that, then buy or build your panels accordingly (thickness and density and amount to cover). Then start treating your room from tricorners, then to first, second reflection points, front wall and maybe a diffusion at the back wall.

What is the room made of? Are there glasses, is it completely rectangular? Your dimensions correlation does not fall into ideal dimensions according to Bolt (20x30x13 would fall into ideal dimensions), however you can achieve a good sound there and I believe having a little more space is better. Smaller rooms have always problems with standing waves and a good response under the schroeder freq is nearly impossible. However, the bigger rooms, when not treated and set-up properly can have their problems too!
 

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
2,933
0
36
#28
Hi,

You have already received a lot of great advice here from some of the most outstanding members on the forum. Just an additional thought / data point: for their rooms, SMT recommends "a small wall" of 3 wings, approximately 2 feet behind the listener's head, regardless of how far back the room goes. Each SMT wing is about 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. So in effect, you have a 4 feet high by 6 feet wide "fake wall" right behind you, with openings on both sides in the back.

I completely understand the points about loading the room properly with bass. But in my experience, it's a double edged sword. Most rooms I have heard, unfortunately, have too much bass and have been made to sound "dead" with too much absorption.

The Wilson and Magico speakers you mention above will need powerful amplifiers to make the system come alive. So you will likely be using very powerful amplifiers. Personally I would go with a bigger room for the types of speakers you mention. And with SMT's recommended approach you can have much of the bass escape behind you.

Good Luck!
 

dbeau

New Member
Apr 20, 2018
20
0
1
OKC,USA
#29
Ceasar,
I am investigating improving our living/listening room 27x17x12 with a large opening on one side and many obstacles on the other.
I have contacted Mr. Odemalm re purchase of SMT transparent wings with my thought of using near field close to speaker for 1st reflection.
Your response of SMT advice for SMT wall behind listening position maybe all I need - or perhaps in addition (?)
What type of wings were advised for this use?
Thanks for whatever insight you give,
Dave
 

caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
2,933
0
36
#30
Ceasar,
I am investigating improving our living/listening room 27x17x12 with a large opening on one side and many obstacles on the other.
I have contacted Mr. Odemalm re purchase of SMT transparent wings with my thought of using near field close to speaker for 1st reflection.
Your response of SMT advice for SMT wall behind listening position maybe all I need - or perhaps in addition (?)
What type of wings were advised for this use?
Thanks for whatever insight you give,
Dave
Hi Dave,
Yes, I think you are absolutely on the right track with contacting Matts Odemalm. As I mentioned above, most audiophile rooms I have heard are dead. But not his designs.



I haven't gotten all of my ducks in a row yet with SMT, so in the case above I refer to a friend's MBL system (omni-directional) that I have heard extensively. Before smt, he had absorption and it was dead; it was Still a good system because the speakers and components are outstanding, but now it's spectacular! with 12 or more wings, or whatever he's got, it's a full 3D soundstage! Just the right amount of sound energy from each point in space reaches the listener at the proper time to enhance realism.

That "wall" in the back makes a HUGE difference. And so do the ones on the sides and behind the speakers. With acrylic wings, you can move and play around. I do know that just like with all great things in life, more is better with the wings. I would start with 6-8. And if you can afford and the situation allows, get more!

Matts can help prioritize placement for your specific situation and budget. Depending on the configuration of your living space, and the speakers that you use, he will be able to recommend the number of wings and their positioning.

Good luck!
 

MtnHam

Industry Expert
Jan 13, 2014
191
0
16
Nothern California Wine Country
#31
Constantine Soo's Dagogo zine just published a review of the Sound Lab Ultimate 545 electrostatic speakers in which he makes reference to the size of the radiating surface and the size of the room. Dr. Roger West of Sound Lab is quoted:

“My calculations show that in order to achieve proper acoustic balance with the [Ultimate 545’s] the listening room should not have a volume greater than about 2400 cubic feet. In contrast, your room has a volume of nearly 3800 cu. ft. However, the speakers are mounted on the narrow aspect of the room and thus low-frequency energy travels on a “corridor” past the listening position, somewhat like a wave-guide, which could increase the energy density of bass energy and somewhat offset the maximum room volume requirement."

The full review can be found here:https://www.dagogo.com/sound-lab-ult...kers-review/2/
 
Dec 13, 2010
251
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#32
Hi,

I can build a room as big as 33W x 46L x 16H (feet) within the ideal ratio but is it too big for a standard full range speaker experience?


The answer is: it depends.

In bigger rooms big speakers can be placed further away from the walls so that boundary effects like the "Allison effect" are less intrusive: each nearby boundary increases the output level of the bass driver by about 3 db, the frequency below which this occurs depends on the distance driver-boundary: at 1 m the level at frequencies below 34 Hz is increased, at 2 m distance the level at frequencies below 17 Hz.

Boundaries that are further away do not generate very early reflections (2-3 ms delay) which generate high interaural cross-correlation and have been found to be less preferred. For early reflections in general there is no (scientific) evidence that they have any detrimental effects at all.

The sound pressure level at the listening position is the sum of SPL of the direct sound and the (early) reflections. I computed that SPL for three different rooms, keeping the listening triangle unchanged and taking into account only the early reflections. Note that in rooms the sound pressure level drops by about 3 db when distance is doubled.

These 3 rooms were:
1 - floor 20 sqm, volume 50 cbm
2 - floor 38 sqm, volume 100 cbm
3 - floor 375 sqm, volume 1,500 cbm.

For the same SPL at listening position in room 3 you need about two times the amp power as compared to room 1, the difference between room 1 and 2 is rather negligible. If one additionally considers the directivity behaviour of loudspeakers roughly another doubling of amp power is necessary to compensate for the drop of the pressure level of the first reflections, which drop obviously depends on the directivity of the loudspeakers.

If one doubles the listening distance, this doubling alone requires another doubling of amp power. So a bigger room might require a more powerful amp.

Klaus
 
Likes: christoph

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,553
1
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#33
When discussing this, you should forget about "amp power" and concentrate on SPL.
This will depend mostly on speaker efficiency and radiating area of the drivers.

Also these room dimensions should be "inside boundary of the room", since you need/should incorporate bass trapping. My bass trapping on my front wall of over 4' deep, so the front wall is actually a "fake" wall. The corners are also triangulated with bass trapping that is 3' deep.
 
Dec 13, 2010
251
1
18
#34
When discussing this, you should forget about "amp power" and concentrate on SPL. This will depend mostly on speaker efficiency and radiating area of the drivers.
Of course it's SPL that matters, but SPL is provided by the combined forces of speakers and power amp. When the amp is just powerful enough to provide the desired SPL in the smaller room it will be too weak to provide the same SPL in the larger room.

That said I would not build the room too large because of the fact that reverberation time increases with room size and it might be difficult to get it down to acceptable levels.


Klaus