Advice on non-intrusive room treatment for a living room

hopkins

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Can I ask what the angle between you and your speakers is? Or, easier to measure, the distance between the 2 speakers and the distance between each speaker and your ears.

Also, I've just noticed something. The wall oposite your sofa slopes. I guess it's a top floor flat. I don't know if this is a good or bad feature, or what could be done to reduce its impact if it's an undesirable feature. Others may have a view on this.

I must say, I'd like to see horn speakers (used Avantgarde Unos perhaps) that could be placed close to the wall and less likely to be upset by the room's features.

The speakers and listening position are close to being in an equilateral triangle - but I may adjust this. The speakers are around 3 meters apart, and my seating position around 2.8 meters from either speaker. In the pictures, the speakers are wider apart.

Funny you mention the slopes on the wall, as I was just thinking about this. There are also alcoves in the wall facing the couch (one can be seen in the picture).

Is perfect symmetry desirable ? I don't know - perhaps some asymmetry acts like "diffusion" ? Also, I could place in the alcoves some more "absorbant" furniture than what I have now.

The room lacks symmetry, which is a nice feature, from a design standpoint, but perhaps not ideal for acoustics ? I would be curious to see what the effect of adding a screen to the right of the right speaker (and to the right of the couch to block the entrance). This would make the space smaller, so I am not sure that would be desireable, but I am always curious to test things (in a "leave no stone unturned" approach!).
 
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hopkins

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I also forgot to mention that the couch is suede It is old, and not very nice, and want to replace i will probably get one made of fabric, and opt for an ottoman on one side, instead of the current build in L, so I can move the ottoman to the side when I have a listening "session"...
 
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pjwd

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The speakers and listening position are close to being in an equilateral triangle - but I may adjust this. The speakers are around 3 meters apart, and my seating position around 2.8 meters from either speaker. In the pictures, the speakers are wider apart.

Funny you mention the slopes on the wall, as I was just thinking about this. There are also alcoves in the wall facing the couch (one can be seen in the picture).

Is perfect symmetry desirable ? I don't know - perhaps some asymmetry acts like "diffusion" ? Also, I could place in the alcoves some more "absorbant" furniture than what I have now.

The room lacks symmetry, which is a nice feature, from a design standpoint, but perhaps not ideal for acoustics ? I would be curious to see what the effect of adding a screen to the right of the right speaker (and to the right of the couch to block the entrance). This would make the space smaller, so I am not sure that would be desireable, but I am always curious to test things (in a "leave no stone unturned" approach!).
Symmetry is the best possible starting point as it gives a high chance of perfect chanel match and hence best stereo image, clarity, definition etc
When you dont have it treatments or furniture etc. can be used to improve acoustic symmetry
 

hopkins

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My best attempt at symmetry (but work in progress) ! Curtains will be properly installed, and furnishing improved! L part of the couch is rotated 90 degrees...


Taken with my tablet, there’s a lot of distortion.
The important thing is that it is sounding better today than it did yesterday :)
 
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hopkins

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He approves.

PXL_20230508_222451593.jpg

The sound is now much clearer and yet relaxing.
Bass is much cleaner. Image is better centered, and soundstage is wide, yet speakers tend to disappear. Everything is better. Looking forward to fine tuning this and making further improvements.

Perhaps Linkwitz is correct - with some speakers and optimized placement you don’t need heavy room treatment? Or lets say you can get satisfactory results without turning your living room into a recording studio.
 
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pjwd

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He approves.

View attachment 109129

The sound is now much clearer and yet relaxing.
Bass is much cleaner. Image is better centered, and soundstage is wide, yet speakers tend to disappear. Everything is better. Looking forward to fine tuning this and making further improvements.

Perhaps Linkwitz is correct - with some speakers and optimized placement you don’t need heavy room treatment? Or lets say you can get satisfactory results without turning your living room into a recording studio.
Thats great ! The room looks good
Linkwtz was referring to dipoles :) I recall .. of course he had a quite deep room to play with so a few acoustic aids in smaller ( or any ) rooms can only help
I woud be tempted to move your speakers a little closer together .. you shouldnt lose out on scale and you may get a little more body
A new handmade chair gives a great opportunity to add absorbtion in a discreet way

Is the ceiling a no go because of aesthetics

Cheers
Phil
 
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hopkins

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Thats great ! The room looks good
Linkwtz was referring to dipoles :) I recall .. of course he had a quite deep room to play with so a few acoustic aids in smaller ( or any ) rooms can only help
I woud be tempted to move your speakers a little closer together .. you shouldnt lose out on scale and you may get a little more body
A new handmade chair gives a great opportunity to add absorbtion in a discreet way

Is the ceiling a no go because of aesthetics

Cheers
Phil

It's a good starting point, but I will definitely tweak the distance between the speakers.

The ceiling is a tough one. I already feel like it is low so I don't want to lose on height. My girlfriend will definitely have issues with that (and we have other priorities for home improvements...). Once everything else is fixed perhaps I will consider it. I am very excited with the current improvement, and will see how far I need take this.

I saw pictures of Linkwitz's room and the dimensions are indeed very different. Dipole speakers are friendlier with smaller widths as you have cancelling on the sides. In my room, placing the speakers facing the length simply did not work for me.
 

pjwd

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Jun 22, 2015
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It's a good starting point, but I will definitely tweak the distance between the speakers.

The ceiling is a tough one. I already feel like it is low so I don't want to lose on height. My girlfriend will definitely have issues with that (and we have other priorities for home improvements...). Once everything else is fixed perhaps I will consider it. I am very excited with the current improvement, and will see how far I need take this.

I saw pictures of Linkwitz's room and the dimensions are indeed very different. Dipole speakers are friendlier with smaller widths as you have cancelling on the sides. In my room, placing the speakers facing the length simply did not work for me.
I agree with speakers being on the long wall .. even for dipoles ...even though its not logical my experience is that width to the side gives a more spatious presentation
I understand on ceiling .. there are many ways to approach it but one step at a time
 
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hopkins

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You could start with something like this View attachment 108817

Now that I think I have an optimum placement for my speakers I am testing again the solution you suggested.

Don’t laugh...

PXL_20230514_102851699.jpg

Initial listening impression is very good, and I looked over the comparative measurement I had made previously and the impulse response is MUCH cleaner. I'll take some measurements again to confirm.

I only have 4 panels. They are 100x50cm. Could longer panels of smaller width (<50) work ? You mentioned PET panels, could you refer me to a model, as an example? Something light but sturdy would be ideal. The panels shown in the picture are basotect foam (very light, but not rigid and will deteriorate over time).

Does this kind of setup for the panels make sense? Should I test 3 rows ? Any other suggestions?

Having panels hung on the ceiling is quite challenging, but I am curious to see how much of an improvement they make, and will then take an informed decision. As I mentioned, my speakers are not setup permanently in my living room. Right now, it takes me less than 2 minutes to setup everything:
- slide a buffet
- hang a curtain (optional)
- slide the carpet and roll the speakers (they have wheels) in place at the corners of the carpet

I could probably come up with a clever way of securing a few panels on the ceiling, but I need to confirm with repeated comparisons that it makes for a much more "relaxed" listening session...

The alternative would be to do something with the wall above my couch, but that will not deal with the ceiling reflection and I am thinking those hanging ceiling panels may in fact "kill two birds with one stone".
 
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pjwd

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Jun 22, 2015
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Now that I think I have an optimum placement for my speakers I am testing again the solution you suggested.

Don’t laugh...

View attachment 109397

Initial listening impression is very good, and I looked over the comparative measurement I had made previously and the impulse response is MUCH cleaner. I'll take some measurements again to confirm.

I only have 4 panels. They are 100x50cm. Could longer panels of smaller width (<50) work ? You mentioned PET panels, could you refer me to a model, as an example? Something light but sturdy would be ideal. The panels shown in the picture are basotect foam (very light, but not rigid and will deteriorate over time).

Does this kind of setup for the panels make sense? Should I test 3 rows ? Any other suggestions?

Having panels hung on the ceiling is quite challenging, but I am curious to see how much of an improvement they make, and will then take an informed decision. As I mentioned, my speakers are not setup permanently in my living room. Right now, it takes me less than 2 minutes to setup everything:
- slide a buffet
- hang a curtain (optional)
- slide the carpet and roll the speakers (they have wheels) in place at the corners of the carpet

I could probably come up with a clever way of securing a few panels on the ceiling, but I need to confirm with repeated comparisons that it makes for a much more "relaxed" listening session...

The alternative would be to do something with the wall above my couch, but that will not deal with the ceiling reflection and I am thinking those hanging ceiling panels may in fact "kill two birds with one stone".
Beautiful! Well maybe a few tweaks

Its pretty simple reflection maths .. you just stop the reflections as per the diagram below
I have used 200mm deep panels and they work .. smaller you go the less low frequency they go

Pet panels are everywhere these days eg
Ecobaffle® sound-absorbing polyester baffles
Its a genuine plastic bottle recycle !
You can get them in 2400x1200 sheets and suppliers can cut them into 200 or 300mm panels ... I would go 20mm thick min
Lots of ways to fix to ceiling .. I have put eye screws on top edge and hook screws in ceiling and you just hang them ... they calm down reverb in room and cut out first reflections off ceiling at high to mid fr

What is ceiling height and distance from speaker to listening position

Notes_230514_215816_de2.png
 

hopkins

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Sep 10, 2022
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paulstephane.github.io
Beautiful! Well maybe a few tweaks

Its pretty simple reflection maths .. you just stop the reflections as per the diagram below
I have used 200mm deep panels and they work .. smaller you go the less low frequency they go

Pet panels are everywhere these days eg
Ecobaffle® sound-absorbing polyester baffles
Its a genuine plastic bottle recycle !
You can get them in 2400x1200 sheets and suppliers can cut them into 200 or 300mm panels ... I would go 20mm thick min
Lots of ways to fix to ceiling .. I have put eye screws on top edge and hook screws in ceiling and you just hang them ... they calm down reverb in room and cut out first reflections off ceiling at high to mid fr

What is ceiling height and distance from speaker to listening position

View attachment 109398

Thanks!

Here are the dimensions (left and right speakers are roughly 3m apart from each other, and each baffle is roughly 1.15m high):

Screenshot 2023-05-14 143619.jpg
How many panels would you suggest putting and where ?


If my tests are really conclusive, I could insert small magnets in the ceiling to attach the panels, rather than have hooks, but that is a detail...

P.S. all this does not exclude putting a triangular absorber in the ceiling/wall intersection above the couch, as you had also suggested, and I think something not too large with the right fabric could be possible and esthetically pleasing, but that is something else to consider and I am not sure the benefits would be as important as the ceiling panels...
 
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MarkusBarkus

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@hopkins if you hang multiple rows of baffles, after the closest one to the speakers alters incoming waves, do you think subsequent rows are now performing a different role in the overall effect? A non-reflective effect?

If yes, maybe a soffit type treatment in the top-back corner is more effective/visually less obtrusive to the decor?

I propose the question, but only "think" I know the answer, having not measured such a config.

I have had a large, T-shaped cloud suspended on the ceiling, but tired of the look. I currently have two skyline diffusors at first reflection points. I prefer them, but wonder about their efficacy overall, as incoming waves primarily hit the sides, and go wherever.

I have a wool carpet mid room, with a generous pad, and have experimented with a thick, heavy vinyl matt underneath the carpet. Not a change worth the look, IMO.

I moved that vinyl mat to the floor under my chair.

I have considered hanging decorative acoustic panels, flat on the ceiling, as well as a smaller version of your prototype. I think I would try to make a couple of rows of the ceiling baffles from heavy felt, hanging vertically. My ceiling is a bit under eight-feet, so that limits it dimensionally. Here is a pic with multiple treatments visible.
 

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hopkins

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Sep 10, 2022
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@hopkins if you hang multiple rows of baffles, after the closest one to the speakers alters incoming waves, do you think subsequent rows are now performing a different role in the overall effect? A non-reflective effect?

If yes, maybe a soffit type treatment in the top-back corner is more effective/visually less obtrusive to the decor?

I propose the question, but only "think" I know the answer, having not measured such a config.

I have had a large, T-shaped cloud suspended on the ceiling, but tired of the look. I currently have two skyline diffusors at first reflection points. I prefer them, but wonder about their efficacy overall, as incoming waves primarily hit the sides, and go wherever.

I have a wool carpet mid room, with a generous pad, and have experimented with a thick, heavy vinyl matt underneath the carpet. Not a change worth the look, IMO.

I moved that vinyl mat to the floor under my chair.

I have considered hanging decorative acoustic panels, flat on the ceiling, as well as a smaller version of your prototype. I think I would try to make a couple of rows of the ceiling baffles from heavy felt, hanging vertically. My ceiling is a bit under eight-feet, so that limits it dimensionally. Here is a pic with multiple treatments visible.

I will definitely try both the corner intersection and the hanging panels. I am not sure hanging felt drapes would be too effective, and drapes may end up to be more be complicated to hang/remove.

I cannot answer yet about the roles of various series of panels, but I would assume you would want to place several rows, not just one. I’ll try different configurations.

Diffusion or absorbtion on the wall above my couch does not seem terribly effective in my case. Unfortunately, i do not have the option of moving my couch into the room (as you did with your chair).
 

hopkins

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Sep 10, 2022
1,282
743
138
Paris
paulstephane.github.io
Beautiful! Well maybe a few tweaks

Its pretty simple reflection maths .. you just stop the reflections as per the diagram below
I have used 200mm deep panels and they work .. smaller you go the less low frequency they go

Pet panels are everywhere these days eg
Ecobaffle® sound-absorbing polyester baffles
Its a genuine plastic bottle recycle !
You can get them in 2400x1200 sheets and suppliers can cut them into 200 or 300mm panels ... I would go 20mm thick min
Lots of ways to fix to ceiling .. I have put eye screws on top edge and hook screws in ceiling and you just hang them ... they calm down reverb in room and cut out first reflections off ceiling at high to mid fr

What is ceiling height and distance from speaker to listening position

View attachment 109398
I think I can answer my own question and should prioritize panels around half the distance between my speaker and my ears, so around 1.4m (+/- to take into account the fact that I have 4 drivers per baffle) to get the first reflexion points... I can start from there.
 
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MarkusBarkus

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Feb 6, 2021
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...I was thinking vertical felt ceiling baffles, not drapes. I have seen these in situ in various buildings around the world, and they look nice IMO. One can make waves or other patterns as well. Just a thought, for myself as well. I look forward to reading about your results.
 

hopkins

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Sep 10, 2022
1,282
743
138
Paris
paulstephane.github.io
...I was thinking vertical felt ceiling baffles, not drapes. I have seen these in situ in various buildings around the world, and they look nice IMO. One can make waves or other patterns as well. Just a thought, for myself as well. I look forward to reading about your results.
Do you have a link or picture ?
 

MarkusBarkus

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Feb 6, 2021
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...this quick find is very generic, but they come in various colors, dimensions, etc. Perhaps search:
"felt acoustic ceiling baffles" or similar for companies near you.
 

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