Optimizing small room acoustics - Using room acoustics products from Artnovion, ASI, Harmonix, RealTraps and Vicoustics

eds60

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
43
6
73
This article is base on my personal experience in improving room acoustics of my listening room. Before reading this long article, please listen to the videos first, need to use headphone in order to hear the bass. If you think my system and the room doesn't sound good, the information in this article probably not useful at all, and don't need to waste your time to read it.I recorded these videos using my Samsung S8 at the listening position. Room dimensions are 10ft 8in width x 11ft 9in length.Tweeter to tweeter to ears form an equal sides 81inches triangle, I held the phone about 8 inches in front of my face. There are more videos(songs) in my Youtube channel. Some of the songs, you can find in Youtube that other people recorded with their system. I can say my system background noise is very low and bass can go down low. Background noise cause by no or poor room acoustics treatment, you can hear bright, compress, echoy or unclear sound(just like talking inside an indoor basketball court).

Nils Lofgren, Keith don't go

Sheffield Lab Drum record

Rob Wasserman Duets

Stravinsky Firebird Finale


I have my system placed in a 400 sq ft living room(12.5ft x 32ft) for 15 years. My loudspeaker were placed 9ft away from the front wall(wall behind the loudspeaker). When I have my 2nd child, I need to move my system to a 70 sq ft room. I started to use room acoustics products at that time. My friend has Echo Busters in his room, he lend me two Primacoustics 2 inch thick absorbent panels. I don't like the result of Primacoustics absorbent panels, they absorbed too much highs and do nothing to the bass. I also has no interest in Echo Busters. I search more room acoustics information online, and I found RealTraps. After reading Ethan Winer's articles, I decided to order 2 pcs of 2ftx4ft MiniTraps HF(HF version absorb more high frequency than regular MiniTraps) to try out. I liked the result and order more MiniTraps and MondoTraps. During 2 years playing in the 70 sq ft small room, I added Harmonix RFA-78i, ASI Resonators and Magico Tuning dots for tuning the room.

10 years ago, I moved to a 125 sq ft room, 10ft 8in width x 11ft 9in length. With 2 years experience in a very small room, it is much easier to setup in this room. Still, need a lot of experiment where to place the Realtraps. I did order a few more Realtraps. I ended up having two corner Mondotraps, one 6in thick MondoTraps, four MiniTraps HF, two BareTraps, two 2ftx2ft MiniTraps and three 2ftx2ft MicroTraps. BareTraps(now discontinued) is the cheaper version of the MiniTraps, BareTraps metal frame without the slots cutout and the support bar at the back, comes without hanging wires. I ordered the regular non HF version. I think the non HF version works better in 1st reflection point in my room. I gained more experience listening at audiophile's home, dealer showroom, live classical and jazz performance. Some of the hifi rooms(about 20-30 rooms) that I have visited have room acoustics treatments. That's a very good experience to hear them in person. Also has compared room acoustics products in two of my friend's room. I keep fine tuning my room. I have 14 Realtraps, most of them are placed in the same spots for the past 10 years. A few of them, I have moved them in varies places, last year I finally found the optimal spots for all the RealTraps in my room. I also used Harmonix RFA-78i, ASI Resonators and ASI wood products(Phase Corrector, Diffuser and Sugar Cubes).

In the 70 sq ft room, my loudspeakers were placed very close to the sidewalls, 4 and 6 inches. I found placing MiniTraps in between loudspeakers and sidewalls made a significant improvement. Now in the 125 sq ft room, there are 16 inches gap between loudspeakers and sidewalls. I found placing the MiniTraps in between sidewalls and loudspeakers will improve the sound. I have the Minitraps placed 2 inches away from the sidewalls. Absorbent panels leaving space behind will increase the absorbing low frequency ability, and also the back of the panels can absorb sound wave travelling behind them, that will increase the absorbent ability of the panel.

2 years ago, I have added some RPG Skyline type diffusers. Two pieces of Vicoustics DC2 and eight pieces of Artnovion Myron-E. Myron-E is made of sturder materials, there are less squares shapes(bigger size squares) in Myron-E and has bevel edges on each squares. Vicoustics DC2 can only diffuse higher frequency. Myron-E is able to diffuse both higher and lower frequency,a broader frequency range diffuser. I think Myron-E perform much better than DC2. I have lots of experience hearing rooms with Skyline type diffusers in front wall. I also has compared Skyline type diffusers vs absorbent panel in front wall in my friend and my room.I don't like having Skyline type diffusers in front wall. I have two DC2 in front wall, slightly tilt up. I did tried placing them facing front no tilting, I also don't like the result. I found placing Myron-E at sidwall and backwall(behind listening seat), 4ft or more above ground, yield the best result. I tried placing 2 or 3 pieces side by side together, I felt some high frequency got absorbed. I like placing each piece of Myron-E individually. Diffuser diffuse sound wave, but they also absorb certain frequency.

Most people think with short room length, you will not get lower than 50hz deep bass. It is true, but not 100% true. My room is only 11ft 9in length, bass can go below 50hz.

I read an article from Ethan Winer's website. I quote the part from "Big waves, small rooms".
https://ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html#big waves

"SIDEBAR: BIG WAVES, SMALL ROOMS
There is a common myth that small rooms cannot reproduce low frequencies because they are not large enough for the waves to "develop" properly. While it is true that low frequencies have very long wavelengths - for example, a 30 Hz wave is nearly 38 feet long - there is no physical reason such long waves cannot exist within a room that is much smaller than that. What defines the dimensions of a room are the wall spacing and floor-to-ceiling height. Sound waves generated within a room either pass through the room boundaries, bounce off them, or are absorbed. In fact, all three of these often apply. That is, when a sound wave strikes a wall some of its energy may be reflected, some may be absorbed, and some may pass through to the outside.
When low frequencies are attenuated in a room, the cause is always canceling reflections. All that is needed to allow low frequency waves to sound properly and with a uniform frequency response is to remove or at least reduce the reflections. "


What will happen if the room is not long enough. When the loudspeakers produce low frequency sound wave, the wave hit the back wall and bounce back. The rebound wave met the wave that just come out from the loudspeakers. That will cause interference, causing boomy bass, and lack of low frequency extension.

I have a 6 inches MonoTraps at one of the back corner, in front of the left loudspeakers. When soundwave hit MondoTraps, some of the sound energy got absorb (turn into heat), some sound wave go thru MondoTraps, hit the backwall and bounce back to MondoTraps and get absorb. My right loudspeaker is facing a door, when listening music I will leave the door open, let some energy escape from the room. There is no interference of bounce back sound wave, the result is much cleaner and deeper bass.

When you have both absorbers and diffusers in a room, the sound is not even in varies places in the room. When you stand close to diffuser and clap hands, the sound is bright with decay, sound spacious. When you stay close to absorber and clap hand, the sound is dull and dry. So in varies spots in the room, the sound is not evenly distributed. I learned the use of ASI Sugar Cube and Diffusers from an audiophile in Hong Kong. I placed the ASI Diffusers in varies spots, Sugar Cube somewhere close to RealTraps absorbers and diffuers (Artnovion and Vicoustic). When placing Sugar Cubes, I keep clapping hands to determine where to place them, I want to find spots that make clapping hands sound evenly in different positions.

If there is any question, please feel free to ask. Also please share your experience and thoughts.
 
Last edited:

acousticsguru

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2014
248
71
258
This article is base on my personal experience in improving room acoustics of my listening room. Before reading this long article, please listen to the videos first, need to use headphone in order to hear the bass. If you think my system and the room doesn't sound good, the information in this article probably not useful at all, and don't need to waste your time to read it.I recorded these videos using my Samsung S8 at the listening position. Room dimensions are 10ft 8in width x 11ft 9in length.Tweeter to tweeter to ears form an equal sides 81inches triangle, I held the phone about 8 inches in front of my face. There are more videos(songs) in my Youtube channel. Some of the songs, you can find in Youtube that other people recorded with their system. I can say my system background noise is very low and bass can go down low. Background noise cause by no or poor room acoustics treatment, you can hear bright, compress, echoy or unclear sound(just like talking inside an indoor basketball court).

Nils Lofgren, Keith don't go

Sheffield Lab Drum record

Rob Wasserman Duets

Stravinsky Firebird Finale


I have my system placed in a 400 sq ft living room(12.5ft x 32ft) for 15 years. My loudspeaker were placed 9ft away from the front wall(wall behind the loudspeaker). When I have my 2nd child, I need to move my system to a 70 sq ft room. I started to use room acoustics products at that time. My friend has Echo Busters in his room, he lend me two Primacoustics 2 inch thick absorbent panels. I don't like the result of Primacoustics absorbent panels, they absorbed too much highs and do nothing to the bass. I also has no interest in Echo Busters. I search more room acoustics information online, and I found RealTraps. After reading Ethan Winer's articles, I decided to order 2 pcs of 2ftx4ft MiniTraps HF(HF version absorb more high frequency than regular MiniTraps) to try out. I liked the result and order more MiniTraps and MondoTraps. During 2 years playing in the 70 sq ft small room, I added Harmonix RFA-78i, ASI Resonators and Magico Tuning dots for tuning the room.

10 years ago, I moved to a 125 sq ft room, 10ft 8in width x 11ft 9in length. With 2 years experience in a very small room, it is much easier to setup in this room. Still, need a lot of experiment where to place the Realtraps. I did order a few more Realtraps. I ended up having two corner Mondotraps, one 6in thick MondoTraps, four MiniTraps HF, two BareTraps, two 2ftx2ft MiniTraps and three 2ftx2ft MicroTraps. BareTraps(now discontinued) is the cheaper version of the MiniTraps, BareTraps metal frame without the slots cutout and the support bar at the back, comes without hanging wires. I ordered the regular non HF version. I think the non HF version works better in 1st reflection point in my room. I gained more experience listening at audiophile's home, dealer showroom, live classical and jazz performance. Some of the hifi rooms(about 20-30 rooms) that I have visited have room acoustics treatments. That's a very good experience to hear them in person. Also has compared room acoustics products in two of my friend's room. I keep fine tuning my room. I have 14 Realtraps, most of them are placed in the same spots for the past 10 years. A few of them, I have moved them in varies places, last year I finally found the optimal spots for all the RealTraps in my room. I also used Harmonix RFA-78i, ASI Resonators and ASI wood products(Phase Corrector, Diffuser and Sugar Cubes).

In the 70 sq ft room, my loudspeakers were placed very close to the sidewalls, 4 and 6 inches. I found placing MiniTraps in between loudspeakers and sidewalls made a significant improvement. Now in the 125 sq ft room, there are 16 inches gap between loudspeakers and sidewalls. I found placing the MiniTraps in between sidewalls and loudspeakers will improve the sound. I have the Minitraps placed 2 inches away from the sidewalls. Absorbent panels leaving space behind will increase the absorbing low frequency ability, and also the back of the panels can absorb sound wave travelling behind them, that will increase the absorbent ability of the panel.

2 years ago, I have added some RPG Skyline type diffusers. Two pieces of Vicoustics DC2 and eight pieces of Artnovion Myron-E. Myron-E is made of sturder materials, there are less squares shapes(bigger size squares) in Myron-E and has bevel edges on each squares. Vicoustics DC2 can only diffuse higher frequency. Myron-E is able to diffuse both higher and lower frequency,a broader frequency range diffuser. I think Myron-E perform much better than DC2. I have lots of experience hearing rooms with Skyline type diffusers in front wall. I also has compared Skyline type diffusers vs absorbent panel in front wall in my friend and my room.I don't like having Skyline type diffusers in front wall. I have two DC2 in front wall, slightly tilt up. I did tried placing them facing front no tilting, I also don't like the result. I found placing Myron-E at sidwall and backwall(behind listening seat), 4ft or more above ground, yield the best result. I tried placing 2 or 3 pieces side by side together, I felt some high frequency got absorbed. I like placing each piece of Myron-E individually. Diffuser diffuse sound wave, but they also absorb certain frequency.

Most people think with short room length, you will not get lower than 50hz deep bass. It is true, but not 100% true. My room is only 11ft 9in length, bass can go below 50hz.

I read an article from Ethan Winer's website. I quote the part from "Big waves, small rooms".
https://ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html#big waves

"SIDEBAR: BIG WAVES, SMALL ROOMS
There is a common myth that small rooms cannot reproduce low frequencies because they are not large enough for the waves to "develop" properly. While it is true that low frequencies have very long wavelengths - for example, a 30 Hz wave is nearly 38 feet long - there is no physical reason such long waves cannot exist within a room that is much smaller than that. What defines the dimensions of a room are the wall spacing and floor-to-ceiling height. Sound waves generated within a room either pass through the room boundaries, bounce off them, or are absorbed. In fact, all three of these often apply. That is, when a sound wave strikes a wall some of its energy may be reflected, some may be absorbed, and some may pass through to the outside.
When low frequencies are attenuated in a room, the cause is always canceling reflections. All that is needed to allow low frequency waves to sound properly and with a uniform frequency response is to remove or at least reduce the reflections. "


What will happen if the room is not long enough. When the loudspeakers produce low frequency sound wave, the wave hit the back wall and bounce back. The rebound wave met the wave that just come out from the loudspeakers. That will cause interference, causing boomy bass, and lack of low frequency extension.

I have a 6 inches MonoTraps at one of the back corner, in front of the left loudspeakers. When soundwave hit MondoTraps, some of the sound energy got absorb (turn into heat), some sound wave go thru MondoTraps, hit the backwall and bounce back to MondoTraps and get absorb. My right loudspeaker is facing a door, when listening music I will leave the door open, let some energy escape from the room. There is no interference of bounce back sound wave, the result is much cleaner and deeper bass.

When you have both absorbers and diffusers in a room, the sound is not even in varies places in the room. When you stand close to diffuser and clap hands, the sound is bright with decay, sound spacious. When you stay close to absorber and clap hand, the sound is dull and dry. So in varies spots in the room, the sound is not evenly distributed. I learned the use of ASI Sugar Cube and Diffusers from an audiophile in Hong Kong. I placed the ASI Diffusers in varies spots, Sugar Cube somewhere close to RealTraps absorbers and diffuers (Artnovion and Vicoustic). When placing Sugar Cubes, I keep clapping hands to determine where to place them, I want to find spots that make clapping hands sound evenly in different positions.

If there is any question, please feel free to ask. Also please share your experience and thoughts.
Seeing you have quite some experience with RealTraps. I've been told their products are well-made and as a concept designed not to over-dampen rooms (which I can't stand). I don't know them and would be curious to hear your impressions (in general, including dealing with them). Also, I'm curious about their diffuser/absorber, one of the few on the market that combines both, do you have any experience with it? Thanks!

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
 

eds60

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2017
43
6
73
Seeing you have quite some experience with RealTraps. I've been told their products are well-made and as a concept designed not to over-dampen rooms (which I can't stand). I don't know them and would be curious to hear your impressions (in general, including dealing with them). Also, I'm curious about their diffuser/absorber, one of the few on the market that combines both, do you have any experience with it? Thanks!

Greetings from Switzerland, Dav
Seeing you have quite some experience with RealTraps. I've been told their products are well-made and as a concept designed not to over-dampen rooms (which I can't stand). I don't know them and would be curious to hear your impressions (in general, including dealing with them). Also, I'm curious about their diffuser/absorber, one of the few on the market that combines both, do you have any experience with it? Thanks!

Greetings from Switzerland, David.

Seeing you have quite some experience with RealTraps. I've been told their products are well-made and as a concept designed not to over-dampen rooms (which I can't stand). I don't know them and would be curious to hear your impressions (in general, including dealing with them). Also, I'm curious about their diffuser/absorber, one of the few on the market that combines both, do you have any experience with it? Thanks!

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
Hi David:

I think Realtraps Mondotraps and Minitraps do a very good job for absorbing mid and bass frequency. They also made the room much quieter. They absorbed the boomy bass, highs become more extend and clear. But they also reduce the air around the instruments. They made the instruments just like they are in front of you playing, but lack the decay of sound as you hear in the music hall.I added some diffusers to overcome the problem. I have not experience with Realtraps diffuers, they are expensive. Also Realtraps diffuser doesn't just diffuse, it also absorb as it has some absorbent material at the back.

Primacoustic also make diffusers with absorbent material. It is less famous than Realtraps. Primacoustic absorbent panel is not good. I borrowed from my friend to try, it absorbs too much highs and not effective for bass.


Edmund
 

acousticsguru

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2014
248
71
258
Hi David:

I think Realtraps Mondotraps and Minitraps do a very good job for absorbing mid and bass frequency. They also made the room much quieter. They absorbed the boomy bass, highs become more extend and clear. But they also reduce the air around the instruments. They made the instruments just like they are in front of you playing, but lack the decay of sound as you hear in the music hall.I added some diffusers to overcome the problem. I have not experience with Realtraps diffuers, they are expensive. Also Realtraps diffuser doesn't just diffuse, it also absorb as it has some absorbent material at the back.

Primacoustic also make diffusers with absorbent material. It is less famous than Realtraps. Primacoustic absorbent panel is not good. I borrowed from my friend to try, it absorbs too much highs and not effective for bass.


Edmund
Thanks for your reply! Sounds as though RealTraps are optimized for studio purposes, recording and mixing, where perceived dryness is easily overcome electronically, rather than critical listening. I’d be less concerned that a combined diffuser/absorber over-dampens a room since the surfaces need to be reflective above ca. 600 Hz, and there’s little space inside for dampening material, especially for the “far” model with the deeper wells. But you’re right, it makes for an expensive unit considering size and frequency range, plus one needs a minimum of two to four to get any desired effect.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
 

Cellcbern

Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2015
90
36
115
67
Washington, DC
Check out my posts on the ZR Acoustics panels - which just replaced a full suite of RPG BAD and GIK absorption panels which I'd been using for more than a decade in my small (16' x 10') room. ZR Acoustics panels.jpg
 
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