The argument for/against room treatment

Tim Link

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Close enough.


By room sound I'd like to think you're referring to recording hall because in most every case, that's what I think I'm hearing, even with many poorly-engineered recordings. But if by room, you mean listening room, I hope you're hearing very little "room sound". I've included a video below and would appreciate your take. This music piece I found on a Telarc sampler disk a few years ago and find it to be a nice little gem.


Thanks.


Actually, I never said no improvements can be made. IME, little improvement potentials are endless and abound most everywhere. But little improvements are quite limited and a FAR cry from necessity or requirement as some/many claim.


Speaker size isn't all that significant IMO though I'd prefer large over small. I think. But it's all too easy to overload a smaller room with a larger speaker if one is not careful. Thus far, I definitely prefer full range over limited range though recent revelations with my subwoofer's potential certainly make me more open-minded toward smaller speakers. Ideally and from a purely aesthestic perspective, I'd like nothing more than to possess the smallest speaker possible. Provided I wasn't missing a thing musically including bass and I think with much work that can be done.


Residential rooms tend to have certain problems or residential playback systems?


Thoughts on a "room sound"?
I'm really thinking of dispersion pattern when I say speaker size. I notice a big difference in the sound when I switch to a speaker with wider dispersion. My current room generally doesn't work as well with a wide dispersion direct radiator speaker for most music, although some close mic. vocal stuff actually sounds richer and better with the wider dispersion. I definitely don't like it as much when the recording already has complex reverb information in it. My room reverb added on doesn't add anything desirable and makes it harder to hear the original venue. The wide dispersion speaker when played in my fully carpeted bedroom sounds great, and really great when I had some acoustic panels in there. Without the panels imaging is difficult because the walls are too close and dissimilar to each other. I listened to your room recording compared to the straight Telarc recording you linked to. Your room recording sounds a bit wetter, richer than the straight recording on headphones. That's as it should be otherwise your room would sound too dead in person. I don't hear any particular tones sticking out in a way that's bothersome. At around 36 seconds the lower notes , tuba?, are much tighter and more distinct on the direct recording than the room recording. I find it interesting to listen to a recording like yours of speakers playing in a room while being able to compare directly to the original recording played straight into headphones. On more than one occasion I've found the recording of the speakers to actually be more enjoyable than the direct recording, which can sometimes be overly dry and sterile sounding. In this case the original recording has plenty of ambience so it sounds more detailed without getting sterile. A factor I hadn't considered before is that when you record the speakers playing back you get cross talk between the channels just like you do between your ears when listening in person. This adds crosstalk to the headphones that isn't normally there when listening to the original file.
 

morricab

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No mention of power regeneration because I only listed my firsthand experiences.

Actually, I think I stand corrected. When I was an in-home dealer I sold and installed some amps for a doctor friend who employed some PS Audio line conditioners around 2005. A smaller unit but also a larger bit of a mosterous unit (about the size of a hefty mid-sized amplifier) which was I think something like a P600 Power Plant which was some kind of power regenerator and line conditioner combined.

I installed the amps and after about 10 min of listening, my ears couldn't take it any more so I asked if we could just try listening with all his components plugged directly into wall and by-pass the PS Audio gear. He did and even he noticed a musical improvement. I drove home and brought back my own Foundation Research line conditioners and we installed them. Significantly more musical and he purchased 3 units from me.

So I think that's my only potential experience with power regenerators if that's what it was. And if there's any tuning on those PS Audio units, it's entirely possible they were not tuned properly.

I have heard from others supposedly in-the-know that power regenerators can provide some benefit but they too carry forward much / all of the dirty AC coming in from the street since they do nothing to purify, cleanse, condition, and/or filter the dirt. That's only what I heard and I'm sure some units employ different strategies and/or methodologies.


Nice. But what does "hearing big gains in noise floor" mean? I think we have entirely different definitions of noise floor.
Why would you assume we mean something different by lower noise floor?
 

stehno

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I'm really thinking of dispersion pattern when I say speaker size. I notice a big difference in the sound when I switch to a speaker with wider dispersion. My current room generally doesn't work as well with a wide dispersion direct radiator speaker for most music, although some close mic. vocal stuff actually sounds richer and better with the wider dispersion. I definitely don't like it as much when the recording already has complex reverb information in it. My room reverb added on doesn't add anything desirable and makes it harder to hear the original venue. The wide dispersion speaker when played in my fully carpeted bedroom sounds great, and really great when I had some acoustic panels in there. Without the panels imaging is difficult because the walls are too close and dissimilar to each other. I listened to your room recording compared to the straight Telarc recording you linked to. Your room recording sounds a bit wetter, richer than the straight recording on headphones. That's as it should be otherwise your room would sound too dead in person. I don't hear any particular tones sticking out in a way that's bothersome. At around 36 seconds the lower notes , tuba?, are much tighter and more distinct on the direct recording than the room recording. I find it interesting to listen to a recording like yours of speakers playing in a room while being able to compare directly to the original recording played straight into headphones. On more than one occasion I've found the recording of the speakers to actually be more enjoyable than the direct recording, which can sometimes be overly dry and sterile sounding. In this case the original recording has plenty of ambience so it sounds more detailed without getting sterile. A factor I hadn't considered before is that when you record the speakers playing back you get cross talk between the channels just like you do between your ears when listening in person. This adds crosstalk to the headphones that isn't normally there when listening to the original file.
Thanks, Tim. The version of the Miller's Dance track I posted was by Empire Brass on Telarc and seemed to consists mostly of trumpets and on that piece I could hear no tuba. Can you supply the link to what you heard?
 

stehno

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Why would you assume we mean something different by lower noise floor?
I just never heard the expression "hearing big gains in noise floor" before. What does this mean to you?
 

stehno

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Boy, aside from you two guys, it suddenly looks like a ghost town in this thread. Hmmmmm. Maybe everybody's out buying acoustic panels and bass traps? :)

Oh, well. I'm going to assume I provided a sufficient argument and sufficient evidence against the need for acoustic treatments.

That's one less folklore we need to concern ourselves with.
 

Al M.

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Boy, aside from you two guys, it suddenly looks like a ghost town in this thread. Hmmmmm. Maybe everybody's out buying acoustic panels and bass traps? :)

Oh, well. I'm going to assume I provided a sufficient argument and sufficient evidence against the need for acoustic treatments.

That's one less folklore we need to concern ourselves with.

You're free to assume whatever you want. I have made my points and am happy with that.
 
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stehno

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sbnx

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Boy, aside from you two guys, it suddenly looks like a ghost town in this thread. Hmmmmm. Maybe everybody's out buying acoustic panels and bass traps? :)

Oh, well. I'm going to assume I provided a sufficient argument and sufficient evidence against the need for acoustic treatments.

That's one less folklore we need to concern ourselves with.
Nope. you are like a person walking into the Physics department at Cal Tech or Oxford and proclaiming the Earth is flat.
 

MTB Vince

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Nope. you are like a person walking into the Physics department at Cal Tech or Oxford and proclaiming the Earth is flat.

@stehno I'm afraid I'm with sbnx on this.
 
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Al M.

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@stehno I'm afraid I'm with sbnx on this.

Yup. Just yesterday I fixed the left hand first reflection point of my speakers, with ASC diffusion panels at the right distance and, finally, right height. Clear reduction in distortion which could not be achieved any other way, brilliant result (thanks, ASC!).

My speakers are about 2 feet from the side walls. Of course, when speakers are less close, then such side wall treatment may not be necessary.

There is too much dogma going around on this. I was happy, after some experimentation, to remove all of my remaining ASC TubeTraps recently upon ddk's great suggestion, which worked this time around since my acoustic situation has changed from what I had before. But then the proclamation by some that all professional acoustic treatment is bad is over the top. I am not dogmatic either way, I take whatever works. If it's removal of room treatment, great, if it is addition of room treatment when it delivers the result, great too!

And yes, my ASC window plugs and ceiling diffusers are indispensable as well. But again, that is room dependent. There is no quick and easy formula for any of this.

There is too much black and white in the discussion, like with analog vs digital or anything else. The world is not black and white, the world is gray -- full of nuance and situational shadings.
 
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PeterA

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There is too much dogma going around on this. I was happy, after some experimentation, to remove all of my remaining ASC TubeTraps recently upon ddk's great suggestion, which worked this time around since my acoustic situation has changed from what I had before.

Al, I was not aware that you removed all of your Tube Traps completely from your room. I really look forward to hearing the results after you allow visitors.

What do you mean by saying your acoustic situation has changed from what you had before?

In my case I kept the system the same and the room the same. None of that changed. I simply realized that it was my taste that changed so I removed my acoustic treatments after much back and forth and realized that I now prefer a different kind of sound. I think I also came to understand better how the specialty treatment affected the sound.
 
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Al M.

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Al, I was not aware that you removed all of your Tube Traps completely from your room. I really look forward to hearing the results after you allow visitors.

What do you mean by saying your acoustic situation has changed from what you had before?

Peter, our move of my subwoofers from the front wall to positioning them next to the speakers changed everything.

In my case I kept the system the same and the room the same. None of that changed. I simply realized that it was my taste that changed so I removed my acoustic treatments after much back and forth and realized that I now prefer a different kind of sound. I think I also came to understand better how the specialty treatment affected the sound.

Sure, it worked for your room. As i said, everything is room dependent. What worked in your situation would not work in other situations.

For example:
1. Your ceiling is acoustically benign, mine is not. You don't need ceiling diffusers, I most certainly do.
2. Your speakers are much farther away from the sidewalls, so treatment at the first reflection points is not necessary. Mine are closer to the sidewalls, and diffusers at the first reflection points are beneficial.
 

PeterA

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Peter, our move of my subwoofers from the front wall to positioning them next to the speakers changed everything.



Sure, it worked for your room. As i said, everything is room dependent. What worked in your situation would not work in other situations.

For example:
1. Your ceiling is acoustically benign, mine is not. You don't need ceiling diffusers, I most certainly do.
2. Your speakers are much farther away from the sidewalls, so treatment at the first reflection points is not necessary. Mine are closer to the sidewalls, and diffusers at the first reflection points are beneficial.

Yes I understand all of that and agree with it. I was asking for you to explain how your acoustics changed so that you no longer need the tube traps. Are you saying moving the subwoofers and adding the ceiling treatment changed the acoustics enough that you now no longer need the tube traps?

Are you also saying that none of this has anything to do with changing your taste And what you prioritize or value in the sonic presentation? I’m just curious.
 

Al M.

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Yes I understand all of that and agree with it. I was asking for you to explain how your acoustics changed so that you no longer need the tube traps. Are you saying moving the subwoofers and adding the ceiling treatment changed the acoustics enough that you now no longer need the tube traps?

Yes, especially moving the subwoofers and getting the bass energy out from the front wall, where the TubeTraps were situated, to the plane of the speakers (drivers about 7 feet from front wall). This made the TubeTraps at the front wall unnecessary, since there was no bass energy anymore to control at the TubeTrap position.

Also, the room acoustics changed dramatically for the better just by moving the subwoofers away from the front wall (where they were placed on high SubTrap stands). This even with the subwoofers being turned off, without making any sound.

Are you also saying that none of this has anything to do with changing your taste And what you prioritize or value in the sonic presentation? I’m just curious.

Mostly nothing to do with changing my taste, with one exception:

Previously I liked pin-point imaging, now I very much dislike it as being unnatural, just like you. In the old situation, where speaker toe-in allowed for pin-point imaging, removing the TubeTraps made images bigger and with more diffuse outlines. Since now the images fortunately are like that to begin with, removing the TubeTraps had no influence on imaging at all.
 
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alfa100

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Let me put it another way (you guys aren't understanding the essence of my question).

Why not have a room that is FULLY DAMPED?
Terrible . Fully damped room I had. Drive me insane. Did nothing for the low frequencies boom and sucked out the mids and tops. I removed the absorbers , Diffusers at first reflection at side walls and ceiling fixed my room acoustics.
 
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alfa100

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I don't understand this either. I have spoken to some audiophiles about adding just a couple of corner traps and their response was concern about it killing the sound. I try to be super polite and understanding and encourage them to at least try. I do admit that once a certain point is reached the room can be overdamped and sound rather dead. I personally crossed this line at one point in my room. But that takes a TON of panels, tube traps, etc. I like the RT60 to be about 0.3. To my ears 0.4 is too acoustically noisy and below 0.25 sounds dead and like the sound is "over there". Although when the RT60 gets below 0.25 the sound is super clean and imaging is top notch. You can hear all the details on the CD. But it doesn't sound like music.
True. I had the same experience. I removed my absorber panels.
 
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alfa100

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I found that once I removed the after-market audiophile room acoustic treatments from the room, I had to revisit speaker positioning to regain some of positives I heard with room treatments while at the same time retaining what I had gained by their removal.

I think speaker type, position and orientation in the room play a much more important role than has discussed here so far. Dispersion patterns, orientation and position all affect the balance and intensity of reflections. Finding a pleasing balance seems to be the key. Without the room treatment, it took me much more time and effort to be satisfied with my speaker location and resulting sound, but in the end the result is more satisfying.

Even with professionally designed rooms, some chose to listen in the nearfield to lesson the impact of the room and increase the direct sound from the speakers. MikeL and Steve W seem to both now be listening pretty much in near field to large speakers. They both report a very immersive experience.

Here is an example of how speaker type, positioning and orientation can work to get good results in a poor room: member ddk's second listening room. Note the lack of treatments in this small room with large speakers. David discusses the importance of speaker and listening seat positioning: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...-too-listening-room-2-near-field-setup.15583/
Ditto. I found the same after many wasted months . I revisited speaker position which is tedious. There is absolutely no other way and I believe many find it too laborious and try finds no an easier more costly solution. I had to follow the Wilson Audio WASP method and hey presto the sound clicked in. Thereafter I added diffusers at first reflections and done.
 
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Tim Link

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Thanks, Tim. The version of the Miller's Dance track I posted was by Empire Brass on Telarc and seemed to consists mostly of trumpets and on that piece I could hear no tuba. Can you supply the link to what you heard?
It may be the lower notes on a trumpet I'm hearing. I saw that tuba on the cover photo and thought maybe. This link is on your youtube video notes where it says "Music in this video".
 

microstrip

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Yup. Just yesterday I fixed the left hand first reflection point of my speakers, with ASC diffusion panels at the right distance and, finally, right height. Clear reduction in distortion which could not be achieved any other way, brilliant result (thanks, ASC!).

My speakers are about 2 feet from the side walls. Of course, when speakers are less close, then such side wall treatment may not be necessary.

There is too much dogma going around on this. I was happy, after some experimentation, to remove all of my remaining ASC TubeTraps recently upon ddk's great suggestion, which worked this time around since my acoustic situation has changed from what I had before. But then the proclamation by some that all professional acoustic treatment is bad is over the top. I am not dogmatic either way, I take whatever works. If it's removal of room treatment, great, if it is addition of room treatment when it delivers the result, great too!

And yes, my ASC window plugs and ceiling diffusers are indispensable as well. But again, that is room dependent. There is no quick and easy formula for any of this.

There is too much black and white in the discussion, like with analog vs digital or anything else. The world is not black and white, the world is gray -- full of nuance and situational shadings.
What specific type of ASC panel are you using at the first reflection point?
 

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