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  1. #1

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    Default Please help me choose acoustic treatment for my room

    I'm looking for some suggestions for a minimalist approach that I can take to get some improvement.

    First thing to note is that this is for 2-channel listening, not surround. The details of my system are posted elsewhere, but the important thing is that I'm using SDA-2B's.

    My room is quite small - it's only 12' x 12', so I know that all the money in the world worth of acoustic treatments, and it's still not going to sound like Carnegie Hall. So I'm not looking to spend huge bucks, just something to tone things down, control the bass, and help isolate the speakers.

    A few things to note about the room:

    1) The ceiling is only about 7' high. It's a drop ceiling with some textured Armstrong ceiling tiles, which I imagine should actually be pretty good for acoustics.

    2) The floor is concrete (it's in the basement), with padding/carpet over it.

    3) There are no windows in the room, just four walls and the door.

    4) The "front" of the room (as in the wall with the stereo) has an 8" high, 2 foot deep soffit running across it, so the stereo is under the soffit. This might create a need for extra dampening, as the front of the room will have two sets of upper corners - where the front facia of the soffit meets the ceiling and the side wall, and where the front wall meets the bottom of the soffit and the side wall.

    5) The back wall has baseboard heat running along the length of it. So any bass traps that are intended to be placed in a corner will not work because the baseboard heat will be in the way. The only way to put something triangular in the corner would be to raise it about 8" off the floor, so it would be higher than the baseboard.

    I'm really hoping to find some bargain acoustic treatments, because as I noted the room is so small that there's only so good it will be able to sound...

    Thanks!!!
    Last edited by nspindel; 06-03-2008 at 08:08 PM.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  2. #2

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    12x12x7 thats a nightmare for bass two dimensions being the same as well as the 3rd being close you are going to have some peaky bass. Have you ever tried measuring your bass response in your room to see how you do down low?

    You could throw some extra insulation in the ceiling and get a improvement, get some Owens Corning 703 and throw it up there.

    I personally like GIK alot, I know a few members on here use it, off the top of my head Early B, Solidsqual, and Pearsall come to mind. Their bass traps work well and don't absorb to much high frequency info so you can have lots and not over deaden your room. You might want to start with basic panels or foam to take care of the first reflection points. Whatever you do stay away from foambymail.com.
    Last edited by Gaara; 06-03-2008 at 08:16 PM.

  3. #3

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    Do you think the GIK tri-traps would work ok if I had to lift them off the ground about 8" or so to fit in the back corners?
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  4. #4

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    I was interested in those to when I first got into bass traps. I was told by Bryan over at GIK that the tri-traps performed a little better then the 244 panels and worse then the monster bass traps, yet cost more then either. For the same amount of $ you could get 2 of the 244 panels to straddle a corner and be much better off.

  5. #5

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    So what would you recommend doing first? Getting the bass traps? Or treating the higher frequency stuff?

    In a room that small, could I be done if I just got four of the 244's for the corners?
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  6. #6

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    If your looking for the minimalist approach, Realtraps has a trap that works in your suspended ceiling, which could kill one of the reflection points on the ceiling without loosing headroom. RealTraps can get kinda pricey but I think the ceiling trap is reasonable @ $44 a piece. Ethan has a lot of good info on his site and you can apply his theories and recommendations with his or anybody elses traps.

    Gordon
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  7. #7

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    Wouldn't the existing ceiling tiles be pretty reasonable sound absorbers though?
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  8. #8

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    I copied this from the RealTraps site. Perhaps this will answer your question.

    Most commercial ceiling tiles are intended for use in offices or supermarkets to reduce ambience at speech frequencies only. Even expensive ceiling tiles are ineffective for rooms where music and DVD movies are played. They're simply too thin to work well at low frequencies, and the smooth paper or plastic facing absorbs too little at high frequencies.

    To solve this problem RealTraps offers an assortment of very high-performance acoustic ceiling tiles ($49.99 - $99.99 each) for use with existing drop ceilings. These tiles are essentially the same as MiniTraps (both standard and HF versions), but without the metal frames. They're also slightly smaller in each dimension to fit into a standard grid ceiling, and can be cut on site as needed to fit in partial grid openings.

    For those with an existing drop ceiling, or who wish to install a drop ceiling to hide the acoustic treatments, we offer eight sizes of ceiling tile as an affordable and attractive alternative to our standard acoustic panels. All sizes are available in any of our standard colors, either 1.5 or 3 inches thick, and in Standard or HF types for either bass trapping or reflection control.

    The 3" thick Standard ceiling tiles offer the same level of bass trapping as MiniTraps. We recommend placing these throughout a room, especially near walls around the perimiter to get bass trapping similar to Standard MiniTraps installed at an angle straddling the wall/ceiling corners.
    2 Channel -
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  9. #9

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    Right, I saw that. The other thing I saw is that they recommend placing the bass trap tiles around the perimeter of the room, and then the HF tiles above the listening position. That's pretty much my entire ceiling in such a small room. Replacing all those tiles would be a pretty pricey proposition...
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  10. #10
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    I do not see tiles above your listening position helping. Reflections won't be coming from there.

    You likely want panels on the sidewalls around the mid-point between your speakers and listening position (1st reflection point) for HF.

    As for LF.. DIY tube traps are easy. You need piling forms (heavy wall cardboard tubes) available from your local Lowes or Home Depot. Cover them with fabric and wah-lah...

    DIY Network has covered the making of panels and traps...
    http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/hi_fam...471072,00.html
    More later,
    Tour...
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    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. - Old English Proverb

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nspindel View Post
    So what would you recommend doing first? Getting the bass traps? Or treating the higher frequency stuff?

    In a room that small, could I be done if I just got four of the 244's for the corners?
    Actually in a room that small you need proportionally more bass traps then if it were a larger room. If it was me I would get a handful of bass traps first, maybe 4-6 and then a few traps for first reflection points.

    Where do you sit in proportion to the rear wall and where are the speakers located?

    As for the mention of ceiling tiles, I would worry about the side and rear walls first. Alot of acoustic issues like slap echo or ringing are caused by parallel untreated surface, mainly the two side walls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tour2ma View Post
    I do not see tiles above your listening position helping. Reflections won't be coming from there.

    You likely want panels on the sidewalls around the mid-point between your speakers and listening position (1st reflection point) for HF.

    As for LF.. DIY tube traps are easy. You need piling forms (heavy wall cardboard tubes) available from your local Lowes or Home Depot. Cover them with fabric and wah-lah...

    DIY Network has covered the making of panels and traps...
    http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/hi_fam...471072,00.html
    Why would reflections not come from the ceiling? 99% of speakers will transmit sound up and down, therefore causing reflections off the ceiling and the floor. Ever listened to music on the floor, there is still sound right? I agree that the side walls is a better place to start, as they affect sound perceptions more and cause more issues if untreated.

    As for the tube traps, the design described in the article sounds like a mass dampened helmholtz resonator, which would make it very frequency specific, a bad idea IMO if the room hasn't been measured and tube dimensions selected to match the problem areas. As for the bookshelf "diffusor", sounds like another half baked idea. The first part is good about the mirror, and I have used this trick myself.

    You would be better off for a bass trap getting basic Owens Corning 703 or 705 and throwing it in a corner, if I recall correctly 703 is what ATS uses, they just pretty it up.

  12. #12

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    Gaara gave some terrific advice on treating the corners first and providing a primer on treatments. The 4 -6 pieces would be a good starting point. Bass traping is cumulative, so I'm told, the more the better. Straddle the corners with four and play with the other 2 for best results. If I understand your layout correctly, you might even put one horizontally under the soffit on an angle to the wall

    I had mentioned the ceiling tile option because you said minimalist and I thought you meant appearance. The ceiling option would not intrude on your space the way normal traps will.

    Treating only the ceiling would not be my first choice. I would do corners as recommended by Gaara and since your room is darn near a cube, a couple pieces both trap and absorber in the ceiling. The ceiling is part of the room just like the rest of the room and we tend to forget about it. We'll put rugs down on the floor, traps on the walls and move furniture. Unfortunately, our listening room is also the living room. I've just about got my wife convinced to let me trap the ceiling in an attempt to eliminate some ringing and echo.
    Last edited by Hawkeye; 06-04-2008 at 09:45 AM. Reason: added sentence
    2 Channel -
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  13. #13

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    Ah, gotcha. No, I meant minimalist in terms of budget, knowing that there's only so good a 12x12x7 room will ever sound. Thanks for the advice.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  14. #14

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    If you want to get your read on check Ethan's Real Traps site and get your read on. Lots of good info on AudioCircle in the Acoustics Forum over there, and on GearSlutz. Glenn+Bryan from GIK Acoutics participate on both, as does Ethan from Real Traps, and I think Joel from Ready Acoustics. If you want tons of good info get a copy of the Master Handbook of Acoustics.

    Have any pics of the entire room? You have pics of your system somewhere on here.

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    Hi Folks,

    Someone told me I was mentioned here so I stopped by to have a look. Nice forum! I'll chime in from time to time if you'd like, but in the mean time I do see this to comment on:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tour2ma View Post
    DIY Network has covered the making of panels and traps...
    http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/hi_fam...471072,00.html
    The bass traps shown there based on filling a cardboard tube with sand are not effective. Not even a little. That page is a sort of joke among acousticians, and I emailed them a year ago to explain why sand doesn't work. I guess they don't care because that page is still there. :D

    I understand people are concerned about cost, and I encourage DIY'ers even though I'm in the business of acoustic treatment. There's a lot of DIY acoustics info in the Acoustics FAQ on my personal site. There you'll see why the best material for bass traps is rigid fiberglass and similar absorbers.

    --Ethan
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    I'm curious why you don't make any cylinder shaped corner traps.

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    welcome ethan, there's been an upswing in acoustic treatments threads around here lately, so your timing is good. i'm familiar with your site, it's a great resource. i spent a bit of time there a while back but haven't been through lately. i'll have to go see what's new.

    anyway, i'd appreciate reading what you have say on acoustics and all things audio, even if it's to correct anything that i might have thrown against the wall.

    and,oh yeah. new guy brings the donuts.

    )

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    Quote Originally Posted by Face View Post
    I'm curious why you don't make any cylinder shaped corner traps.
    Round traps are more difficult to build than flat panels, and in my experience they offer no advantage. Indeed, unless the diameter is similarly large - at least 20 inches - they will not perform as well as a flat panel that's 2 feet wide. And at that size they're even more visually intrusive than a flat panel.

    --Ethan
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottnbnj View Post
    and, oh yeah. new guy brings the donuts.
    Here ya go...

    :D

    RealTraps

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    Quote Originally Posted by nspindel View Post

    I'm looking for some suggestions for a minimalist approach that I can take to get some improvement.

    There are no windows in the room, just four walls and the door.

    I'm really hoping to find some bargain acoustic treatments
    I would think that since you have no windows on the side walls to be concerned with and are looking for budget treatments, you should hit a couple of garage sales and try to find some thick rugs to hang on the walls. (Imagine a cool Navajo rug if shag carpet was your first image) If you want to see how well it will work first before spending time and money, try some cheap carpet reminants first. You might even want to leave the carpet up behind the rugs.
    The world is full of answers, some are right and some are wrong. - Neil Young

  21. #21

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    Actually, Gaara's got six GIK's that he's selling me, I'm going to start there. Just need an opportunity to get up his way. He lives up in the Red Sox nation part of Connecticut, I'm down in the Yankees Universe area....
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

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    what the,..? somebody took a bite out of every donut in the box.

    fng's.

    )

  23. #23

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    Thanks for chiming in Ethan, always nice to have a expert around the boards to dispel a lot of the audio foolery. To bad you weren't hear earlier, a few members ended up with your favorite foambymail...I mean they work the same as Auralex just alot cheaper right? Pains me every time I hear it, especially when its "bass traps" that they get through them.

    N, just a FYI check out Ethan's location...you two are probably close by, if you ever choose to go the Real Traps route you don't have to worry about shipping.

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    Ah, interesting. Ethan - Red Sox fan or Yankees? :p
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
    The bass traps shown there based on filling a cardboard tube with sand are not effective. --Ethan
    Forgot about the DIY link's sand fill. Agree that filling the tube gives the bass nowhere to go and die... or at least be diminished. Anyway, that's why I did not mention the sand in my note.

    It's always been my impression that bass diffusion owed to the cylinder's curved surface provided most of the improvement. Deep bass is so hard to kill/ absorb. That's why I would never have thought to try your basic corner trap.

    Welcome to the forum, EW.
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  26. #26

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    I like some of the tube trap ideas, but have to agree with Ethan about build difficulty. I happen to know how to get a hold of some round fiberglass, but it's usually industrial oriented, so you ARE going to pay for it.

    Ethan, I know you prefer OC 705, but how do you feel about Mineral fiber products such as this

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gaara View Post
    always nice to have a expert around the boards to dispel a lot of the audio foolery.
    In some forums I have to bite my tongue because a lot of people don't want to hear the truth. You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

    :D

    --Ethan
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    Quote Originally Posted by nspindel View Post
    Ah, interesting. Ethan - Red Sox fan or Yankees? :p
    I'm not a sports person at all. I can tolerate highlights on the news though. ;)

    --Ethan
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    Quote Originally Posted by amulford View Post
    Ethan, I know you prefer OC 705, but how do you feel about Mineral fiber products such as this
    That stuff works fine. It's not nearly as nice to work with as 705 or 703 though. It sheds and sags, etc. But if you make a sturdy frame it's great.

    --Ethan
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