Home Theater Installation Drexel Hill PA
Audio / Video, Home Automation / Systems Integration / Home Networking, Home Theater, Multi-Room Audio, Multi-Room Video
One or more employees at this company have achieved CEDIA Professional Certification status:- E. J. Feulner, CEDIA Certified Professional Designer- Joe Hart, CEDIA Certified Professional Designer
Upper Darby, PA
Bryn Mawr, PA
Acoustical Room Treatments
POSITIVE FEEDBACK ONLINE - ISSUE 2
Acoustical Room Treatments
as reviewed by Dave Clark, Francisco Duran, and Victor Chavira
If you are not familiar with Echo Busters, they make several products, of which Echo Busters and Bass Busters are the ones I am reviewing here. The Echo Buster is a panel designed to absorb echoes or reflected sounds over a relatively wide frequency range, from about 125Hz to approximately 8kHz. The quarter-round Bass Busters act as Heimholtz resonators to address standing bass waves. Both are covered in cloth available in various muted colors, and are not unattractive. They look considerably better than the Room Tunes we had been using prior to their arrival. Whether you need products like these is a function of several parameters. Is your room easily excited by standing waves? That is, does the room have an echoey sound, as heard when you are talking or clapping your hands? Rooms can be lively or relatively dead. Which is better is a matter of what your speakers may demand and your musical preference. Too much reverberant energy, though, can cause listener fatigue and poor imaging, and wreak tonal havoc on your music. Too dead a room can suck the life out of your music, making everything dull and boring as well as affecting the frequency response. It is best to attain some happy medium.
Before you do anything, it is best to lay down a good foundation for a sonically decent room. Make sure that your speakers are in their optimum positions, as far out into the room and away from side walls as is practical, and toed so that you get the best imaging without forgoing a deep and wide soundstage. The idea is to place the speakers where the bass and lower midrange sounds the smoothest, neither too lean nor too full and boomy. Positioning them away from side and rear walls means more direct and less reflected sound. You hear more of the speaker and less of the room. Not to be overlooked is making sure the speakers are level, with the drivers firing at the listener rather than over their head or at their feet. There are several in-depth articles available on setting up speakers. Try the Cardas Golden Ratio or the method suggested by Immedia. Both are excellent starting points.
Even with the speakers in acceptable locations, the room will still affect the sound. Carpet and drapes go a long way in helping, as does furniture and other items. Plants, bookcases, record and CD cabinets, tables, etc. will help to break up the sound bouncing around the room. Try placing these in corners and along walls that are next to or behind the speakers. While this will help, the corners will still load bass frequencies and the walls will still reflect sound, and this is where the Echo Buster products come in. I have heard rooms in which the Echo Busters made a major improvement. In my room, with two Bass Busters in the corners behind the speakers and two...
Audiophile Sound on a Budget
Audiophile Sound on a Budget
by Clay Swartz
Many audiophiles, myself included, can't afford speakers costing $20,000 or more, amplifiers costing $10,000 or more, or CD players and preamplifiers costing $5000 and more, not to mention expensive cables, power cords, and room treatments. In this article, I will discuss how you can get audiophile sound for much less—under $10,000 for a whole system. You may say that that is still a lot of money, and it is, but many people spend more for just one component.
The most important part of any high-end sound system is the room in which it is located, the acoustic treatment of the room, and the placement of the speakers. A room that is primarily used for audio is a very good idea. If you don't have a decent room, spending big money on a stereo is very wasteful. Most speakers sound their best at least four feet away from the back walls and at least three feet from the side walls. With the additional requirement of about nine feet between you and the speakers and at least four feet behind the listening position. With that in mind, a room larger than 15 by 20 feet is needed for the best sound. Exact placement of the speakers is a matter of experimentation.
Next comes the treatment of the room. The best sound I have heard was in an audio shop that had over $20,000 in room treatments. This is well above our budget, so we must improvise. Tube traps can be improvised from commercial pipe insulation covered with cloth, with painted particle board caps on each end. Egg-crate foam may be used on walls. Wall-mounted rugs, disc storage, and tapestries can also help. On the floor in front of the speaker, an area rug with pad is a good idea. The Shakti Hallographs are very good, but out of our price range unless they can be found used. It is hard to come up with inexpensive room treatments that look good in a room. Artificial or real plants can be used as room treatments in the corners behind speakers, and have a high mate-acceptance factor.
Room treatment is a tricky undertaking. Reflections off of room surfaces are detrimental to the sound, as they are perceived as separate sonic events. In a small room, the reflections smear the notes. You might think the solution would be to make the room completely dead, but the problem is that the music will sound dead. Part of hearing live music is hearing the acoustics of the room, so a balance must be made between direct and reflected sound. Another problem is that most room treatments absorb sound differently at different frequencies, which can cause the sound to have a peaky nature. One solution to this is a surround-sound system in a room that is fairly dead at most frequencies. It is also cost effective to combine your video system and your audio system. It is unlikely that a person on a budget can afford two sound systems. Combining them will allow a bigger budget for the single system. One interesting tweak is putting a humidifier i...