Listening room acoustic.

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RE: Listening room acoustic.

Hi,

I'm new here, but I have a few thoughts regarding the original question: Listening room acoustic(s).

A little background first. I have never had a "listening room" in the 30 years of being involved in the "audiophile hobby" (note: not the" music lover hobby"). I've always addressed interest or love of music through equipment. I may not know what a particular ensemble may sound like in a particular venue, but I do recognize something that I find enjoyable. And addressing room acoustical problems can make a good experience better.

First off, I'm a 2 channel guy. Even when I watch movies. The primary stimulus watching a movie is visual, not auditory in nature. So home theatre can pretty much suck, and still be "OK". When listening to music, the only stimulus is auditory. So room acoustics can play a much larger role. How far one cares to take it is another thing. I spend a pretty reasonable amount of time positioning loudspeakers, adjusting my turntable (azimuth, VTF, VTA, etc) when need be.  But I'd rather listen to music than fiddle with things. I do have a pretty reasonable setup, but don't consider it over the top. About $20k or less in todays's market.

Having basically  a "good" equipment gets you a long way along, but it usually isn't enough. I can take a pretty shoddy system and make it sound good, given some time, and a little passive acoustical (and home-made too) treatments. But the one thing that all can do is do their best to set up their system in their home to the best effect. And that takes some knowledge and time. Some of the best rooms I've heard, break almost all of the "acoustic" rules.

Just a few thoughts

RE: Listening room acoustic.

G, you may be right about my speakers sounding a bit ..... something but never bass shy.  In addition to a pair of B&W Nautilus 801s on stands I have a pair of B&W ASW 4000 subs resting on what are called sub busters on opposite side walls of a listening room measuring 20X22 feet.  Where I'm having fun presently is in finding the surround audio volume setting that reveals the most amount of hall ambience.  Slab floors are notorious room deadeners and at present my below grade listening room occasionally attracts enough ground moisture to keep a few house plants green and happy - a result of poor planning on my part but who knew we would receive this much rain in one season?  With everything, (furniture, equipment, carpet and so forth,) resting on slab concrete I may get a little crazy this summer and install higher and dryer room-warming wood flooring.  A bit obsessive? Absolutely but to we audio grail searchers, getting there is half the fun. Best, Hal.   

RE: Listening room acoustic.

W.C., agree there are so called acoustic rules that can be bent to good advantage but in my case, it's pretty much trial and error.  Or to paraphrase a famous American inventor - I often times just run out of things that don't work. Acoustic bliss seems a long slow process but oh so rewarding when great revelations occur.  Best, Hal.

RE: Listening room acoustic.

Hal, I agree with your point about equipment placement, but my options are limited. I'd like to stay married, for starters. I rather like my wife and she tolerates the trailing wires, the two ESL 63s parked four feet out from the wall and looking like twin monoliths out of Kubrick's 2001, the shelves upon shelves of cds and lps, the sub-woofer. But she drew the line at the egg cartons long ago. They were purple.

I'm in a classic West Coast glass-and-cedar home and listen in a 20x30 room with a cathedral ceiling. Wood fooring and no drapes. It's bright. But with a little treble-cut and some scattermats I'm happy enough. Anyway, I'm convinced that, like wine, at least half the experience is subjective. Listening to music over a coffee first thing in the morning is about as close to heaven as I care to be right now.

RE: Listening room acoustic.

Tag, no argument from me about where heaven can be found.  Casually arranging one's hifi gear into a rather large room helps to obviate the obvious but such wasn't always the case here.  One house move ago, local waf hit an all time low when too much gear commandeered a space-challenged living room giving rise to the Stereo Stonehenge effect.  Eventually we worked things out but for a while Mr. Strauss' "Also Sprach..." was absent from music playlists. Best, Hal.

RE: Listening room acoustic.

G, sounds like a great house.  Marble floors can definitely liven-up the sound of a listening room but my intent is to frame over the slab with 2x4s, insulation and 5/8" sub flooring ending with my same heavily padded wool carpeted surface. Like all major house improvement projects around here, the CFO will have to approve and sign off on the proposed job else the idea is strictly academic. As to what works best with what gear, I suppose a speaker's dispersal or radiation pattern is the key to what sounds good in a large/live sounding - lots of glass and reflective flooring for example - room. Cathedral ceilings, (IMO,) are a mixed blessing with all those odd-angled reflective surfaces to try and manage or not manage depending on listening taste.  My preference is for a warm room acoustic that allows for wide and focused sound stage presence, precise vocalist positioning and maximum hall ambience.  The later I'm discovering has a lot to do with playback volume. Who would have guessed?  Best, Hal.           

RE: Listening room acoustic.

Music sounds better at night. Most noisy animals are asleep.

RE: Listening room acoustic.

For many decades we thought we enjoyed listening together to classical and jazz music via a very reasonable quality hifi in our living area. Then I recently discovered that "real men" not only have garden sheds and model railway rooms, but that they also have listening rooms. I have a model railway room for myself and my wife also has a "room of her own" as Virginia Wolff argued.

And then I saw for the first time photos of these highly organized listening rooms with incredibly ugly loudspeakers, masses of so-called "kit" or "gear", carpets and padded walls. To listen to what?

The music we love was originally played in cold churches or polite sitting rooms - chamber music - while we like to sit close to the musicians in an intimate jazz basement. Our acoustics are those of a 1836 listed house, thick walls, high wooden ceilings, stone floors and no carpets, lots of windows and no curtains. Here we listen to the clarity of solo viola da gamba or solo jazz piano as it should sound. Enjoy!!! Even Cream sounds brilliant on vinyl. We have professional musicians who ask to be able to play live in our living area which is 150 square metres. Fill this living acoustic space and forget the drapes. As a number have said, music is a subjective experience.

We do not watch TV so surround sound is an unknown issue. 

 

 

RE: Listening room acoustic.

socratesgwr wrote:

We do not watch TV so surround sound is an unknown issue. 

'Surround sound' isn't just limited to TV/film.  (There were quadrophonic LPs.)

"Louder! Louder! I can still hear the singers!"

- Richard Strauss to the orchestra, at a rehearsal.

RE: Listening room acoustic.

"There were...." is what I mean. Some old quadrophonic recordings are now availble as SACDs, but not many of them around.

Regards, Barry

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