October 4, 2010

My New Room - Work In Progress

After a busy few weeks, my family finally moved into our new home.

Although there are still a lot of boxes to be unpacked and final touches to the house to be done, I was eager to set the hifi system up in the new room. After a few nights of hard work, I finally got the equipment put up at one end of the room.


The other end of the room is a mess - occupied by boxes of CDs and magazines. The sofa set to serve as the listening seat is not delivered yet - delay in the vendor's factory. I expect to wait another 3-4 weeks (groan). As a temporary measure, I use my old canvas chair for listening purpose. Sorry, no pic for this end of the room... like I said, it is a mess.

Two tools that Big E passed me proved to be extremely useful for new system set up - the 'Throne' CD and Jim Smith's book "Get Better Sound". The latter proved to be more so. The chapters on loudspeaker placement gave me a start to work with a new space that I was unfamiliar with (I would recommend any serious audiophile to get the book, it contains many more useful tips for our hobby).

The room is about 15’x22’x9.5’ (wdh). I started by positioning the speakers 1/3 into the room (7.5' from front wall to the front baffle), and 8' apart from each other. I sat 8' from the loudspeakers.

Two acoustic issues were apparent - there was some echo in the relatively undamped room, and the bass was sticking out and muddy.

I piled some boxes and a few pieces of Auralex diffusers loaned from a friend into the corners. That solved some but not all of the echo problem.

Not having the sofa turned out to be a boon too. In his book, the advice that Jim Smith gave as first thing to do was to get the smoothest bass response possible. My canvas chair was easy to move about; so I moved it along the centre listening axis. Listening to bass content, such as the solo cello track in the Throne CD (I couldn't be more scientific or systematic other than just listening. I have no SPL meter nor any analyzer as advised in the book), the first spot I liked for smooth bass was 2 feet from the backwall, but this gave me a distant perspective on the sound, which I did not like. The second best spot was about 4' from the backwall, the bass was not as clean as in the first but I had a better 'view' on the proceedings in front. I decided to take the compromise and put my listening chair there. I am now seated 10' from the speakers. 2' further away from where I started.

My final choice was very close to what Jim Smith mentioned in his book as positions that offer good sound in general. It was uncanny. I tip my hat to Mr. Smith.

There is still a lot of work to be done. When the sofa comes in, the room's acoustics will be altered (though I hope it'll not be severe). I'll do further final adjustments then.

I am fairly happy with what I have now as a temporary solution. Not the best solution, I know, but at the very least, I could sit down and listen to some music.

No AV stuff yet, let me settle the hifi first. More work to come.

20 comments:

mikelau.2 said...

Odiosleuth,

Wah, your new sound room looks great man ! Can't wait to go for a listen. I am sure the sound of your system will now take on a different level in the new & better environment.

Congrats.

Mike

Ng said...

Congratulations you moved into your new home

kiarch said...

Congratulations to your new listening room.

OdioSleuth said...

Thank you all for the kind words!

unker vic said...

Don't forget to do a measurement of the room response before u put in the acoustic treatments in placement. May come in handy for comparisons for the before and after treatments.

And congratulations to u. I like the wood man! Really gorgeous looking!!!

Hasegawa said...

The environment looks elegant. Gratz on moving to new place

Drubb said...

Great-looking room. Have you tried the Cardas method of speaker placement yet? This uses the Fibonacci progression and seems to work real fine in my room at least. You can find the instructions at the Cardas website.
You have made a lot of people green with envy.

Big E said...

Congrats man!,

After the year of anticipation, and much forward planing, I think you've sorted out many kinks from the word go!

The room is very elegant and comfy, the size gives the music room to breath and break free. The sound is already very open and with good timbre and harmonic reproduction. Suprisingly, there's very little bass bumps, from what our ears can hear.

Great job partner! It can only get better from here. Watch out guys, this may be THE system to beat next year. He!He!

OdioSleuth said...

Thanks for everyone's kind words again.

unker vic,
good suggestion. Unfortunately I don't have the tools, unless some kind souls want to do it for me. :-)

Drubb,
Thanks for the tip.

Based on Cardas' method, each speaker would be 4ft to side wall and 6.48ft to front wall with my room's dimension.

My speakers are currently 3.5ft to side wall and 7.5 ft to front wall.

Not too far away. I'll be trying out speaker positioning next and would definitely try out Cardas' positioning.

Big E,

I trust your ears and am flattered by your comments. You know as well as I do that there is much to be done. :-)

"THE system to beat"?? hahaha, this is definitely too big a hat for me to wear!

PuchongWong said...

Big room small speaker how?

Drubb said...

Odiosleuth,

It just struck me that our rooms are almost of the same dimensions! And my front wall is also covered with similar-type heavy curtains of the same color. Uncanny no?

Mine is 14.5ft. x 23ft. x 9ft.3in

Going by Cardas' Golden Ratio, the centre of my speaker drivers should be 48in. from side wall and 77.8in. from front wall. After minor readjustments, they ended up at 49in. and 80in. They are toed in with their axes crossing just behind my seating position. I swear I will not move my speakers even a fraction of an inch anymore, even if my life depends on it XD.
Should be interesting to see how yours will finally work out.

PuchongWong has ribbed you very nicely indeed. But I think your speakers should be able to handle the bass response easily. It's not the size that counts right? Right??

HS said...

Drubb,
Not many audiophiles dare to swear ;)
Re your speakers toe in, are you able to obtain a sound stage beyond the side walls? Let me quess, your preference is vocal and jazz.

OdioSleuth said...

PuchongWong,

Speakers too small? Get a bigger pair!
Oh, you mean mine? Hmmm, may be a pair of Wilson like yours will do nicely. :-)

Anyway, even if it is true that my speakers are smaller than what the room could contain, there is no point trying to wrestle with something bigger at this stage. That challenge I leave it to the future. My aim now is to get things to settle down.


Drubb,

Uncanny indeed.

Good to hear that you have achieved great result with Cardas' ratio.

Never mind about PuchongWong, we have fun bantering all the time. We like to call him a 'stirer', as in someone who like to stir things up, hahaha! (but he has also taught me many things on the way)

David said...

Drubb,

hi, can share what system and loudspeaker you use in your room?

Drubb said...

HS,

Am I really all that transparent? You seem to be able to read me like a book already lol.

Yeah, my mother used to smack me every time I swore, but I can assure you that I have not moved my speakers for the better part of 2 years now. As you can attest, that's a very looong time in audiophile chronology.

Re speakers toe in - it's really a trade off between depth/centrefil vs width of the soundstage isn't it?. My preference is a deep, deep soundstage with layers and layers of imaging when a recording allows for it. I don't go for large orchestral works and therefore, width of stage counts less for me. And you are absolutely right, I like my vocals solid, tangible and palpable. I want to be able to hear every smack of the lips and the click of tongue against teeth and the snap of saliva as it breaks. If the odd drop of secretion gets onto his vocal cords then I want to hear how the note changes and how the singer cleverly tries to hide it. And I want to hear the deep roll of a male voice as it develops from the depths of his chest viz Ingram Washington and Whitesnake and Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, amongst several.
If the thunder roll in Chris Spheris' Afterimage does not come from over the hills a kilometer away, then I quietly give the middle finger to my local Tenaga substation.

Ok Ok, I am getting a bit too indulgent lol. But that is how I get my daily endorphin fix anyway.
I have heard several systems with huge, expansive soundstaging but the centrefil always fails my personal test. So I am quite happy if Roger Waters' dog is only barking from my nextdoor neighbour's yard and not from the next street away. And I certainly don't get the dog barking from behind my left shoulder, as Big E once described. ( Gosh, I still wonder how he managed to get THAT! )
BTW, what is your preference? Please share a bit of your vast experience with us. And I also wonder how Odiosleuth likes his cup of tea.

Just my 2 bits.

David said...

Drubb,

A you like NATO only ?

Drubb said...

Hi David,

Sorry I missed your post earlier. Only saw it after I posted mine.
Please mail me at:

drubb1452@gmail.com

I look forward to sharing my experiences with you and vice versa I hope.
NATO as in No Action Talk Only? Ha ha ha ha. I like that really.

HS said...

Drubb,
My preference is very simple, in 3 simple words, BALANCED Tonal Balance.
Partially filled center soundstage can sometimes be rectified with the speakers properly coupled to the side walls. Yes, contrary to popular belief, the speakers need to be moved further apart to achieve proper coupling..

OdioSleuth said...

Drubb,

My cup of tea? Emotional connection with the music. :-)

mikelau.2 said...

Puchong Wong,

.....BIG SPEAKER in small room..how ?...how ? The sophias need a bigger room too.. heehee