Any good theater or listening is acoustically treated to ensure the sound coming from the speakers is what arrives at the listener’s ears. Conditions common in small/medium rooms, such as flutter echo and comb filtering, degrade the clarity of music and speech. Here are some tricks to get a full and accurate sound out of your home theater or listening room. For those visually inclined individuals, the accompanying video shows how a critical listening space would ideally be treated.
Bass Traps – low-end control
Low frequency problems are common to almost any room, regardless of size. The good news is that most of the time the solution is simple. By installing bass traps in the corners of the room you can prevent the excessive bass build-up. If bass frequencies are allowed to build in the corners, it causes the bass frequencies to become muddy and undefined. The more corners you cover with a good trap, the better bass response you get from the room.
Having bass traps in all corners is best. That said, if you only have budget for two, having bass traps in the front corners of the room should be the highest priority. Fabric wrapped absorbers look as good as they sound, and Geometrix™ by Acoustics First, fit the corners like a glove.
Broadband Absorption – tame the ring.
To control the flutter echo caused by reflective parallel walls, it’s vital that the first refection points are treated with broadband absorption (wall panels). More than likely, your TV and/or sound system is in a fixed position, and your listening position will be relatively fixed as well. This should make the early reflection surfaces easy to locate. Sound travels in all directions from the speaker, including behind it, so put absorbers behind it on the wall. Don’t forget the floors, ceiling, and the wall behind you – sound will bounce off those as well.
Hang broadband absorbers over all the early reflection points – left, right, front and back so they are centered at ear height. Placement is the first key to getting this reflection free zone. The second is the right choice of absorber. To match your fabric wrapped bass traps, the simple choice is get some more panels wrapped in fabric. The Sonora® line of broadband absorbing panels coordinate with the bass traps, and come in a plethora of sizes and mounting options to work in your space.
Diffusers – put life back into your space.
Diffusion will give us something we couldn’t attain through absorption – a sense of open space. Even after treating with absorbers, there are still areas of the room where sound waves will sit, because your room is a fixed box with fixed speakers. Diffusers scatter the energy, creating ambiance with residual energy. This simple step does not remove energy from your room, but redistributes it into a soundscape that can make you forget you are in a room at all. In order of priority, the rear walls, front wall and ceiling are the most important surfaces to install diffusers.
There are many ways to diffuse the sound and coordinate with your room, from the fabric covered HiPer™ Panel and Double Duty Diffusers™, to the striking line of Art Diffusors® like the Model C, which can be painted to match your décor.