Do Competent Acousticians need Lady Luck? Even in new construction / blank slate situations?

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#2
Do competent acousticians need Lady Luck? Even in new construction situations?
small room acoustics have too many variables to be 100% predictable. no way to 'real-world' compute the build variables in structures to answer all the low frequency questions. so you get the size, shape and scale right, and likely the surface treatments well thought out, and then place the speakers in the room and go from there. having a speaker system with adjustable low frequency capabilities will help to optimize the effort with a room build.

maybe a speaker designer with his experience with his own speaker might have a fighting chance to hit it right....but even that would be not certain.

and designing a room for just one specific speaker or driver type is a short sided view of the realities of this hobby....particularly with the sub set of audiophiles willing to build a room from scratch.

so the concept of 'lady luck' is wrong. the proper approach is designing a room that is not limiting, but understanding that it will need to be adjusted to the real world speaker room situation for ideal results. and with an adjustable speaker the possibility of the room getting 'lucky' are greatly enhanced. but somewhere you will need some adjusting.
 
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caesar

Active Member
May 31, 2010
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#3
Thanks, Mike.

Room building is a scary proposition: one can sink $50K, $100K, or more into a room, or heck, one can even choose to move and do build-out, and get worse what one had before.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,071
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#4
Thanks, Mike.

Room building is a scary proposition: one can sink $50K, $100K, or more into a room, or heck, one can even choose to move and do build-out, and get worse what one had before.
it's an adventure to be enjoyed.

one other lesson I learned; was that one's sonic reference changes (evolves to a higher expectation) over time. and it's not necessarily a linear process. so one might feel absolutely 'lucky' when first listening to their system in their new room.

however; as they evolve, and work to fine tune their room and system, what it takes to feel 'lucky' will change. but hopefully at a certain point the clouds part and the sun shines brightly.

and just like life, that is the way things should work. we keep learning.
 
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
#5
Do competent acousticians need Lady Luck? Even in new construction situations?
No, owners need a Lady Luck ... As far as I have seen and read most acousticians do not understand or simply ignore the preferences of their clients, and also do not understand what means "high-end".
 

marty

Active Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Far Hills, NJ
#6
Gentlemen,
Keep in mind that designing a room for audiophiles is far from the main activity of acousticians who do mostly industrial applications. However, the word "competent" is often loosely or arbitrarily defined. Consider the following examples. Carnegie Hall's 20M refurbishment and remodeling in 1983-86 was a sonic disaster and was done by a famous acoustician. It had to be re-done in 2000. Dallas' splendid new Winspear Opera hall built in 2009 by prize winning architects and acousticians is still a sonic disaster. One can barely hear well-articulated spoken or sung voices from anywhere in the hall. (The Hall is also located in the AT&T Performing Arts Center and maybe it's me, but I found it funny that it was the only place in Dallas I could not get reception on my AT&T cell phone). Finally, the NY Philharmonic plays in the recently renamed David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, which might be the worst concert hall in America. Unfortunately Mr. Geffen did not hire a competent acoustician to re-do the hall when it was renamed last year. Due to the poor design of the side walls, a prominent comb filter effect muddles the sound from anywhere in the orchestra seating. The Hall is scheduled to be re-done next year. I'm sure they hired very famous acousticians. Want to bet on the outcome? Now, contrast this with the amazing sound of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in Russia that performs in a hall designed in the 1840's by people who didn't have any of the tools or computer aids of the modern acoustician. No contest. Good judgement trumps acoustic technology in so many of these examples. I don't think it's a much different case for listening rooms for audiophiles. Some acousticians do a good job while others do not. I suspect that a good seasoned listener's opinion may be just as valuable as an acoustician's.
 
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audioguy

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
2,723
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Near Atlanta, GA but not too near!
#7
it's an adventure to be enjoyed.

one other lesson I learned; was that one's sonic reference changes (evolves to a higher expectation) over time. and it's not necessarily a linear process. so one might feel absolutely 'lucky' when first listening to their system in their new room.

however; as they evolve, and work to fine tune their room and system, what it takes to feel 'lucky' will change. but hopefully at a certain point the clouds part and the sun shines brightly.

and just like life, that is the way things should work. we keep learning.
100% agree with this but I would change "higher expectation" to "different expectations". Room design is a lot of science (and some art). But what the designer can not necessarily take into account is user "preference" ... so to that end, the initial design is usually a great starting point .. assuming the "designer" actually knows what he/she is doing....and not all do.