Can we talk about floors?

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Diapason

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Mar 26, 2014
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Dublin, Ireland
#1
The nerdcave has more than its fair share of acoustical issues, but I'm starting to become convinced that the floor is a big problem. It's a badly-laid, cheap, wooden laminate floor (which predates our purchase of the house) and it vibrates a LOT. There are certain areas at the speaker end where it's actually bouncy, but even aside from that it seems to resonate fairly significantly with certain frequencies and gives the impression of singing along to the music.

I'm thinking it's time to do something about it but I'm not sure what the ideal replacement would be, acoustically speaking. I assume that if I rip up the current laminate floor I'll find poured concrete an inch or two below. I'm tempted to put down a deep-pile carpet with good underlay, since the sound of the room has always been zingy (it's a narrow concrete box, 21' x 9'). Is this the best approach, or would I be wiser to stick with a better wooden floor? Is carpet over concrete a bad idea? The room is a dedicated space, so anything goes really.
 
May 28, 2013
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www.puriteaudio.co.uk
#2
The nerdcave has more than its fair share of acoustical issues, but I'm starting to become convinced that the floor is a big problem. It's a badly-laid, cheap, wooden laminate floor (which predates our purchase of the house) and it vibrates a LOT. There are certain areas at the speaker end where it's actually bouncy, but even aside from that it seems to resonate fairly significantly with certain frequencies and gives the impression of singing along to the music.

I'm thinking it's time to do something about it but I'm not sure what the ideal replacement would be, acoustically speaking. I assume that if I rip up the current laminate floor I'll find poured concrete an inch or two below. I'm tempted to put down a deep-pile carpet with good underlay, since the sound of the room has always been zingy (it's a narrow concrete box, 21' x 9'). Is this the best approach, or would I be wiser to stick with a better wooden floor? Is carpet over concrete a bad idea? The room is a dedicated space, so anything goes really.
You could start by isolating your loudspeakers from the floor, experiment with visco elastic material, ( Sorbathane) a thick rug between you and the speakers will remove floor bounce, the ears aren't keen on horizontal reflections.
Keith.
 

Diapason

New Member
Mar 26, 2014
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Dublin, Ireland
#3
I should have said I already have the thick rug, but good call on the isolation.
 

rbbert

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Dec 12, 2010
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Reno, NV
#5
You could start by isolating your loudspeakers from the floor, experiment with visco elastic material, ( Sorbathane) a thick rug between you and the speakers will remove floor bounce, the ears aren't keen on horizontal reflections.
Keith.
I think this is called "What's Best Forum", not "cheapest place to start forum" or "most cost-effective forum". There are several threads already in this section which address these issues (floor design and speaker isolation) in far more comprehensive detail. Here's one

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...ing-with-particular-reference-to-loudspeakers
 

Diapason

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Mar 26, 2014
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Dublin, Ireland
#6
Thanks for that. I probably should have done a search first...
 
Jul 25, 2012
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NY
#7
You could start by isolating your loudspeakers from the floor, experiment with visco elastic material, ( Sorbathane) a thick rug between you and the speakers will remove floor bounce, the ears aren't keen on horizontal reflections.
Keith.
Isn't that the complete opposite of using spikes which some say isolates and others say couples the speaker to the floor?

Placing speakers on sorbothane will allow them to wobble and sway a lot. I would add a Lally column /screw jack column under your speakers. They are available at Home Depot and are under $100.

I have doubled all my floor joists in my full basement, which wasn't terribly expensive, but there still is a slight amount of flex in the floor and when I play recordings like Turtle Creek Chorale's "Psalms", loudly, long sustained very deep organ notes will vibrate the floor throughout the room. I have even had things fall off shelves on the wall! More typical bass notes don't cause the floor to vibrate--only the deepest bass notes on an organ sustained for at least three seconds set the floor in noticeable vibration.
 
Last edited:
Oct 12, 2011
262
1
18
55
Brooklyn
#8
I live in an old factory building now 4 foot concrete floors. When we moved in we had oak strip laid on plywood. After having to strip all that out (water related) the room did get better, but I use an area rug in front of the speakers. I'd recommending ripping out the wood and then polishing the concrete below, then slowly add rugs/furniture/treatment until you get the sound you want. You can always add full carpet later if you decide that's the way to go.


The nerdcave has more than its fair share of acoustical issues, but I'm starting to become convinced that the floor is a big problem. It's a badly-laid, cheap, wooden laminate floor (which predates our purchase of the house) and it vibrates a LOT. There are certain areas at the speaker end where it's actually bouncy, but even aside from that it seems to resonate fairly significantly with certain frequencies and gives the impression of singing along to the music.

I'm thinking it's time to do something about it but I'm not sure what the ideal replacement would be, acoustically speaking. I assume that if I rip up the current laminate floor I'll find poured concrete an inch or two below. I'm tempted to put down a deep-pile carpet with good underlay, since the sound of the room has always been zingy (it's a narrow concrete box, 21' x 9'). Is this the best approach, or would I be wiser to stick with a better wooden floor? Is carpet over concrete a bad idea? The room is a dedicated space, so anything goes really.
 
May 28, 2013
417
0
0
www.puriteaudio.co.uk
#9
Isn't that the complete opposite of using spikes which some say isolates and others say couples the speaker to the floor?

Placing speakers on sorbothane will allow them to wobble and sway a lot. I would add a Lally column /screw jack column under your speakers. They are available at Home Depot and are under $100.

I have doubled all my floor joists in my full basement, which wasn't terribly expensive, but there still is a slight amount of flex in the floor and when I play recordings like Turtle Creek Chorale's "Psalms", loudly, long sustained very deep organ notes will vibrate the floor throughout the room. I have even had things fall off shelves on the wall! More typical bass notes don't cause theto vibrate--only the deepest bass notes on an organ sustained for at least three seconds set the floor in noticeable vibration.
Spiking directly couples your loudspeaker to the floor, allowing vibration to pass easily , decoupling using visco elastic material will absorb 'some' of the vibration ( depending upon durometer and loading of the material) in Diapason case isolation/decoupling would appear to be optimal.
Keith.
 

rbbert

Active Member
Dec 12, 2010
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#10
May 28, 2013
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www.puriteaudio.co.uk
#11
Apr 3, 2010
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Seattle, WA
#12
The first consideration in my mind would have nothing to do with audio but comfort and durability. Concrete wicks moisture so putting a carpet directly on it is a bad idea in my mind. In my theater that is similarly situated, we put in a layer of the orange stuff they put under tile to keep them from cracking. Then we put the underlayment and carpet on top. Knock on wood, the isolation layer has kept the carpet dry.

As to floor bounce, I actually like the tactile feedback of bass energy through my body. For that reason some people do build a wooden platform just to enable that. Your situation though is much more extreme with the older floor but do pay attention to whether there are any aspects of that you like. My 2-channel audio is in a loft on a strong wood floor and the tactile feedback to me is a pleasure there.

Either way, you are on the right track to get rid of floor reflections which can color the sound.
 
Jan 29, 2014
983
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0
Cape Town South Africa
#13
mine are wood laminate over concrete with an acoustic underlay.. and lots of persian rugs.on top.
I wouldnt mind a plush underfoot full carpet to suit my decor either
Easier to damp a room than undamp it.. so that maybe counts against the full carpet?
 

Bruce B

WBF Founding Member, Pro Audio Production Member
Apr 26, 2010
6,558
2
38
Seattle, WA
www.pugetsoundstudios.com
#14
Try some Stillpoint Ultra5's first (cheap way)

I have floating floors in my basement. There is a 6" concrete floor and on top of that is Kinetics Noise Control "KIP" isolators. Then on top of that are 2 layers of 3/4" marine grade plywood with Green Glue in the middle. The second layer of plywood is 90 degrees to the first. Then there is 1/8" rigid fiberglass and then a 3/4" Maple laminate that is just floating. In front of the speakers there is a very thick wool rug over padding. I've had speakers in here that are over 700lbs with no problems. When there is a low organ note, I can feel the floor vibrate, but it's a "good vibration" as the Beach Boys sing along!
 

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
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Eastern WA
#15
I enjoy a bit of tactile feedback from the floor. But some floors feel cheap, or rather poorly done. I think it's best to check if the floor is consistent and doesn't have any lose areas. If it does, if there's any bouncy areas or noise makers while you walk, they should be fixed. I'd aim for a very solid wood floor. That might mean thicker plywood, bigger more precisely used nails/screws, and some added cross-members/joists. Also the joist hangers could be done with screws so they're very solid. This isn't "cheap" per say to do. You might even consider larger joists. This is all if you don't have concrete below... and I like the sound of proper wood in a room. It's too early of reflections & free (not connected or isolated properly) vibrations that are a real bother to me. We aren't in a recording studio so making it 100% dead isn't as valuable. In fact we can get a little more of an artist in the room feel not going that way. It's the studio that makes sense to do that so that their room doesn't try to become ours.

Amirm is talking about Schluter Kerdi backboard/floorboard for tile. It's really awesome stuff for doing a bathroom! But it's a water barrier. It will prevent water from coming or going. If absorption is the key I'd go with cement board "wonder board". However that doesn't mean the old Schluter doesn't have sonic benefits... I wouldn't know.

I like how Rodney's rugs look on wood. But I'm a wood floor person to begin with.
 
Last edited:
May 28, 2013
417
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0
www.puriteaudio.co.uk
#16
Try some Stillpoint Ultra5's first (cheap way)

I have floating floors in my basement. There is a 6" concrete floor and on top of that is Kinetics Noise Control "KIP" isolators. Then on top of that are 2 layers of 3/4" marine grade plywood with Green Glue in the middle. The second layer of plywood is 90 degrees to the first. Then there is 1/8" rigid fiberglass and then a 3/4" Maple laminate that is just floating. In front of the speakers there is a very thick wool rug over padding. I've had speakers in here that are over 700lbs with no problems. When there is a low organ note, I can feel the floor vibrate, but it's a "good vibration" as the Beach Boys sing along!
Still points ( cup and ball ) don't isolate they directly couple, no real use at all.
Keith.
 
Jan 29, 2014
983
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0
Cape Town South Africa
#17
Re isolation and coupling of speakers , one must realise that the majority of vibrations are airborne .. and there is nothing you can do about that
 
May 28, 2013
417
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0
www.puriteaudio.co.uk
#18
Re isolation and coupling of speakers , one must realise that the majority of vibrations are airborne .. and there is nothing you can do about that
Airborne vibrations from the speaker are generally known as sound, what's causing Dia's floor to vibrate is direct coupling from the loudspeaker .
Keith
 
Jul 25, 2012
2,553
0
36
NY
#19
Re isolation and coupling of speakers , one must realise that the majority of vibrations are airborne .. and there is nothing you can do about that
YES, you are correct. Just like a sonic boom or strong thunder shakes the whole house.

If I play the Turtle Creek Chorale album Psalms and wait for those very deep organ notes, I can place my hands on the woofer columns and my woofer columns don't vibrate or vibrate the floor, it is the sound pressure waves they produce that cause the vibration. You need to make the floor more rigid.
 
Jan 29, 2014
983
0
0
Cape Town South Africa
#20
Keith its the bass sound from the speakers that make stuff vibrate .. My Giyas are dead still to the touch but my floor , walls and ceiling resonate ..
 
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