Lets have fun and create my new listening room


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2010
Hi, I am moving into a new home with an empty 9' ceiling basement. Attached are photos of the basement and blueprints. I would like to get input on ideas for room location, dimensions, etc.

A bit about my system and listening preferences:
1. I listen primary to chamber music at about 90-94 db. I typically sit about 8-10 feet away from my Ilumnia Magister speakers (BTW: I love these speakers!!! Very balanced, dynamic and distortion free). My amps are 5W DHT monoblocks (C3g drives EML 45B) that easily drive the Ilumnia Magisters.
2. Empty nesters, so noise traveling up to first floor is not a problem. Noise traveling down from first floor not a huge problem, but foot fall might need to be eliminated with a high mass ceiling in the listening room.
3. On the blue prints and photos, notice the HVAC duct work. Ideally, I don't want to have that running thru the room, but not sure if the duct work can be avoided. I won't move the duct work. Only option is to locate the listening room aaway from duct work.
4. In my prior 2 listening rooms, the dimensions were a bit small (20L x 12W) and (17L x 14W). Ideally, I am thinking of 25 x 14 or something like that. I don't want the room too big because I do near field listening.

Some questions (just thinking out loud):
5. Should any of the walls be splayed in order to eliminate parallel walls?
6. Thoughts on making the front wall or back wall a large diffusion panel? See attached photos for ideas on decorative diffusion ideas.
7. Avoid the HVAC duct work completely? If so, this limits the size of the room.
8. If the room is adjacent to the stairwell, does the stairwell present any acoustic problems?

Any ideas are welcome. Let's make this fun!


  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.03 AM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.03 AM.jpg
    212.8 KB · Views: 31
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.14 AM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.14 AM.jpg
    119.8 KB · Views: 33
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.23 AM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.23 AM.jpg
    123.4 KB · Views: 29
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.30 AM.jpg
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 6.53.30 AM.jpg
    127.9 KB · Views: 32
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.13.07 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.13.07 AM.png
    1.7 MB · Views: 32
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.13.29 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.13.29 AM.png
    1.5 MB · Views: 30
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.13.55 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.13.55 AM.png
    1.5 MB · Views: 29
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.14.25 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.14.25 AM.png
    439.1 KB · Views: 27
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.14.45 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.14.45 AM.png
    393.8 KB · Views: 29
  • Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.15.19 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2021-01-14 at 7.15.19 AM.png
    936.2 KB · Views: 30


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
Hello, This is a huge room. Some thoughts.

you don't really want to hear the rumble of the HVAC system. So you may have to do some insulation/Damping work on the duct.

Your room is so large that I don't thing you are going to have major issues with modes. It is odd shaped.

I don't know what you have planned for the rest of the space. However, I am a believer that you want the speakers as far from the wall as possible. I posted two pics of where I would start with the listening position and speaker position. in both you will not have any SBIR issues from the wall behind the speakers as it will be below 20Hz. You would have to find the best sofa position for the best bass balance then position the speakers for best sound.

In general you would like to have left/right symmetry where ever you place the speakers. I prefer AA for this reason.

Will the stairwell cause acoustic problems? Well, the short answer is yes. All things influence the acoustics of the room.


  • AA.JPG
    78.3 KB · Views: 15
  • AB.JPG
    80.2 KB · Views: 15


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
Of course if you don't mind everything in the middle this is probably the best place.


  • AC.JPG
    80.6 KB · Views: 12


Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2015
Washington, DC
See my posts on my testing of the ZR Acoustics panels and take a look at the DHDI website:

A disruptive technology that obviates the need for bass traps and would place the speakers very close to the panels/wall behind them, perhaps allowing for changes in listening room dimensions.


Well-Known Member
Feb 11, 2011
This is what I did when adding a dedicated listening room to my house in 2015.

Acoustic Frontiers (acousticfrontiers.com) established the optimum room size consistent with a house addition, designed the room acoustics and provided optimum inside wall dimensions.

The media room acoustic "foundation" consists of an isolated wall system comprised of 130 Kinetics IsoMax clips attached to 1-1/2" furring strips nailed to CBS blocks on all four walls. 440 linear feet of 25mm hat channel is supported by the isolation clips. R-11 open faced fiberglass (3-1/2" thickness) fills the empty areas between the CBS walls and drywall. Soundboard XP damped drywall is attached to the hat channel. Acoustic sealant seals the areas between the top, bottom, corner areas of the damped drywall.

The ceiling utilizes Soundboard XP attached to the ceiling joists. The media room attic has R-38 fiberglass insulation. A knee-wall with attached R30 fiberglass insulation separates the media room attic and the original structure interior attic area.

The A/V electronics are served by a dedicated 100A electrical sub-panel with (4) 20A circuits and 20A Furutech GTX-D duplex receptacles. Twisted pair wiring (#12) is used for each circuit with the neutral and hot wires wrapped on 2" centers and the ground wire placed parallel in PVC conduit. A paper presented at the 2010 AES 129th Convention shows this method has the lowest ground voltage induction tested.

The media room has a dedicated 1-1/2 ton A/C system. Large exhaust ducts in each room corner, and a large return duct on the rear ceiling leading to the air handler/evaporator minimizes room noise.

Acoustic Frontiers incorporated my existing Rives Audio ceiling "clouds" and using room dimensions and frequency measurements specified the interior room acoustic products and locations. The acoustic design creates a flatter frequency response; lowers the room reverberation time; and provides bass trapping. Clarity, sound staging, and imaging are all improved while keeping the room as live as possible.

The interior acoustic panel positioning:
- Ceiling: (4) 6'x6' wood frame acoustic "clouds" hung with all thread from the ceiling joists room centered. Each wood frame consists of (4) 2'x4' RPG BAD panels supported by the frame support structure. UltraTouch R19 sound absorption batts are placed on top of the structure.
- Front wall: (2) 39"x59" RPG Modex type 1 plates (outward positions), (2) 39"x59" RPG Modex broadband panels (inward positions). Panels with 6" spacing except at side walls, hung 23" from floor.
- Side walls: (3) 2'x2' RPG BAD ARC panels @ the L/R wall first reflection points; (3) 2'x2' Listen Audio natural birch diffusers @ the L/R 2nd reflection points; (3) 2'x2' Listen Audio natural birch diffusers flanking the listening positions on the R sidewall and behind the listening positions on the L sidewall. All panels hung 18" from floor.
- Rear wall: (1) 6'x6'x12"d absorber box (R38 fiberglass filled) centered. The existing floor standing RPG BAD panel templates wrapped with acoustic cloth attached to the front of the absorber box. The absorber box is hung 26" from the floor.

There are some construction pictures on my Audiogon webpage https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/5013

Best thing I ever did for music listening - good luck.


Well-Known Member
Feb 4, 2019
I have read horror stories of people doing their rooms without a professional team with a solid track record creating the design and providing details on how to build the walls and ceiling. You really should hire a pro like Foley or Hedbeck or maybe Acoustic Frontier I know nothing about AF. Wouldn't it be heartbreaking to screw it up and have odd room modes. Dips and peaks, phase reflection issues. I have a friend who tried this. He studied for years what to do. It took 5 tries to get it right. Put it in, rip it out, put it in, rip it out.
  • Like
Reactions: sbnx


Well-Known Member
Mar 28, 2017
I agree with Kingrex. If you are going to undertake a major, whole room treatment then I would contact an acoustician. But, your room is pretty large so you probably won't need a whole lot. Also keep in mind when talking to acousticians. Home theater is a whole different approach than 2 channel stereo. Home theater is usually way more damped. Here are some names to consider.

Anthony Grimani -- Sonitus/PMI Engineering
Norm Varney -- AV Room Services
Bonnie Schnitta -- Sound Sense
Jeff Headbeck -- Headbeck acoustics
  • Like
Reactions: Duke LeJeune

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
Beverly Hills, CA
What an exciting project, banpuku!

If your long-term plan is to keep those speakers, 25' x 14', or whatever is the golden ratio width for a 25' to 30' long room, seems like a great place to start.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2010
Thanks everyone for your input. The more the merrier. I do plan on keeping my speakers for the foreseeable future.

Wondering if anyone has tried splayed walls and if so, with success or failure. Theoretically, this should help tame some room modes, but also introduce multiple modes that might be harder to conquer.

In my most recent room (23' x 12'), the speaker performed very well. I noticed that too much sound absorption was killing the liveliness and thus, as I removed 1st reflection absorption, the liveliness came back.

What are your thoughts on diffusion on the front wall vs. rear wall? Which is best, assuming there is such a thing as best.

FWIW: at one point, I put concrete cinder blocks staggered against the front wall in such a way that there was no uniformity. The cinder blocks were every which way about 4' high, behind the speakers. This actually was a very nice treatment and helped on many fronts: 1st reflections points on the front wall was a non-issue, bass mode was slightly improved, and diffusion was introduced. I might go back to such a solution, albeit ugly. Then there is the option of placing random sized cardboard boxes staggered in all 3 dimensions (like the photo in the original post). Just thinking out loud.

Please respond with ideas and experiences.

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. A place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss existing and new audio products, music servers, music streamers and computer audio, digital to audio convertors (DACS), turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel to reel, speakers, headphones, tube amplifiers and solid state amplification. Founded in 2010 What's Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing