Optimizing Audio Environment: Testing of Digital Bass Traps and Alternative Solutions at My Home

exupgh12

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Jul 30, 2019
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I have the Magico S3 2023 speakers in a lightly acoustically treated room. A friend of mine brought over two AVAA C214 Digital Active Bass Traps that he uses in his own audio system for testing at my place. The results at my home, although not as pronounced as what he experiences in his own problematic acoustically environment, still showed improvements (my space is larger, parallel, and with no wall behind the listening place) - notably in imaging, high and mid octaves, and the elimination of any bass standing waves (my room have standing wave issue from 80hz - 125hz of +6DB, using bass traps at the front wall corners behind the room curtain solve most of it).

After comparing the sound with and without the digital bass traps, we switched them off and opened a window about 5 cm wide, positioned near the location of the standing wave. Surprisingly, the results were very similar. Eventually, we tried two Vicoustic Vari Bass Ultra units, placing them in the same spot where the C214s were positioned and set them to 88 dB (this can be change according to need).

The results were remarkably close to using the C214s or opening a window, I would estimate at over 95%. The difference was hardly noticeable unless playing extremely deep (and synthetic) bass tracks at volumes that I couldn't listen to for more than a few seconds (Malia\Brois Blank - Fever, Marcin - Layla, Kashmir as examples).

There are multiple effective solutions, some of them won't even cost you money. For now, I've decided to keep the Vari Bass Ultra units installed, but I may consider investing in active bass traps in the future.
 
Thank you for this very interesting report!

In theory the AVAAs should manifest a bass absorption capability equal to more than two of those Vicoustic passive absorbers.
 
Thank you for this very interesting report!

In theory the AVAAs should manifest a bass absorption capability equal to more than two of those Vicoustic passive absorbers.
I completely agree with you Ron, the C214s are far superior to Vicoustic passive absorbers.
At my friend's home, where the environment is challenging and standing waves are prominent due to corners and the rear wall being just behind the listening point, active treatments like the AVAA or RQ are essential for enjoying music.

However, this is not the situation at my home. I already use bass traps that effectively address most of the issues. The addition of Vicoustic passive absorbers complements the existing treatment.
 
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I like the open window idea better. More cost effective.
 
I think for those of us who can’t put bass traps everywhere in our room, we should always measure what the bass issue is at our listening position and measure what bass buildup occurs at the areas where we can put the bass traps.
If the listening position has an 88Hz peak but the location where you want to put the bass trap doesn’t, the trap is not going to do anything for the 88Hz peak.
Similarly, the measurements inform what traps you actually need. If you don’t need a bass trap to absorb broadband from 20-120Hz, and only need 88Hz absorbed, obviously, AAVA C20/214 would be overkill as a more targeted 88Hz trap with Vicoustic Vari-Bass Ultra would work totally fine.
Horses for courses.
As an aside, I have and use both AVAA C214 and Vicoustic Vari-Bass Ultra.
 
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I think for those of us who can’t put bass traps everywhere in our room, we should always measure what the bass issue is at our listening position and measure what bass buildup occurs at the areas where we can put the bass traps.
If the listening position has an 88Hz peak but the location where you want to put the bass trap doesn’t, the trap is not going to do anything for the 88Hz peak.
Similarly, the measurements inform what traps you actually need. If you don’t need a bass trap to absorb broadband from 20-120Hz, and only need 88Hz absorbed, obviously, AAVA C20/214 would be overkill as a more targeted 88Hz trap with Vicoustic Vari-Bass Ultra would work totally fine.
Horses for courses.
As an aside, I have and use both AVAA C214 and Vicoustic Vari-Bass Ultra.
Bass traps need to go where the pressure is highest which is not where the peaks are.
 
Bass traps need to go where the pressure is highest which is not where the peaks are.
Fair enough. There are velocity traps and pressure traps. I was thinking of velocity traps but what you said is true for pressure traps. And I guess AAVA C20/214 and Vicoustic Vari-Bass Ultra are pressure traps so I was incorrect in my example.
 
Fair enough. There are velocity traps and pressure traps. I was thinking of velocity traps but what you said is true for pressure traps. And I guess AAVA C20/214 and Vicoustic Vari-Bass Ultra are pressure traps so I was incorrect in my example.
Velocity traps just need to be so big to be true bass traps. I am in the middle of doing a custom rebuild of my dedicated listening room and, ironically, I actually built a giant velocity trap in my ceiling. It is essentially the entire attic/crawl space of my house. It's bigger than the room with 2,000 cubic feet of insulation. Really it should work as both a velocity trap and a pressure trap since it essentially removed one of the six room boundaries. I also have a pair of the AAVA C20s.

I am looking forward to getting it finished so I can hear the results.
 

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