Resources for Building an Ideal Listening Room

Minnesotafats

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Aug 26, 2020
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I am in the process of shopping for a house that either has the bones to create a good listening room or the space to build an ideal listening room. I was hoping that we could have a thread dedicated to what makes a good listening room and the resources available to help build a great listening room. I have seen some pictures of rooms and dimensions of rooms in other threads and was hoping we could assemble these type of resources in a dedicated listening room thread.

Their are a number of factors to consider including, but not limited to: room dimension ratios, room shapes, acoustic treatments, construction techniques, construction materials, and the never ending debate of diffusion and absorption. I am particularly interested in folks that are using omnidirectional speakers like my MBL 101's, but I recognize that omni speakers have unique room treatment needs.

As an example of a resource I am sharing a link from ASC on their ISOWall system. This system intrigues me and seems like a great way to absorb bass energy in a room by using the walls as essentially a bass trap.

"Our Iso-Wall system is meticulously engineered for optimal musical acoustic quality, both live and playback. Utilizing the tried-and-true soundproofing technique of building a floating double wall, the ASC Iso-Wall system takes performance a step further. By including viscoelastic damping at key joints of the assembly and prescribing construction methods to best utilize the damping properties, the Iso-Wall system provides deep bass absorption along with improved sound isolation. There is no better product for the construction of listening rooms and recording studios."


Hoping I can get others on this forum to share their resources, ideas, and pictures of ideal rooms. Note that room dimensions on pictures would be greatly appreciated.
 
I am also searching for an article I read about Michael Lavorgna's barn room and his build out process. For some reason I cannot find that article. Any other articles on room builds or dimensions would be greatly appreciated.
 
I'm going through the same process. Seriously considering selling my current home so I can finally build my ultimate room. I will be following this thread. I know a few people on here have gone through the process so hopefully they will join in and give ideas.
 
We are considering the same process in enclosing our patio area.

Just discovered some lighting yesterday thru the Estelon Rep that is said to be better for audio systems called DC Lighting. We’re still studying it.

ATX LED

As far as room size I would suggest using the Golden Ratio formula if beginning from scratch.
1.6 (W) x 2.6 (L) x 1 (H)
 
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This is an example of a post in another thread that I think is helpful in this thread.

1665158030073.png
 
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I am in the process of shopping for a house that either has the bones to create a good listening room or the space to build an ideal listening room. I was hoping that we could have a thread dedicated to what makes a good listening room and the resources available to help build a great listening room. I have seen some pictures of rooms and dimensions of rooms in other threads and was hoping we could assemble these type of resources in a dedicated listening room thread.

Their are a number of factors to consider including, but not limited to: room dimension ratios, room shapes, acoustic treatments, construction techniques, construction materials, and the never ending debate of diffusion and absorption. I am particularly interested in folks that are using omnidirectional speakers like my MBL 101's, but I recognize that omni speakers have unique room treatment needs.

As an example of a resource I am sharing a link from ASC on their ISOWall system. This system intrigues me and seems like a great way to absorb bass energy in a room by using the walls as essentially a bass trap.

"Our Iso-Wall system is meticulously engineered for optimal musical acoustic quality, both live and playback. Utilizing the tried-and-true soundproofing technique of building a floating double wall, the ASC Iso-Wall system takes performance a step further. By including viscoelastic damping at key joints of the assembly and prescribing construction methods to best utilize the damping properties, the Iso-Wall system provides deep bass absorption along with improved sound isolation. There is no better product for the construction of listening rooms and recording studios."


Hoping I can get others on this forum to share their resources, ideas, and pictures of ideal rooms. Note that room dimensions on pictures would be greatly appreciated.
Try talking to Norm Varney, he is located in your part of the country, and has a lot of knowledge and experience with building and treating high end 2 channel listening rooms for homes. https://avroomservice.com/
He is a very nice person and very fair as well.
Elliot
 
Still pleased with my DHDI ZR (Zero Reflection) based listening room. As I've posted, the ZR panels proved superior to conventional absorbers, diffusers, and traps in my head to head comparative listening tests. DHDI is an architectural firm that provides complete pro studio (mostly) and high end home listening room design and consultation services (including by the way - any measurements you could want - if you are a client). The first "Check Out SFSCS.org" link below is a portfolio of nearly 90 different client installations. The 2nd is a list of a similar number of testimonials from pro recording and mixing engineers, musicians, etc.

Note that the ZR technology makes room dimensions much less important.

FYI:


My 2016 move into a new house afforded me the opportunity to build a dedicated 16'd x 9.5'w x 8'h basement listening room from scratch - photos below:
 

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Starting a room from an idea to fruition is IMO the best of all worlds. I strongly encourage you to put at the top of your resources “hire a reputable acoustician.“ You won’t regret it. I’ve built 5-6 rooms over the course of me involvemet in audio. Only this last room did I avail myself of a phd in acoustics as I have large speakers, an entire side wall of components in an 15 x 20 x 9 room. All of my friends bet against it as they said I would blow the back end of the room off with my speakers. I was determined to make it work as I love my system I hired my acoustician based on her qualifications which was a phd in acoustics after getting degrees in math and electrical engineering and then working for the department of defense doing underwater mapping for which she wrote the program. She subsequently went out on her own taking the program with her. She essentially does mapping of rooms. There are many out there who call themselves acousticians but have had no formal training. So if you use an acoustician make sure you do your due diligence To end the story not only did she prove my friends wrong but if all my soft rooms this is truly the best.
 
Starting a room from an idea to fruition is IMO the best of all worlds. I strongly encourage you to put at the top of your resources “hire a reputable acoustician.“ You won’t regret it. I’ve built 5-6 rooms over the course of me involvemet in audio. Only this last room did I avail myself of a phd in acoustics as I have large speakers, an entire side wall of components in an 15 x 20 x 9 room. All of my friends bet against it as they said I would blow the back end of the room off with my speakers. I was determined to make it work as I love my system I hired my acoustician based on her qualifications which was a phd in acoustics after getting degrees in math and electrical engineering and then working for the department of defense doing underwater mapping for which she wrote the program. She subsequently went out on her own taking the program with her. She essentially does mapping of rooms. There are many out there who call themselves acousticians but have had no formal training. So if you use an acoustician make sure you do your due diligence To end the story not only did she prove my friends wrong but if all my soft rooms this is truly the best.
Thank you for that wisdom. I am heading down that path. My Architect has designed small music halls for music instruction and has some acoustician connections. I am receiving some paid advice from the folks at ASC with respect to some of their products that Robert Harley used. I will probably get the Acoustician once I figure out if I am building a room or remodeling and existing one. I am looking at a minimum height of 12 feet and at least a 20 x 30 ft room if not possibly bigger. It may be multifunctional as I like open concept rooms.
 

Since I am an MBL user and I am going down the path of MBL Extremes I am considering the SMT products. I just saw this link and thread. Will be in touch with Jeremy at MBL because it seems like the SMT products work well with MBLs Omni pattern.
 
I am also searching for an article I read about Michael Lavorgna's barn room and his build out process. For some reason I cannot find that article. Any other articles on room builds or dimensions would be greatly appreciated.

This was the article I was thinking of. A WBF member @Mike Lavigne . Sorry I had cited a different MIke L originally. They both have barns.
 
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I guess copying Magico might be a good start.
Thread 'Magico’s New Sound Room'
https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/magico’s-new-sound-room.34706/


Not really... would be interesting to learn what the Wolfster is doing for 300Hz or lower for the bass. But then it's really apples and oranges... an analytical box speaker (except for a handful of amps like Gryphon, CAT, and Symphonic line) designed by an analytical listener/ designer for primarily analytical listeners
 
Here are some thoughts from someone who loves MBL and omnis:

- There’s nothing like a large - sized room . In a larger rooms, MBLs create a bigger stage - images will come at you from a 3D space. It can’t be matched by other non- omni technologies. Guys in this hobby have powerful imaginations. They pretend their wilsons and magicos sound like real music. But No box speakers can do what MBLs do. Yet if the room is not up to par, there's no point spending MBL money. Guys who don’t invest in the room (and treatments) are getting a piddly return on their investment, or worse. They are getting maybe getting 20 percent of the potential performance. Think of a guy in a super car driving in bumper to bumper traffic- just an expensive luxury but no potential for performance . So find as big of a room as you can and treat it.

- No acoustics expert can predict what your room will sound like. There is no prediction model that exists

- Most of those acoustic experts are experimentally impoverished. They primarily only know about the box speakers. MBLs are foreign to them

- And of course there’s personal taste. How many times have people heard a Wilson system set up by that snooty, arrogant mother fuyer , "Haughty" Peter McGrath? Those Wilson systems are hyped up as “time machines” by the “audio journalists “. But to vast majority of people, Wilsons sound so friggin bad. When people not into this hobby get convinced to listen to that hyped up hifi , it’s a huge letdown and keeps so many outsiders from the hobby. Otherwise, people who love music would be running to this hobby like kids to a park

- With all that said, do reach out to SMT. They know MBL well and should make solid recommendations. MBL North America brings SMT panels to all shows and always get some of the best sound at the show

- You will need a right balance of reflective and absorptive surfaces in the room

- You will need bass traps in corners as uncontrolled bass waves will muddy up transparency

- So forget acoustical experts. Get both bass traps and SMT panels in steps, play around with positioning, and get more…Otherwise, they will build something and you may end up ripping stuff out after all the hassle and expense
 
caesar I read every word you said. I have to tell you I disagree with everything you said. You have to find the right experts. Once done ……..,

anytime you’re in Southern California and want to hear a perfectly set up room done by a phd in acoustics and employing the speakers you deplore so vehemently hit me up . Ahh but then you hide behind your screen as you pump your chest because you want no one to know you.

@Minnesotafats I would encourage you to put Caesar on your ignore list. He lives in his own world where he feels his anonymity gives him leave to crap on the mfrs he hates so much.
 
Here are some thoughts from someone who loves MBL and omnis:

- There’s nothing like a large - sized room . In a larger rooms, MBLs create a bigger stage - images will come at you from a 3D space. It can’t be matched by other non- omni technologies. Guys in this hobby have powerful imaginations. They pretend their wilsons and magicos sound like real music. But No box speakers can do what MBLs do. Yet if the room is not up to par, there's no point spending MBL money. Guys who don’t invest in the room (and treatments) are getting a piddly return on their investment, or worse. They are getting maybe getting 20 percent of the potential performance. Think of a guy in a super car driving in bumper to bumper traffic- just an expensive luxury but no potential for performance . So find as big of a room as you can and treat it.

- No acoustics expert can predict what your room will sound like. There is no prediction model that exists

- Most of those acoustic experts are experimentally impoverished. They primarily only know about the box speakers. MBLs are foreign to them

- And of course there’s personal taste. How many times have people heard a Wilson system set up by that snooty, arrogant mother fuyer , "Haughty" Peter McGrath? Those Wilson systems are hyped up as “time machines” by the “audio journalists “. But to vast majority of people, Wilsons sound so friggin bad. When people not into this hobby get convinced to listen to that hyped up hifi , it’s a huge letdown and keeps so many outsiders from the hobby. Otherwise, people who love music would be running to this hobby like kids to a park

- With all that said, do reach out to SMT. They know MBL well and should make solid recommendations. MBL North America brings SMT panels to all shows and always get some of the best sound at the show

- You will need a right balance of reflective and absorptive surfaces in the room

- You will need bass traps in corners as uncontrolled bass waves will muddy up transparency

- So forget acoustical experts. Get both bass traps and SMT panels in steps, play around with positioning, and get more…Otherwise, they will build something and you may end up ripping stuff out after all the hassle and expense
a harsh tone ceasar although i agree on some points. i will definitely say the mbl extremes need a very good room. i auditioned them in houston. the room there did not do them justice. oddly enough they had a defined sweet spot. the bass was just overpowering the room. they did provide information i had never heard before on some of my test tracks which was very cool. but given that venue i preferred the wilson and gryphons over them. if the room was spot on for them i do bet the sound could be sensational. its all about the room period.
 
@Minnesotafats, I assume you are located in Minnesota? I had audio engineers design and build my main listening room and you are welcome to swing by to see it. It is a very unique design but most importantly, the sound is outstanding.

Paul
Analog Audio of Minnesota
 

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