Suspended ceiling or bare ceiling

LR319

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May 7, 2019
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I have limited knowledge on room acoustic, hope someone can share his expertise with me. My listening area now has a suspended ceiling with plasterboard, distance between the plaster board and bare concrete ceiling is about 6inces. When I run a frequency sweep from 100Hz down, my ceiling board begin to have audible vibration at various location depending on the frequency, at about 60-80 Hz I can feel the bass gone louder and more vibration, kind of resonance I guess.
Some audiophiles friend advise me to use stronger suspension rod/board with rockwool filling in between. My personal thought favor a bare ceiling so nothing vibrate above my head. In the later stage I still have the option of adding diffusion panel or whatever if need to. This option save me downtime and cost, the only downside I can think off is appearance, which I don't really care that much.
What other disadvantage about bare concrete ceiling acoustic wise ?
 

MTB Vince

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May 11, 2019
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In any reasonably sized domestic listening environment there will be regions in your room where some frequencies are louder or quieter than other adjacent frequencies. This is due to low frequency standing wave behavior. Bass wavelengths which coincide with our room dimensions build up and combine either constructively creating peaks or de-constructively creating nulls. While it is possible that your suspended drywall ceiling is mechanically vibrating at some frequencies, I'd be more likely to lay the audible frequency variations you are experiencing at the feet of your room's low frequency modal response.
 
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LR319

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Thanks MTB Vince, my listening area has not been treated acoustically. my biggest issue now is the rattling ceiling board at certain freq. Are you suggesting a reinforced suspended ceiling over bare concrete ceiling ?
 

Gregadd

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Apr 20, 2010
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Suspended ceiling was intended to be cosmetic only. I know less about room acoustics than you do. You
will need to fill that 6 inch gap with some kind of acoustic material. There is such a thing as ceiling bounce, That is a direct reflection form the speaker down to the listener. Our esteemed leader (Steve Williams) in a previous incarnation had a reverse stepped ceiling. Maybe you can find a picture of his old room some where around here. I think Mike Lavigne currently has one.
I hope I'm not too far off base.
 

Cellcbern

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When I built my dedicated listening room I had the ceiling dropped, and I am glad I did. I have been able to suspend acoustic panels at the ceiling first reflection points, and add fiberglass insulation behind them across the whole ceiling.
 

Gregadd

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ddk

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May 19, 2013
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I have limited knowledge on room acoustic, hope someone can share his expertise with me. My listening area now has a suspended ceiling with plasterboard, distance between the plaster board and bare concrete ceiling is about 6inces. When I run a frequency sweep from 100Hz down, my ceiling board begin to have audible vibration at various location depending on the frequency, at about 60-80 Hz I can feel the bass gone louder and more vibration, kind of resonance I guess.
Some audiophiles friend advise me to use stronger suspension rod/board with rockwool filling in between. My personal thought favor a bare ceiling so nothing vibrate above my head. In the later stage I still have the option of adding diffusion panel or whatever if need to. This option save me downtime and cost, the only downside I can think off is appearance, which I don't really care that much.
What other disadvantage about bare concrete ceiling acoustic wise ?
What are your room dimensions and ceiling height,? A picture of your room will help too.

david
 

Cellcbern

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Suspended ceiling was intended to be cosmetic only. I know less about room acoustics than you do. You
will need to fill that 6 inch gap with some kind of acoustic material. There is such a thing as ceiling bounce, That is a direct reflection form the speaker down to the listener. Our esteemed leader (Steve Williams) in a previous incarnation had a reverse stepped ceiling. Maybe you can find a picture of his old room some where around here. I think Mike Lavigne currently has one.
I hope I'm not too far off base.
FYI: https://www.gikacoustics.com/product/acoustic-drop-ceiling-panel/

Just as with the side walls a part of your ceiling is a first reflection point.
 

Gregadd

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Apr 20, 2010
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I prefer a "live" room. Ymmv. Remember there is a difference between soundproofing and room treatment. It also may call for formal measurement with some of the available software.
 

LR319

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May 7, 2019
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What are your room dimensions and ceiling height,? A picture of your room will help too.

david
Hi David, my listening area is not exactly a room, rather it is kind of a common area, it does form a rectangular shape somehow with approx dimension of W4.2m x H2.8m x L9m, there isn't a solid parallel wall, I have passage lead to bedroom , dinning area and kitchen. I first need to make a major decision whether to have suspended ceiling or bare concrete ceiling. Hope you can shed some lights here.
Thanks Gregadd for sharing info on NRC, I would assume a bare concrete ceiling will brighten up mids and highs so I might require some diffusion / reflection panel above my head, in the later stage.
 

pjwd

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Jun 23, 2015
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Brisbane
Hi David, my listening area is not exactly a room, rather it is kind of a common area, it does form a rectangular shape somehow with approx dimension of W4.2m x H2.8m x L9m, there isn't a solid parallel wall, I have passage lead to bedroom , dinning area and kitchen. I first need to make a major decision whether to have suspended ceiling or bare concrete ceiling. Hope you can shed some lights here.
Thanks Gregadd for sharing info on NRC, I would assume a bare concrete ceiling will brighten up mids and highs so I might require some diffusion / reflection panel above my head, in the later stage.
Any extra height you can get is good so I would whip out the ceiling .. it will be more reverbarent but that is not a bad thing
The first reflections off the ceiling will be stronger and smear direct sound so i would add some vertcal baffles of a semirigid product say 300mm high ... i have used PET panels for this
You will probably only need 3 or 4 then you can add some general absorbers away from the first reflection points to tame it further if needed

Cheers
Phil
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Hi David, my listening area is not exactly a room, rather it is kind of a common area, it does form a rectangular shape somehow with approx dimension of W4.2m x H2.8m x L9m, there isn't a solid parallel wall, I have passage lead to bedroom , dinning area and kitchen. I first need to make a major decision whether to have suspended ceiling or bare concrete ceiling. Hope you can shed some lights here.
Thanks Gregadd for sharing info on NRC, I would assume a bare concrete ceiling will brighten up mids and highs so I might require some diffusion / reflection panel above my head, in the later stage.
Hi LR319,
Generally speaking I’m against buying acoustic panels and sticking them all over the place willy nilly that always creates problems and worse still is stuffing the ceiling!

You haven’t mentioned if you hear the ceiling while playing music too or is the sustained frequency sweep the only time you hear the it? It could also problem with the general construction of your space, the walls could be exciting the ceiling or you might be hearing the ducts. Do you play rap with 30” subs at high volumes all day long or listen to chamber music? It’s the nature of low frequency waves you’ll almost always hear different levels around the room and you’ll find peaks if you go looking for them, that’s where speaker and seating position setup comes into play. I’d start figuring out a better setup if bass is a problem in your current setup before doing anything else. This is why I asked for a picture of your room and setup.

You can expose the ceiling if that’s what you want even just for esthetics, I’ve done it myself many times. Occasionally the duct work became problematic and I had to deal with it but nothing else serious. Concrete doesn’t mean reflective automatically there are many variables involved and in case it is reflective you can absorb the reflection with a rug or carpeting.

david
 

LR319

Well-Known Member
May 7, 2019
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Hi LR319,
Generally speaking I’m against buying acoustic panels and sticking them all over the place willy nilly that always creates problems and worse still is stuffing the ceiling!

You haven’t mentioned if you hear the ceiling while playing music too or is the sustained frequency sweep the only time you hear the it? It could also problem with the general construction of your space, the walls could be exciting the ceiling or you might be hearing the ducts. Do you play rap with 30” subs at high volumes all day long or listen to chamber music? It’s the nature of low frequency waves you’ll almost always hear different levels around the room and you’ll find peaks if you go looking for them, that’s where speaker and seating position setup comes into play. I’d start figuring out a better setup if bass is a problem in your current setup before doing anything else. This is why I asked for a picture of your room and setup.

You can expose the ceiling if that’s what you want even just for esthetics, I’ve done it myself many times. Occasionally the duct work became problematic and I had to deal with it but nothing else serious. Concrete doesn’t mean reflective automatically there are many variables involved and in case it is reflective you can absorb the reflection with a rug or carpeting.

david
Hi David thanks for your valuable inputs, it makes sense to me and I now have a clearer mind of what to do next. I listen to jazz mainly, plucking of bass guitar at certain frequency will makes my ceiling board buzzing, quite irritating actually. My room is too messy to share here but I have a floor plan showing my setup. I have thick drop down curtain on left / right / rear of speakers, a rugs between me and speakers. No ducting above my ceiling board. I agree with you, I don't like my room to have many panels sticking here and there.
Will tear down my ceiling next week.
 

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Gregadd

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Helmholtz resonance
I am against any open cavity in the wall. Deal with it as you wish.
 

Cellcbern

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Jul 31, 2015
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Hi LR319,
Generally speaking I’m against buying acoustic panels and sticking them all over the place willy nilly that always creates problems and worse still is stuffing the ceiling!

You haven’t mentioned if you hear the ceiling while playing music too or is the sustained frequency sweep the only time you hear the it? It could also problem with the general construction of your space, the walls could be exciting the ceiling or you might be hearing the ducts. Do you play rap with 30” subs at high volumes all day long or listen to chamber music? It’s the nature of low frequency waves you’ll almost always hear different levels around the room and you’ll find peaks if you go looking for them, that’s where speaker and seating position setup comes into play. I’d start figuring out a better setup if bass is a problem in your current setup before doing anything else. This is why I asked for a picture of your room and setup.

You can expose the ceiling if that’s what you want even just for esthetics, I’ve done it myself many times. Occasionally the duct work became problematic and I had to deal with it but nothing else serious. Concrete doesn’t mean reflective automatically there are many variables involved and in case it is reflective you can absorb the reflection with a rug or carpeting.

david
Hi LR319,
Generally speaking I’m against buying acoustic panels and sticking them all over the place willy nilly that always creates problems and worse still is stuffing the ceiling!

You haven’t mentioned if you hear the ceiling while playing music too or is the sustained frequency sweep the only time you hear the it? It could also problem with the general construction of your space, the walls could be exciting the ceiling or you might be hearing the ducts. Do you play rap with 30” subs at high volumes all day long or listen to chamber music? It’s the nature of low frequency waves you’ll almost always hear different levels around the room and you’ll find peaks if you go looking for them, that’s where speaker and seating position setup comes into play. I’d start figuring out a better setup if bass is a problem in your current setup before doing anything else. This is why I asked for a picture of your room and setup.

You can expose the ceiling if that’s what you want even just for esthetics, I’ve done it myself many times. Occasionally the duct work became problematic and I had to deal with it but nothing else serious. Concrete doesn’t mean reflective automatically there are many variables involved and in case it is reflective you can absorb the reflection with a rug or carpeting.

david
Concrete, in fact any hard surface is "automatically" highly reflective and if you don't moderate the reflections you will be listening to the room - not your system. Reflections off of a hard ceiling have a similar impact on the sound as reflections off of walls. There are attractive options for acoustical panels these days that can work with your decor - GIK and others offer the ability to have art or photos printed on the acoustical fabric covering their panels, and the ZR Acoustics sculpted wood panels make stunning wall art. Looking at the sketch of your room I would treat the wall behind and the ceiling above the speakers, and the right side wall (the long wall) at a minimum. Note that curtains do very little in terms of damping reflections. FYI: https://www.gikacoustics.com/product-category/acoustic-art-panels/
 

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ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Concrete, in fact any hard surface is "automatically" highly reflective and if you don't moderate the reflections you will be listening to the room - not your system. Reflections off of a hard ceiling have a similar impact on the sound as reflections off of walls. There are attractive options for acoustical panels these days that can work with your decor - GIK and others offer the ability to have art or photos printed on the acoustical fabric covering their panels, and the ZR Acoustics sculpted wood panels make stunning wall art. Looking at the sketch of your room I would treat the wall behind and the ceiling above the speakers, and the right side wall (the long wall) at a minimum. Note that curtains do very little in terms of damping reflections.
Not necessarily! There are many types of concrete some finishes are actually absorptive but even if reflective it’s easy to deal with. Reflections aren’t all bad either, @LR319 hasn’t a decent sized room with good dimensions and height and he’s sitting near field there’s not much to worry about in this room, at least looking at the sketch.

The products you‘re recommending don’t address his problem with a resonant ceiling.

david
 

Cellcbern

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Not necessarily! There are many types of concrete some finishes are actually absorptive but even if reflective it’s easy to deal with. Reflections aren’t all bad either, @LR319 hasn’t a decent sized room with good dimensions and height and he’s sitting near field there’s not much to worry about in this room, at least looking at the sketch.

The products you‘re recommending don’t address his problem with a resonant ceiling.

david
Disagree completely. He's got each speaker in front of a room corner.
 
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Cellcbern

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Jul 31, 2015
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You can damp an individual rattling board or two directly but I would drop the ceiling at least over the listening area and install acoustical ceiling tiles like the GIK.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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