Wilson & ARC for me...

#1
I'll tell the tale of my return to Hi-Fi later, but here's my latest:

Last year, about this time, my wife was told she'd worked her way out of a job, but there was a position in Portland they wanted her to take. I got the news, and a "Honey, I'm going to be living in corporate housing in Portland while you sell our house and find us one in Portland." So after much trial and tribulation, the moving crew arrives the first week of December last year (2013). They take week to pack our home, and since I run my business from home, they get a second van to pack the garage. Late on a Friday night I'm scrambling at the old house to clean up and the movers are going to come back Saturday morning, pack the last inventory (temp sensitive and the weather was below freezing) and head for Portland. As we lived in Redmond, WA, it is only a 3-4 hour drive.

Back in Portland on Saturday morning, we're expecting the moving crew. I get a call close to noon, and was informed the van that had the garage contents was stolen in the middle of the night. They decided to pack the last of the contents Friday night, then headed south, only to stop after 40 miles to sleep at the motel. Evidently in the AM the drivers came out to find one of the rigs gone. Did I mention that in the garage, along with my business inventory, was my carefully packed Wilson Sashas and many other parts of my audio rig?

Months later, after endless BS with insurance company, they finally settle up. Turns out business items not covered in policy, so my little company eats a sizable loss. Ugh. But, I was able to order new speakers, so stepped up and got some Alexias.

In Portland, when looking for a home, a prerequisite was space for my music room. I looked at 36 houses. You get a quick lesson on home quality when you look at 36 houses. We finally settled on a nice home outside Oregon City. It was a former "street of dreams" home for the 2007 show, so it has a lot of spanky features. The lending market tanked, of course, in 2007 so the house was not sold for almost a year. Of course, the market continued to crater. I joke to my wife we got a street of dreams home for a million dollars off. The house has a nice space for my music room, which, finally will get setup next month. Contractors, decorators, and a long list of snafus and finally, the custom wool carpet for the floors will be in. I didn't want to setup and then have to take it all down when the carpet came, so I've had speakers and gear sitting idle for some time.

front-blinds-closed(sm).jpg
Here's an image looking forward towards where the speakers will be. Big glass doors on two sides, and a large 6' square window in the middle.

(I have some work to do on the other images, they're too big.)
 
Last edited:

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#2
great stuff! Quick question...are you firing the frontview projector at a different wall than your proposed speaker setup? I would have thought you'd use those great speakers for everything, audio and video?
 
#4
And some additional pictures

front-w-Alexia(sm).jpg
And here I have done a little photoshop work to drop in the Alexias.

looking-to-front-left-with-blinds-open(sm).jpg
Here's another picture with the blinds up, so you can see just how much glass there is on that wall.

looking-left(sm).jpg
This is looking to the left wall, where prior owner had projection screen and cabinet for front surround speakers. It is my intention to modify the space beneath the shelf with drawers for vinyl storage. [The projector] and the screen are already gone, I won't be watching video in this space. In the spot where the screen was I'm sure I'll have some diffusion of some yet to be determined type.

looking-right.jpg
Looking right, we see the area was really built as sort of a Man-Cave. There is a wet-bar, fridge, microwave, even a dishwasher. Above are cabinets for hooch related paraphernalia, wine glasses, etc. The house has this funky Sony distributed audio system that was new in 2006 or 7. There are Escient components that are basically servers to hold metadata for DVDs, a huge DVD carousel, and more. I plan to eliminate everything except to keep server and receiver for distributed audio, even though I very seldom listen to back-ground music. Its nice to have when entertaining and BBQ'ing, as the back porch also has speakers. I'm considering remodeling this wall so I'll have a place for my component racks - finally getting them out from between the speakers.

looking-to-rear-of-room1.jpg
Looking to the rear of the room, it opens towards the "guest wing" where there's three bedrooms. I hope to build a little wine cellar in the area you can see.
 
#5
A final picture

looking-to-rear-of-room2.jpg
I was having some trouble getting this into the last post... This image, and the other one looking towards the rear of the room, show I have a big challenge: It is going to be impossible to build up any sound pressure in this space because up the stairs it just opens into the entire house. The opposite side is a pretty long hallway. I might be able to do some work and get a pocket door to close off the space to the guest wing, but the stairs—that is going to be a challenge. I have some ideas and will keep the post alive as the room comes together.

My initial thoughts are are

1) large heavy curtain in front of the glass. If I curve the curtain into the room at the corners, I can hide base traps behind. In front of the curtain, in the center, some kind of diffusion perhaps RPG Diffractal or SMT Wing with Varitune bass absorber.

2) add vinyl storage drawers beneath where the projector was, with diffusion/treatment above.

3) gut the wall with the wet-bar, build a nice slightly recessed space for component racks/gear.

4) pull the sheetrock off the ceiling, fill the space with acoustic isolation, then re-do the ceiling with acoustic treatment / diffusion, etc. Ceilings are 9'7".

5) Figure out how to close off the staircase. It pours down into the room, and I have some ideas. You've been to a restaurant or meeting space where they have panels that fold out from the wall to divide the space—I'm thinking something along those lines. The right treatment would be crucial. Opposite, the pocket door mentioned already, which would allow the room to be closed.

6) Back wall will also likely be a combination diffusion/absorption/bass trapping.
 
#6
1) Both side can be for the audio rack and vinyl storage , but flush to the wall.
2) Keep the stairs, why you want to have bass node in that room ? let it breath
3) Big and long drape in the front wall with holes (no metal holders) going trough a wood curtain rod
4) Having a non asymmetric room is good
5) Don't go nuts with the treatment, start light

just my opinion, hope helps on some way

N.
 
May 30, 2010
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#7
Bob,

Remember Wilson speakers are designed for normal living rooms - and in most occasions amateurish or incompetent approaches to room treatment do more harm than good. Your room looks great - large enough and irregular. IMHO you should listen to the Alexia's properly set by someone who knows the Wilson setup process in your place before making changes. Getting the component rack out from between the speakers is really a great move.

BTW, you already have the best tuning devices for audiophile use in your room - the Ekornes chairs. Just ordered one a few days ago.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#8
great story! and the home you have purchased looks wonderful, congrats. nice 'man-cave' space to start out with. so many try to make a small space work. you start our with plenty of space but some logistics to solve.

as far as the stairwell, you do have to make a decision just how important it's going to be to enclose the room. i know what i would do personally, but everyone has different priorities.

here is an idea that came to mind looking at the photos. my idea is a bit 'out there'....

the ceiling in the stairwell limits options with that floating corner.

looking at the picture of the stairwell, i would extend the 'outside' stairwell wall possibly as far as the bottom of the staircase....but at least as far as the ceiling corner, then add a set of double doors (since it's a wide stairway) on the 'wide' third step up. these double doors would swing flat against the stairwell walls when you wanted it open. they could have glass insets so you could see up or down thru them for safety (i would recommend pocket doors but there is no place to put them). you could even extend the lower stairs farther into the room to allow for a wider third step. you could also flare the bottom steps around the extended wall like it is currently to mimic the current look and feel. and the extended wall would only need to go to the door way and would not need to go all the way to the bottom.

you might need weather stripping to give you the isolation you want. they do make doors with bottom cam extenders when they close to avoid any dangerous 'trip' surface issues on the stairway floor.

you could install Lp shelves in the corner you create by the wall extension.

foldout panels will have an unpredictable affect on the bass, and involve hardware which can become an issue.
 
#9
Wow Mike, some great ideas on the stairs and possible doors. Thanks for that. The floating corner above the stairs really does make it challenging. I'm sure to start I'll focus on front wall, remodeling the side walls, and the back wall. Extra doors and such may come after I've lived with things a while and see if wifey can sleep at night while I'm playing music. With no closure to the room, "distributed audio" will be whenever the system is on.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#10
Wow Mike, some great ideas on the stairs and possible doors. Thanks for that. The floating corner above the stairs really does make it challenging. I'm sure to start I'll focus on front wall, remodeling the side walls, and the back wall. Extra doors and such may come after I've lived with things a while and see if wifey can sleep at night while I'm playing music. With no closure to the room, "distributed audio" will be whenever the system is on.
Bob,

you are welcome, I hope there is a kernel of value somewhere there.

no doubt with the open stairwell and such a dynamically capable set-up that you will have 'distributed audio' for sure.

on that subject in my previous home I had a small but excellent room which was in the vicinity of the master bedroom, and it had French Doors (with many window panes) that leaked quite a bit of sound even when closed. it was a rambler, one floor, and eventually I moved to solve the problem. I liked to listen early before work and late at night and it intruded on my wife's sleeping habits who is a very light sleeper. she was fine with the music during the day. the only other alternative would have been to add sq. footage and build onto the house.

best wishes with the process of making your space work optimally. i'll look forward to seeing how you do it.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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#11
... I liked to listen early before work and late at night..[my wife] is fine with the music during the day...i'll look forward to seeing how you do it.
same here.
 
#12
The Wilson dealer came on Sunday and spent six hours WASPing the Alexias. They are pretty close to the back wall, much more than I would have imagined. And the tweeters are 12.25' apart, which has my listening position about 15' back. I had some older, broken in REF gear for the setup, then just swapped in my new REF10 and REF75 yesterday. I found new positions for them today, and they now have 4 hours.

I spent a couple hours listening tonight in the almost darkness, with the meters turned off. That little REF75 is quite the amp. It drives the Alexias fine. And the room sounds quite good even with only the tube traps in the corner. If I run the volume up into the 90+ db range I hear things getting a little reverberant and confused with rock and orchestra, so there is some work to be done acoustically, but not so much I am not enjoying the hell out of having music again. (And tonight with a nice little Italian red! Wine that is!)

image.jpg
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#13
Congrats and enjoy!!! Looks beautiful, and I have seen several Wilson setups with the speakers backed into the corner a bit, and they sounded great. Conrad Johnson's old X1 Wilson setup had photos in Stereophile and also were set up this way. Mine as well.
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
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#15
Lovely pic and great setup! :)

What happened to the idea of a wrap-around-the-corners full curtain treatment?
 
#16
Lovely pic and great setup! :)

What happened to the idea of a wrap-around-the-corners full curtain treatment?
Thanks John for the kind words, the curtains and other room treatments are in the design phase, first step getting the system playing music. Next a wee bit of measuring to see if there is anything really problematic. I still like the curtain idea though with the speakers so deep into the corner not much room for my initial wrap-around thought. The blinds came with the house.
 
May 30, 2010
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#17
Congratulations Bob - the fun is just starting!
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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#18
Wow, that final photo looks fantastic. Congratulations for a job well done and for the perseverance it took to deal with the theft, the house hunt, and the move to a new location. I really like the look (colors, layout, materials) of the final set up.

As I was reading the thread and looking at the first few photos one thought came to me when you mentioned the "guest wing with three bedrooms." I would have considered leaving the space more or less as is with the beautiful staircase, theater, man cave, wine cellar etc. and thought about converting one of the bedrooms into a dedicated, treated listening room, assuming one bedroom was of appropriate size. But as I continued to read the thread and saw the progress you have made, and the beautiful result, I obviously scrapped that idea.

Great job! I bet it sounds wonderful.
 
#19
Went ahead an pulled the trigger on a quad of KT150s for the REF75.

ts-kt150.jpg

Laissez les bon temps rouler! :cool:
 
#20
Wow, that final photo looks fantastic. Congratulations for a job well done and for the perseverance it took to deal with the theft, the house hunt, and the move to a new location. I really like the look (colors, layout, materials) of the final set up.

As I was reading the thread and looking at the first few photos one thought came to me when you mentioned the "guest wing with three bedrooms." I would have considered leaving the space more or less as is with the beautiful staircase, theater, man cave, wine cellar etc. and thought about converting one of the bedrooms into a dedicated, treated listening room, assuming one bedroom was of appropriate size. But as I continued to read the thread and saw the progress you have made, and the beautiful result, I obviously scrapped that idea.

Great job! I bet it sounds wonderful.
Thanks for the kind words. When house hunting originally one requirement was space for the audio gear. Most houses had ugly bonus rooms on the second or third floor with lots of dormer windows screwing with the floorplan. When I found this place I knew the existing man-cave space would convert nicely, and be a good size space. A bedroom conversion would have been a size downgrade from my former room, and I'd have gone with smaller speakers.

That said, this room still presents some challenges. If wifey closes the doors to the master suite, I can still listen at reasonable volume, so I may not have to close the room off. But I do notice the punch and dynamics are somewhat less than my former room which closed. With some treatments for diffusion in front, sides, and possibly the ceiling; and some absorption in the back of the room and down the hallway, I'm hoping I won't have the expense of figuring out how to close off the stairway. A bit of work, a few tweaks, and all will be well.
 

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