AudioAficionado.org

AudioAficionado.org (https://www.audioaficionado.org/index.php)
-   GIK Acoustics (https://www.audioaficionado.org/forumdisplay.php?f=145)
-   -   And now for the far more problematic Bedroom System... (https://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=38753)

jimtranr 03-04-2017 04:34 PM

And now for the far more problematic Bedroom System...
 
Getting a shared living space to sound "right" can be a monumental challenge, given SOAF considerations such as esthetics priorities; functional issues such as room shape and layout, foot-traffic patterns, and virtually inflexible furniture placement dictated by available space; and the overarching imperative of maintaining domestic peace and tranquility.

As some of you know from a thread begun in this forum in June 2014 (my, how time flies), I'd coped with these issues in bringing the main-audio-system space to heel with the indispensable advice and assistance of GIK's Glenn Kuras, Bryan Pape, and Christina Stone. Well, I'm now back at it again, this time working to tame the even more problematic bedroom-system listening space.

Normally, the bedroom, with its complement of eBay-acquired used or customer-returned components and a QVC special-sale i7 Windows 10 laptop as the program source, would constitute a "secondary" listening venue. But there's only one TV in the house, and that's parked in the main system's space. If one of us wants to watch "The Bachelor" (emphatically not me) and the other wants to listen to music, the bedroom becomes the primary listening area out of necessity. Its size and layout render it an even bigger acoustics challenge than the main-system space. And there's no "listening chair" in there. Depending on how you want to characterize it, I park, sprawl, or lay out on the bed with my ears positioned at about mid-bed, so I'm out close to four feet from the rear wall when I listen.

Having already treated the main system, I had the advantage of "borrowing" GIK panels from what my wife prefers to call "the living/dining room" to test placement configurations in the bedroom. What I finally came up after exhaustive listening to a wide variety of hi-rez downloads and CD rips of classical, jazz, film scores, vocal standards, choral, and opera is shown here.

The front wall--a pair of full-range 244's and a 12"x48" Monster. The asymmetrical placement of the panels reflects the fact that positioning at the right front corner is impractical because a door opens into it:

http://jimtranr.com/BR_front_022317_1_35.jpg

The back wall--two scatter-plate 244's and a 12"x48" Monster:

http://jimtranr.com/BR_back_022817_2_40.jpg

A full-range 244 at the right first-reflection point (in front of LP storage):

http://jimtranr.com/BR_rt1st_1_35.jpg

A full-range 244 at the left first-reflection point:

http://jimtranr.com/BR_LfRf_2_35.jpg

Trap placement diagram:

http://jimtranr.com/Secondary_system_diagram.jpg

Trapping the room this way has effected significant improvements in instrumental, vocal, and ensemble articulation, bass tautness, imaging, and soundstage depth. But since significant speaker boundary interference response issues remain due to the unavoidable proximity of necessary furniture (you can see from the diagram that I don't have much room to work with), I'll attempt to amerliorate SBIR issues by (1) building new sand-filled speaker stands to raise the Paradigm Studio 20's five inches and (2) building a new, lower-profile audio equiment rack, a "flexy" rod-and-shelf arrangement that presents less reflective surface to the left speaker.

Even with its limitations, the current configuration enables a more open, better-defined sonic presentation than heard in the room's formerly untreated state. And my wife has indicated that she'll find a new location for the jewel cases that presently occupy the top of the dresser (with their faces covered by some packing foam I found in a desperate search for something that might reduce the reflective mass that speaker output "sees" while I tested the setup). Once she heard the improvement--and that took all of about three minutes--she said she didn't mind that I'd moved some wall prints to accommodate the traps.

chessman 03-05-2017 09:28 AM

Jim, it looks great, congrats. Now that the jewelry case issue is resolved, I wonder if you would mind negotiating peace in the Middle East? ;)

jimtranr 03-05-2017 12:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chessman (Post 835365)
Jim, it looks great, congrats. Now that the jewelry case issue is resolved, I wonder if you would mind negotiating peace in the Middle East? ;)

:-) Thanks, Randy. But don't overpraise my negotiating skills (such as they are). Having heard me rattle on before about the baneful effects of direct reflections, my wife volunteered to move the cases without any prompting from me. And--also without any prompting--she said it was all right if I moved the 2'x3' framed poster (a Georgia O'Keeffe rendering done for the 1982 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival) that hung at front wall center to another room if it posed a problem (it did, and it's now hanging in the home office).

An anecdote that will put this all in perspective: When we started going together 36 years ago, she allowed me to drill holes through her living-room carpet and hardwood floor so I could run Fulton Gold speaker cable unseen from my DIY time-aligned KEF/Audax hybrids to the entry closet she vacated to permit me to install my audio equipment rack there. If you're at all familiar with Fulton Gold (I swear it's robust enough to hold up the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour), you know that was a major "give" on her part, and I knew then and there that she was a keeper.

This time around, as she settled into the listening position for the first test of the "new bedroom decor"--and before I put any music on--she said after a few moments of conversation, "It's quieter in here." Yep. And after listening for a couple of minutes to a 16/44 rip of the Turtle Creek Chorale singing Lenny Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" on Reference Recordings' "Testament", she noted the vocal articulation and ensemble layering discernible with the panels installed. "As soon as I can find a place for them, I'll take the jewel cases out."

Being able to use panels from the main system to test the bedroom configuration proved to be indispensable in at least one respect. It allowed me to compare the use of full-range 244's with their scatter-plated cousins at the rear corners. I wasn't sure I'd hear much, if any, difference, given my listening location about only four feet in front of the plane of the scatter plates. I tried the full-ranges first, then listened to the scatter-plate iterations, and then went through the whole this-first-then-that routine again with a variety of ripped and downloaded program material. With the full-range 244's it sounded good. With the scatter plates, the presentations sounded a touch more open and--where such information was embedded in the recording--"airier". There was nothing subjectively exaggerated about the latter characteristic, and, overall, the scatter-plate-configured presentation sounded a tad more "real". So that's why the scatter-plate 244's still hang there.

I've ordered the replacement traps in "cash-flow" stages. A new pair of full-range 244's constitute the first-reflection-point panels seen in the photos. A scatter-plated pair is due in this coming Thursday, and the final pair of full-range 244's should arrive a week from Monday. I'll follow up with the Monsters shortly thereafter. The sonic results render them more than well worth the investment.

chessman 03-05-2017 04:09 PM

Jim, let's just say that nothing (and I mean NOTHING) audio related is allowed out of the basement at my house. ;)

To be serious, congrats on dramatically improving the acoustics in your bedroom! Small rooms are a bear to control.

jimtranr 03-07-2017 06:52 PM

Randy, agreed on the "bear to control". And, empathizing with your "everything stays in the basement" situation, I did have to compromise on something beyond retaining the remaining prints in their existing wall positions. I floated a proposal for a 244 "cloud"...but that was an emphatic no-go. Didn't make an issue of it, as I'd already achieved more than what I'd thought possible.

One pair of the "replacement" full-range 244's is already in-house, with another pair and the scatter-plated panels on their way in separate FedEx shipments. I'll order the Monsters shortly after the 15th. After they've arrived and I've put the main-system setup back together, I'll build the new equipment rack and the taller speaker stands.

It never ends, does it.

jimtranr 03-10-2017 07:23 PM

Playing with second-reflection-point trapping
 
Note: In the course of receiving GIK traps to replace those "borrowed" from my main system for bedroom-system tests, I'm taking the opportunity to broaden trap coverage to test the extent, if any, to which additional traps affect perceived performance. What follows is an excerpt from an email sent this afternoon to some interested friends who've been following my "journey". As indicated, I'll supplement the test of scatter-plate 244's at the second reflection points with one using the full-range 244's due on my doorstep this coming Monday:

The pair of 24”W x 48”L GIK scatter-plate acoustic panels intended to replace those “stolen” from the main system arrived on schedule yesterday. As I indicated in an earlier email, I wouldn’t remove the “stolen” ones immediately from their rear-corner positions, but would place the new ones temporarily at the second-reflection point positions on the bedroom side walls to test their effect on the sonic presentation. The positioning looks like this and puts the new traps slightly ahead of the plane of my ears:

http://jimtranr.com/Secondary_audio_system_2nd_rp.jpg

I took the setup for a listening spin after closing the window curtains. Glass panes are notorious reflection generators and have the added liability of “sucking out” bass as they vibrate upon being struck by low-frequency sonic energy. (That’s why I don’t advise glass doors—or, for that matter, shelves--on equipment, record, or CD cabinets—they degrade sonic performance in so many ways.)

To begin the listening session I took the unusual step of using three YouTube music videos as the source. “Unusual” because YouTube audio is nowhere near reference quality. But in this instance I wanted to determine what, if any, impact the addition of second-reflection traps would have on three French horn solo performances suggested to me by a friend. Each was a live performance in what I would consider an average listening venue. And the French horn is both unique in its sonorities and an instrument that “energizes” the space around it in ways whose presence or absence is easily discernible with audio equipment of reasonable quality.

I tested twice for each selection—once with the new traps absent, and then with them installed at the second-reflection points. Considering the YouTube source, the French horn sounded pretty good without the new traps. But it was a whole new ball game for each selection with the new traps in place. For one thing, the performance venue “expanded”, most notably in its delineation of interior space. That was important, because the horn now had more perceived room to “breathe”. Breathe it did, filling the space with a palpably plangent presence you hear when you’re up close and personal with brass instruments. And on YouTube, no less.

I then moved on to my usual listening-evaluation suspects [all either CD rips or high-resolution downloads (24/96 to 24/192 PCM or DSD64 to DSD128)], most of them large-ensemble instrumental or choral works, using the same with-followed-by-without-the-new-traps scheme. A few are works I’ve mentioned here recently, including by Morton Gould, E.J. Moeran, Jerome Moross, and Gustav Mahler. Each traps-in-place audition blew me away with enough contrast between trap changes to rule out confirmation bias as an explanation of perceived differences.

I’d note here that even when the room was not trapped at all, I could discern depth to some degree in performances where the recording engineers got it “right”. (That’s in large part due to pulling the speakers out from the front wall as far as foot traffic into and out of the bedroom would allow. It’s too bad I can’t pull them out farther. And that ain’t going to happen.) Progressively trapping the room, starting with the front wall, then the back, and then the first-reflection points made the front wall behind the speakers “disappear” to an increasingly greater degree. And once I’d trapped the first-reflection points the layering of instrumental or vocal rows perceptible on the recorded soundstage was more than decent. But treating the second-reflection points presents a whole new ball game in rendering the performing instruments (including voice) as palpable entities, tonally and timbrally as well as “visually”. There’s more natural decay (and “roll through the floor”) of bass drum and tympani strikes (and with that, a greater sense of “real” low and mid-bass), more resonance to strings—low to high—and, yeah, an even more acute perception of triangle and celesta nuance that I thought had disappeared with excessive ear mileage.

Caution has to be applied in a situation like this. Even though they're "passive", are the new traps applying a sonic signature of their own to what I’m hearing in the same manner that source and amplifying electronics as well as speakers tend to “color” their output depending on how they’ve been designed and voiced? I don’t think so. With all the improvements I hear, the pinched acoustic of Philadelphia’s Academy of Music doesn’t mimic the broader ambience of Manhattan Center; nor does the latter ape the marvelous space that’s Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Each venue is more spacious and clearly defined, to be sure, with the new setup. But there’s no mistaking one for the other in what I’m hearing.

Nonetheless, I’m open to more testing. And I should get it beginning on Monday, when FedEx tracking says a “replacement” pair of full-range-absorber 244 traps (so-model-named because they’re two feet wide by four feet long by four inches deep insulation-wise) will show up on my doorstep. Before I do any “replacing”, I’ll swap them out with the new scatter-plated traps to see what difference removing that scattering/diffusing feature at the second-reflection point does.

jimtranr 03-15-2017 07:26 PM

The final iteration
 
The arrival of a pair of full-range 244's yesterday afternoon enabled me to assess how their use at the second-reflection point fared in terms of effect on the sonic presentation versus that of their scatter-plate-equipped cousins. After extensive listening comparisons last night that involved the shuttling of each pair in and out the bedroom, I concluded that although installing the scatter-plated pair at the formerly vacant reflection point had noticeably improved the overall sonic picture in several respects (as indicated in my last post), putting the full-range 244's at that position took every one of those improvements to a new level. Grammatical niceties aside, "even more better" might be the most appropriate way to characterize the difference.

The tests were made with the nearest edge of each second-reflection-point trap positioned about a foot ahead of the plane of my ears as I parked in a semi-scrunched sprawl near the bed's midpoint. These photos show them from approximately that perspective.

Left side:

http://jimtranr.com/BR_2nd_rf_left_4_40.jpg

Right side:

http://jimtranr.com/BR_2nd_rf_right_1_40.jpg

(Ignore the glossy-black Paradigm SE-1's on the carpet--they'll be moved out of the room.)

Overall trap placement is diagrammed here:

http://jimtranr.com/Secondary_audio_...2nd_rp_244.jpg

I was particularly impressed with the increase in: perceived dimensionality and spatial expansiveness of the soundstage; in the sonic palpability of instruments and voice; in tonal "liquidity" (e.g., in the French horn); in dynamic contrasts; and bass decay that enhanced foundational solidity.

Having said that, I'd make two points: First, what improvements I heard built on what I'd already thought good with the scatter-plates in place; and, second, none of the improvements put lipstick on a pig. I purposely played some recordings that I consider sub-par to see if the configuration change would doll them up. Nope. All the increased focus and perceived increased resolution did was simply put me further "into the mix"--and if it was a bad one, its flaws showed even more prominently. But the good stuff--that's something else entirely.

Yeah, well that's all well and good. But the really big question still hung out there. This is a shared space, after all, and while I could play to my heart's content while testing configurations, was this to be just a transient experience, one of those situations where you tread onto the rim of sonic Paradise for a couple of hours only to be tossed out just when the getting's good?

Cue "the conversation":

WIFE: I see we now have two of those things on each side.

[Uh-oh. "...those things." That doesn't sound like anything approaching acceptance, much less approval. But she has a point. The bedroom has morphed into Stonehenge.]

ME: Well, I'm just testing to see how it would sound with them in place. I can always move them ou--

WIFE: No, no. They're fine. And I'm glad you got them in grey. But I worry.

[A moment of stunned silence. I catch my breath.]

ME: Uh, about what?

WIFE: Those things on the back wall. Are you sure they're all right up there? I don't want them falling down on your head while you're listening.

ME: Uh, oh, nothing to worry about. They're hung securely. Two hooks each.

WIFE: That's good.

ME: [Deep, deeper, deepest sigh of relief.]

So we're good. And at the point where I won't inflict any more pics or diagrams on you. What this trapping configuration does is make listening in a space fraught with multiple asymmetries and an unhealthy dose of SBIR issues far more than just "decent" or "good". So much so that I'm almost tempted not to refer to it as the "secondary" system.

Chalk me up as a happy camper.

vegaracer1 03-16-2017 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimtranr (Post 836944)
The arrival of a pair of full-range 244's yesterday afternoon enabled me to assess how their use at the second-reflection point fared in terms of effect on the sonic presentation versus that of their scatter-plate-equipped cousins. After extensive listening comparisons last night that involved the shuttling of each pair in and out the bedroom, I concluded that although installing the scatter-plated pair at the formerly vacant reflection point had noticeably improved the overall sonic picture in several respects (as indicated in my last post), putting the full-range 244's at that position took every one of those improvements to a new level. Grammatical niceties aside, "even more better" might be the most appropriate way to characterize the difference.

The tests were made with the nearest edge of each second-reflection-point trap positioned about a foot ahead of the plane of my ears as I parked in a semi-scrunched sprawl near the bed's midpoint. These photos show them from approximately that perspective.

Left side:

http://jimtranr.com/BR_2nd_rf_left_4_40.jpg

Right side:

http://jimtranr.com/BR_2nd_rf_right_1_40.jpg

(Ignore the glossy-black Paradigm SE-1's on the carpet--they'll be moved out of the room.)

Overall trap placement is diagrammed here:

http://jimtranr.com/Secondary_audio_...2nd_rp_244.jpg

I was particularly impressed with the increase in: perceived dimensionality and spatial expansiveness of the soundstage; in the sonic palpability of instruments and voice; in tonal "liquidity" (e.g., in the French horn); in dynamic contrasts; and bass decay that enhanced foundational solidity.

Having said that, I'd make two points: First, what improvements I heard built on what I'd already thought good with the scatter-plates in place; and, second, none of the improvements put lipstick on a pig. I purposely played some recordings that I consider sub-par to see if the configuration change would doll them up. Nope. All the increased focus and perceived increased resolution did was simply put me further "into the mix"--and if it was a bad one, its flaws showed even more prominently. But the good stuff--that's something else entirely.

Yeah, well that's all well and good. But the really big question still hung out there. This is a shared space, after all, and while I could play to my heart's content while testing configurations, was this to be just a transient experience, one of those situations where you tread onto the rim of sonic Paradise for a couple of hours only to be tossed out just when the getting's good?

Cue "the conversation":

WIFE: I see we now have two of those things on each side.

[Uh-oh. "...those things." That doesn't sound like anything approaching acceptance, much less approval. But she has a point. The bedroom has morphed into Stonehenge.]

ME: Well, I'm just testing to see how it would sound with them in place. I can always move them ou--

WIFE: No, no. They're fine. And I'm glad you got them in grey. But I worry.

[A moment of stunned silence. I catch my breath.]

ME: Uh, about what?

WIFE: Those things on the back wall. Are you sure they're all right up there? I don't want them falling down on your head while you're listening.

ME: Uh, oh, nothing to worry about. They're hung securely. Two hooks each.

WIFE: That's good.

ME: [Deep, deeper, deepest sigh of relief.]

So we're good. And at the point where I won't inflict any more pics or diagrams on you. What this trapping configuration does is make listening in a space fraught with multiple asymmetries and an unhealthy dose of SBIR issues far more than just "decent" or "good". So much so that I'm almost tempted not to refer to it as the "secondary" system.

Chalk me up as a happy camper.

Very nice right up. Thank you for your diligence.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimtranr (Post 835386)
:-) Thanks, Randy. But don't overpraise my negotiating skills (such as they are). Having heard me rattle on before about the baneful effects of direct reflections, my wife volunteered to move the cases without any prompting from me. And--also without any prompting--she said it was all right if I moved the 2'x3' framed poster (a Georgia O'Keeffe rendering done for the 1982 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival) that hung at front wall center to another room if it posed a problem (it did, and it's now hanging in the home office).

An anecdote that will put this all in perspective: When we started going together 36 years ago, she allowed me to drill holes through her living-room carpet and hardwood floor so I could run Fulton Gold speaker cable unseen from my DIY time-aligned KEF/Audax hybrids to the entry closet she vacated to permit me to install my audio equipment rack there. If you're at all familiar with Fulton Gold (I swear it's robust enough to hold up the Golden Gate Bridge at rush hour), you know that was a major "give" on her part, and I knew then and there that she was a keeper.

This time around, as she settled into the listening position for the first test of the "new bedroom decor"--and before I put any music on--she said after a few moments of conversation, "It's quieter in here." Yep. And after listening for a couple of minutes to a 16/44 rip of the Turtle Creek Chorale singing Lenny Bernstein's "Make Our Garden Grow" on Reference Recordings' "Testament", she noted the vocal articulation and ensemble layering discernible with the panels installed. "As soon as I can find a place for them, I'll take the jewel cases out."

Being able to use panels from the main system to test the bedroom configuration proved to be indispensable in at least one respect. It allowed me to compare the use of full-range 244's with their scatter-plated cousins at the rear corners. I wasn't sure I'd hear much, if any, difference, given my listening location about only four feet in front of the plane of the scatter plates. I tried the full-ranges first, then listened to the scatter-plate iterations, and then went through the whole this-first-then-that routine again with a variety of ripped and downloaded program material. With the full-range 244's it sounded good. With the scatter plates, the presentations sounded a touch more open and--where such information was embedded in the recording--"airier". There was nothing subjectively exaggerated about the latter characteristic, and, overall, the scatter-plate-configured presentation sounded a tad more "real". So that's why the scatter-plate 244's still hang there.

I've ordered the replacement traps in "cash-flow" stages. A new pair of full-range 244's constitute the first-reflection-point panels seen in the photos. A scatter-plated pair is due in this coming Thursday, and the final pair of full-range 244's should arrive a week from Monday. I'll follow up with the Monsters shortly thereafter. The sonic results render them more than well worth the investment.


chessman 03-16-2017 01:30 PM

And now for the far more problematic Bedroom System...
 
Jim, very interesting. Seems like a real world example of less is more: by reducing room induced standing waves you are able to now hear the previously drowned out subtle bass clues that provide a sense of space and placement. That is a big win in a small room, which as I said before, is a bear to control. Congrats!

jimtranr 03-16-2017 02:21 PM

Thanks, Randy. Yes, those subtle bass cues are far more evident. As is so much else.

To tame the reflective mass that's the front of the dresser scrunched between the speakers, I hung towels from the top drawers last evening to cover the whole front surface. But my wife took one look and said, "Uh-uh."

I thought, "Well, there goes the ball game." Wrong. In the next instant she said, "I have an unused Afghan blanket downstairs that I have to throw in the wash. Would that work?"

Really tough being an audiophile in this house. :D


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:34 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
©Copyright 2009-2017 AudioAficionado.org.Privately owned, All Rights Reserved.