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Acoustical Treatments Because the room matters

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Old 02-02-2017, 05:28 PM
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Default Treating our room. Finally!

Earlier this week, we had Ben van Leliveld from 'Acoustic Matters' at our place to help us with our (living) room.
Ben is IT specialist and also music lover.
A couple of years ago, he sold his IT company and is now exclusively doing room acoustics.
He takes large projects, supports shows (he is the favourite of Alon Wolf from Magico), but also helps mere mortals like us.

We are happy to finally begin optimising our room.
We had another company doing some measurements last year, but their support was non existing.

Ben's promises to be the opposite!
He arrived, unpacked his stuff, and started to talk about his journey in audio, and what he's looking for in adjusting a room.






Then we started listening.
First disc: Rebecca Pidgeon - The raven




Bob Katz says this is his best recording ever.
'Spanish Harlem' was the track Ben chose.
Indeed a very clear sounding track, with incredible detail, depth and wide soundstage.
Analysis from Ben: real high end sound, almost uncoloured.
But: low bass too weak and undefined, something in the midrange around 1K, and around 2-3K.
Also: instruments a bit too much on the same line. Drums should be 2m behind the singer.
Instruments a bit shifting to the left side.
And soundstage not wide enough.

We continued with Jennifer Warnes - The Hunter (24K Gold CD)




This CD confirmed the findings.

Then came a true torture for a system: Secret Key Masters



Marion von Tilzer plays Apollo 14, a composition of her own.
The grand piano, a Steinway, let us hear the departure of the rocket in a hammering way, until we arrive into calmness again, ending with a landing part.
Ben knows how the slightly metallic sound of the Steinway in some notes by heart, he was there during the recording.
Our system supported the test quite well.
The piano sounded like a grand piano, but again the low notes, that should be on the extreme left, shifted a bit inwards.
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Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:39 PM
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So far, so good.
The remarks I made have nothing to do with your speakers or electronics, Ben said.
The amps have real grip on the speakers, and the Vivids are amongst the most neutral speakers on this planet.
This is partly speaker placement, partly the room.

He then started the measurements:








Here are the results:




They are remarkably close to the things he said before: the bass is sucked out by the room (a lot of glass), dip at 1K and 3K, slightly hot treble.
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Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:42 PM
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Then came the very simple but effective hand clap test.




The RT 60 time was a bit too long, as expected, and what Laurence Dickie also told us when he visited us.
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Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:59 PM
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Time for lunch!
Meta made us a very nice quiche with organic salmon.
While eating, Ben explained us that a couple of panels will do miracles, as will 2 bass traps, to make the bass tighter (we don't need absorption because of the glass).
He'll help us installing them when we'll have ordered and received them.

What I can do already now is placing the speakers in a better spot, he said.
I had done this myself when we bought them.
My assumptions then: place them well into the room, with quite some toe-in.
Boy, was I wrong!

Ben is a real speaker whisperer: he found out the best spot for the G2 Giyas by meticulously moving them cm by cm, while listening to the first 20" of 'Spanish Harlem', over and over again.
The only thing I had to do was pushing the button of my Burmester remote each time.
First the right one.



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Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:09 PM
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Then the left:








Result: at least 4 dB gain of deep bass, with more detail in the highs as a consequence, better stereo imaging, wider soundstage; that he had expected.
What was unexpected: a deeper soundstage.
It is not perfect yet, but that will be remedied with the next step: the panels, bass traps and a carpet.
Then he'll whisper again.

We're already very happy!
I was planning a pair of subs, but that will not be necessary says Ben.
We will not have to compensate for bad placement anymore.
And the Vivids deliver ample bass.
I'll install one good sub for the cinema effects though.

I'll report more when we'll have completed the next step.
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Stereo: Halgorythme pre and mono blocks, Burmester 061 - 931 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Halgorythme mono block (center) & stereo block (surrounds), Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:34 PM
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That was a nice write up, and really good to gear that these skilled guys can be found in Europe.
I liked that the impression of your room was backed up up by measurable data as well - seems as he knows his stuff.

In my opinion, paying a highly qualified person to help setting up (and measuring) your room, is a great way to improve and getting the most out of your system.

Keep it updated when you get the panels!
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:27 PM
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Wonderful report, Bart. Infrastructure is as critical as any component. Looks like you achieved immediate results with more to come.

How did you chose Ben to evaluate your room?
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:48 PM
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Bart.......Such an enjoyable write up and photos. Can't wait for the panels and the conclusive results. Glad to hear there is an immediate improvement for you and Meta to enjoy in the interim.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:49 PM
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Bart, congrats! I am envious that you found such an adept advisor. When this is done, it will be an improvement greater than a component upgrade. When the speaker placement is final, mark the spot with tape. That way parties and cleaning will not induce panic.
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  #10  
Old 02-03-2017, 02:02 AM
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Bart, what fun you must be having with this. It's very cool that you're getting such an improvement already just from speaker positioning. I look forward to the rest of the story.
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