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What Are The Biggest Challenges To Your Listening Room Setup?


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27 minutes ago, Eldarboy said:

https://www.crutchfield.ca/learn/room-acoustics-home-audio.html
 

Interestingly, all of the cinemas I have gone to use acoustic panelling on all their walls, and to great effect.

I think acoustic panelling is very interesting and can make a big difference but I believe needs to be done very carefully and subtlety I went to one professionally set up and built cinema room and the room was dead I brought a sound pack and ended up selling half of them on

the other half made a significant improvement to sound  

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Before this gets further out of hand, perhaps we should provide advice and comment on ONLY those things we have first-hand experience with. So, if you have actual tried product X, please discuss; if y

My plan is to move the TV and speakers to the left, and through 90 degrees, so they are facing the piano, firing left-to-right as it were as per the photo. It's a big, blank wall with nothing but powe

I think acoustic panelling is very interesting and can make a big difference but I believe needs to be done very carefully and subtlety I went to one professionally set up and built cinema room and th

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4 hours ago, Johannes said:

It seems strange to me that after a tweak, the system sounds better than ever before.
Strangely, however, after a short time, with a new tweak, it is the same again. Hmmh, one can doubt the credibility of this.

Or when someone with a worse signal (Akurate) applies tweaks and makes statements about how good it suddenly all sounds, instead of improving his signal (Klimax). Do the tweaks improve the signal (Akurate)? I don't think so. Of course you can say that the signal can be improved by tweaks, but that would apply to both, usually more to the better device. You can say it's a price difference, which is true, but when I see the prices for tweaks on some of them, it becomes relative. I find it difficult to have confidence over time.

Collectively, my Linn system costs as much as a Klimax Katalyst 350’s stereo system with a full Klimax LP-12.

‘I chose to invest in a Linn Katalyst Surround system as I prefer surround to stereo most of the time. Buying a full Klimax Katalyst Surround is well beyond what I am willing to spend, so I have a “worse’ Akurate signal than Klimax., that I am extremely happy with. 

I ask myself, what is the difference between an Akurate system and a Klimax system. Better power distribution, better vibration control, better shielding,  better signal? Can I do things which might give me similar or better results with an Akurate system that sounds like a Klimax system?  How can Klimax level ones and zeros sound better than Akurate level ones and zeros?  How can I improve upon what I have without the budget for a full Klimax Katalyst Surround system that is going to get me closer to Klimax level or even exceed it? Will these tweaks and changes all work well in a Klimax Katalyst Surround system, if I do upgrade to Klimax in the future. For example, would my aftermarket mains lead sound better in a Klimax system than the stock Klimax cable? I don’t know until I try it. I have people with Klimax systems that are happy to try these things out as well, so I have collected a lot of experience with trying out tweaks in Majik, Akurate and Klimax level kit. 

Strangely, when I improve anything in my surround system, to the front or rear speakers, the whole system sounds better.

Johannes, ‘I see your passion for helping other people , which I also have, but I also see your frustration in getting your message out. I don’t expect people to run out and try everything I try, but if they are interested, they might try some things out in their own system. Maybe they will even see an improvement in their system?

I am not willing to separate my Katalyst Exakt Module from the back of my Akubariks and mount it on a separate stand, nor am I ready to wire my amplification directly to my circuit breaker and null my house insurance and violate electrical codes. I was happy with a torque setting of my 3K arrays at 0.85 Nm, but went to 1.0 Nm when I was advised that that is the value Linn now use. As far as I know, I was the one that started the thread on levelling the speakers for better sound quality and making sure they are secured. 
 

You and I are on a different path for improvement of our Linn systems, and I am very comfortable with my path. I sincerely wish you the best on yours.

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@Paulssurround and others, thanks for the offers of helping me, however my described situation is already under control, ever since I introduced SO to my system. Please see my “story” as an anecdote and as hopefully helpful to others.

I do want do add on the discussion an wall panels and other acoustic treatments. Now I don’t have any scientific background, instead  I use my Google-fu.
Before introducing SO I explored the possibility of adding bass-traps and HF panels to my living room and found out that bass-traps only address certain frequency’s, so if one is solving bass problems, one really needs to know which frequency to which extent and on what part of the room is causing the problems. Placing bass-traps more or less “randomly” will only partially address the issue. Adding to that: if you need one bass-trapp you will probably need more, try fitting several of these units in to your living room without disturbing domestic peace seems like quite a challenge. My conclusion is: if one wants to use acoustic treatment one needs to do quite some research and have deep pockets. 

I’m also under the impression that a typical HiFi system should sound its money worth in a typical room, at least in the frequency range from 200Hz and up. Position is key, curtains, furniture and rugs which you will typically find in a typical room will give you enough absorption/reflection on the higher end of the frequency spectrum. Under 200Hz SO is your friend indeed.

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 What a surprising thread this is turning out to be! :)

  

11 hours ago, Blackmetalboon said:

A non Linn system owner here but this seemed like an interesting topic, so...

My room (dirty cat paw prints are not to scale) and set up.

C54F7C13-CFBC-45CB-AD46-E3C9BE06E752.thumb.jpeg.50bd54dc07ce5e4e9ad106967e4aa33c.jpeg

49989097466_c6fad098ca_k.jpg

My system is located on the wall at the top of my floor plan. I run a 5.0 surround system so the rear speakers are behind my sofa in the bay window recess (bottom of floor plan).

Over the years I have tried speakers either side of the fireplace, speakers in and either side of the the bay window recess. Every set up had its compromises, either for music or movie use, with the current set up having the fewest. 

I don't know anything about your speakers but they seem quite close to the wall, assume you've tried pulling them away a little?

My main suggestion though would be to take a look at DSP/EQ, you could put a mini DSP box into your system which uses dirac live, this will "automatically" configure things for you and really help bring in more balance across the range - this is a mic based EQ solution which is effectively a different way to do what Linn Sound Optimisation does.

worth researching & exploring your options.

11 hours ago, Dasher said:

My philosophy is that unless one finds the true 'ideal position' for the speakers, by tunedem or any other similar method, then it is just nor worth starting with SO. I found exactly the same as you - for 'ideal position' the speakers were way out into the room 

great advice, I did the same thing and physically moved my speakers to determine the ideal, for me they were almost in the middle of my room when my listening position was near the rear wall. The main constraint is your listening position as this doesn't move, I think you need to work SO around this constraint.You can do this with some success via virtual tunedem, but doing it physically is better - using the equilateral triangle method is a decent starting point. 

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8 hours ago, akamatsu said:

I think the point got lost in all the defensiveness and feelings of being threatened. The really big news is that I was able to achieve a level of musicality in my system that eliminated the need for room acoustic treatment. I think this is very good news. About two others chimed in and confirmed similar experience. However, in order to achieve this level of sound quality, one must set up their systems very precisely, following sound fundamentals of hifi setup.

I'm very skeptical that this is a magic bullet for everyone, or that your perfect setup actually addresses all the issues with the room.

I do think that this precise setup will provide that best possible sound without room treatment, full DSP, and/or additional subs - and honestly for the bulk of people it's the right answer, there's not many people who want their living room to look like a studio!

Out of interest have you used REW and measured your room? I'd be very interested to see what things look like.

8 hours ago, akamatsu said:

That means all those tweaks that compromise the integrity of the setup need to go. This is how I did it, and this is how others have achieved it. There is definitely something of great value available here.

Agree that the attention to the basics is needed, for me this is a hygiene factor. I personally agree that for me tweaks should not compromise the integrity of the setup, with the caveat that this is more applicable to faithful sound reproduction, and that the "Linn sound" is not necessarily neutral to begin with.

We should recognise though that lots of people don't want faithful reproduction, they like a warmer sound signature, if a tweak provides something that sounds better for the listener but affects the "faithful reproduction" it doesn't mean that they have compromised the integrity of their setup, for there perspective they have improved it.

Preference plays a very big roll in what we buy, how we set it up, and what tweaks we like.

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8 hours ago, Johannes said:

What makes you think that the discussion started because of non-Linn products?

It seems strange to me that after a tweak, the system sounds better than ever before.
Strangely, however, after a short time, with a new tweak, it is the same again. Hmmh, one can doubt the credibility of this.

This is the same obstinate mistake you keep making, your preference, your taste and your ears are not the same as everyone else, there isn't a single truth or common goal which everyone is striving to achieve.

The only exception to this is if individuals are attempting to achieve true neutrality in your setup and create 100% faithful sound reproduction.

If that's the case you can't prove you've achieved this by just listening as hearing is fallible and shouldn't be trusted, you need to measure things to confirm.

8 hours ago, Johannes said:

Yes, that would be nice. But what if only one side is supposed to trust, if some are not willing to try something that doesn't even cost money. Do they trust me or value my experience, no they don't.

it's not all or nothing, we're grown ups who are able to make informed decisions and selectively pick the things we want to try & apply to our setup 

8 hours ago, Johannes said:

But how can I trust someone whose system is technically (DSM) at a medium level? That would be like someone with a Technics record player using a better RCA cable and thinking it sounds better than if there was an LP12 instead of the Technics.

don't trust them then, no-one is forcing you to listen to people's experience who have inferior equipment.

you seem to think that because people aren't as rich as you that their experience and opinions aren't valid - that's plain wrong, arrogant, and damn right rude.

8 hours ago, Johannes said:

In summary, I fear that this is about something else entirely. And I also fear that even more people will not use this forum or will use it less.

I have no idea what else this is about, I cant see any grand conspiracy here, what I do see is passionate people going out of their way to help others out of a love of music.

8 hours ago, Johannes said:

P:S. there are new findings on the "rotation" setting in SO2.

why so cryptic? what are the new findings please? I'm always keen to hear about something new.

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30 minutes ago, Pennypacker said:

@Paulssurround and others, thanks for the offers of helping me, however my described situation is already under control, ever since I introduced SO to my system. Please see my “story” as an anecdote and as hopefully helpful to others.

I do want do add on the discussion an wall panels and other acoustic treatments. Now I don’t have any scientific background, instead  I use my Google-fu.
Before introducing SO I explored the possibility of adding bass-traps and HF panels to my living room and found out that bass-traps only address certain frequency’s, so if one is solving bass problems, one really needs to know which frequency to which extent and on what part of the room is causing the problems. Placing bass-traps more or less “randomly” will only partially address the issue. Adding to that: if you need one bass-trapp you will probably need more, try fitting several of these units in to your living room without disturbing domestic peace seems like quite a challenge. My conclusion is: if one wants to use acoustic treatment one needs to do quite some research and have deep pockets. 

I’m also under the impression that a typical HiFi system should sound its money worth in a typical room, at least in the frequency range from 200Hz and up. Position is key, curtains, furniture and rugs which you will typically find in a typical room will give you enough absorption/reflection on the higher end of the frequency spectrum. Under 200Hz SO is your friend indeed.

treatment doesn't have to be very expensive, in fact you're better to do a REW measurement and put in some targeted treatment to address your problems. Putting in lots of treatment without doing this is likely to make things worse rather than better.

You also don't need to treat everything, just focusing in on the major issues with minimal treatment will give you some great results - and it will look a lot better in your room.

I'd really recommend getting yourself a calibrated mic and learning the basics of using REW - you can buy a minidsp UMIK-1 for ~£100/€110. (and even use it for a few months and sell it on ebay for a decent price later once you've finished).

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52 minutes ago, Phobic said:

I'd really recommend getting yourself a calibrated mic and learning the basics of using REW - you can buy a minidsp UMIK-1 for ~£100/€110. (and even use it for a few months and sell it on ebay for a decent price later once you've finished).

Hi Phobic,

we tried this kind of approach some years ago. And yes, you can see where the peeks  and room modes etc. are.

But when we tried to smooth the curve the music become boring.

Because there were no critical room modes or disturbing echoes etc., we left it as it was.

Do you have a different approach?

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3 minutes ago, Ben Webster said:

Hi Phobic,

we tried this kind of approach some years ago. And yes, you can see where the peeks  and room modes etc. are.

But when we tried to smooth the curve the music become boring.

Because there were no critical room modes or disturbing echoes etc., we left it as it was.

Do you have a different approach?

smoothing the curve out so it's flat isn't the right answer unfortunately.

have a read about house curves, you're aiming for something with a slope. Also note that lower frequencies are perceived as being quieter even though they are at the same Db level, you need to compensate for that. listen to 30, 40 and 50hz test tones next to a 200Hz tone, you'll see what I mean.

 A flat curve will sound dull, boring and lifeless.

https://www.hometheatershack.com/threads/house-curve-what-it-is-why-you-need-it-how-to-do-it.96/

audio-control-house-curve-20graph-a-jpg.24272

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1 minute ago, Phobic said:

treatment doesn't have to be very expensive, in fact you're better to do a REW measurement and put in some targeted treatment to address your problems. Putting in lots of treatment without doing this is likely to make things worse rather than better.

You also don't need to treat everything, just focusing in on the major issues with minimal treatment will give you some great results - and it will look a lot better in your room.

I'd really recommend getting yourself a calibrated mic and learning the basics of using REW - you can buy a minidsp UMIK-1 for ~£100/€110. (and even use it for a few months and sell it on ebay for a decent price later once you've finished).

To solve which problem? I’m quite happy where I am with my system at the moment. If this that or the other looks great in my room is a matter of taste. I rather don’t add panels to my living room. 

Probably my mis, but I’m not interested in REW at the moment.

Please see this:

highly recommended and relevant to this thread.

Please do not be offended, if I come off to strong.

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4 minutes ago, Pennypacker said:

To solve which problem? I’m quite happy where I am with my system at the moment. If this that or the other looks great in my room is a matter of taste. I rather don’t add panels to my living room. 

Probably my mis, but I’m not interested in REW at the moment.

the point is if you want to add panels to you room don't do it until you have measured things, then add panels which target the problem that the measurements identify.

if you don't want to add panels then it isn't an issue (though you could look at alternatives like helmholtz resonators)

doing REW measurements isn't for everyone, it's quite technical, a steep learning curve, and can be very frustrating....

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8 minutes ago, Pennypacker said:

I've seen this video before, it's pretty good.

key take outs, try a little bit of room treatment, it won't fix all your issues but it's cheap and will give you good improvements. You then need to decide what you want to do, as the choices are full of compromises, do you want a living room or a studio or something in the middle.

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9 minutes ago, Phobic said:

I've seen this video before, it's pretty good.

key take outs, try a little bit of room treatment, it won't fix all your issues but it's cheap and will give you good improvements. You then need to decide what you want to do, as the choices are full of compromises, do you want a living room or a studio or something in the middle.

Well yes and no, trying can be cheap, fixing is expensive. He also talks about the difficulty of taking productive measurements with a mic and how this can screw up your EQ. (One of the reasons for Linn to ditch the mic in the principle of SO). GIGO...

My outtake from this video would be that you can handle some MF/HF problems much more easily (technically, estheticily and financially) then LF.

If I understand him correctly, depending on the room you would need 10 times the amount of absorbers/money to address LF problems then most anticipate, essentially changing your living room in to a studio. 

In order of importance:

  1. Listening position.
  2. Speaker position.
  3. Room EQ, (SO) for dealing with LF.
  4. Furniture, curtains, rugs etc to break up MF and LF.
  5. Panelling to the extend of what is in budget an acceptable with SWMBO

However I’m under the impression that most don’t need to go further then step 4 for having decent/happy results. 

Admittedly if one want to add panelling for MF or LF, it would make sense to use REW or some online calculator to figure out which Frequency and which type of absorber or diffuser or combo, which leads me to another question. Since MF and LF have very small wave lengths it could be the case that when one shifts is speaker position a different panel is needed which, IIC this is almost an endless loop. Keep the church in the middle.

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4 hours ago, Phobic said:

 What a surprising thread this is turning out to be! :)

  

I don't know anything about your speakers but they seem quite close to the wall, assume you've tried pulling them away a little?

My main suggestion though would be to take a look at DSP/EQ, you could put a mini DSP box into your system which uses dirac live, this will "automatically" configure things for you and really help bring in more balance across the range - this is a mic based EQ solution which is effectively a different way to do what Linn Sound Optimisation does.

worth researching & exploring your options.

The speakers are ported down & forwards which makes positioning less troublesome, they are around 30cm off the wall behind. I didn’t notice any significant change when I moved them further away.

I do have REW and a UMIK but haven’t had the time to take any proper measurements yet.

The biggest challenge of the room is actually fitting everything in without ending up with a narrow or overly wide sweetspot, reducing viewing angles or (more importantly) blocking any natural light.

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3 hours ago, Pennypacker said:

However I’m under the impression that most don’t need to go further then step 4 for having decent/happy results. 

I think most of us are already at step 4, the question is if you want to go further.

SO and EQ will help with LF issues but it's more effective at reducing peaks, it's not going to fix a big room mode, dumping more and more energy into a suck out isn't the answer - you need room treatment and/or a sub in the right place & frequency to sort it out.

MF and HF are less of a problem generally and easier to treat, it's the bass which is harder to manage because of it's wavelength.

  

3 hours ago, Pennypacker said:

Admittedly if one want to add panelling for MF or LF, it would make sense to use REW or some online calculator to figure out which Frequency and which type of absorber or diffuser or combo, which leads me to another question. Since MF and LF have very small wave lengths it could be the case that when one shifts is speaker position a different panel is needed which, IIC this is almost an endless loop. 

I guess it depends, more likely that you just need to move your absorption and diffraction panels. Higher frequencies can be handled by thinner panels, these panels can be fairly wide bandwidth absorbers at higher frequencies.

these GIK for example are only 62mm thick but tackle 400Hz to 5k+ they're ~£50 each for a 60x120cm panel, not very expensive really. There's also plenty of ways to hide these if you don't want that studio look, my favorite is the printed version, it just looks like a canvas print of your best photo.

https://gikacoustics.co.uk/product/gik-acoustics-242-acoustic-panel/

Diffraction's a different thing though, you need some reflection to help with positioning/imaging of the sound (think where is the trumpet coming from in 3d space), but you want that to arrive within the right time window so placement of diffraction versus absorption needs to be considered. This is an area which I need to read more about before I build my listening room.

it's important to get things right.

3 hours ago, Pennypacker said:

 Keep the church in the middle.

Are you referring to reflection free zone's when you say this? that's a different kettle of fish and might need a different shaped room and/or panels which direct the reflections in different ways to what we've been talking about.

again something I need to read more about, I only really understand the concept

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