So, is the room the most important component of your HiFi Set up?

square_wave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2006
Messages
3,257
Points
113
Location
Edinburgh
I understand people's issue with commercial acoustic treatment products. One way to get people to see the light is to tell them that anything in their room is actually room treatment. Curtains, bookshelves, sofas, carpets, plants, all furniture. They all have absorption and diffusion properties. If you remove all of it from the room, the music system will be unlistenable. Now, if one were to carefully choose all such materials giving some importance to their acoustic properties as well and maybe add a few carefully chosen diffusers or absorbers that complement their decor and add those to the primary and secondary reflection points and do something to their ceilings as well, the sound quality will improve a lot. If there is a problem with bass, you need solve that as well. Many options available. Bad bass not only creates bass problems but also affects mids and highs like Jls001 mentioned. Balance the sound so that there is life to the sound. The worst place to listen to music is a dead home theatre room. Many people develop a dislike for room treatments after listening to such rooms.

Btw, I once heard an active system where the entire mids and high regions were let free and handled only by careful room treatments while the bass region were treated by DSP. The result was outstanding.
 

Analogous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
1,863
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
I understand people's issue with commercial acoustic treatment products. One way to get people to see the light is to tell them that anything in their room is actually room treatment. Curtains, bookshelves, sofas, carpets, plants, all furniture. They all have absorption and diffusion properties. If you remove all of it from the room, the music system will be unlistenable. Now, if one were to carefully choose all such materials giving some importance to their acoustic properties as well and maybe add a few carefully chosen diffusers or absorbers that complement their decor and add those to the primary and secondary reflection points and do something to their ceilings as well, the sound quality will improve a lot. If there is a problem with bass, you need solve that as well. Many options available. Bad bass not only creates bass problems but also affects mids and highs like Jls001 mentioned. Balance the sound so that there is life to the sound. The worst place to listen to music is a dead home theatre room. Many people develop a dislike for room treatments after listening to such rooms.

Btw, I once heard an active system where the entire mids and high regions were let free and handled only by careful room treatments while the bass region were treated by DSP. The result was outstanding.
Yes getting the balance between no treatment and over treatment is a big challenge.
Other than curtains and carpets, I have used a single sized mattress placed on different walls to understand the room acoustics better. But as you have pointed out every material has its own absorption/dispersion properties depending on density, thickness and surface area covered.
@Yelamanchili manohar had done a lot of research and effort into treating his room and maybe able to share his insights after the process.
 

Analogous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
1,863
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
Well important or not , the room is definitely at least the most expensive pasty of the setup ( if you have a dedicated room that is !)
🤐
And it’s not measured in Freq response or DB, but sqft!
In rentals a dedicated music room is recurring expense too (in sqft):)
 

Hari Iyer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2010
Messages
3,605
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
I give equal 20% weightage to the below - not in any particular order but as a whole -

- source. - analogue / digital. - 20%
- amplifier - tube / SS -20%
- IC cables, power cables, speaker cables - material / dielectrics / gauge / length -20%
- speakers - Loading / Drivers - sealed / Vented/ TL/ OB / Horns -20%
- finally the room - Dimensions / treated vs Untreated / placement / Sweet spots -20%

When everything addsup to 100% then it's magic which is rare.
 

Nalzan

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2007
Messages
36
Points
8
Location
Mumbai
So, is the room the most important component?

Don’t give up because your room is suboptimal — almost all of them are — and chances are very high that you can and will still get amazing sound.

Archimago says “ it seems like the article is basically saying that we can rearrange our gear or perhaps treat our rooms in ways that sound good, thus making the room less important than a general consensus might suggest. There seems to be an undertone of trying to downplay the role of the sound room and suggesting that one can spend more money on high quality gear and still benefit. OK, sure, to some extent that's true; but there are obviously limits. After all, if the room is way too small, cubical, highly reflective and impractical to treat, speakers inappropriately shoved deeply against walls, or if there is no space behind the seating position, there's obviously no point spending $$$$ on gear that one can barely appreciate! In my opinion, the quality and size of the room and quality of the gear (especially speakers) should be reasonably balanced.

IMO, without doubt, the room does play a major role in the sound quality; I think it would be silly to suggest otherwise even though I have heard some completely deny this over the years! For example, objectively we can easily show the nodes (nulls) and antinodes (peaks) resulting from reflections and standing waves in our small domestic listening rooms. Subjectively, these effects/limitations are easily audible as well. The way we arrange the speakers will interact with the inherent properties of our listening room in ways much more significant than much of the concerns "hardware audiophiles" often speak of or obsess over (like which CD player/DAC/streamer/server we use, cable differences, or if jitter even is audible :).”

“So, is the room the most important component? Nope. But feel free to argue” ( after taking a look at this):

I think the room is really an extension of your speakers and so room correction in one form or another can make the difference between a system that sounds good and one that sounds sublime! I have used Dirac in the past but I now use Focus Fidelity with very satisfying results indeed.
 

drkrack

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
1,505
Points
113
Location
Hyderabad
I am yet to find a reviewer who reviews room acoustics in houses…
That's what REW is for, Dirac Live to correct it accordingly. Unless built from scratch, With Specific purpose and professional help ; no room is ideal.

Maybe I am not understanding the pie chart in the right context. But I have always felt that a balanced system in a room with balanced acoustics provides the most performance. From that context, I would divide the pie into 2. This would be an " importance " chart. One side would be the room and the other side would be the entire system ( a balanced one). The room is that important. A high quality speaker in a bad room will just sound bad.
Pie chart is is elegant demonstration of Room, Speakers and Source importance.
I think the room is really an extension of your speakers and so room correction in one form or another can make the difference between a system that sounds good and one that sounds sublime!
This is a better way to put it across, now you're left with finding the speakers that exploit the characteristics of your room to meet your preferred sound. Find out the speakers that suit your room, and build a system around it.
The room is that important. A high quality speaker in a bad room will just sound bad.
thats mostly true, off late I've encountered speakers that sound good in spite of the room restrictions. Obviously treating a room will extract much better sound out of them, but they're not far inferior in untreated rooms. They're quite expensive speakers to say the least.

Few Inferences from My current understanding of setting up a new system, which I end up advicing :
1. Bass is most important, most Indian homes act as bass boosters, unfortunately that's boosting is in a bad way. Choose speakers where bass output is completely under your control ; floorstanders with powered LF section, Options to Biamp with adding a Gain Control To Bass Drivers and finally Bookshelf with Subwoofer.
2. Next, Look for Speakers where you like the Vocals, irrespective of the type music you like. That signature cannot be improved significantly later, irrespective of whatever amount you spend on acoustics or cables. Adding Tubes etc changes it most significantly ; but still nowhere a transition from disliking to very likeable.
3. Balance of the components, don't marry a flagship speakers and midrange amplification or subpar DAC/ Source.
4. Room interactions with HF can be easily tackled with minimal effort and room treatment so getting a resolving enough speakers should be OK.
5. As Much as Room is important, Placement of Speakers in the Room is equally important. Careful Speakers placement works wonders, precision and experimentation in this regard pays a lot in the ultimate experience.
6. DSP is your friend and don't hesitate to use it ( use it wisely, sparingly) if required.
 

square_wave

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2006
Messages
3,257
Points
113
Location
Edinburgh
thats mostly true, off late I've encountered speakers that sound good in spite of the room restrictions. Obviously treating a room will extract much better sound out of them, but they're not far inferior in untreated rooms. They're quite expensive speakers to say the least.
It is technically impossible for any speaker to sound good if room restrictions are severe. There is no escaping acoustics principles. When I said " treating a room ", I did not restrict my definition to professional or commercial treatment products. A typical living room with enough furnishing is technically a treated room. In your case, I surmise that the room has acceptable acoustic properties in spite of not using commercial products.

It is possible to listen very near field in a bad room and make it sound acceptable but then secondary and tertiary reflections will interfere with your sound. It all depends how sensitive you are about all this.
 
Last edited:

mail2sumanth

Active Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
217
Points
43
Location
Bangalore
Every component is very important, they all together takes up the experience. At the same time it need not be expensive to achieve it. All people like us build our dream HT inch by inch over time. We all go DIY, fall for the snake oil then realize it immediately 😁. For me all components are important. Many people will ignore seating but they don’t realize that they need to sit comfortably for 2 hr stretch to enjoy the whole setup. What good is it without any money me component ignored completely.

-Ram.
 

keith_correa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
3,769
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
Many people will ignore seating but they don’t realize that they need to sit comfortably for 2 hr stretch to enjoy the whole setup.
To extend this further - some people I know always listen with their fingers interlaced behind their heads (hands behind their ears). Try it; you may never go back to listening any other way. ;)
 

Analogous

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
1,863
Points
113
Location
Bangalore
To extend this further - some people I know always listen with their fingers interlaced behind their heads (hands behind their ears). Try it; you may never go back to listening any other way. ;)
With the base of the palms pushing the ears forward the high frequencies are more prominent !
Extended listening sessions might become fatiguing for the arms too
 

keith_correa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
3,769
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
With the base of the palms pushing the ears forward the high frequencies are more prominent !
Extended listening sessions might become fatiguing for the arms too
You don't need to push your ears forward so no fatigue at all.
Many people also rest their heads on a wide pillow while listening.
Whatever floats their boat. :)
 

jls001

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
6,174
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
To extend this further - some people I know always listen with their fingers interlaced behind their heads (hands behind their ears). Try it; you may never go back to listening any other way. ;)
Cupping hands possibly increases the pinna gain, making the sound a bit louder. It is possible that the SPL was not enough (for the listener).
 

keith_correa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
3,769
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
Cupping hands possibly increases the pinna gain, making the sound a bit louder. It is possible that the SPL was not enough (for the listener).
I'm not suggesting cupping. The SPL does increase a bit but it's not only that. The perceived sound changes quite a bit compared to not listening this way. Try it. You'll know. Or not! 😜
 

mbhangui

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
1,739
Points
113
Location
Pune
Cupping hands possibly increases the pinna gain, making the sound a bit louder. It is possible that the SPL was not enough (for the listener).
This is something I found out few years ago and an idea had propped up to make something like a headphone but instead of the two drivers, have a plastic thing that does the job of using the hands. This will leave your hand to do other things that they are meant for :p (No, I ain't talking about Mel Brooks).

This cupping your ears with your hand totally changes the dynamics of the music.
 

keith_correa

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
3,769
Points
113
Location
Mumbai
This is something I found out few years ago and an idea had propped up to make something like a headphone but instead of the two drivers, have a plastic thing that does the job of using the hands.
It's already been done. I saw an ad a couple of years ago for a thingie like that.
 

mbhangui

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
1,739
Points
113
Location
Pune
While trying to find a device which can reflect sound back to your ears, I came across this. Interesting way to explain how high frequencies get attenuated more than low frequencies. You just have to imagine you are on a beach, sipping margaritas, behind a boulder and you are facing in the opposite direction of the beach.

As a general acoustical rule of thumb, the way to best remember this is if an obstruction is on the order of half the wavelength or greater, then the sound will be obstructed (and in the case of the pinna effect, reflected). Low-frequency sounds have wavelengths that are just too long to have any significant attenuation or reflection due to an obstruction. The diameter of such an obstruction would have to be gigantic.
 

mbhangui

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2011
Messages
1,739
Points
113
Location
Pune

Ear-focused acoustic reflector​


US4997056-drawings-page-2.png
 
Enhance your CD Listening with the versatile and amazing Audiolab 6000CDT Transport.
Top