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Best way to deal with a highly asymmetrical room?

kemmler3D

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I'm moving at the end of the week, which is almost all happy news when it comes to my audio setup, because I managed to sneak some LS60s and KC62s into the furniture budget under the mandate of preserving decor and eliminating boxes/wires.

It's all gravy, I don't mind having a nice-looking living room, either, especially not when it entails a considerable sonic upgrade to my "ugly" system.

The bad news is the new living room is going to have the right speaker pushed up against the sidewall, and the left channel >12 feet from the nearest lateral wall. Both will be close to the front wall. I expect this to have a bad effect on stereo image.

Rough relative sketch of layout:

1694474487965.png



Should I be thinking about putting diffusers on the right wall? Absorbers? Both? Any other thoughts on how to mitigate this?

LP can move a tiny bit front or back, possibly, but not to another location. The house came with a wall that was clearly designed to house a flatscreen TV, which dictates where the main system goes. (it's a TV shaped alcove with a power outlet in it 5 feet off the ground.) So barring renovations costing many times what the speakers do, positions are basically fixed here.

Speaker choice and general layout are locked in.

Any treatments added will need to pass strict WAF checks.

I do have a UMIK and REW experience to dive in with once I move in, no worries there.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
 

ozzy9832001

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At one point in time, I had my one speaker about 1' from the one side wall and about 7 from the other. If it made any difference, I couldn't really tell. Depending on how close to the sidewall you are, you may get some gain boosts from it. I'd just make sure you aren't equidistant from both the FW and the SW. You may also need to gain match the 2 speakers.

Measurements should give you a good idea of where you stand. Some thick absorption on the sidewall my give you the effect of a larger distance between that wall.

Be nice to take some measurements before the room is furnished and after each subsequent "major" piece goes in.
 
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kemmler3D

kemmler3D

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At one point in time, I had my one speaker about 1' from the one side wall and about 7 from the other. If it made any difference, I couldn't really tell. Depending on how close to the sidewall you are, you may get some gain boosts from it. I'd just make sure you aren't equidistant from both the FW and the SW. You may also need to gain match the 2 speakers.

Measurements should give you a good idea of where you stand. Some thick absorption on the sidewall my give you the effect of a larger distance between that wall.

Be nice to take some measurements before the room is furnished and after each subsequent "major" piece goes in.
I may get a chance to do some measurements with just the couch and maybe not even a rug, will be interesting to see where it goes from there. The room sounds very lively with nothing in it, but that's normal.
 

EJ3

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I'm moving at the end of the week, which is almost all happy news when it comes to my audio setup, because I managed to sneak some LS60s and KC62s into the furniture budget under the mandate of preserving decor and eliminating boxes/wires.

It's all gravy, I don't mind having a nice-looking living room, either, especially not when it entails a considerable sonic upgrade to my "ugly" system.

The bad news is the new living room is going to have the right speaker pushed up against the sidewall, and the left channel >12 feet from the nearest lateral wall. Both will be close to the front wall. I expect this to have a bad effect on stereo image.

Rough relative sketch of layout:

View attachment 311392


Should I be thinking about putting diffusers on the right wall? Absorbers? Both? Any other thoughts on how to mitigate this?

LP can move a tiny bit front or back, possibly, but not to another location. The house came with a wall that was clearly designed to house a flatscreen TV, which dictates where the main system goes. (it's a TV shaped alcove with a power outlet in it 5 feet off the ground.) So barring renovations costing many times what the speakers do, positions are basically fixed here.

Speaker choice and general layout are locked in.

Any treatments added will need to pass strict WAF checks.

I do have a UMIK and REW experience to dive in with once I move in, no worries there.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
I would think that standing waves & nulls would be less of a problem. I have a room that is somewhat similar but it has a ceiling that goes from 8ft to twelve feet.
The dispersion of non direct sound seems to make the sweet spot larger.
 

Curvature

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The bad news is the new living room is going to have the right speaker pushed up against the sidewall, and the left channel >12 feet from the nearest lateral wall. Both will be close to the front wall. I expect this to have a bad effect on stereo image.
It will be totally fine.

If you can EQ each speaker separately. That will fix most issues. Stereo imaging is about direct sound, for the most part, paradoxical as that is.
Any treatments added will need to pass strict WAF checks
Artnovion Acoustics bass traps are real, biased toward LF, backed by serious research, and look good. Use them to deal with SBIR or show off to your friends. They are otherwise unnecessary.

Try to sneak in a few more subs.
 

Bjorn

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It's generally best to remove specular reflections from the right wall. This will make it closest to the left channel, where you have an opening (where there are no early specular energy). It's important that the absorbers attenuate higher frequencies well (which many commercial absorbers don't do because the surface is too hard/reflective for highs) and they should ideally also have high effect down to the Schroeder frequency.

EQing isn't going to fix this alone, because the issue of imbalance comes from the time domain and reflections.
 
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kemmler3D

kemmler3D

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Try to sneak in a few more subs.
I've already got 2x KC62 coming in, and I think I will have to be satisfied with that at least for now, but I guess if you are OK with mono bass you can add as many as you want?

I am planning on doing EQ myself with REW + EQAPO or possibly CamillaDSP at some point, so EQing each channel should be no problem.

The Art Novion stuff looks pretty legit. I will look into those if I can finagle WAF and it seems like I would benefit from them in the room.

I guess if early reflections only coming from one side isn't a problem, then I don't anticipate anything particularly bad in the new room. The nice thing about KEFs is the even directivity including vertical, so that will tend to be more forgiving of the room, I think.

But, if we need to worry about specular reflections (I think so, at least some per @Bjorn ?) then probably my wife thinking diffusers look cool is my only real chance. I don't think I will get approved for a bunch of absorbers being added to the decor.

That said, I think I finally figured out how to 3D print diffusers without having to design the whole thing by hand. I managed to convert the output from QRDude to a 3D model with a multi-step but not actually manual process.

So I could probably achieve something like the below for hundreds but not thousands of dollars. In fact, the model is printable as you see it, if you break it into small enough (240mm x 240mm) chunks. (Mockup: 2x 1.67m square N67 2D QRD with 1200hz design frequency on a 3m high wall) ... would take probably a month or two of print time, but who's counting?

What I am not sure about is whether I would make things better or worse this way. I don't think I have space for any diffusers that are very effective below ~1khz. This is probably helpful for re-balancing some parts of the stereo image, but it'd be better to go much lower, so I wonder if it will just end up sounding weird.

n67 mockup 2 panels.png
 
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kemmler3D

kemmler3D

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I suppose there's no possibilty to squeeze a Mini DSP SHD between sound sources and the amps of the LS 60 ?
I'm just going to use the optical in and run everything through DSP (currently using a mini-PC with EQAPO) so I can have proper room correction. It's a bit of a shame because it has all that streaming stuff built in, but if you want proper room correction you can't compromise on that.

I also want to rig my whole house with WiiM units so that's another reason to go outboard on this one. Still more or less wireless... just one wire is pretty good, and I can run it thru the wall... really, we're talking 99% WAF here.
 

dogmamann

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I'm moving at the end of the week, which is almost all happy news when it comes to my audio setup, because I managed to sneak some LS60s and KC62s into the furniture budget under the mandate of preserving decor and eliminating boxes/wires.

It's all gravy, I don't mind having a nice-looking living room, either, especially not when it entails a considerable sonic upgrade to my "ugly" system.

The bad news is the new living room is going to have the right speaker pushed up against the sidewall, and the left channel >12 feet from the nearest lateral wall. Both will be close to the front wall. I expect this to have a bad effect on stereo image.

Rough relative sketch of layout:

View attachment 311392


Should I be thinking about putting diffusers on the right wall? Absorbers? Both? Any other thoughts on how to mitigate this?

LP can move a tiny bit front or back, possibly, but not to another location. The house came with a wall that was clearly designed to house a flatscreen TV, which dictates where the main system goes. (it's a TV shaped alcove with a power outlet in it 5 feet off the ground.) So barring renovations costing many times what the speakers do, positions are basically fixed here.

Speaker choice and general layout are locked in.

Any treatments added will need to pass strict WAF checks.

I do have a UMIK and REW experience to dive in with once I move in, no worries there.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
DSP it! That’s it
 

Blumlein 88

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I'd probably rotate the room 90 degrees. Surely you can cover or fill the flatscreen alcove for some other purpose and mount one on the other wall. I mean they make them so thin now it isn't much more than hanging a panting. Speaking of which could you hang a painting that fits the decor over the flatscreen space built in?
 
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kemmler3D

kemmler3D

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I'd probably rotate the room 90 degrees. Surely you can cover or fill the flatscreen alcove for some other purpose and mount one on the other wall. I mean they make them so thin now it isn't much more than hanging a panting. Speaking of which could you hang a painting that fits the decor over the flatscreen space built in?
A reasonable suggestion and one I will float, but the odds of it getting consensus are quite low, I am pretty sure. Doing something else with the alcove wouldn't be super hard, but the room was pretty obviously built with this asymmetrical layout in mind.

That said I thought the LS60s would be an absolute "no" and it went over fine, so maybe I should push my luck. :)

The house is really great, but some slightly odd choices were made by the developers. For one thing there are 4 full bathrooms, but no bathtubs, and very few closets. Not having a nice symmetrical spot for speakers is not the weirdest thing they did.

I'm not complaining - the house is as big an upgrade from my current place as the speakers are from my current setup - but I want to start thinking about how to make the most of a compromised space.

I'll have my office for a more symmetrical / controlled space, but the LS60s ought to get the best conditions I can give them.
 
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tmuikku

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I'm moving at the end of the week, which is almost all happy news when it comes to my audio setup, because I managed to sneak some LS60s and KC62s into the furniture budget under the mandate of preserving decor and eliminating boxes/wires.

It's all gravy, I don't mind having a nice-looking living room, either, especially not when it entails a considerable sonic upgrade to my "ugly" system.

The bad news is the new living room is going to have the right speaker pushed up against the sidewall, and the left channel >12 feet from the nearest lateral wall. Both will be close to the front wall. I expect this to have a bad effect on stereo image.

Rough relative sketch of layout:

View attachment 311392


Should I be thinking about putting diffusers on the right wall? Absorbers? Both? Any other thoughts on how to mitigate this?

LP can move a tiny bit front or back, possibly, but not to another location. The house came with a wall that was clearly designed to house a flatscreen TV, which dictates where the main system goes. (it's a TV shaped alcove with a power outlet in it 5 feet off the ground.) So barring renovations costing many times what the speakers do, positions are basically fixed here.

Speaker choice and general layout are locked in.

Any treatments added will need to pass strict WAF checks.

I do have a UMIK and REW experience to dive in with once I move in, no worries there.

Thanks in advance for any ideas.
For best sound, you must choose speakers that give best sound you like with the options you have (room and positioning).

As you don't have symmetric room and no possibility to have symmetric lateral early reflections, you cannot utilize the early reflections to widen your stage, thus narrow coverage speakers would make sense here. You must make it nearfield setup, where early reflections are delayed and attenuated so you hear stage on the recording and speakers spaced wide enough so that the width, the natural stereo image, happens without reliance on the local room enhancing it. In my book this is the optimum no matter the room, but most seem to like the hazy room influenced sound more.

To achieve this, turn the setup into a corner, now early reflections delay is maximized. If your speakers are not designed to be positioned near wall, then consider changing them to something else.
corner-setup.jpg

You must be brave enough to step out of convention though, but if you care about sound you should try this, at least as temporary setup some day.

The other solution would be to have the speakers where they must be, and then pull them out when you have time to do critical listening :)
 
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Bjorn

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When specular reflections are arriving from one side wall and not the other, it will create an imbalance of the stereo image. Everything will be drawn to the right. Absorption is the best way to deal with this. Using treatment that's only effective between 1000 Hz and 5000 Hz isn't a good way to treat the energy. Consider some smaller absorbers like the 2" RPG Broadsorber and perhaps with print images for WAF. It's going to be a little reflective above 2-3 kHz but still much better than most other WAF options.

Another way to deal with such an imbalance is using speakers with super narrow horizontal directivity.
 

tmuikku

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Yeah. The corner setup is nice as it elongates lateral reflection path lengths to maximum as the speakers and listener are about halfway of the (shortest) dimensions, and not at the corner. It also makes the other necessary adjustments: makes the listening triangle smaller and widening base width between speakers while keeping it all somewhat practical. These adjustments both attenuates and delays the early lateral reflections, it also makes them more symmetrical between left and right turning the asymmetry more behind than side of the listener. Multiple things "get better", you get the near field sound but it is not everyone though, and every time the mother pays visit she turns the sofa perpendicular to walls and you'd have to ask her turn it back as it makes better sound that way :D

If one must have far field sound, it's not going to work optimally as the room is lob sided but that's the compromise, practicality over sound quality. The most logical thing for me is to throw away the room sound, make it near field setup, and the corner setup lends to it nicely while being relatively practical. To be fair, this is isn't optimal either, it is just another option to consider with the suboptimal situation.
 
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Pareto Pragmatic

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I've been there, where you know what you should do but can't, for architectural or design reasons.

Asymmetry is your friend in an asymmetric set up. For example, I have a couch that is angled so that one side is 4" closer to the system, and my speakers have a 4" distance difference. So parallel with the couch, but not the room. This lets me point them to the center of the "acoustically empty" space behind my couch/primary listening area. The speaker near but not in the corner is a bit further from the wall, helping to lower the corner reinforcement slightly.

I don't think I would want to move the Kefs often, but one solution is to do whatever you can, then move the speakers to the right wall for "serious" listening. I think you could get very good sound that way, particularly if you sat near where the room opens up. A bit forward would give you more "room", a bit further back less room. In effect it would be like sitting next to a wall sized horn. The downside of being behind that line, btw, is that slight movements forward and back WILL change the sound, sometimes quite dramatically. So ears right on the line where things open up is a good place in such a set up.

You could put a bookcase/media storage to the left of the left speaker. Give it a bit of "wall" so to speak. Or a high back chair to the left that would give you some first reflections from the left. Because with your diagram, the difference in reflections is going to be pretty stark, so adding just a bit back in might help. I personally would not do this, but it is something to consider trying.

Beyond that, I do have two suggestions . And I suggest you try these (if they make sense to you) before any actual room correction/treatment. Free and fast to check out.

Think of the kitchen/hall/stairs as a good place to send sound. And think of how you can send reflections there to be diffused (i like to say "eaten" :) ). Two options.

First, can you move the couch slightly to the left? Are you going to want to listen full toe in/pointed right at you, or do you think more of a towed out (think pointed at the arms of the couch) will work for you? If you are ok with more toed out, consider setting the speakers up to be angled so the reflections bounce towards the DR/Kitchen/hall/stairs. You won't be centered on the TV, but one seat might be centered. A shallower "bounce" might work, a steeper angle would probably work better. Back wall then left wall then into the kitchen/hall/stairs.

The right speaker would be more steeply angled in that case, the left less so, relative to the back wall.

Second, rather than thinking pure diffusion, consider angled reflection + diffusion. Think of slats (reflection) with texture (diffusion) behind the listening position, angled to bounce sound left. Put an image on them, you would see the image from the DR, but more of a broken image other places. so decor wise it can be a good thing. If you want to test how this sounds, a sheet of plywood, the back of a bookcase, or even big sheets of cardboard can give you an idea of what that will do to your sound. Try different angles.

Pretty much anything that sends reflections OUT of the listening space is going to help, I would think.

In terms of the process, I would try to find options that might work by ear. Then run some sweeps to see if one is best, or if one has a nasty mode you would rather deal with. If I move my couch back 3 feet or so, my huge 130hz spike becomes a huge 65hz spike (bouncy floor), and I would much rather EQ at 130, since 65 gets into sub crossover region.

Basically, experimentation is your friend here, and tiny angle/toe changes might have unexpectedly big effects. I think trying all that first is the way to go, then EQ, then treatments as needed.

Everyone wants a perfect room, but getting the odd room sounding good feels like so much more of an accomplishment to me. So I hope things work out for you, and you have fun figuring things out!
 

Pareto Pragmatic

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I would think that standing waves & nulls would be less of a problem. I have a room that is somewhat similar but it has a ceiling that goes from 8ft to twelve feet.
The dispersion of non direct sound seems to make the sweet spot larger.

I LOVE expanding volume spaces. In grad school we had a place, clearly built by hippies in the space between two buildings. It had 12' ceilings that went up to 24' at the midpoint, with windows that opened at the top of the 24' section, and two trees growing at the back inside the apartment up to the 24' ceiling.

Best sounding place I ever lived.
 
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Pareto Pragmatic

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I agree. The corner placement, if possible, has several advantages.

It does. Unless the TV stays in place and AV is important.

Another advantage, tall plants behind the couch for diffusion, near the window.

It could also help define that as a separate space, while keeping the feel open and the flow good.
 

Bjorn

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Plants don't diffuse.... Slats don't either but cause a serious of specular reflections. Slats are ok to remove flutter echo for speech and minimize general noise issues, but is a rather poor treatment for music.
 

SIY

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Another way to deal with such an imbalance is using speakers with super narrow horizontal directivity.
Or dipoles. That’s the solution I used.

Dirac or similar DSP might be helpful if the speakers are non-negotiable.
 
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