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Equipment versus Room/Setup

Dec 19, 2020
Pacific Northwest, U.S.A.
Hi All,

tl;dr @ bottom

I started my hifi journey sometime around 2020 by purchasing a pair of Klipsch bookshelves.

As I bought those, I also purchased some room treatment. The room treatment really made a difference in imaging to me, and so did how I placed the speakers on soundstage.

Now, after I had those speakers about a few months, I decided I wanted to move out from my parents' home. So I rented an apartment and took advantage of the living room to get even more distance between me and my speakers, and put up my room treatment. Now, my room treatment is just 1x1x3/8" "acoustic panels", but they really did make a difference. I really gained a lot of depth in the soundstage as if the singer was behind the wall. Before I put them in, I would clap and I could hear the ringing echo. Now, that was gone.

About that time I had stumbled into an audio store and heard some martinlogan speakers. I was blown away, the clarity really was different than my Klipsches.

Well, a few months later I actually found an amazing deal on a pair and picked them up. I put them in my room, and it was amazing. The thing is, though, what I was improving wasn't depth of soundstage or, really, imaging. It was more just the sound/balance of the speakers (Klipsches are notoriously bright). I also noticed the bass was significantly tighter as I no longer have to rely on an external sub.

But even with these MartinLogans, marginally, the improvement [to the Klipsches from headphones/my car/crap stereo] before was arguably more than from the Klipsches to the MLs - diminishing returns.

Now, I've heard an amazing $60k sound system that a friend has, where he has a dedicated listening room. It is an amazing system. But even so, the difference between his system and mine, I would say, comes largely down to his greatly superior listening space, room construction and treatment, than his equipment.

And then, of course, a crap recording/mastering job humbles all audio gear. The biggest difference I hear is not between speakers and systems, but between recording, mastering, and I would say the room.

My point and TLDR is where do people find the sense in getting past, say, the $6k mark, in spending more on equipment? Don't you spend the $6k then say, okay, it's all the room treatment and space from here?


Active Member
Jul 5, 2022
Where would you find the sense in buying a pair of Wilson Audio Chronosonic?
Where would you find the sense in filling your car trunk with speakers capable of buckling the bodywork?
Ignoring the audio equipment for a moment, the acoustic space characteristics and treatment really does make a difference for the sound quality, no matter what decent audio equipment is used.
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Addicted to Fun and Learning
Jun 16, 2019
Herts., England
If you've got decent equipment then the key is getting it and the room to work together.

To do this you need to learn all the techniques involved - positioning, room treatment, use of subs and DSP/EQ, plus perhaps have a bit of an understanding as to why. The most important tool to get all this as best you can is to measure the sound at your listening position. Once you've learned that you can see where the problems are, some of which you may not realise you have. Bass reproduction is the fundamental issue in a typical listening room. Get this right and you'll go a long way to get the best music reproduction.

You could check out these two websites both of which sell room treatment but offer a lot of useful information:



Look at 'Education'.

There's also plenty of advice on here on all the subjects.

If you want a book, Floyd Toole - Sound Reproduction is the one I'd recommend:

Sound Reproduction

Regarding your Martin Logan speakers, as they are electrostats they probably need some special consideration with room treatment. You should find out what listeners to these speakers do in this regard.

By the way, if there is one thing you learn from this site it is that throwing large amounts of money at expensive equipment is not the solution! I'm one to talk as I've spent some £30,000 on my dedicated room, although I will say that maybe £10,000 is on room treatment over some ten years.
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