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Floor choice for best acoustics: Carpet or Wood?

JohnnyHonda

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#21
My experience is the same. Recommend hard wood floor with diffraction or absorption in the ceiling. This will open up your sound, especially if you can use diffraction. Also improves the bass range by reducing standing waves. I have tried adding various absorbers on the wood floor but it didn’t improve the imaging and had a tendency to deaden the sound too much.
I installed GIK on my ceilings and then covered them with acoustic fabric to “improve” the look (your mileage may vary).
 

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Arroz2223

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#22
Not suggesting anyone do this but I am re-working a room and using 3/4" rubber mats (like gym mats). The room will be for music and working out. It was an unfinished attic space with a plywood floor. Came across the mats cheap and I am thinking the rubber flooring, an area rug and some acoustical wall treatments will really help with the sound. Anyone have any thoughts on the rubber mats? Ceiling is low at 7.5' and it seems like it will be problematic with anything other than carpet or in my case the rubber and carpet solution. Room is 13' x 30'.
 

Hipper

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#23
One thing would concern me - synthetic vinyl planks can add a faint but discernible "quack" to transient reflections.
Aren't you thinking of duvets with duck feathers? Or possibly duck boards?
 

Hipper

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#24
Not suggesting anyone do this but I am re-working a room and using 3/4" rubber mats (like gym mats). The room will be for music and working out. It was an unfinished attic space with a plywood floor. Came across the mats cheap and I am thinking the rubber flooring, an area rug and some acoustical wall treatments will really help with the sound. Anyone have any thoughts on the rubber mats? Ceiling is low at 7.5' and it seems like it will be problematic with anything other than carpet or in my case the rubber and carpet solution. Room is 13' x 30'.
I live in a flat and didn't want to annoy my neighbour below so on the standard planked flooring I used rubber/foam type tiles that are meant to provide some sonic insulation. On top of this are carpet tiles. I didn't do any measurements to see what their effect was but my neighbour says she never hears me playing music (she could just be being polite of course!).

This is the latest version of it:

https://www.customaudiodirect.co.uk...ing/soundproofing-underlay-quietfloor-premium
 

Hipper

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#25
Regarding ceiling treatment, it would depend on your speakers vertical dispersion characteristics. My ribbon speakers have quite a narrow dispersion and when I tested ceiling treatment (by jamming a panel under a 'T' piece of wood) I couldn't detect any difference in sound.
 

Frank Dernie

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#26
I have never found a room with moden fashion in aesthetics and minimalist furnishing sounding good for aanything, including speech, conversations are harder to follow.
I had never thought about treating the ceiling though, that may reduce the awfulness...
Certainly we stopped going to a favourite restaurant because having a conversation in it was irritating.
My hope is that fashion changes so anybody wanting a good sound in a fashionable room is in luck.
 

Harmonie

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#27
I'm for ... harmony.
While sound is very important, the look of the room is equally important and surely much more important for my others living with me.
Otherwise have a dedicated studio or put on your cans (with VR for the look) Hey why can't I insert any smileys suddenly ?
 

Chrispy

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#28
Generally prefer carpets/rugs over bare wood flooring in the rooms I've used. Depends, tho.
 
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#29
You might want to look at cork flooring. It has less absorption than carpet, but not as much reflection as a truly hard floor surface like hardwood or concrete.
 
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#31
In my music room I have an engineered wood floor covered for the most part with various size rugs. Engineered floors are very stable compared to solid wood, look just like solid wood and are probably more durable than a synthetic floor.
 

A Surfer

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#32
Very interesting point, I did not know this! I will almost certainly be going with hard flooring for the reasons mentioned above (resale value but also ability to tune how much and what kind of damping with rugs), so your experience here is very helpful.

I would not have thought to consider that different kinds of hard flooring has different sounds. If you have more info here (recommended types of engineered wood, what to avoid etc.) or links, that would be very helpful!


Painted drywall. Will be repainted when remodeling. One exterior sliding glass door on the right side, and interior door on the left side.
Not entirely sure that wood versus vinyl would matter. I spent years at in flooring at Home Depot and this stuff interests me. So are we saying that the sound waves will penetrate into the interior of the flooring material? How much of the sound is reflected by the surface coat materials? If so really laminate or a good vinyl plank flooring will have as hard a surface coat over the soft under layer as will hardwood. Not sure what percentage of sound waves penetrates past the surface treatment. That would be interesting to know, but I suspect it would be modest as the surface coatings are pretty hard and reflective, generally.
 

raif71

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#33
I live in a flat and didn't want to annoy my neighbour below so on the standard planked flooring I used rubber/foam type tiles that are meant to provide some sonic insulation. On top of this are carpet tiles. I didn't do any measurements to see what their effect was but my neighbour says she never hears me playing music (she could just be being polite of course!).

This is the latest version of it:

https://www.customaudiodirect.co.uk...ing/soundproofing-underlay-quietfloor-premium
The only way to determine this is to play your setup as loudly but comfortable to you, then go downstairs and let yourself in explaining to the tenant below that you're testing your audio setup. Good luck. :)
 

JohnnyHonda

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#34
Excerpt from Ethan Winer, music engineer, link above.

SIDEBAR: HARD FLOOR, SOFT CEILING
The following is from an exchange that took place in the rec.audio.pro newsgroup in May, 2003:

Bill Ruys asked: Why it is recommended to have bare (un-carpeted) floors in the studio? One web site I visited mentioned that a bare floor was a prerequisite for the room design with diffusors and absorbers on the ceiling, but didn't say why. I'm trying to understand the principal, rather than following blindly.

Paul Stamler: Carpet typically absorbs high frequencies and some midrange, but does nothing for bass and lower midrange. Using carpet as an acoustic treatment, in most rooms, results in a room that is dull and boomy. Most of the time you need a thicker absorber such as 4-inch or, better, 6-inch fiberglass, or acoustic tile, and you can't walk around on either of those. Hence the general recommendation that you avoid carpet on the floor and use broadband absorbers elsewhere.

Lee Liebner: the human ear is accustomed to determining spatial references from reflections off of side walls and floor, and a low ceiling would only confuse the brain with more early reflections it doesn't need. Everywhere you go, the floor is always the same distance away from you, so it's a reference that your brain can always relate to. Top

John Noll: Reasons for having wood floors: they look good, equipment can be rolled easily, spills can be cleaned up easily, provide a bright sound if needed, sound can be deadened with area rugs.

Ethan Winer: In a studio room, versus a control room, a reflective floor is a great way to get a nice sense of ambience when recording acoustic instruments. Notice I said reflective, not wood, since linoleum and other materials are less expensive than wood yet sound the same. When you record an acoustic guitar or clarinet or whatever, slight reflections off the floor give the illusion of "being right there in the room" on the recording. It's more difficult to use a ceiling for ambience - especially in a typical home studio with low ceilings - because the mikes are too close to the ceiling when miking from above. And that proximity creates comb filtering which can yield a hollow sound. So with a hard floor surface you can get ambience, and with full absorption on the ceiling you can put the mike above the instrument, very close to the ceiling, without getting comb filtering.

Dave Wallingford: I've always preferred wood floors for a few reasons: 1) It's easier to move stuff around, 2) You can always get area rugs if you need them, And the main reason: 3) Pianos sound like crap on carpet.

LIVE OR DEAD - WHICH IS BEST AND WHERE?
If you've ever seen photos of high-end recording studios in magazines, you probably noticed that the studio room floors almost always use a reflective material like wood or linoleum. A hard floor gives a nice ambience when miking drums, guitar amps, and acoustic instruments. Likewise, auditorium stages and school band rooms always have a reflective floor surface too. As mentioned earlier, "live" in this context refers only to mid and high frequencies. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a reflective floor for achieving a natural sound when recording acoustic instruments. If you record in your living room and your spouse refuses to let you remove the carpet, get a 4- by 8-foot sheet of 1/4-inch plywood to put over the carpet when recording. You can cut it in half for easier storage and put the halves next to each other on the floor when needed.

Control room floors are sometimes carpeted, sometimes wood, and often a combination of the two. Ceilings in these types of rooms also vary between fully reflective, fully absorptive, or a mix of surface types. There is no one correct way to treat every room because different engineers prefer a different amount of liveness. However, you should never make a room completely dead because that produces a creepy and unnatural sound. The only time you might consider making a room entirely dead is when treating a small vocal booth or a very small studio or control room - smaller than, say, ten by ten feet. When a room is very small the reflections are too short to be useful and just make the room boxy sounding. In that case the best solution is to cover all of the surfaces entirely with absorbent material and, for a studio room, add any ambience electronically later. Top

In a more typical room I recommend a mix of hard and soft surfaces for the walls, with no one large area all hard or all soft. I suggest applying absorbent material to the walls using stripes or a checkerboard pattern to alternate between hard and soft surfaces every two feet or so. This makes the room uniformly neutral everywhere. You can make the spacing between absorbent stripes or squares larger or smaller to control the overall amount of liveness. If you are using 705-FRK rigid fiberglass or an equivalent product, you can cover more of the wall and still control the liveness by alternating the direction of the paper backing. That is, one piece of fiberglass will have the paper facing the wall to expose the more absorbent fiberglass, and the next piece will have the paper facing out to reflect the mid and high frequencies. In fact, when the paper is facing into the room the lower frequencies are absorbed even better than when it is faces the wall.

Alternating hard and soft surfaces is also advisable with wood panel bass traps - simply place a fiberglass absorber between each trap. You can see this arrangement in the photo of my studio (above Figure 7), where each type of bass trap alternates with the other type and with fiberglass panels. That is, first is a low-bass trap, then a fiberglass panel, then a high-bass trap, then fiberglass, then low-bass, and so forth. I'll also mention that wood panel bass traps can be mounted horizontally when book shelves and other obstacles prevent placing them vertically. Since the corner formed by a wall and the ceiling, or a wall and the floor, is just as valid as any other corner, mounting a panel trap sideways near the top or bottom of a wall is equally effective.

Of course, many studios do have large live areas, and there's nothing wrong with that! If the room is big enough to avoid short echoes between closely spaced walls, having an entire wall reflective can yield a very big sound. And even in smaller rooms a hard floor with one or more bare walls can be useful. My cello teacher, who is a total audio neophyte, blew me away with the quality of a recording she made in her small Manhattan apartment. She recorded while playing with her back against the corner, facing into the room, using an inexpensive stereo mike placed a few feet in front of her cello. The key to a realistic and present sound, especially for acoustic instruments, is capturing some amount of ambience - even when the reverberation of a large space is not appropriate. Top

Although it is often desirable to alternate hard and soft surfaces on the walls, I often recommend covering the entire ceiling with absorbent material, especially if the ceiling is low. Besides eliminating floor to ceiling flutter echoes, full absorption can make the ceiling appear acoustically to be much higher. Most home studio owners cringe at the thought of making their ceilings even lower than they already are, but it really can help the sound. If you cover the entire ceiling with 2- to 4-inch thick 705, suspended with strings or wires to leave an air gap, the room will sound as if the ceiling were much higher. There's no difference between reflections that are reduced by the greater distance of a high ceiling and reflections from a low ceiling that are reduced by absorption. Using thick, dense fiberglass extends the simulated increase in height to lower frequencies. Where thin fiberglass makes the ceiling appear higher at midrange and high frequencies, using thicker and denser fiberglass with an air gap raises the apparent height at lower frequencies as well.

Another advantage of full absorption on a low ceiling is that it avoids the comb filtering that occurs when miking drums and other instruments from above. Placing microphones high over a drum set or string section puts the mikes very close to the ceiling. If the ceiling is reflective, sound will arrive at the mikes via two paths - the direct sound from the instrument and the same sound after being reflected off the nearby ceiling. When the difference in distance is very small, let's say one foot, the reflections cause many peaks and dips in the response, which are very audible and can sound like a flanger effect. (When reflections cause a series of peaks and dips, the effect is often called comb filtering because the frequency response plot resembles a hair comb.) Again, reducing strong reflections from a nearby ceilin
 
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#35
By most standards of comparison, hardwood flooring is clearly superior to carpet, with better longevity, a more elegant appearance, and better real estate value. But Best Robotic Cleaners for Pool carpet can be a good choice where comfort is your primary concern, or where budget is an issue. Just be prepared to replace the carpet every 10 years. While wood has traditionally been the classic look for homes, it has reclaimed its preferred status as the flooring of the elite with most homeowners.
 
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