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Front wall vs back wall

Chromatischism

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From an acoustic standpoint, if you had a rectangular room and had the choice of no front wall or no back wall, which would you choose?

For a stereo setup: I think either could work, but I would side with having the rear open and putting absorption on the front wall.

For a home theater setup: I require a back wall for my full 11 speaker system; correct and symmetrical placement of surround speakers, seats, etc. So the layout gets reversed, leaving the front open. This is interesting for a number of reasons; some good, some bad.

Thoughts?
 

DonH56

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Most speakers fire forward (so no HF energy directed at the front wall) and the front wall is usually far enough away that tertiary reflections are not so troublesome. Reflections off the rear wall near your ears, assuming you sit closer to the rear than to the front, are more likely to be problematic as far as imaging and frequency response. Thus I would opt for an open rear if that was my choice. If the back wall is farther away and/or easy to treat it shouldn't really matter except for the bass, which is challenging if not impractical to control in a typical room aside from using multiple subs and active control.

IMO - Don
 

Fidji

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Do you face this choice in reality?

Ot is it just intellecual experiment.
 
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Chromatischism

Chromatischism

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Do you face this choice in reality?

Ot is it just intellecual experiment.
It's something I need to figure out for a new space. I think surround speaker placement is going to dictate that the seats are at the closed end so I can ensure everything can be mounted correctly to the sides and behind the seats. Of course I am fine putting absorption there. I've just never had an open front stage. My main concern there is that it screws up my normal subwoofer placement on the front wall.
 

DavidMcRoy

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"Open" probably doesn't mean open to the great outdoors, but "open" to another enclosed space with its own acoustics...which may still require treatment.
 

ryanosaur

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From an acoustic standpoint, if you had a rectangular room and had the choice of no front wall or no back wall, which would you choose?

For a stereo setup: I think either could work, but I would side with having the rear open and putting absorption on the front wall.

For a home theater setup: I require a back wall for my full 11 speaker system; correct and symmetrical placement of surround speakers, seats, etc. So the layout gets reversed, leaving the front open. This is interesting for a number of reasons; some good, some bad.

Thoughts?
I’m with you, I would look to ideally have the back wall not be a limiter on space availability, as in a great room. 3 walls and an open concept space. :)
 

Fidji

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It's something I need to figure out for a new space. I think surround speaker placement is going to dictate that the seats are at the closed end so I can ensure everything can be mounted correctly to the sides and behind the seats. Of course I am fine putting absorption there. I've just never had an open front stage. My main concern there is that it screws up my normal subwoofer placement on the front wall.

Without knowing any details about your situation [actual room layout] and even more important aspect - how much do you want to commit to this new space my 2 cents.

- what will define performance of you surround/HT is bass quality and screenside [l-c-r ]. While good surround is necessary for really great immersion, without getting bass/lcr as good as possible it will be for nothing
- surrounds are about angles, so sidewall placement for surround backs is also OK
- if you are able to place screenside side into the open - why not surrounds

So all-in-all - I would look at placing screenside on the available wall and b) would got to HT forums to get some proper advice. e.g. avsforum.com
 
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Chromatischism

Chromatischism

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Without knowing any details about your situation [actual room layout] and even more important aspect - how much do you want to commit to this new space my 2 cents.

- what will define performance of you surround/HT is bass quality and screenside [l-c-r ]. While good surround is necessary for really great immersion, without getting bass/lcr as good as possible it will be for nothing
Definitely. I'm good on the LCR and subs.
- surrounds are about angles, so sidewall placement for surround backs is also OK
Once I installed the surround backs behind the seats, with side surrounds at 90° +/-, it's definitely the way to go. There's just not enough separation if both are on the sides and you may as well stick with 5.1.
- if you are able to place screenside side into the open - why not surrounds
They are Revel S16 and I quite like them. But you're right, I could replace them with stand-mounted bookshelf speakers if I really had to. Then the rear sub and AV rack would also be in the open rear of the room. But it's possible.

Acoustically I think either could work, with the open rear being more ideal for sound, but it comes with other setup drawbacks/considerations. Options...
 
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ViperDom

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It would be cool to run a basic measurement of both.
Basic, like not rearranging your whole space, but just moving the speakers & main seating then run sweep to see the frequency response.

Blind, my pick would be open back with consideration for optimizing main speakers placement.
 
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