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New House Shopping, Good Sound Criteria?

watchnerd

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#1
I've been a bit quiet lately because I've been "plane commuting" from San Francisco to the Seattle area as I was recruited by a big cloud technology company to join their ranks (with a generous relocation package). The last few weeks have involved various contractors readying my current house in the SF Bay Area for sale, but the last week of July the movers will come, the CA house will go on the market, and I'll be shopping for a new home in the greater Seattle area.

So...since we all know that room acoustics is at or near the top of the heap for good sound, what house attributes should I look for?
 
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NorthSky

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#2
Away from the road, from any traffic, in the countryside, or on a mountain side, with variety of trees, rocks, water, wildlife, ...all the peaceful and beautiful things on earth. ...And good people all around, of course.
 

Sal1950

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#3
Solid concrete. :D
Then use bass traps and dampening panels to measurement and taste.. ;)
 

Thomas savage

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This is intresting as Iv been given contradictory advice on this subject. I used to think a solid concrete floor would be good but since been told my suspended wooden floor is in fact better for bass response .

Iv no clue but I want to know!
 

watchnerd

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This is intresting as Iv been given contradictory advice on this subject. I used to think a solid concrete floor would be good but since been told my suspended wooden floor is in fact better for bass response .

Iv no clue but I want to know!
Wouldn't wood just store energy and release it more slowly, as opposed to reflecting it?
 

Purité Audio

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#6
The more solid and massy the construction the more bass will be reflected back into the room,
Keith
 

DonH56

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#7
The problem with a suspended floor is sound conduction to the rest of the house (unless by suspended you mean isolated as well). I prefer a basement room, on concrete, to make it easier to isolate.

Here is what I did (attached), plus added a miniSplit to decouple the room from the house HVAC (another primary sound conduction path). There is some transmission through the ceiling; if I had it to do again I would couple the ceiling to the (floating) walls and eliminate the ceiling clips, or at least go to spring hangers instead.

FWIWFM - Don
 

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watchnerd

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The problem with a suspended floor is sound conduction to the rest of the house (unless by suspended you mean isolated as well). I prefer a basement room, on concrete, to make it easier to isolate.

Here is what I did (attached), plus added a miniSplit to decouple the room from the house HVAC (another primary sound conduction path). There is some transmission through the ceiling; if I had it to do again I would couple the ceiling to the (floating) walls and eliminate the ceiling clips, or at least go to spring hangers instead.

FWIWFM - Don
Were you building a house from scratch?

I can't see retrofitting this to an existing home...
 
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#10
Look for a sealed room with symmetry
 

Thomas savage

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#11
Well deciding on and documenting the prejudicial criteria here on the forum will hopefully provide some great content that will prove useful for a good few people.

Is there 'knowns' in this area, absolutes we can relay on or is it one of those areas where acoustic experts will constantly contradict each other, each having a 'preference ' in the absence of objective certainty.

I was led to believe not having so much bass reflected back into my room was of benefit to me, as it's something I can't change I gave it little consideration but one day I will move and want to establish the criteria watchnerd is seeking to define here .
 

DonH56

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Were you building a house from scratch?

I can't see retrofitting this to an existing home...
No, finishing the basement in our home. If the room were big enough in an existing home you could build a room-within-a-room using similar techniques, or rip down the present walls and ceiling and finish just the one room using these techniques (or whatever is best these days). I have known folk who have rebuilt an existing room using either approach.
 
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#14
I thought square rooms were bad for standing waves.
I didnt mean square .. I meant a room without opening to others or like having one side brick walls and the other sliding doors etc .. I ought to have said "a place you can put your speakers in with symmetry around them.
Avoid wooden floors with crawl spaces.. just something else to resonate ..
 
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DonH56

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I thought square rooms were bad for standing waves.
Symmetry does not mean square. My room has one corner angled, and that destroys the symmetry of the room, mucking with the image (fixed with absorbers, lots of them, which has its own drawbacks). It also has window wells on one side, and a hanging ceiling duct run on the other, just gotta' live with what we have. It is desirable to have dimensions that are not (sub)multiples of each other, e.g. prime or Golden ratios, to prevent doubled-up room modes and boundary reflections. Curved walls will beam reflections to the apex and cause problems (of course if the curve is away from you it will redirect reflections away, which may be good or bad depending on how much you like the more "spacious" sound reflections can provide). A room open to a larger area can help reduce the impact of reflections from the open space make it harder to achieve good (loud) bass and sends the sound through the rest of the house. A rectangular room with desirable ratios of dimensions is usually best but there are a myriad of variables and what may be a "con" for me could be a "pro" for you.

Assuming a dedicated room is desired, I would look for something with a large room I can seal and hopefully isolate, and worry about tweaking it later. "Tweaking" can be anything from a complete rebuild of the room to just adding some absorbers or diffusers, pr maybe just appropriate furniture. I have helped "fix" rooms by adding bookshelves that both added storage and changed the dimensions slightly to get better ratios of dimensions.

Don't sit in the exact center, btw; there will always be a fundamental null there.

FWIWFM - Don
 

watchnerd

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#16
I didnt mean square .. I meant a room without opening to others or like having one side brick walls and the other sliding doors etc .. I ought to have said "a place you can put your speakers in with symmetry around them.
Avoid wooden floors with crawl spaces.. just something else to resonate ..
Ah, in that case, both are relatively unlikely, as my wife favors open floor plans, floor to ceiling glass, etc.

Unless the place we buy has a separate room to make a man cave, in which case I'd be trading symmetry and isolation for size (smaller room).
 
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#17
Big open spaces , tiles and floor to ceiling glass are great for photoshoots of gear but bad for sound..look for the compromise .. get a place like that with a basement or man cave.
I have often advised some of my audiophile pals to build a listening room as it would cost a fraction of what their gear did..and add value to the rest of the house..
I did a room within a room and its not obvious that it is a treated room , if I sold or shuffled off this mortal coil the room could easily be repurposed as an informal lounge .. which is what it was.
 

NorthSky

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#18
Maybe I should hire @amirm 's company to help in the home search since they'll be in the vicinity.
Ask for an estimate first.

Here's just an idea (except there are no mountains, no ocean, no water that I can see, but it's in the countryside and there are trees @ the left):


The sound room (music listening) is on the first floor (basement). ...And it was professionally/acoustically "tuned".
I bet there is a swimming pool in the backyard...
 
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Fitzcaraldo215

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#19
Good advice here.

I also try to look for higher than standard 8' ceilings, if possible. However, that is somewhat dependent on speaker choice. With Martin Logan dipoles, like yours and mine, it might not be that important. But, often standard height ceilings are a source of unpleasant first reflections from a horizontal surface. One of Amir's articles here somewhere makes the point that research shows reflections from vertical surfaces are generally much less of a problem than from horizontal ones. A good rug/carpet with decent padding is usually ok for the floor. But, sitting right up against the wall behind you is also seldom a good idea.

Of course, there are always arguments about treatments vs. EQ. I am not a treatments guy, preferring just full range EQ, with adjustments to the target curve by ear as necessary. I just do not know where to begin with treatments. They are more complicated than many believe.

Some of the room treatments guys in many cases will have you just throwing in their stuff, deadening first side reflections and adding bass traps which are ineffective much below 100Hz. And, many glowing anecdotes by audiophiles about treatments seem filled with placebo and confirmation bias after all their time and effort, usually without benefit of careful measurements. I think measurements usually require some considerable expert knowlege to be able to interpret them and apply that to effective treatment. I am smart enough to know that knowlege is above my pay grade.

As many of Ray Dunzi's excellent measurements show, EQ alone can do a really good job. It is cheaper, and confirmation and adjustment much simpler. Anecdotally, I have had very satisfying results with it, as have my closest friends. After my last move, I just did a Dirac calibration with the default target curve. I have lived quite happily with it that way for about 4 years.
 

watchnerd

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#20
I also try to look for higher than standard 8' ceilings, if possible. However, that is somewhat dependent on speaker choice. With Martin Logan dipoles, like yours and mine, it might not be that important.
TBH, I'm probably going to sell my electrostats after the move.

It's been a nice phase of my audio journey, but I've been hankering these days for something with more dynamic slam, maybe something horny or with a waveguide.
 

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