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Small Room Acoustics

Yorkshire Mouth

Major Contributor
Apr 22, 2020
God's County - Yorkshire
I know it’s a video on Darko’s channel, but the main information is from Jesco Lohan. I find some of his comments to be extremely thought-provoking.

Interestingly with Darko, despite him usually being very much a subjectivist, with room treatments he appears to be far more of an objectivist.

I saw that video a couple of days ago, it's a good watch as it usually is with Jesco. And Darko’s video production is top-notch and entertaining as usual.

The guideline by Jesco is good.
If you are going to set up a system in a room from scratch, start by finding the best listening spot in the room, then find the speaker position, and then do what is needed when it comes to acoustic room treatment. When you don't come any longer with the above steps, as a last step you fix the remaining problems with EQ.
Have you used REWs ‘room simulation’ that can be useful, or Amroc on line room mode calculator?

Have you used REWs ‘room simulation’ that can be useful, or Amroc on line room mode calculator?

As good as those tools can be for fairly accurate predictions, you still need to use your ears to find the best-sounding positions for the listening spot and the speaker positions. The “size” of the listening room, from an acoustic point of view, can differ from the physical dimensions of the room depending on wall material, placement of windows and doors, and openings.
Gemini says:

This video is about room acoustics, specifically aimed at beginners who want to improve the sound of their listening space. The guest speaker is Yesco, a room acoustics expert who runs the Youtube channel and website Acoustics Insider.

In the video, Yesco discusses common misconceptions about room acoustics and offers practical advice for treating small rooms. Here are some key points:

  • Magic Bullets vs. Practical Steps: Avoid following singular pieces of advice (magic bullets) without understanding the bigger picture. Room acoustics treatment should be a step-by-step process where each step complements the others.
  • Focus on Bass Traps First: In small rooms, bass trapping is the most important step because it has the biggest impact and requires the most space. Bass traps absorb low-frequency sound waves.
  • RT60 and Diffusers: RT60 is a measure of reverberation time. Don't obsess about achieving a specific RT60 in a small room, as it's not a good indicator of how the room will sound. Diffusion is a way to scatter sound waves throughout the room. In small rooms, it has a minor effect compared to bass trapping and absorption.
  • Treat the Ceiling: If possible, add absorption panels to the ceiling to reduce reverb and improve the overall sound quality.
  • Room EQ: In some cases, especially with less than ideal room shapes, room equalization (EQ) can be a useful tool to achieve a good tonal balance.
  • Consider Speaker Placement: The placement of the speakers in the room can also have a big impact on the sound.
  • Listen to the Room: Ultimately, the best way to know how to treat your room is to listen to it and identify the areas that need improvement.
my room is


I moved from the 3d floor to the 5th.

In the 3rd I had a ceiling trap and tried to put my absorbing material more even while focussing on the corners and back wall.

When I moved to the 5th (the room is almost identical) I actually started with the bare room and listened to it and added my material slowly (listening and measuring the steps).
I ended up ditching the ceiling trap and putting the emphasis of material on the back wall while maintaining material on the first reflection points and some in the corners.
With a room small like this the very first mode is crazy strong > back wall absorption
With a room small like this you don't have much wall space to leave naked to maintain some liveliness while still keeping the first reflection in check > ditching of ceiling traps (also the floor is naked)
I was quite surprised that, given he wants to get people using treatments, he pretty much says that if you’re in a domesticated room, rather than a mixing studio, you might want to not bother.
I was quite surprised that, given he wants to get people using treatments, he pretty much says that if you’re in a domesticated room, rather than a mixing studio, you might want to not bother.

If I remember it correctly from the video, that was more about how most people are likely not prepared for how much treatment is usually needed to address the low-end problems, which in a studio should be the main focus point to get right. I'm sure he is all in for doing what can be done for the acoustics in a domestic room, even if it may be under certain restrictions that prevent the user from fixing the main problem which is the low-end.

He also says in the video that treating the room acoustics is about working towards the goal of getting things better, not necessarily that everyone would reach the goal of perfection.
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diy treating a room gets frustrating pretty fast. if you then factor in that WAF is the most important for most people room treatment is something most shouldn't bother with.
Depends upon your speakers as well of course, with good on and off FR partial absorption could be detrimental.
Room treatment is something subjectivists believe in. The difference it makes is so profound that it is undeniable. But many of them do not believe that it needs to be done with measurements, and that most rooms which are furnished do not need any treatment at all. So they go around hiring acoustic consultants who are usually overzealous and they end up with a spectrally unbalanced room which IMO is worse than no treatment at all.

As for Darko, I have certainly had a go at him in the past. But as far as subjectivists go, he is on the more sensible side. At least he is not like Srajan who reviews "acoustic resonators", power cords, Shakti stones, Bybee purifiers and all sorts of ridiculous things. There is a spectrum of people who are subjectivists, with complete madmen like Srajan and the rest of the 6 Moons crew on one end, and people like Darko and Stereophile on the other.
For a long time I’ve held the view that bass nodes are a major factor which need sorting, as does a ‘very lively’ room.

But that aside, your brain just ‘gets used’ to room issues.

When we have measurements from kippel it tells you what the speaker does, then what the room does, then what these are added together (“estimated in-room”). But it’s clear your brain doesn’t just add them together. Your brain knows what the speaker sounds like, and can separate that from what the room is doing.
But not substantial room gain derived peaks, ‘boomy’ bass.
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