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What percentage of "audiophile" systems are room acoustics limited?

Throw your dart!

  • > 95%

    Votes: 54 64.3%
  • ~ 95%

    Votes: 5 6.0%
  • ~ 90%

    Votes: 10 11.9%
  • ~ 80%

    Votes: 9 10.7%
  • ~ 70%

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • < 70%

    Votes: 5 6.0%

  • Total voters
    84

audio2design

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What percentage of "Audiophiles" are chasing meaningless equipment upgrades (DACs, Amps, "Cables", yes even speakers), when the biggest culprit is room acoustics. We will assume they are not listening pure near-field (which still may be an issue).

Let's not get too hung up on semantics, and assume the following:

  • You have somewhat optimized your speaker position within your living space (and within placement restrictions)
  • If so inclined, you are using DSP to correct the bass (for at least one position), but are not using multiple subs to even out the bass response
 

Vict0r

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I guess the only "perfect" listening room is a room that's exactely the same as the room the album was initially produced in. That's gonna take a lot of rooms when your music collection starts to grow... :p
 
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audio2design

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I guess the only "perfect" listening room is a room that's exactely the same as the room the album was initially produced in. That's gonna take a lot of rooms when your music collection starts to grow... :p

Unfortunately my title is too short ... but my description tells more about the question I am asking. I know what answer I would pick :)

Even if you had the exact same room, you don't have the same ears, brain, mood or preferences as the person making the mixing, so it is moot.
 

Vict0r

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Unfortunately my title is too short ... but my description tells more about the question I am asking. I know what answer I would pick :)

Even if you had the exact same room, you don't have the same ears, brain, mood or preferences as the person making the mixing, so it is moot.
Well, in that case the answer is "100%". We solved it! :D
 

Willem

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Almost all systems suffer from acoustic limitations, and these limitations are almost invariably larger than the potential benefits from other DACs or amplifiers. With speaker upgrades the answer may well be less clear cut, given that speakers too are weak links in the chain.
 
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Snarfie

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After almost 60 years i found out that best audio investment i did was buying a measuring mic for just 38,- euro to correct my room acoustics. :facepalm:
 

Hipper

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Any of us might guess the numbers for what other people might do but I don't see how that helps with anything.

What we really need to know is how many people on here can answer a similar question from there own activities.

The four practices that can help deal with room issues are room treatment, EQ/DSP, positioning, and subs.

Therefore I would reformat the question to ask 'which one or more of these methods do you use?'
 
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Jim Taylor

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I guess the only "perfect" listening room is a room that's exactely the same as the room the album was initially produced in. That's gonna take a lot of rooms when your music collection starts to grow... :p

I would think that would be the worst selection. Would not all first-venue acoustic problems, both cancellation and reinforcement, be doubled? Jim
 

pozz

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Robin L

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I remember a dude that invested massive amounts of money on a Linn/Naim system, turntable-based [natch]. The room he used was long, narrow and too symmetrical, with plenty of glass. Nothing imaged, the tone color shifted with minute movements of the head, most of the LPs were worn, almost all sounded nasty. He was "into" high-end wire and a/c filters. Hopeless sonically.
 

abdo123

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Room acoustics is only the culprit in the modal region. Speakers are the culprit above it.

not really, even if you put a tonally balanced speaker in a shit room (baren concrete walls) it will still sound bad even with modal region dealt with. However put a mediocre speaker in a great room and you would have an amazing experience nonetheless.

How come you think speakers that measure like crap sell like hot cakes in show rooms?
 

pozz

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not really, even if you put a tonally balanced speaker in a shit room (baren concrete walls) it will still sound bad even with modal region dealt with. However put a mediocre speaker in a great room and you would have an amazing experience nonetheless.

How come you think speakers that measure like crap sell like hot cakes in show rooms?
That's an unrealistic objection.

Take one of the speakers that have good, consistent radiation patterns that are held in good regard here—they will have more freedom of placement and listening position in any domestic room. No issue sitting above, below, to the side. Take a mediocre speaker, which would be any with typical cancellations off axis and some beaming, plus some FR inconsistency, maybe a little port resonance. With one of those you'll hear more differences as you move around, depending on where you sit, etc. Even in PA circumstances and parties that can be anywhere (I've been to plenty of warehouse parties), good speakers are easier to set up. "Tonal balance" is underselling the role of FR.

Room acoustics is less of an issue than isolation. High in-room noise floor is the killer of good sound. If you have some way of applying EQ, life is considerably easier. But there's only so much you can do about traffic, plumbing, washer/dryer/dishwasher/HVAC, nearby family arguments, without spending a lot of money rebuilding or renovating.

There are definite circumstances where room acoustics is a significant factor. Cramped spaces where the system is up against one wall or your head is right up against the back wall, or you're in a large room with strong late reflections, or an open concept room with unusual layout, maybe a few pillars and inconvenient dividing walls. Or a room that's mostly windows. Even under those circumstances, good speakers will simplify the planning. Treatment will help, of course, but it's not a dominant factor.

This is even after significantly investing in treatment myself (8" porous and panel absorbers) and experiencing the benefits.

I can't comment on show rooms because I don't like listening under those circumstances. I wasn't introduced to good sound that way, and I go only because it's fun to find new gear and talk.

Edit: The single best thing I've ever done to treat a room is applying rubber weatherproofing to the edges of a door. $40 for good, compressible, springy stuff with adhesive backing. I live in an open concept condo now, which limits me severely, but in my old place it dropped the noise floor massively in the midrange and highs. I went from being able to hear conversations to hearing the occasional mumble. No kitchen noise, no TV dialogue, nothing. I was of course lucky because of the layout of my house, so this isn't something to I'd expect to work that well every time.

Blocking noise with passive barriers is cheap and effective if you can do it. One of main tools of the trade in pro acoustics.
 
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Frgirard

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I guess the only "perfect" listening room is a room that's exactely the same as the room the album was initially produced in. That's gonna take a lot of rooms when your music collection starts to grow... :p
Omygod. The perfect room doesn't add something at the wave form produced by the radiola.
No needs to be with Bruce Sweden for this.
 

Willem

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The problem with the implied proposition that the room is important and obviously ignored is that it is so obviously true. This leaves two issues: first, how do we persuade people that the room is indeed important, and far more important than cables etc? Second, how to improve in-room response without great effort and without turning the listening room into some sort of studio or, as one sometimes sees, a brothel like interior without windows and with a lot of ugly soft furniture.
 
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audio2design

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The problem with the implied proposition that the room is important and obviously ignored is that it is so obviously true. This leaves two issues: first, how do we persuade people that the room is indeed important, and far more important than cables etc? Second, how to improve in-room response without great effort and without turning the listening room into some sort of studio or, as one sometimes sees, a brothel like interior without windows and with a lot of ugly soft furniture.

Whose furniture are you calling ugly! :)

I "discovered" the fabric store several years ago .... okay I was dragged there for something unrelated. I was quite surprised by what was in the bargain bin. Not stuff you would necessarily make furniture or clothing out of, but lots of stuff great for architectural panels. I even found some that perfectly matched a two tone paint decor in one room. Drapes are your friend too.

I think (pretty certain) there is room for further electronic enhancements coupled with multi-directional speakers.
 

Willem

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I am a great admirer of clean and functional modernist furniture by the likes of Charles Eames, Arne Jacobsen or Poul Kjaerholm. The audio rooms that one often sees on audio forums are not infrequently ghastly examples of bad taste and retro styling, matching, I guess their owners love for tube amplification. Rant over.
 

pozz

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Fodder for the conversation: https://systems.audiogon.com/

A large number of system pictures. Do you see any issues in the vast majority of them?
Well this is different. It's not room acoustics when the owners don't understand how speakers work (at all, it seems, in some cases) and place them randomly.

Random's probably not the right word. There's reasoning there, but the reasons are closer to what motivates the placement of furniture.
 
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