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Want to know why I care so much about room acoustics? It’s because when people finally hear their favorite music with the technology I design I get to see them go on an emotional journey and that is everything to me. You see I didn’t get into this business to make money, I got into it because I was pissed off with all the products on the room acoustics market that promised one thing and never delivered.

So when the opportunity arose all those years ago to take my passion for music and find a solution that worked in small rooms I grasped it with both hands and worked relentlessly. And my payoff? Videos like the one below featuring Ammon.

Ammon was on my mailing list and I noticed he was based in Phoenix so I invited him down to the studio. He is in the audio business and he told me he came by just expecting to hear the same old stuff he always hears at these demos, but was completely taken back and surprised by what he heard. His reactions to the music speak for itself.

If you don’t have time to sit through the whole thing (although its powerful stuff if you do) then good points to skip to are 4:30, 7:09 and 10:32 as these are the moments just after Ammon finishes listening to the songs of his choice. “I am amazed, intrigued and excited even more”, “I have never heard bass like I have heard out of this room ever before”…

And here are photos of the crappy speakers I intentionally put in the room so visitors to the studio can really start to look beyond the equipment and understand the rooms influence and treatment.

Left channel speaker

Left Channel Speaker

right channel speaker

Right Channel Speaker

What is different about our studio?

First, it was designed to do everything acoustically wrong! It is a square with 18′ x 18′ x 8′ dimensions which, as you well know, only exaggerates the low, middle, and high frequency issues we all struggle with in our rooms everyday. Why build a room that does that? Didn’t I want to minimize not exaggerate room sound? Well yes but there’s method in my madness which I’ll get to shortly.

Secondly, the speakers were bought at a yard sale for $25.00! The right channel speaker even has creases in the drivers which produce near field distortions. Yikes!

The amplifier produces only 40 watts of energy and we are using a 15 year old CD player with a $500.00 A/D converter. The most expensive part of the system is the speaker cables and interconnects. How’s that for wrong? The cables cost more than the amplifier, A/D converter, and the Cd player combined!

Isn’t it supposed to be just the opposite? Don’t forget about the two, yes two, 12″ sub woofers I put in the room to really mess with things. I thought “Lets make sure that the low end smothers and masks everything if untreated, so that people cannot hear anything in our square room. Lets do everything wrong, so we can hear what is right.”

A Magical Experience

Why is Ammon so thrilled with what he is hearing? Well you see he is hearing a room, not the gear, that is properly treated with the correct amount of low frequency absorption combined with middle and high frequency diffusion. The gear is secondary to the room. The room sound is more than the gear sound in our studio. I have done this to prove a point. You can really listen to the music without hearing the room if you treat the room correctly with the technology that can actually work to solve real world room acoustical issues.

Now, when I say correctly, you must use technologies that actually absorb low frequencies. How did we get so much low end definition and clarity using two 12″ subs in a square room? We did this by using our activated carbon technology.

There are 4,000 lbs of it in the room. Take that you 12″ subs, both of you. You can manage the low end in your room but you cannot do it with boxes filled with building insulation and other such devices that are meant for middle frequency absorption but labeled as bass traps.

Middle frequency absorption coupled with diffusion technology can then take this properly balanced low end signal and build upon the bass line in the music. You must again use the correct type of diffusion and absorption technology that not only has the right levels of absorption but absorbs at the correct rate.

But don’t take my word for it, just ask Ammon!

Oh and following our demo in the studio I asked Ammon if he could send me some background info on his audio experience just so you can appreciate he’s pretty experienced in this field and not fresh off the bus as it were.

“My audio background starts back when I was young, around 16 or 17, when I bought my first real HiFi system. The system was a DBX pre-amp and DBX amplifier and a pair of KLH speakers. It was amazing how good that system sounded. I had many compliments and most people could not believe the system I had in my room. Since then I have bought and sold many pieces of HiFi equipment including dynamic, horn, and electrostatic speakers along with both solid state and tube gear.

I have also been in many different listening environments throughout the years. I have worked for Arizona Sound & Light as the Project manager and Lead Tech working with both Audio & Video systems as well as all the many different low voltage systems found in homes today. Today I still work with the many different Audio/Video and low voltage systems found in homes with the ever changing technology.

Even though I would consider myself experienced in Audio, my eyes were opened to really how important the room, (Acoustics), is to the true sound of music, after having the experience of listening to music I was familiar with in your studio! Thanks Ammon”

In Summary

If this video has intrigued you please feel free to ask any questions you may have I am always on hand to help answer them. Leave them in the comments section or email me at If you would like to learn more about room acoustics please sign up for my free videos and ebook by joining the mailing list here. I send room tuning tips and things for you to test in your room every Wednesday. They are easy to follow and really help you enjoy more of your music.

Thanks and speak soon

Dennis Foley

I am an acoustic engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the business. My technology has been used in Electric Lady Land Studios, Sony Music of New York, Cello Music and Films founded by Mark Levinson, and Saltmines Studios in Mesa, Arizona, along with hundreds of others.

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