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Today we’re going to go through some basic room setup procedures. I see a lot of cart before the horses we call it, I see a lot of listening positions incorrect, I see a lot of speakers too close to the walls and stuff but let’s just focus on treatment today and try to match your treatment with your usage and what you’re trying to do. The first thing that we must do with any room is we must match the size and the volume to the usage. I know you probably get tired of me saying this but it’s so important because if we’re trying to do too much especially in the low frequency side, too small of a room we’re never going to get ahead of ourselves, we’re never going to get anything that resembles really good quality sound and a lot of you send in rooms that are just simply too small for the usage that you’re trying to accomplish and I’ll be very honest and tell you that and that’s why I came up with that chart and graph that we use.

A lot of people don’t like that, I understand that, a lot of people don’t like to be told that the room in which they’re in is too small. Well, it is because the laws of physics tell us that we need a certain amount of volume, that we need a certain size in order for the energy from our speakers, produced by our amplifiers, run through our cables to sound good. It’s not personal opinion, it’s just the physics so we have to we have to really be conscious about what we’re doing. We wouldn’t to put a six-foot-tall speaker in a clothes closet, I mean that’s what a lot of us try to do so we have to be really careful and match room size volume to usage. Low frequency management this baffles a lot of people because they can’t see it they can feel it but they can’t see it so if they can’t see it they don’t know how to treat it.

So low frequency management is really really important. I started this company with our carbon technology because I was so unhappy with the current technology in the marketplace back in the 90s and I bought all this stuff and I tested it all and none of it worked as advertised really. Maybe five percent, ten percent but you needed so many units to have a thirty percent impact, a forty percent impact that you’d end up spending more money on treatment than you did your equipment which in some cases may be advisable depending on room size and volume. So the bottom line here is we must match the low frequency management tools that we’re using, there’s a certain type, there’s a certain amount and there’s a certain position. We build our low frequency technology into the four walls and even the ceiling on our new build because that way you don’t have a lot of freestanding boxes sitting around in the room taking up space. So if you’re fortunate enough to be able to build a new room we built the technology right into the wall itself so it’s a great way to minimize the space the amount of space requirements that you have build it into the wall and not have a bunch of boxes standing around.

Here’s another thing people don’t really understand the number and size of the low frequency drivers in your room are really critical the difference between a ten inch and a two inch a twelve inch driver just that two inches is another 2 dB in energy, that’s a lot of energy so another 2 dB to exasperate and excite existing problems is not wanted. We have to match the size of the driver to the room size and volume and then positioning those low frequency sources in the room.
The room size and volume will tell you where the low energy producing devices need to be, it’s not the same for every room, please don’t put them in the corners. If you put them in the corners you excite the modes that are in the corners, you exaggerate room responds by 3 dB and if you put a large sub-woofer in the corner you add another 2 dB of energy there so you’re just causing more problems for yourself. So, the position of all low frequency drivers in the room is critical.

So what do we do for our absorption for our middle and highs? We know how to treat the lows. A lot of us like to use this building insulation material Rouxel, DuPont 703, DuPont 706, all of these building installations. Well, they were designed for BTU retention heat and cold not designed for sound or music. You have to look at the rates and levels of absorption. I can walk into a room is treated with Rouxel I can hear it in a second, I hear it in this room that we’re in right now and that’s the old way of doing things because it’s cheap but it’s not designed for music and voice just remember that. So make sure you match the rates and levels of anything here using to the music and the voice, that’s what we’re all about here we’re trying to get the music to sound like it’s not being played in a room. The best sound you’ll ever get to take your hi-fi outside set it up in the country, no walls, no ceiling just the earth below it. You’ll hear music like you’ve never heard before with no room sound and that’s really the best kind of sound. So, our goal in acoustics is to make the room go away we make that go away with absorption and diffusion technologies some of us do a little bit better at it than others. With diffusion it’s all about selecting the position, the distance, the frequency response it’s not an easy thing you have to do some calculations and we can help you with that. And always remember that you got to treat all six surfaces of your rooms, you can’t just do a few you got to do them all because they all work together. So, room setup procedure – make sure you got the right size and volume, always go after the low frequency energy first, use absorption and diffusion but make sure you’re using the right technologies for the right applications and in the right position in the room.

This is an unedited transcript from our video series from Acoustic Fields. There will be some errors in grammar and sentence structure that occur during this translation process.

For complete understanding and comprehension, please view the video which is included in this text. For any additional information regarding this topic or others relating to room acoustics, please contact us directly at:

P: 520 – 392 – 9486

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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