Please help me improve the sound of my room

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by DanielSmi, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    My parents are going to redo the walls in their 13x20 family room and they asked me what they could do to ithe walls to mprove the sound quality of the room. Currently the room is horrible for good sound it has a tile floor, three of the walls are wood or maybe fake wood, it has a sliding glass door, glass tables, leather furniture, and a concrete fireplace so everything reflects sound and doesn't absorb much. Having discussed this problem with my dad on multiple occasions before what can we do to the new walls to fix it. We have made no decisions on what type of wall to put up but (I suggested sheet rock) what would be the best material to use that absorbs the most sound?

    Daniel Smith
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Daniel,

    When it comes to cutting down room reflections, the rule-of-thumb is pretty basic: Soft surfaces are good, hard surfaces are bad.

    With the tile floor and sliding glass door, you can expect that changing the walls from wood to sheetrock will have marginal results at best.

    The best thing your parents could do to improve acoustics would be to carpet the floor. If that’s not an option, then at least get a large area rug between the front speakers and the seating.

    Heavy draperies on any windows will help. I doubt they want to go that route for the sliding door, but any kind of covering for it will be better than nothing at all, especially one with some kind of fabric.

    As for the wall, I doubt they want to cover large areas of them with soft fabrics, but anything that interrupt the vast expanse of flat surface will help diffuse sound waves: book cases, lamps on tables, hanging pictures, etc.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    Maybe Ethan will chime in - he's much more of an acoustics expert than I. But here's my $0.02:

    Yes it appears you have way too many reflective surfaces. You need a balance of reflection, absorption and diffusion. Start by adding some absorption: carpet or area rugs, hanging tapestries, heavy draperies, overstuffed furniture, throw pillows, etc. Even better yet, get some real acoustic treatment solutions for the walls like waffle foam or blade tiles
    [​IMG]
    The above are from the Markertek catalog. The deeper the blades, the lower the frequency at which the tiles start to absorb. To get decent absorption down into the 500Hz range, you need 4" - 5" deep blades. But even the more aesthetically pleasing shallower blades will help significantly. Auralex also has a great selection of acoustic treatment materials.
    Unfortunately, drywall is reflective to a large extent unless you engineer the wall to be a diaphragmatic bass absorber (not recommended). So don't expect any improvement by replacing wood paneling with drywall.

    For diffusion, you need irregular or curved surfaces. [​IMG] This is a T'fusor from Auralex. A large bookcase with books at varying depths makes a nice diffusor.

    I'd suggest you surf through the Auralex website and look at their "Acoustics 101" white paper. For a more in-depth read, get F. Alton Everest's "Handbook of Acoustics".
     
  4. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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    Hah! Wayne beat me to it.

    Great advice as usual Wayne. I should have emphasized that carpet or generous area rugs are a great "decorator-friendly" solution. I often get too caught up in the engineering side of things.

    One other point: Many DIY-ers faced with this dilemma and a WAF (wife acceptance factor) have built cloth-covered absorber panels. These can be made to match the interior and furnishings. A search should bring up some previous threads on this in the DIY or interiors sections of this forum.

    Cheers.
     

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