What's new

basic feedback re: optimizing sound in compromised space (1 Viewer)


Sep 26, 2004

I posted a similar message over on the AVS forum and received little to no feedback. Hoping I might find some kinder souls here...

I'm about to begin the planning process for moving my humble HT setup(**)downstairs into my basement, so that I might listen at my desired volume without disturbing my twinfants (whose nursery is just above the living room). The basement is fairly large, but already subdivided into smaller sections by some drywall and framing, as well as by structural supports. This leaves me a smallish, boxy space, approximately 10' x 11' in which to create my viewing/listening area. Now, I know these aren't ideal dimensions, but there's little I can do about it. What I would really appreciate some feedback on, as most of the technical info out there is Greek to me, is how to best optimize the sound in the space I do have.

I've posted some images that depict the space in question here: dubyadubyadubya.mindserai.com/home_theater.html
(replace the "dubya"s with www)

Specifically, I'm wondering about the effects of having two solid walls and two open spaces. Will the sound be completely off-balanced? Would enclosing the space with heavy curtains (building walls is basically out of the question) help balance out the sound? I'm also wondering about the side-effects of:

a) exposed pipes -- are these likely to ring or vibrate from subwoofer frequencies?
b) long narrow cavity behind seating -- will it "swallow" the surround sound?
c) inexpensive options for isolating sound in the basement. As you can see in the last picture, the ceiling is completely unfinished, naked joists with lots of wiring and piping. Would acoustic panels be my best option?

Bountiful thanks in advance to anyone willing to help.

Sanyo 30" HDTV
H/K AVR630
Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 (L/R/C)
Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 (surrounds)
SVS PB10-ISD (on order)


Second Unit
Jul 20, 2003
a. They might, but that would be easy enough to fix by wrapping them with some tape or insulation.

b. For HT, most of the sound we want is near-field, or straight from the speakers to your ears. As long as your speaker positions are good, sound quality should be OK. Curtains may help balance the "unevenness" that remains. Some absorbtion on the walls alone may help too.

c. Soundproofing is difficult at best, and if you can't build new walls, it going to be even worse. The best resource I've found for soundproofing data is http://www.soundproofing.org . The site looks dated and cheesy, but they do know what they are talking about (I've bought about $1000 of stuff from them, no problems)


Sep 26, 2004
Thanks for your responses, Chris, and the heads up for that link. I'll definitely check it out.

Dave Poehlman

Senior HTF Member
Mar 8, 2000

is the link for those who don't want to type all of the "dubyas". ;)

Michael, it's not a bad place to work with. It's a shame you couldn't put some walls up since part of it is finished already.

I doubt the pipes will give you any trouble. Usually it's the ductwork that is the problem... but I don't see any in your photos (you must have radiant heat?). And like Chris said, if the pipes do rattle/ring, that's an easy fix.

As far as sound being "sucked" into empty spaces.. you're partially right. The right/rear surround looks like it'll be hanging in open air, or at the very least against the "I" beam. This means that speaker will be operating in "whole space" as opposed to a normal "half space" against a wall. So, you'll probably notice less sound coming from the right rear since some of its energy is being wasted to the space behind it. However, don't be discouraged, any surround receiver worth it's meddle should give you the option to adjust the individual speaker volume levels. In short, you'll just wind up turning the right rear up a little louder.

Another problem you might have is reflections coming off of that tile floor. It might be a little "echo-y". You have the right idea by putting a piece of carpet down.

As far as soundproofing goes... when I set my stuff up in my new unfinished basement, I was really impressed on how little sound actually made its way to the second floor. Any sound that did make its way up there was usually through the ductwork. Of course, I'm not a "reference level" kind of guy... but I do enjoy my bass. :)

I would say go ahead and set it up and see how it goes and deal with the problems as the arise. Since it sounds like you're not doing anything permanent, you can fix things after the fact.

P.S. Welcome to the forum!

Users who are viewing this thread

Forum Sponsors

Latest Articles

Forum statistics

Latest member
Recent bookmarks