Poor room design, what should I expect?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Elijah, Aug 9, 2004.

  1. Elijah

    Elijah Supporting Actor

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    Here are the guts of my question, and the details are below. I would appreciate any input in this forum, and it is most likley going to be good advice.

    I have a poorly designed *in home theater terms* living room. I have been researching for quite some time, mostly on this site, as well as avsforum.com and others, AV equipment and setup options.

    The room has only 2 full walls. The back of the room is open to the staircase *so it has some wall to it*, and the two side walls are open floor to ceiling at least for half the length of the room (there are framed openings (doorways with no doors)in each of the walls). There is only one complete wall *side to side top to bottom* and that is the front wall.

    I am just comming to terms that it might not be worth the money to get the "perfect system" in such an imperfect room, and that I might be better saving my money, and waiting on a good home theater setup until i have a better venue *garage/addition/dedicated room somewhere down the line*.

    I dont have the option to do baffling, insulation, or wall covering in the room, and the open room design is not something that can be fixed with curtains.

    I am just wondering if anyone else would agree that I might be just as good off in getting some consumer grade equipment (sony, kenwood, etc) and a middle of the line set of speakers, as i would be going all out (marantz, dennon, paradigm, etc).

    I know the "hard liners" will say always go with the higher grade stuff, or dont waste the time on Sony, and I might be tempted to agree because you get what you pay for. Honestly though, in terms of sound quality/quantity will I relly be that much better off by putting all my efforts and money into this room.

    Thanks again for any input and help as I have been reading this forum for about a year now and finally am getting moving : )

    - Elijah
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

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    That would be a pretty subjective call on anybodies part.

    It should always be as good as your budget would allow.


    It does sound like you would need to spend some money on the audio, in addition to any video equipment.

    I would say be creative and go for it myself!!!!
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Elijah,

    I'll second John's recommendation: Go for it.

    I have much the same situation here: Wall to the right, open to the left, kitchen and dining room to the rear with “some wall” between them. Believe it or not, it’s actually not as bad as you might think. The “some wall” situation actually does a better job of dispersing sound waves than a complete, solid expanse of wall. All the areas opening up to the room actually help prevent modes, cancellation and other bass problems.

    You’d be surprised – once you have furnishings, draperies, wall hangings, book cases, etc. in place the room should be sounding pretty good. Anything you feel lacking at that point should be easy to address with minimal treatment. Personally, the only kind of “special” treatment” I’m using is equalization.

    Actually, some of the worst rooms are actually the custom rectangular rooms with symmetrical walls/ceilings. They have to deal with bass that’s hot along the boundaries and progressively “fades to dead” as you move towards the center of the room. They also have to deal with reflections from floor, ceiling and side walls and slap back echo from the back wall. It takes lots of treatment, bass traps etc. to make them listenable.

    I wouldn’t short-change yourself there, either. I suggest perhaps trying out both your “dream speakers” and something you would “settle for” in your room. Unless your room is some kind of reverb chamber you will indeed hear the difference.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     

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