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Thread: sound quality varies with carpet or hardwood?

  1. #1
    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    sound quality varies with carpet or hardwood?

    Hi friends,

    Currently my big vintage JBL speakers are sitting on the carpet in the basement, and I hear pretty good bass.
    Do you hear better (or worse) sound from your speakers on the carpet or the hardwood or even concrete floor?
    Some say better sound from the carpet, with the sound directly from the front channels, not sound waves bouncing off the floor.
    but others say the wood floor gives more warmth to the sound and livens it up.
    I know various factors affect the speaker sound, but looks like the carpet, hardwood or even concrete floor must be one of them.
    Any comment or actual experience on the difference?

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    Greetings from the Left Coast, My experience is to use the Rug. I'm using 4410's raised so the HF is 40" above a hard wood floor, covered by a 6x9 rug. But in the realm of home audio, it is users choice, as there are lots of variables here. Also get a copy of Floyd Toole's book. It will help take the mystery out of some stuff.

    And always have fun.

    Ed
    KEEP ON LISTENING!

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    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Kreamer View Post
    Greetings from the Left Coast, My experience is to use the Rug. I'm using 4410's raised so the HF is 40" above a hard wood floor, covered by a 6x9 rug. But in the realm of home audio, it is users choice, as there are lots of variables here. Also get a copy of Floyd Toole's book. It will help take the mystery out of some stuff.

    And always have fun.

    Ed
    Thanks for your feedback. Yes, rug on the hardwood floor, in your case. I was thinking of putting some wood boards on the carpet spot where the speakers are sitting, but when I looked at the bottom of speakers, I noticed some factory stand-out veneers beneath them , so I think that's enough for now.

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    Senior Member Doctor_Electron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyonc View Post
    Thanks for your feedback. Yes, rug on the hardwood floor, in your case. I was thinking of putting some wood boards on the carpet spot where the speakers are sitting, but when I looked at the bottom of speakers, I noticed some factory stand-out veneers beneath them , so I think that's enough for now.
    Carpet and or rugs are good floor treatments, but the reason it won't work as wall treatment in home-brew studios, much to the chagrin of those who have tried it, is its very pronounced inconsistency of reflection/absortion with varying frequencies. Exactly how do don't want in a controlled sonic environment. And it often starts a mysterious journey and taxing tailspin when trying to correct something and you don't know what is source of the trouble.

    Same with cork. And egg cartons. Egg cartons may resemble the looks of Sonex and other real treatments, but it ain't Sonex, etc.

    Regards, D_E
    "Why don't you Mine your own Bismuth, so you won't be mining mine?"

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    Doctor_Electron is absolutly right, carpet is usually unsuitable as an acoustic treatment.
    What you want is an even absorption througout the entire freqeuncy-range.
    But carpet is only absorbing the high-frequencies. Even the thickest carpet doesnīt absorb much below ~5khz, usually only above ~10khz.

    In most cases the carpet covers all of the floor, that can be almost 1/3 of the total surface area of a room. What happens in these rooms is massive absorbtion in the high-frequencies, but no absorption in the mids and lows.
    This yields to a overdamped and lifeless e.g. dead sounding room. I always try to avoid this.

    Besides the carpet, an average living room has allready enough absorption and diffusion in the high frequencies caused by furniture. As I said, it is very easy to overdamp the highs. It makes much more sense to use absorbers that work in the mids and lows. Some porous absorbers for the mid-band positioned at the first-reflection points and some decent bass-traps in the corners..

    Another drawback of carpet is the soft placement of the speakers.
    What you want is a solid base, so the speakers should be directly coupled to a hard floor or some decent mass (stone slab etc..). This delivers best dynamics in bass-attack.

    If you want to use a rug in your room, I wouldnīt see a problem unless you place your speakers on them. But the overall surface-area of the carpet should be choosen wisely, to avoid overdamping the highs in the specific room.

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    Coupling the speakers to the floor just causes the building to add it's own response to the spectrum excited by the speakers. There is no advantage to transient performance by doing so. The speed of the cones renders the issue moot. What happens is some frequencies are boosted, muddying others with the net result being just boom. The best way to place speakers is to do the opposite and decouple them. Now you get the flattest performance with good bottom end definition. Directly flat on the carpet doesn't work because they're now using the floor as a sound board which is even worse. There are expensive devices/products that are designed to decouple. I just use soft 1" thick 12"X18" fiber pads used for floor polishers from Home Depot with a 1/4" rubber mat between it and the speaker. They absorb virtually everything, the floor does not vibrate at all. The large 12X18 pad takes a lot of weight spread evenly over it. A stiff board placed on top might be needed if your speakers have a small foot print. I currently have my two Velodyne subs on this set up. The difference is quite dramatic. This is at least a very cheap experiment I would encourage all to try. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    This set up is also very beneficial under your tube gear.Name:  P1020507.jpg
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    Well, this topic always brings up contrasting opinions, it was just a question of time

    I have to agree, that coupling the speakers to the floor adds building vibrations at some degree. If you have a floating parquet flooring, that will be quiet audible. But if you have a glued down parquet flooring or concrete floor that is totally negligible.
    By the way; most building vibrations are caused indirectly by the air vibrations anyway, not the speakers coupling the floor itself.
    Decoupling a speaker from the floor only helps little to reduce unwanted noise annoying your neighbours etc., itīs simply a myth. In theory it reduces noise a bit, but most vibrations are induced by the air sound pressure anyway. Decoupling works for a washer, but not really for a speaker...

    Coupling the speakers to a (hard) floor is a big advantage for transient response, Iīm actually a little shocked you are denying that. The justification is actually very simple, the speakers gain restoring forces by coupling to big masses. The same is true for a massive enclosure...

    Decoupling a disc player is a totally different story. This really does make sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.db View Post
    Well, this topic always brings up contrasting opinions, it was just a question of time

    I have to agree, that coupling the speakers to the floor adds building vibrations at some degree. If you have a floating parquet flooring, that will be quiet audible. But if you have a glued down parquet flooring or concrete floor that is totally negligible.
    By the way; most building vibrations are caused indirectly by the air vibrations anyway, not the speakers coupling the floor itself.
    Decoupling a speaker from the floor only helps little to reduce unwanted noise annoying your neighbours etc., itīs simply a myth. In theory it reduces noise a bit, but most vibrations are induced by the air sound pressure anyway. Decoupling works for a washer, but not really for a speaker...

    Coupling the speakers to a (hard) floor is a big advantage for transient response, Iīm actually a little shocked you are denying that. The justification is actually very simple, the speakers gain restoring forces by coupling to big masses. The same is true for a massive enclosure...

    Decoupling a disc player is a totally different story. This really does make sense to me.
    Well, my experience is no myth. Most current research you'll find also favors decoupling. The best/most expensive products you'll find for speakers are not spikes but in fact decoupling/isolating devices.

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    Have you gotten a copy of Dr. Tooles book yet?
    KEEP ON LISTENING!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gasfan View Post
    Well, my experience is no myth.
    I didnīt mean to offend you, I totally accept your experience. I should have quoted my statements as experience too. So Iīm happy to learn new stuff, based on good facts.

    Quote Originally Posted by gasfan View Post
    The best/most expensive products you'll find for speakers are not spikes but in fact decoupling/isolating devices.
    Most expensive is not necessary correlated with physically correct
    Thatīs not a convincing argument, especially not in the hifi vodoo world...


    Quote Originally Posted by gasfan View Post
    Thanks for the video, I have just watched it.
    I actually canīt comprehend the sense of this demonstration. I think it is no surprise at all, that a decoupled object will pick up much less vibration than a coupled object.
    Yes, the speaker will pick up more vibrations of the floor without decoupling and in theory this isnīt good.
    But the opposite will happen, when you actually play music with the speaker It produces vibrations which will remain in the enclosure because it is isolated. Have you thought about this stored energy? Is that less harmful?
    The ideo of spikes is to couple the speaker to the floor to discharge this energy to the floor and get rid of it...

    Why havnīt they actually done a real test by simply playing music
    Many hifi vodoo products are illustrated by using unrealistic tests or irrelevant scales...
    So this video makes me rather doubtful, sorry.

    At the end of the video he even claims: "your neighbours canīt hear your hifi".
    Do you really believe this? I mean it will reduce maybe 10-20% of the unwanted vibrations of the floor and walls, but most of these vibrations are induced by the air sound pressure anyway. I have tried this myself several times as I live in an appartment building... Again, decoupling works for a washer, but not really for a speaker... A washer produces mainly impact noise, which can be dealt with by decoupling. A speaker produces impact noise as well, but mainly produces air sound pressure which transfers the vibrations. How should a decoupling-advice affect this transfer?

    Again, I really like to hear your thoughts.
    Iīm just describing my experience and understanding and if Iīm wrong, Iīm happy to learn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr.db View Post
    I didnīt mean to offend you, I totally accept your experience. I should have quoted my statements as experience too. So Iīm happy to learn new stuff, based on good facts.



    Most expensive is not necessary correlated with physically correct
    Thatīs not a convincing argument, especially not in the hifi vodoo world...




    Thanks for the video, I have just watched it.
    I actually canīt comprehend the sense of this demonstration. I think it is no surprise at all, that a decoupled object will pick up much less vibration than a coupled object.
    Yes, the speaker will pick up more vibrations of the floor without decoupling and in theory this isnīt good.
    But the opposite will happen, when you actually play music with the speaker It produces vibrations which will remain in the enclosure because it is isolated. Have you thought about this stored energy? Is that less harmful?
    The ideo of spikes is to couple the speaker to the floor to discharge this energy to the floor and get rid of it...

    Why havnīt they actually done a real test by simply playing music
    Many hifi vodoo products are illustrated by using unrealistic tests or irrelevant scales...
    So this video makes me rather doubtful, sorry.

    At the end of the video he even claims: "your neighbours canīt hear your hifi".
    Do you really believe this? I mean it will reduce maybe 10-20% of the unwanted vibrations of the floor and walls, but most of these vibrations are induced by the air sound pressure anyway. I have tried this myself several times as I live in an appartment building... Again, decoupling works for a washer, but not really for a speaker... A washer produces mainly impact noise, which can be dealt with by decoupling. A speaker produces impact noise as well, but mainly produces air sound pressure which transfers the vibrations. How should a decoupling-advice affect this transfer?

    Again, I really like to hear your thoughts.
    Iīm just describing my experience and understanding and if Iīm wrong, Iīm happy to learn.
    Perhaps you could present some empirical data to affirm your position, trial and error experience? I've never learned anything the easy way

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    As said before, my statements are based on my personal experience (try and error).

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    On Holidays Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyonc View Post
    Hi friends,

    Currently my big vintage JBL speakers are sitting on the carpet in the basement, and I hear pretty good bass.
    Do you hear better (or worse) sound from your speakers on the carpet or the hardwood or even concrete floor?
    Some say better sound from the carpet, with the sound directly from the front channels, not sound waves bouncing off the floor.
    but others say the wood floor gives more warmth to the sound and livens it up.
    I know various factors affect the speaker sound, but looks like the carpet, hardwood or even concrete floor must be one of them.
    Any comment or actual experience on the difference?
    If you have good bass l would leave the existing scenario well alone.

    Every room has its own peculiarities and it’s unwise to generalise in what may or may not improve your sound.

    A rug on a wooden floor is as much common sense acoustically as it is to furnish a room.

    The fact you are in a basement is going to have a greater bearing on the sound than the floor alone.

    Ie how big is the space and where are the loudspeakers located?
    Are the walls and ceiling timber or plaster and what other furniture do you have in the room?

    The idea of a slab under the loudspeaker is to act as a solid stable platform and act as an energy sink for vibration from the enclosure.

    I wooden floor will act as a sounding board at different frequencies depending on the stiffness and density.

    A concrete floor will resonate at particular low frequencies too like jelly. Deliberate attempts to improve acoustics by amateurs and audio buffs with well meaning opinions usually makes things worse and not better.

    The bass is by far the most difficult and annoying thing to get right (see posts elsewhere - even new expensive Jbls can sound less than satisfactory) so l would sit back and enjoy a Nevada Pale Ale and enjoy.

    Ian

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    As another data point, years ago I found that isolation pads below the speakers helped the bass in a turntable based system as the very low frequencies transmitted through the floor and into the playback system.

    I haven’t experimented with any anchored vs. floating speakers in modern digital systems.


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