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Thread: Ideas & suggestions for designing a dedicated Sound Room

  1. #1
    Senior Member Champster's Avatar
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    Ideas & suggestions for designing a dedicated Sound Room

    Hey Guys,
    I'm building a home and have the luxury of having an upstairs room that will be dedicated to my audio hobby. I was wondering if anyone had been down this road before and had some suggestions of things for me to include in the room while we're still in the planning stage. I'm thinking of course of things like adding 20A circuits instead of 15A. What else would you suggest? The room will be 13' 6" x 26' 6" with a large closet. I'm going to have the floor supports spaced on 10" centers rather than 16" as normal to cut down on floor vibrations. I was thinking of doubling up the padding under the carpet. Is that a good idea? What else????
    Thanks
    Paul

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    JBL M2 & 2x SUB18s, BSS BLU800, VTV Purifi Amps, MiniDSP SHD Studio, PS Audio Perfect wave DAC

  2. #2
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Couldn't hurt to contact a professional installer for some advice.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

  3. #3
    Dang. Amateur speakerdave's Avatar
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    Your builder will tell you twelve inch spacing would be better because it is a module for standard sheet materials (plywood) sizes. Ten would waste time and materials.
    "Audio is filled with dangerous amateurs." --- Tim de Paravicini

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    Congratulations on that! If it's in the budget, I'd do 2 layer drywall with rock wool in the bays.

    As Rob mentioned, if you can afford to treat it.....

    I have a friend who just did a similar new build. He used this company (https://www.sonitususa.com/product/h...oustic-systems) after much research. He's posted some pictures on another forum of the project as well as impulse response and ETC measurements of the empty room, then just absorbers, then adding diffusors, and then adding bass traps. Really impressive performance. I'm going to hear it in a couple weeks. Not sure you'll be able to see it without joining the forum, but here's the link. (http://www.dcaudiodiy.com/phpBB3/vie...php?f=3&t=1983)
    Happy to put you in touch with the guy if you pm me. I'm sure he'd be happy to send you the measurements and talk about what he did.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jmpsmash's Avatar
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    insulation / Safe 'n Sound in the wall, floors. Whoever will be downstairs and next door will appreciate it.

  6. #6
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    Like others have stated, if you are modifying the floor structural stiffness and since this is a second floor room, by all means add insulation in the floor - and possibly walls too. Fiberglass, rockwool, or cellulose whatever your flavor will work, reasonably dense packed. If you can afford, other ideas include:


    • Consider installing a free floating wall and floor system. This de-couples the room acoustically from the house structure to greatly minimize sound from exiting or entering the room. This consists of a subfloor attached to the floor joists, a layer of an elastomer (e.g., "Green Glue"), a top floor not nailed or glued but riding on the elastomer. The walls will have a similar design. I would use a cement board as the top layer (Durock) for the increased density to deaden the top floor layer.
    • Dense carpeting and under layments sound padding could be cheaper than the above and may work reasonably well too, but wouldn't be as isolating as the above ... I don't think. There are also products for under layments to wood floors too
    • By all means upgrade your electric service to 20 amp. I would also add enough circuits to cover your known A/V load and several additional for future needs.
    • Also consider cable, wired internet, wireless internet and methods for hiding speaker and low level audio wire


    Like you I had the blessing of starting with an almost clean sheet, so I did the insulation, free floating walls/floor, and electrical service upgrade. I have yet to install any audio equipment to test it out but playing radios very loud and walking women's heels do not transfer out of the room, nor does my wife's piano playing downstairs enter the room. Subwoofers will be the real test I'm sure. I ended up with 6 120v 20 amp circuits and 1 220V 30 amp circuit dedicated to A/V systems.

    Not done yet so I'm hoping to get some additional ideas from this thread!

  7. #7
    Senior Member jbl4ever's Avatar
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    Hi Champster, here is what I used to help determine my construction for my room. A good thing to follow as I got my STC rating to over 60 db.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sound_transmission_class

  8. #8
    Senior Member HCSGuy's Avatar
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    I do not know what phase you are in, or what your budget is, so take this advice, or don't. As drawn, you have a very difficult room. I would suggest hiring an acoustic engineer, but I think they would find it tremendously difficult to model a small room (compared to an auditorium or the wavelengths you're dealing with) with so many changes in the ceiling and walls. There are two issues I see. First, your room length is almost exactly double the room width. This means that any frequencies that have room modes side to side will also have them front to back, and many of the frequencies that don't, won't have them lengthwise either. This means that, in the bass, you will have very strong variations from one seat to another in frequency response. The first dedicated theater room I built was built into an existing space, and while larger, had a similar almost multiple of the width and length. It was a two row theater, with the largest screen we could light up with a 7" three gun Vidikron CRT projector, which wasn't large by today's standards (110", maybe?). When we were done, the back row had this awesome bump at 27hz or so, and the front row had a suckout at about the same frequency. So, explosions rocked the back row, but did nothing in the front row. Conversely, the picture looked about right in the front row, but a little small from the back row, so the owner was never really happy, as he didn't get the best of both in any place. We ended up putting bass shakers in the front row riser, which faked it a little, but it was never satisfying. As an exaggeration of this I remember taking an acoustics workshop with Dr. Floyd Toole at a CEDIA convention, and he purposely went there ahead of time and found a room that had even multiples in all three dimensions - like 24x24x12, with cement walls and floor to keep the energy in. After talking about the importance of evenly distributing room modes, he fired up a signal generator, and played one frequency, mid 40hz range, and had us walk around the room. You could move 4-5 feet and experience maybe a 20db swing at that frequency - you'd go from being able to feel it, to barely being able to hear it. So, if it's not too late, get an acoustic engineer to at least give you their opinion. I remember in the old days, people swore by the golden ratio, which I don't really remember, but the idea was to distribute room modes as evenly as possible to get the flattest bass response throughout the room. Btw, It will help somewhat (and unpredictably) that the entry wall is broken up by the closet and the entry space, but I don't think anyone can tell you how much.

    Second, your double vaulted ceiling may cause a problem, especially if you set the room up lengthwise. If you sit down the center of the vaulted part, at the right range of heights, you'll get some weird echos off the ceiling. You may hear the HF part of a snare drum hit three times, very close together, which sounds odd. If a percussionist is using a brush on the snare, you may not be able to tell how he's moving the brush, as it all blurs together. As another exaggeration, we used to work with a contractor who built really high end spec homes in the SF Bay area. On one house, he had us wire for a dedicated theater room, but changed his mind before the house was done, and changed it to a multi-purpose media room. Part of this change was hardwood floors instead of carpet, and the other was that he didn't like the plain, flat ceiling, so he put in a barrel vaulted ceiling. It looked great, the house sold, and the new buyers put a pool table in the back of the room, and wanted a surround system in the front of it. We did, and it was probably the worst sounding room we ever did. If you sat down the middle of the room, and were at the right height, which in this room was a higher than seated height (maybe low barstool height?), near the foci of the barrel vault, you would hear any transient high frequencies as a series of very closely spaced reverberations - kind of like being in a mini echo chamber. The owners didn't really care, as it wasn't really bad when sitting down, but if you were moving around the room while something was playing, every now and then it felt like an acoustic laser had locked onto you - very weird sound. Obviously, thick carpeting would really have helped for this, as what we were hearing was a vertical, high frequency "Slap echo" between the floor and the ceiling that was then being focused back to a narrow range of points.

    Sorry for the post, as I realize it doesn't really contain any helpful information. Btw, if you had high six figures money for this room, and hired an acoustic designer, most of them would have you build the room as a plain rectangle - flat walls, flat ceiling, with proper dimensions to evenly distribute room modes. If you wanted a curved screen wall, or stepped side walls, they would do them, but they would be built as acoustically transparent faux-walls in front of the flat ones, in fabric panels. This way they can give you predictable performance in a room with irregular surfaces. Like most people here, I have never had the luxury of building a home, and have always had to work with what I had, but given the opportunity, I'd start with the right room dimensions, since it doesn't change construction costs. Lastly, if you get bored, look at Keith Yates' website for the most over the top engineered solutions out there...
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  9. #9
    Senior Member jmpsmash's Avatar
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    Agree, I am sure a lot of us would love to be in the position to design and build a room. Instead, we are just trying to deal with what we have. Personally, I am still fighting my 20x20x9 room which has huge suckout between 40-50Hz.

  10. #10
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    I didn’t want to bring it up, but since HCSGuy jumped in, my first thought was oh dear, those dimensions look difficult.

    If it was my room and I couldn’t negotiate a different space in the house, I would build another closet or storage area in part of the space to shrink the long dimension of the room. Finding a pro who can help and not rip you off might be tough, but it could be a really good investment.

    Other than that, I agree with most of the suggestions for room isolation, added power etc.



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    Senior Member RMC's Avatar
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    RE "people swore by the golden ratio, which I don't really remember,"

    The Golden ratio of dimensions used for its acoustical properties is 0.618 D, 1.0 W and 1.618 H. The reference dimension being 1.0 Width, then depth will be 0.618 of width, and height will be 1.618 of width. Basically a "shoe box" type room when placed horizontally instead of vertically.

    When applied to the room this ratio will usually mean: 0.618 is height, 1.0 is width and 1.618 is length. That should help to minimize acoustical issues, but won't eliminate all of them. Other ratios do exist.

    As i recall this ratio is the same for a room as for a speaker box, both being enclosures.

    If one's bank account allows, hiring an acoustician for big bucks is the best solution.

  12. #12
    Senior Member jmpsmash's Avatar
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    OP's room is reasonably close to golden ratio if he cuts the length to 22 feet long.

  13. #13
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmpsmash View Post
    OP's room is reasonably close to golden ratio if he cuts the length to 22 feet long.



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  14. #14
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    video wall, equipment cabinets, bass traps, ... "extra" space could work out well

  15. #15
    Senior Member Champster's Avatar
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    Wow you guys are great!!!! I go away for a few days and came back to many very insightful comments and all are very much appreciated!

    Iíve received a few names of acoustics consultants and will reach out to them to see what they can offer without charging an arm and a leg.

    Iíll report back with my findings...

    Thanks again!

    Paul
    JBL M2 & 2x SUB18s, BSS BLU800, VTV Purifi Amps, MiniDSP SHD Studio, PS Audio Perfect wave DAC

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