Building a Listening Room Pt. 1

Published On: January 3, 2023Tags: , , ,

Art Noxon, PE Acoustical is ASC’s founder & inventor of the TubeTrap. Have you yearned to build a new, dedicated listening room but are not sure where to start? This week Art shares some fundamentals for constructing the room of your dreams. Enjoy!

General Ideas

Room width is 16 to 18’ wide and 21 to 23’ long. Room height is above 8’, 8 ½ to 9 ½’ high. No doors or windows are located at the speaker end of the room; they vibrate too much.

Building a Listening Room Pt. 1

High-end audio rooms buried in the middle of a normal homes cause problems for the other people, those who are not listening. So location of the listening room with respect to the other rooms in the house is part of the design.

Ideally the room is a stand alone room attached to the house only at the back wall of the listening room. You enter and exit the listening room through the door at the back of the room off a family room, typically. The room has its own foundation, floor, 3 independent outside walls and its own attic and roof, no other rooms above it. Room has its own air conditioning system. Usually we have a couple extra rooms alongside the listening room or between the listening room and the house that gets filled up with equipment and program materials.

Building a Listening Room Pt. 1 blueprints

We like two rear doors, each located in the back wall, hinged about 2’ in from the corner. These may end up like motel doors to help keep the noise from the rest of the house.

The Walls

Windows are not in the speaker end of the room. Windows are to the left and right and behind the listener along the side walls. Windows are best tall and narrow and made out of laminated glass so they don’t thunder.

All walls and ceiling are semi-floating walls set up so they absorb low frequency bass energy; they become membrane bass traps.

Building a Listening Room Pt. 1 side view of isowall

The structure that supports the walls and ceiling cannot vibrate. They must be built strong, very strong.

The Bass

High-end audio speakers are very powerful in the deep bass range. We don’t want them to shake the exterior walls or roof of the building. Usually, neighbors don’t appreciate booming bass in the middle of the night. So where the room is located with respect to the neighbors is also usually important. It’s best if the main house is positioned between the listening room and the nearby homes so the main house blocks the bass waves from impacting neighbor homes.

If bass wave does impact a neighbor’s home, the wavefront should impact the corner of the house not the flat wall of a house. Imagine the prow of a ship breaking huge ocean waves and you’ve got the right idea.

Suspended wood floors under speakers is not desirable, they flex too much and act like a sounding board. Concrete floor works best. If we are stuck with a ring foundation and floor joists, we build large concrete pads into the ground on which the speakers are located and build the wood floor around the pads. If we can’t do that then we seriously support the floor joists with beams and pads to the ground under the speaker location.

A very lovely setup is to have… tune in next week for the answer!

Building a Listening Room Pt. 1

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