The prospect of adding acoustic control devices to a HiFi listening room can be daunting. Where to start? What are my goals? For others who have already begun to address the issue, the question is: what do I do next, to make the most of my budget and the space in my room?
You want your room to sound the best it can and you want to get the most out of your cherished gear and favorite recordings. Below we explain a 3-step process to upgrade your audio experience from mediocre to absolutely stunning.
Stage 1: Optimization of Musicality
What do we mean by musicality? This refers to accuracy of tone, transients, and dynamics. The primary means for achieving this is through control of the sound energy in the front end of the room, which we call “head end ringing.” This reduces the running reverberant noise floor, opening up the overtones of instruments and transient detail of complicated and intimate recordings alike.
When the noise floor is lowered, the dynamics of the music are expanded and we can hear the smallest details and the hardest hits. We also like to “dump” the rear wall bounce to avoid cancellations and lingering notes.
How do we accomplish this? Place TubeTraps in your front corners, behind the speakers, beside the speakers, and in the rear corners. Congratulations, you have completed stage one!
Stage 2: Optimization of the Sound Stage
A fully developed sound stage allows a virtual image, in your mind’s eye, of the musicians spread across a width and encompassing a depth that may exceed your room’s dimensions and physical speaker spacing. Part of the illusion is that the speakers “disappear,” and it is quite magical.
To lock in width, control the treble range wall reflections and the sound diffracting around the speakers to the room center. To add depth, carefully position and aim proper phase-coherent diffusers along the front wall.
How do we accomplish this? To keep it simple, use flat panel products (SoundPlanks) on the side walls and rear wall. Use TubeTraps along the front wall and adjust the reflector positioning of Stage 1 TubeTraps to find the stage depth you desire. Congratulations, you have completed Stage 2!
Stage 3: Re-creation of a Performance Venue Space
This stage of room acoustic conditioning and optimization has been coined “2C3D,” short for two channel, three dimensional. Experiencing a room with this degree of treatment is nothing short of breathtaking, as it squeezes every last drop of quality from a finely crafted sound reproduction system.
Are you yearning for the transcendent feeling of listening to Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 3 in the Boston Symphony Hall or Pink Floyd ’69 at the Royal Albert Hall? This is how you find it!
How do we accomplish this? By carefully controlling the ambience emanating from all directions through careful tuning of TubeTrap diffusers. Floor-to-ceiling stacks are needed, covering the entire room perimeter, in a variety of TubeTrap diameters. Since the musicality and sound stage are already rock-solid, we need to supplement this by directing the remaining room reflections just so, to enhance the sense of spaciousness and envelopment. Such an endeavor requires time, patience, and significant financial investment. But as with anything invoking such deep and profound passion, this commitment to excellence pays large dividends.
How Should I Proceed?
Not everyone is ready for the full “venue” experience today. It may take time, budgeting, and convincing your housemates to allow this Tubular invasion. These upgrades should be looked at as stepping stones, signifying your ascension to the next pinnacle of performance. Just as an amplifier upgrade or new loudspeakers can initiate a huge jump in your audio experience, each of these stages of acoustic upgrade will give your record collection a new life, and you will re-listen to your favorite albums…over and over.
If you’ve already entered into the world of TubeTraps, complete the optimization of your room’s musicality today! If you’ve already locked in your tone, dynamics, and transients, then round out your sound stage by adding the next round of TubeTraps!
If you’ve already reached a point where the musical representation is spot-on, and the sound stage is stunningly life-like, then call in to ASC for guidance with the final authority in room acoustic control: 2C3D.