We often discuss head-end ringing extensively. Why? Because you can add diffusers, thin wall absorbers, rear wall traps, resonators, and more… but your room will still mask the low-level detail required to reveal the musicality your system is capable of providing.
At ASC, we do not focus on overall RT60 reduction or fixing your room’s frequency response curve. To us, the music is what matters and we intend to maximize the realism and detail you, as the listener or engineer, get to experience.
In pursuit of this goal, nothing beats adding TubeTraps to your space to address head-end ringing.
Lowering the Mask
We have discovered the connection between adding TubeTraps into the front of the listening room and how the treble range clarity is improved, and along with it, musicality, dynamics, imaging and sound staging. It is about sound masking. When we add TubeTraps to the front of the room, we dry up the build-up and storage of perpendicular sound as it is being created, and also during the quiet time between each tone burst.
A Proactive Approach
One would be correct to say that when TubeTraps clean up head-end ringing, they are fixing the room acoustic problem before it is even heard. This is unlike RT60 adjustments in traditional room acoustic work, where the problem has already taken place and all that is being done is to more quickly get rid of the bad sound. You, the listener, have already listened to the bad sound and experienced its deleterious effects.
Control the Early Decay First
And finally, we look at the TubeTraps themselves: the acoustic powerhouses that are doing the heavy lifting. We need to absorb as much energy as possible from the head-end ringing while it is being created. For this, we need the fastest, most aggressive sound absorption possible. We have very little time to knock down the level of head-end ringing, and we’d like to reduce it by 10 dB in no more than 1/16th second. This just happens to correspond to an RT60 of 0.38 seconds in the deep bass range in the front of the room, compared to an overall room RT60 of 1.2 seconds, when the whole room dies down. This is the key to exposing the attack transient and harmonic detail, but also maintaining the ambience you love.
Precious Real Estate
There is only so much space in the front of the room. While they can be considered large, TubeTraps are very volumetric aggressive, or space-efficient. They provide more absorption per cubic foot of bass trap volume than any other bass trap built. TubeTraps out-perform all other bass traps while taking up less space in the front of the room. Pressure zones are not huge and bass traps don’t work outside of these pressure zones. A 50 Hz pressure zone fills the volume out some 2 feet from the wall. Small, highly efficient bass traps are needed to fit nicely inside bass pressure zones. New IsoThermal technology allows our 16″ model TubeTraps to operate into this range while staying well within the pressure zone.
How Many TubeTraps are Needed?
Early listening experiments revealed that floor-to-ceiling stacks in the front corners delivered a cleaner wave launch than ever before experienced, thanks to the reduced head-end ringing. Adding tall stacks in the plane of the speakers and directly behind the speakers improved things even more. The “imaging trap” between the speakers also contributes to head-end control.
Can’t manage the full floor-to-ceiling stacks for one reason or another? Start low, with single stacks in these locations. We predict that once you hear the benefit, you’ll figure out some way to get the rest into your room.