Listening Room Acoustics: 7 Common Myths
By Adrian Lo
You’ve invested a pretty penny in a great hi-fidelity system, but something still doesn’t sound right to you. Unfortunately, even the most expensive system on its own won’t automatically produce great sound.
That’s where room acoustics come in. Room acoustics is an often-misunderstood field – and one where you can easily be duped into spending money on solutions that don’t deliver what they promise.
Here’s a look at seven common myths of room acoustics.
1: JUST ADD CARPETS AND CURTAINS FOR GREAT SOUND.
Carpets and curtains don’t translate to a complete acoustic solution. They only address the high frequencies – and they simply can’t provide the defined performance of lab-tested acoustic panels. Worse, neither tackles the critical problems of speaker boundary interference and boomy bass.
2: SOUNDPROOFING MEANS GOOD ACOUSTICS.
Soundproofing isn’t the same as acoustic treatment. Soundproofing simply stops sound from entering or leaving a space – it doesn’t address the internal sound reflections of the space. In fact, the more you soundproof, the more serious the bass problems will be, as low frequencies are trapped inside.
3: WE CAN “TWEAK” THAT BOOMY BASS.
The wavelength of bass frequencies means that “tweaks” can’t solve the uneven decay time of bass in a room. Instead, tweaks usually change the balance of mid to high frequencies relative to the bass, causing you toperceive less bass boom – but the problem is still there.
4: ROOM TREATMENT MAKES YOUR ROOM DEAD AND LIFELESS.
Professional acoustical design creates living spaces. It’s rampant misuses of thin acoustic material – like egg crate foam – that over-absorbs high frequencies and deadens the sound in a room. Smart solutions aim for flat absorption/diffusion across the audible spectrum.
5: ROOM TREATMENT IS UGLY.
Today’s acoustic panels blend seamlessly with your interior design and add beauty to your space. The trick is to integrate room treatment when you design and build your listening room, instead of adding it later.
6: ROOM TREATMENT IS EXPENSIVE.
You’ll find a range of prices for options in room acoustics. An experienced consultant can help you be a savvy shopper and create an affordable room where you can truly enjoy the media equipment you’ve already purchased.
7: I CAN FIND THE ANSWERS ON THE INTERNET.
Every space is unique, and the Internet can’t address the complexities of your individual acoustic challenges. An experienced consultant with first-hand experience can save you time and money, particularly when brought onto the project early.
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