Room Treatment

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This will be the first of a few posts on room treatment, so big is this subject I will be writing about.

When we first started this series of posts on the setup of your system I made the point that the room is a critical component in the chain we call the stereo system. Without it you haven’t anything useful and with it you have a bunch of headaches. It’s a double edged sword the likes of which can be very frustrating. But treating the room as a friend and working with its issues, in the same way you might treat an older piece of kit you value, is the right approach and we’ll be best served working with the room and not against it.

Working against the room might have us using absorptive panels throughout to try and deaden the reflections giving the loudspeaker pair clear dominance over the audio in the room. That would be a bad idea because we want the reflections and we need them – we just need them where and when they make the best sound quality in any given room.

One of the most basic of concepts for room treatment is something I shamefully left out of the first part of this series, so sure I was that everyone knew this little tidbit. Whenever possible we want to point the speaker pair into the long part of the room (if it’s a rectangle) rather and the short part. I shouldn’t make such assumptions so to those of you that followed the setup guide to a tee and now realize you have to redo do it going into the long end the room please accept my apologies. Others know this rule and yet haven’t any choice given the WAF or just plain practical limitations and to those folk I know you did your best to get the best under trying circumstances.

Everything we’ve done so far has been in an effort to use the room to our advantage and place the loudspeaker pair where it interacts in the most favorable way with the area we have to work with. Now it’s time to perform a little magic to take advantage of everything we’ve managed to dial in so far.

The first subject I’d like to approach is your seating position – it is now dependent more on the room than anything else – and also offer a gentle reminder that the seat itself is really important. I hope during this setup procedure you’re using a single seat so it’s easy to move around. If you’re using a couch or small love seat, it’ll work but it’s harder to move around.

The process I use is simple to start with – as my reference tracks are playing I move myself back and forth, up and down ever so slightly to see where the best seating position is to maximize everything I’ve been doing. You may find that even a few inches makes all the difference in the world – this is proper and good. Should you find that getting your seating a little higher or lower is beneficial you can tilt the speakers back or down if you can’t adjust the seat height (we discussed part of the yesterday).

So get your seating position right where you want it and then mark the position with the same blue painter’s tape as we did the loudspeaker pair.

Tomorrow we’ll find the point of first reflection.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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