Systemic Development > Psycho-Acoustics

Which room for audio system?

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OK, need advice -- retiring and downsizing from a good dedicated 24'x16'x10 audio room to a smaller home without a large dedicated room. Choices are:

1. Living room, shared. Larger room 19'x17' which opens to kitchen and dining room. Can put speakers beside fireplace 8' apart, but due to WAF can only pull them out so rear of speaker is about 3' from front wall (1' beside and 1' in front of fireplace). No room treatments allowed.

2. Smaller room that opens to front door hallway. Room is 12.5' wide x 13.5' (plus 5' of hallway) so... 18.5' long. Can pull speakers out as far as I want. Was thinking out 6' or 6.5' (front of speaker) and placing listening chair at border of room and hallway (13'). In this setup, I can put some room treatments, i.e., bass busters in front corners, roomtunes in ceiling corners, and can use equipment stands and footers, rather than stacking equipment on top of each other in living room.

Speakers in the living room would be my beloved Peak Consult Zoltans with Audio Technology drivers (3-way with four drivers and rear ported).
In the smaller room, I'd love to use the Zoltans, but worry they'd overpower the room. I also have a pair of YG Carmels I could use here, but, though I really like them, they don't provide the deep bass extension that I've grown attached to.

Decisions, decisions. The obvious solution would be to wait and try them after moving, but since it's a cross-country move, and we're considering what furniture to take, so there's pressure to make a decision, therefore I'm considering selling one of the speakers before moving.

Advice? Thanks!

2 initial thoughts

1. Do you like listening in the big open room with other people doing other things? I have that situation, as you know, sometimes I like listening with other people around, other times I prefer solitude and privacy while listening to more intense music. I also prefer listening a little later in the evening after people go to bed, so using the open area makes that harder because sound goes everywhere. Being retired  and fully immersed 24/7 in spousal bliss you might value a man cave once in a while.

2. The Zoltans have more bass than Carmels, yes, but it is relatively easy to turn down the bass, but it is difficult to add more of same quality. With ports blocked you get -12dB rolloff which usually matches the room gain, making flat bass down to low freq. The volume of the room and the size of the woofers determine the rolloff you will hear. With the port open it might sound too punchy in a small room.

If it's still too much bass even with the ports blocked, then adding an additional cap in series before the amp will steepen the natural bass roll off from -12dB to -18db/oct slope which should be more than enough to match that size room with Zoltan's smallish woofers. I don't think you'd need the cap with ports blocked, but you might. You can choose what size cap for even more contouring control. Since you only need two caps one for each speaker, you could get some really nice ones like Clarity MR, VCaps, Mundorf Gold, or Deuland silver, after you figure out the right size with cheap caps. Of course a digital EQ could do this too, but I think you are trying to simplify too? And caps will sound better than DSP with active output stage anyway. If you plan to use a computer as digital source anyway, then JRiver 64bit DSP can tune the speaker to the room very precisely with no sonic penalty. If you're gonna use any analog inputs then it's a pita.

As you know, it's easy to get used to an abundance of bass, as long as it's clean and musical. If you have +3 low Q peak it won't bother you too much, while +6 might be too much. The B&K curve that people like so much is +6dB at 60Hz, rolling gently down to 20Hz and 20khz. You might find ports blocked would give you something like that. Distance from the wall would allow further fine tuning of bass quantity.

You're gonna want music in both rooms, but you could put invisible midfi networked speakers in the big room if that's not the hifi winner.

I would do both. Living room for casual listening and maybe some home theater. Smaller room is where I would put the money and make a system that is appropriately sized for the room. Maybe even some headphones in there for those late night sessions, with a good book and a beverage of your choice.

Wow, you guys are ruining my Mojo  :rofl:

Between everyone talking of downsizing I was hoping to "upsize" my listening room in my retirement. I am in somewhat constrained quarters now but figure when I retire and move out of state I would have the opportunity to get a place with a decent size room. The house must have a high HAF (husband acceptance factor)  8) 


  Obviously the living room will be a multi purpose room. If it were me a receiver in LR for TV , movies, etc.
   The smaller room dimensions are not optimal but manageable. If you can do some renovation to the wall or door to hallway like double doors or removal of wall all together. Square rooms [ almost] are very hard to tame.
   Playing music in LR will carry throughout the house distubing the wife's TV.
   it appears to me you need to make the small room work. have fun.



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