Thursday, November 14, 2013

Remodeled Master Bedroom has much better sound

My master bedroom was remodeled in early September, just before my first cataract surgery on September 18.  The carpeting was replaced with the top grade of Armstrong LUXE Vinyl Plank flooring, with the recommended padded underlayment (which is specifically recommended by Armstrong for better sound absorption).  Surprisingly large gaps in the walls just below ceiling level were thickly filled with mud and floated.  (The original builder had covered up gaps with up to two inches of tape with a thin coat of mud.  Eventually, the paper had torn, leaving large gaps that looked like serious cracks but were really just torn paper.)  The gap between floor and drywall was filled with OSI acoustical caulk and then covered with 5 1/2 inch victorian style hardwood baseboards. (Once I heard how those victorian baseboards "sounded" to a knuckle wrap, I knew they were the ones for me.)

Perhaps even more crucially, I removed all the four 2x2 Sonex panels from the left side wall in the room.  Instead, I have moved two additional wood CD racks into that area for sound dispersion instead of absorption.

I didn't (and still haven't) carefully measured and adjusted speaker position.  (I don't want to do this at all until I have time to get it right, the soft flooring is certainly dented below the rounded ends of the speaker stand spikes, and I'm just going to ignore those dents since I like the flooring so much, but I don't want a proliferation of dents from moving the speakers around too many times.)

But despite the careless (relatively) speaker positioning, the sound is fabulous, and I have an ever better center image than I ever have had before!  I chalk it up mainly to the removal of carpeting and Sonex panels, which were excessively damping high frequencies.

I had largely been in the camp that says you want to listen in the deadest room possible.  And I'm still quite suspicious of relying on resonances and reflections for "good" sound.  But I now think it's good not to have too much damping in the mids and highs.

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