|Do It Yourself Room Treatments|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Audio Related Articles|
|Written by Jerry Del Colliano|
|Thursday, 13 December 2007|
Do It Yourself Room Treatments
The single most important element of your music or theater system sounding great is not your speakers. It's your room. I know, it is unlikely you're going to rip down your drywall to re-brace your joists or load sonically deadening material into your walls. Nor do I expect you to tack on sorry-looking egg crate anywhere in your listening room. I am not interested in doing that either, but I am always interested in making my system sound significantly better, especially without spending thousands on new equipment.
Here is the proposition: With the help of legendary high end audio and custom home theater designer, Christopher Hansen, The Audio Revolution is going to give you a formula to make room treatments that truly improve your system's performance and look great at the same time. Best of all, you can build these yourself for around $100. Here's how it is done:
What you'll need (for a pair).
Here's how you build them.
Head on out to your local building supply center and order up your internal frame materials--the fiberglass and the 1x3's. These treatments will be two feet wide by four feet tall, so you may need the corners of the 1x3's cut for you. If you have the necessary saws at home then you probably watch too much Bob Villa on TV, if not, most stores will cut your frames for you.
While your wood is being cut, pick up the rest of your materials including screws or nails to assemble the frames. Then gather your goods and head out to the fabric store. Now, I am not going to give you the typical high end audio harangue about acoustical fabric. These treatments need to look great because they are going into your home not some recording studio. Here is how you test the fabric you choose: Can you see light through it? Can you blow air through it? If the answer is yes to both, then the fabric is suitable for use. If the fabric is too thick or too tightly woven, you'll minimize the effect of the treatments.
When you get home, screw the frames together and then adhere the fiberglass with something like Liquid Nails. Carefully cut the fabric to cover both sides of the treatments and begin stapling the ends down. Make sure the fabric is drawn tight while stapling. Sink the molly bolts or appropriate hardware into the top and bottom of the treatments and you're in business. To make these look even better, you may want to have decorative frames made to go around the treatments. Just remember to carefully sink the molly loops into the finished frames.
Hanging and placing the frames.
I recommend you try one set of treatments first so that you can hear how dramatic just a little room treatment sounds. Try placing the treatments on the side walls first, six inches or so in front of your speakers. Go sit in your "hot spot" and when you can see your tweeter right in the middle of your treatment you have the right placement. To maximize your effect, you will want to hang the treatments 4 inches from the side walls. If you can't for aesthetic reasons, we understand, but the extra couple of inches from the side wall really does help open up the soundstage. Be warned, your going to get all excited when you hear the improvement.
Now cue up your favorite demo track. Then remove the treatments and replay the cut. You will hear a big difference in soundstage width. If you like what you hear with the treatments, find the studs in your ceiling and install your hardware. Make sure you find the studs, otherwise the next earthquake or bump from the neighbor's kid may bring your acoustical treatments crashing to the ground.
On the floor you may want to sink in mollys or other hardware. You will need to secure the treatments to the floor in a way that works for your room. First, run the aircraft wire from the top to the ceiling and then secure the bottoms.
More treatments and advanced professional help.
Now that you're done with your first treatment's placement, you may find that you want to place other treatments in your room. Christopher Hansen recommends placing them on the back wall, behind your speakers, on the ceiling over your speakers and on the side walls.
Absorption is just one of the tools in an acoustician's arsenal. If you find that you're really getting into making your existing system sound better by treating the room, you may want to seek the help of a professional theater designer or acoustician. They will develop your acoustic project much farther by bringing in computers and testing not only your system, but your room for anomalies. From there, they will use varying types of treatments including absorption and diffraction as well as equalizers (2 or 6 channel) to get your room damn near perfect. And with the money and passion we invest in our high end audio and theater systems isn't perfection the goal?
This project shouldn't be too hard for the weekend handyman to build, however if you want the improvement to your system but you don't want the do-it-yourself work, call Christopher Hansen at 310.571.1750.