Despite buying a 2nd home outside of the city, I'm still stuck with a.. wait for it... small, square listening room! D'OH! Oh well, time to try to optimize around a mini-monitor midfield setup.
Playing around with room treatments so far, sounding pretty good. Tamed the early reflections on the sidewalls, adding some diffusing panels to the front wall, trying to figure out what to do with the rear wall. Going to mount some panels to the ceiling next.
The other counterintuitive experience I continue to have is better sub-bass by keeping the REL on a platform. Whenever I have an REL sub coupled to the floor, I get some kind of node activation and the room rattles with sloppy, overblown bass. Keeping the REL on a platform keeps the bass tight and snappy, but deep enough for my needs.
Beautiful room, I had a dedicated listening room for 10 years with nearly the same dimensions. I treated it and got good bass response and excellent imaging. In small rooms the most important treatment is absorption.
Diffusion to work effectively requires space between the diffuser and the listening position, the space needed varies depending on the type of diffusion. I highly recommend you purchase the “Master Handbook of Acoustics” by F. Alton Everest. I built multiple absorbers including Helmholtz resonators (as outlined in the book) that made a significant impact on the mid bass in my room.
Remember that absorbers work more effectively when they are not placed directly on the wall. A two inch thick absorber should be mounted 2” off the wall for maximum efficiency a 4” absorber would have a 4” gap which effectively makes it an 8” absorber, assuming the absorber is open backed. I also recommend placing absorption over your listening position. It’s space you will not lose in the room and is often overlooked. The ceiling is a critical spot in the room to treat and uses ZERO living space.
In my experience getting the sub out of the corner is beneficial. In a small room you don’t need the added efficiency of corner placement. I ended up with two subs in my room. One on the floor off center but between the monitors and another about 40” off the floor behind the listening position.
As for wiring your REL. The vast majority of bass sounds/instruments are recorded in mono not stereo, you don’t have to concern yourself with stereo bass or wiring from one channel to the sub (although I’m certain somebody will object.)
@emergingsoul Thanks for your comment. I hadn't thought about adding more details on the components, that's a good idea, so I'll flesh that out a bit in the system description. I am experimenting with the sub now to see if another position other than the front wall corner works better. I actually seem to like it quite a bit on the sidewall exactly parallel to my listening position!
I am going to add another sub, I think, as REL themselves don't advise running one sub with monoblocks. I'm essentially getting one channel of bass right now, since you can't wire a single REL to two mono blocks.
I like the room, looks like you have a very quiet environment outside.
When I see a list of gear, I always hope that more description is included to describe the components better.
Seem to have read pure diffusers in the back of the room would be better. Not sure they do anything much in the front. Diffusers to be done correctly need to be lavishly applied to walls, otherwise they don't really do much except benefit who's selling them to you in such a small scale.
Don't know if I like the sub in the corner, maybe a second one since it looks kind of small.
Love the wall color, always tough to decide on wall color
@baylinor thanks for the advice! Indeed, listening position is only about 3’ from rear wall. Right now I have a couple of the GIK “impressions” series diffuser/absorber panels behind me, but I think they’re doing more absorbing than diffusing and I intend to put something more diffusive behind me. I’ve been looking at the GIK quadratic diffusers, for example.
And thanks for the tip about the bass, am definitely going to give a couple of corner traps a try!
Nice to see you "playing" with room acoustics. My two cents about your setup: 1) with a 9" ceiling in such a small room, the ceiling is the last thing I would address, 2) since you must have limited room behind your listening position, placing the diffusers on the back wall will be much more beneficial than up front, and 3) 4 corner bass traps will improve the issues you have with your sub, or at least 2 of them in the front corners. And definitely move the sub away from the corner to just about anywhere else. You can check my house of stereo system to see how much I have been "playing" with room acoustics :)
@highend64 Thabks for the tip, will try. I like my REL subs but I’ve had very odd experiences with them. As I listen right now I have the crossover set to 30Hz and the volume at about 9:00 o’clock. It is putting out a very reasonable amount of bass at this level! If i increase the crossover - which, given the Harbeth’s frequency response, it seems I should be able to do - it produces overwhelming bass that muddies the midrange, even if I turn the volume down to almost a minimum. In fact, this is going to sound crazy, but if I run the REL at the lowest crossover and the lowest volume, there is still a very detectable amount of output in the room. This is an experience I’ve had with the REL in both small rooms I’ve used one in. I assume it’s the room producing this effect!
@honeyooi I have owned two Harbeth speakers previously - the SHL5 and the C7-ES3. Both of them were great speakers in their own way, but neither of them fully disappeared into my small room the way the P3 does. The P3 being sealed also really helps with placement and controlling the bass in a room this size. I thought I wouldn't be into a mini-monitor, but I am pleasantly surprised!
@wr_aspire Thanks for your comment, and your point is well and humbly taken - I am lucky to have a dedicated listening room at all, which is a luxury.
For many years I had a similarly sized room in my NYC apartment, and I did at times have floor standing speakers there - among others, Vienna Acoustics Mozart Grands, Gallo Classico CL-3, Martin Logan electrostatics, a pair of custom floor standing Omega Super Alnico Monitors. They all worked in the space to some extent - some sounded very good indeed - but none of them were able to disappear in the room the way the P3ESR can. Of course, maybe I just haven't tried the right speaker. I am game to try a floorstander again; what models would you recommend for a room this size?
Congrats on your dedicated room, you should consider yourself lucky. Most audiophiles don't have a listening room. I have a small room too and after some careful speakers placement and room acoustics treatment, I am able to achieve pretty good results. Your room may be able to accommodate a pair of floorstanding speakers actually. Have you tried?