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Should I Rebuild my Room to Fit a Certain "Golden" Ratio of Length, Width, & Height? (2 replies and 1 comment)

Gerry Lemay
12 months ago
Gerry Lemay 12 months ago

This is a topic that still creeps in to most discussions on sound room design.  It comes from the fact that the room dimensions determine the frequencies of sound that become modes (frequencies that generate standing waves).  The legacy knowledge is that spreading out the modal frequencies theoretically balances the energy from octave to octave in the bass (or more precisely; 1/3 octave to 1/3 octave).  If you are a dyed-in-the-wool Audiophile and refuse to use a subwoofer or equalization, there is merit in the argument.  However, the placement of your full-range speakers will disrupt the even spread of the modal energy rendering the even distribution of modes moot.  That means you'll probably cancel out some of the modes anyway by pulling the speakers away from the wall.  The bottom line is that the bass will be distorted no matter what you do; that's the nature of small-room acoustics.

If you are a home theater guy, you'll likely be more open to use of Equalization and bass management for your subwoofer. Using special techniques and layout strategies you can smooth the bass regardless of the room's dimensions.  These strategies mean specific subwoofer placement and equalization of the bottom two octaves (at least).

My standard answer is that a larger room has smoother bass naturally.  So please don't make the room smaller to achieve some ratio.  The right strategy for your room can make your results spectacular. 

What is your room size?  What have you done or would like to do to create tight and smooth bass response?


Premal J
11 months ago
Premal J 11 months ago

I have a client who wants me to install a high end theater in a square room of the size 24 ft x 24 ft. what should be my ideal subwoofer position if i use four subs.?  the front row will be on the ground level and the second row will be 14 inches plus.



Gerry Lemay
8 months ago
Gerry Lemay 8 months ago

The idea of a square room is something that most HT Designers are fearful of and some might even argue that this room needs to be rebuilt. But that idea is one from an old view of small room acoustics before we had the best understanding of how to use sub placement and equalization. In this case, I have found excellent results by placing the 4 subs at the mid points of the room's 4 walls. An alternative is to place the subs, one in each corner.

Of course, my advice is very general without more specifics on the layout of your seating and a better idea of the room's construction and furnishings. My advice is from real world experience as well as knowing that the identical width and length dimensions will create problems at the same frequencies. Two identical problems can be solved by the same identical solution rendering the idea that a square room is bad no longer strictly valid. Good luck!


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