My new dedicated listening room - story with pics (BWW)

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Elberoth

    Elberoth

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    OK gang, I just thought that I would share some pics from the process of building my new dedicated listening room, which is now completed.

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    It took me one year and a half to complete, but it was well worth the wait. I simply love it.

    The room size is 555 (L) x 430 (W) x 255 (H) cm.

    The room was designed by a company that specialises in acoustic design. The room acoustics was was first designed in a digital domain and then improved upon with the real world measurements taken during all stages of construction work.

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    The room is soundproof and - among other things - features soundproof windows, double doors and 22cm thick double walls. The measured noise level inside the room is 26dB during the day (measured during rush hours, at 16:00), so it is almost dead quiet.

    I always dreamed about a dedicated listening room, but never had a chance to build one. The opportunity arouse when I bought a new appartment. In a true act of generosity, my wife let me take 2 out of 4 bedrooms for my future project (who needs 4 bedrooms anyway, when you have just one baby, right ? ;) ).

    The appartment I bought was unfinished.

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    As it quickly turned out, the existing walls needed to be razed to ground. Both my architect and acoustic engineer agreed that they need to be moved, although for a different reasons :)

    Another reason to dismantle them was insufficient soundproofing - and making the room sound proof was one of my highest priorities (my listening room is adjacent to my baby room, which in normal circumstances would preclude late night listening).

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    We decided to build the new walls from Fermacell (TM) boards. Our first thought was to build the brick wall, but as it turned out, the 30cm thick concrete floor was not strong enough to support several TONS of walls (yeah, brick wall weigh a lot more than one may think). Fermacell is somehow similar to the popular plasterboard, but is much stronger and three times heavier. And the mass is the key word in soundproofing.

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    After rising the steel skeleton and feeling it with a heavy mineral fiber, the whole wall was covered with a Acoustical Sound Barrier - vinyl sheet material used to block and reduce sound transmissions through walls, ceilings, and floors.

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    After completing the first wall, we build the SECOND wall to improve the soundproofing characteristics. So what we got is basicly "a room inside the room". The spacing between the two walls is 2cm.

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    The outer wall was covered with the more conventional plasterboards.

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    to be continued.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2007
    Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007
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  2. Elberoth

    jtc

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    Wow... beautiful room (based on first picture). More pictures!
     
    jtc, Mar 18, 2007
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  3. Elberoth

    MO! MOnkey`ead!

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    Looking forward to the rest of the story...
     
    MO!, Mar 18, 2007
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  4. Elberoth

    Elberoth

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    The total wall thickness is 22cm. The inner wall uses 3 layers of Fermacell, glued together to form a 40mm thick, inert sandwitch. The outer wall consists of tho layers of sheetrock - 32mm thick in total. You can see the 2cm spacing between the two walls.

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    Sound proofing wouldn't be complete without taking care of ceiling and the floor.

    The ceiling, like the inner walls, was covered with Fermacell.

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    The 10cm space between the Fermacell and the concrete ceiling was stuffed with mineral fibre.

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    The floor was covered with special dampening mats (here seen as the blue mats sticking from under the concrete) and covered with 5cm of concrete. The concrete on the floor does not directly touch to the walls at any point - this way the energy transfer between the ceiling and the walls in minimised. (The same is true for wall/wall and wall/ceiling conections - there is always a 5mm gap between them, filled with silicone).

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    Since I wanted to make the room soundproof inside and out, I also ordered new windows to seel me off from the city noise. The new windows have the Rw = 44dB - some 15dB higher than the standard double glaze stuff. Pls note that the new windows are made of aluminum, instead of wood. It is becouse of the massive weight of the glass inserts, which are made of several layers of glass, glued together (just like the car's windshield).

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    The noise level inside the room is down from 38dB to 26dB during rush hours ! This is almost dead quiet.

    The next thing we build were rear and front diffusors. As you can see on the pic, the whole part of the rear wall, to which the diffusor will be later attached, pertrudes 12" into the room. It is done on purpose and it is a part of room acoustic design.

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    The diffusor "bed" is agin stuffed with mineral fiber.

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    After completing all the walls, the acoustic engineer took our first measurments.

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    To be continued.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2007
    Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007
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  5. Elberoth

    Elberoth

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    The walls were covered with sandstone. It was done for acoustical reasons only, although doesn't look half as bad as I thought it would :)

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    In fact, we have even extended the sand stone theme to the hall main wall - and although the pic doesn't do it justice - it in person it looks simply stunning with big mirror and stainless steel inserts.

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    The reason for using the sand stone, is his natural diffusive properties. I can tell you that after putting the sand stone, the whole slap echo, which is typical for empty rooms, was almost gone !

    The floor was covered with exotic hardwood floor.

    Next, we have installed the diffusors. They are made by German company called Acoustic Control Systems. I have 3 sets of those, one on the rear wall and two on the side walls.

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    The gaps left in the sandstone were filled with custom made absorbers, made in maple real wood finish.

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    At that point, we were still missing the front wall absorbers - as you can see by the empty spaces between the sandstone. The reason we made everything step by step, was becouse we wanted to make measurements on every step of construction work, so that the acoustical project could be constantly improved.

    At that point my system consisted of:

    Audio Aero Capitole mk II SE (since then replaced by MBL 1531)
    BAT VK-51SE
    Lamm M1.2 Reference monos
    Avalon Eidolon Vision
    AudioQuest Sky ICs
    AudioQuest Everest speaker cable

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    The front wall was finally filled with the next 6 custom absorbers, tuned to two different frequencies.

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    If you look carefully, you will notice, that there is an MDF plate with lots of small holes fitted inside, which divides the internal volume of the absorber into two smaller chambers. The sound enters the traps by the front gaps, goes to the first empty chamber and then through the holes to the next chamber, where it can dissipate in a mineral fiber (fitted on the second pic).

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2007
    Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007
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  6. Elberoth

    I-S Good Evening.... Infidel

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    You, my friend, are a man to be commended for your commitment to the art. :beer:

    Edit: PS, when's the bakeoff?
     
    I-S, Mar 18, 2007
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  7. Elberoth

    rollo

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    First class Sir, As a retired Architect and Constrution Mgr. IMO your consultants should be commended. You Sir are in for some very good listening

    rollo
     
    rollo, Mar 18, 2007
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  8. Elberoth

    Elberoth

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    Over the listening chair we put the set of 5 custom diffusers fitted (sorry for the hanging bulbs - they are already replaced with stainless steel 12V halogen housings). They made a very noticable improvement in soundstaging.

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    The lowered part of the ceiling, over the speakers, was painted brown. We have installed 5 halogen spotlight housings. (the Audiostatics and Klyne preamp and Cary amps are on dealer's loan).

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    We have finished the room off by installing audiophile circuit breakers from AHP ...

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    ... and two triple audiophile outlets from HMS Energia (I have two 20A dedicated lines - one for analog and one for digital).

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    In the meantime, Daikin A/C split system replaced my McQuay unit after just a year of usage. The difference in noise levels generated by those two units is staggering. Daikin is so quiet (22dB) that you can barely hear it from the listening chair. There are CD-players that generate more noise than this ! The other outstanding feature of this unit is that it can work when outside temp drops to 10'F - so it can be used during winter too. Hello tubes - here I come !

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    This is the RT-60 curve of my room. Black trace is our target curve, blue one is base curve (empty room, no acoustic treatment, no floor), red curve shows how the room responded after ACS diffusors, wooden floor and sand stone were added. Green curve is the most recent one (with no front wall absorbers). Still have to make the final measurements.

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    Room Frequency response. Quite nice if you ask me :)

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    Well, that's it !:D

    BTW - sorry for my English and all the mistakes I have possibly made. I'm not from the UK.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2007
    Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007
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  9. Elberoth

    Neil

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    Simply magnificent!
     
    Neil, Mar 18, 2007
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  10. Elberoth

    Elberoth

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    BTW - I hope to post my Primare HT system pics from my living room really soon.
     
    Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007
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  11. Elberoth

    Sid and Coke

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    Fantastic project, I love reading about this kind of stuff, I love the scientific approach and it all looks good too..

    p.s.
    You have mentioned a partner and a baby in your postings but i see only one chair ...?
     
    Sid and Coke, Mar 18, 2007
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  12. Elberoth

    sq225917 Exposer of Foo

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    but how does it sound...
     
    sq225917, Mar 18, 2007
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  13. Elberoth

    jtc

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    ...and how much did it cost? Very envious, I've spent an entire day re-arranging a room to suit my hifi and I know it's going to sound worse...
     
    jtc, Mar 18, 2007
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  14. Elberoth

    Elberoth

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    Well, too much. But once you start you cannot stop. The room and system are well past 100.000 EUR mark.
     
    Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007
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  15. Elberoth

    Tenson Moderator

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    It looks well worth it! I may have to take you up on that offer to visit at some point ;)

    Very nice indeed :cool:
     
    Tenson, Mar 18, 2007
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  16. Elberoth

    andyoz

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    Thanks for sharing, very interesting.

    How thick is the blue matt that was used under the 50mm concrete "floated" floor? I assume you have neighbours above and below your apartment.

    The type of wall you have installed can give truely staggering performance. You'll be pleased to know that most modern cinemas employ that twin stud wall principal, they just used a much wider (i.e. 500mm) and heavier version of it.
     
    andyoz, Mar 18, 2007
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  17. Elberoth

    Tenson Moderator

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    Generally called a 'double camden wall' I believe, but I'm not sure of the spelling since it doesn't return much on Google.
     
    Tenson, Mar 18, 2007
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  18. Elberoth

    Elberoth

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    No problemo. Air tickets are dirt cheap nowadays.
     
    Elberoth, Mar 18, 2007
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  19. Elberoth

    alanbeeb Grumpy young fogey

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    With all that fermacell and sandstone... are your floors strong enough? It looks wonderful.:notworthy
     
    alanbeeb, Mar 19, 2007
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  20. Elberoth

    Lautrec

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    is this somewhere in germany?
     
    Lautrec, Mar 19, 2007
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