Written by 4:42 am Audiophile

Laying Out My New Room

Steven Stone begins the design of a new listening room…

When it comes to planning how to fit equipment into a new listening room I’m a big fan of graph paper. During the past couple of weeks I’ve gone through quite a bit of it trying to figure out the best way to lay everything out. My methodology is simple – each square on the graph paper’s grid equals one square foot in the real world. First, I get down the outer dimensions of the room and then I make dimensionally-correct cut-outs from graph paper of all the items that need to fit into the room. The next step involves moving the pieces around until they fit, then taping them into place on the paper.

AR-newroom1a.jpgI had originally planned to position my room so that the orientation was north to south (see the first image) and everything was fitting in pretty well, to the point that I felt that it would work when I sent my layout to Art Noxon at Acoustic Sciences Corporation so that we could discuss potential room treatments. After several minutes of conversation about how to treat the wall so they would have less tympanic activity during dynamic peaks Art asked, “Have you considered turning everything 90 degrees?”

Art’s reasoning for the big positioning switch was simple – the room was more symmetrical (but not completely symmetrical) if my listening position and speaker position was switched so that the room was now east-west instead of north-south. Also this allowed more breathing space around the main speakers. The primary disadvantage of this positioning is that it will be harder to place rear speakers in the room without clogging up some of the aisles – the solution may require ceiling-mounted rears.

AR-second position2a.jpgUsing my graph-paper pre-visualization methods is part of my planning processes, the other part involves using an Excel spreadsheet developed several years ago by acoustic architect Russ Herschelmann for identifying room resonance frequencies that could be a problem due to dimensional factors. My new room has some issues (as do all rooms) but at this point in the process I think that none are especially pernicious.

Of course all this planning is only a preliminary to the “boots on the ground” (ever wonder when someone could use this expression an audio article?) of actually moving in, setting up, and listening, but I’ve got a lot of steps to go before I get to that point in the move, such as packing up my gear and getting it all to the new place and into the correct rooms in the new place in one piece. But I’m glad I’ve had several months to plan my room and figure out the best way to make the best use of it.

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