Skip to main content
Topic: Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary? (Read 27274 times) previous topic - next topic
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

There has been some potential for more than one topic to go sideways as of late*.

Let's do it here instead, OK?

Remember this is HA.  It should be expected that all replies be subject to our TOS.

(*)
https://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=108950
https://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=110486

NB: If you've been directed to this topic, it may mean someone thinks it may be happening all over again.

To spare some of you from the tediousness, we're essentially contrasting this:
http://ethanwiner.com/early_reflections.htm
with the paper discussed here:
https://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=110109
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #1
There has been some potential for more than one topic to go sideways as of late.

Let's do it here instead, OK?

Remember this is HA.  It should be expected that all replies be subject to our TOS.


Well, bit loaded question IMO. 
Perhaps "Room 'treatment' products (including 'traps'), are they really a panacea as claimed by the choir on every freaking audiophile/studiophile forum?"

cheers,

AJ
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #2
You called it nonsense bullshit, IIRC (and I'm just being nice by saying IIRC, because I am R-ingC).
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

 

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #3
I call the whole notion of room "treatments" being constantly parroted as a panacea, BS.
It is almost automatic on every audio (Home and Studio) forum now, for someone, often unsolicited, to tell others that room "treatment" products are mandatory for "better" sound.
I find the evidence for the "better" sound to be lacking in vigor...and far more a sighted, expected, personal preference being expressed, despite whatever Toole, McGill et al have found. Bass "traps" being one form of "treatment", specific for LF of course.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #4
There has been some potential for more than one topic to go sideways as of late.

Let's do it here instead, OK?

Remember this is HA.  It should be expected that all replies be subject to our TOS.


Room acoustics vary all over the place and can strongly affect sound quality. They can also be very difficult to quantify and idealize.

Any concept or parameter can be overemphasized.


Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #5
I find the evidence for the "better" sound to be lacking in vigor...and far more a sighted, expected, personal preference being expressed, despite whatever Toole, McGill et al have found. Bass "traps" being one form of "treatment", specific for LF of course.

Just move your equipment to a very 'live' room (like most bathrooms are) to experience the most live end of the scale. That kind of liveness is probably not what you want. The very other end of the scale is when you listen to music with (open) headphones, then you get a very dead sound, because there's no room acoustics at all. There's probably an optimum somewhere, that's personal preference. I happen to like a very dead room, as close to headphone listening as is possible.

Beside being live or dead, rooms can have resonances. Those resonances 'amplify' certain frequencies over others. This is what bass traps are for: partly to deaden a room, but more specifically to eliminate certain resonances. So, they do not only deaden a room, they make the frequency response of a room more even. That's why one would need bass traps.

Of course, it could be one likes such resonances. In that case, you do not need treatment. However, most people do not like them and prefer a more even frequency response, so treatment would be an improvement.


Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #6
I also happen to like a mostly dead room, some of the best listening rooms I've been in have had lots of soft furniture etc. to really suck up reflected sound, so that's the metric I go by. A completely dead room is no good, but any reflections etc. should be evenly attenuated, any reverberation should be very brief and controlled. I also prefer near-field listening and headphones FWIW, but the louder you play, the bigger the influence from the room.

As anyone with one or more subwoofers have found out, placement is crucial in order to tame standing waves. But there's only so much you can do with placement alone, especially since some of the optimal positions end up being non-optimal in relation to furniture etc.

So that's where bass traps in particular come in, to tame the nodes where standing waves create a peak in the frequency response, which is a lot easier than trying to cancel out an antinode where the sound is 'sucked' away. You can do this with EQ as well, but then that affects the entire listening room and not just the problematic area. Room correction software can only do so much, and it works best if you give it a good (acoustically sound) room to work with.

Mischaracterizing room treatment as a panacea to all problems is obviously wrong (there's only so much you can do by focusing on a single parameter), but going in the complete opposite direction and claiming it completely worthless is even more disingenuous. No, I don't have a double blind test to beat you over the head with, but as anyone who has ever heard any kind of music in more than one location can tell you, acoustics mean a lot to the overall sound. The room and the speakers have to work together to create the overall sound, and if one of those is lacking, it drags the whole thing down.

Obviously the ideal solution is to construct the room to be as acoustically ideal as possible from the start, but very few people have that kind of resources. Properly treating a room after the fact is maybe not 100% ideal, but it's a hell of a lot less expensive.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #7
...to tame the nodes where standing waves create a peak in the frequency response, which is a lot easier than trying to cancel out an antinode where the sound is 'sucked' away....

"Node" is a contraction of "no displacement", i.e. a null and an antinode is the opposite, where two waves add to maximum effect. I'm not entirely sure I'm reading your explanation correctly but do you have them the wrong way around? It's a very common misconception that a node is a point of maximum rather than minimum.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #8
Room acoustics vary all over the place and can strongly affect sound quality. They can also be very difficult to quantify and idealize.

Toole, Olive, McGill et al, had no such difficulty with the audible consequences and can easily meet TOS #8.
"Studiophiles", rely on tried and true audiophile sighted, biased hearsay, beliefs, elitist snobbery and personal attacks on research scientists(link)...the opposite of TOS #8.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #9
There's probably an optimum somewhere, that's personal preference.

Is that how the peddlers and shills frame the situation?

I happen to like a very dead room

Sighted or blind?

So, they do not only deaden a room, they make the frequency response of a room more even. That's why one would need bass traps.

What makes them optimum compared to gradient bass/multiple subs/eq, etc? Where are the blind tests of their efficacy?

However, most people do not like them and prefer a more even frequency response, so treatment would be an improvement.

TOS #8
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #10
No, I don't have a double blind test to beat you over the head with

Then read TOS #8 audiophile.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #11
Room acoustics vary all over the place and can strongly affect sound quality. They can also be very difficult to quantify and idealize.

Toole, Olive, McGill et al, had no such difficulty with the audible consequences and can easily meet TOS #8.
"Studiophiles", rely on tried and true audiophile sighted, biased hearsay, beliefs, elitist snobbery and personal attacks on research scientists(link)...the opposite of TOS #8.


As you needlessly point out, not everybody is Toole and Olive. They don't perfectly agree with Winer. But they seem to share from the same basic sources of reliable information.

McGill is usually taken to be the name of a university in Montreal, not an acoustics authority.  https://www.mcgill.ca/

It's perfectly obvious to me that there's a difference between the view points of all three men, and many of their critics

The measurable and audible effects of the influences and structures that they work with are more useful and reliable then that of say the purveyors of magic cables, exotic speaker drivers and crossovers, or acoustic balderdash such as acoustic structures that are too small to be acoustically significant.


Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #12
...to tame the nodes where standing waves create a peak in the frequency response, which is a lot easier than trying to cancel out an antinode where the sound is 'sucked' away....

"Node" is a contraction of "no displacement", i.e. a null and an antinode is the opposite, where two waves add to maximum effect. I'm not entirely sure I'm reading your explanation correctly but do you have them the wrong way around? It's a very common misconception that a node is a point of maximum rather than minimum.


Durr, my mistake. You're right, of course.

No, I don't have a double blind test to beat you over the head with

Then read TOS #8 audiophile.


There's no need for harsh language and name-calling.

But honestly, if you need a double-blind test to notice the changes in sound with different subwoofer placement, I'm not really sure how to reply to that. If anyone thinks the differences are so small as to need double blind tests to verify that there actually is a difference, I am very sorry to hear about their complete loss of hearing and feeling. Nulls and nodes (thanks for the correction, antz) are pretty much immediately obvious.

And Toole et. al. agree with this, because it is pretty much the most basic fact of all when it comes to speaker placement and acoustics. The funny thing is that Ethan Winer seems to agree like 99% with Toole et. al., yet because he disagrees (not even fully!) on one particular specific subject (early reflections), you decide to blow it all out of proportion. Not cool, man.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #13
As you needlessly point out, not everybody is Toole and Olive.

Right. As Greynol and I needlessly need to point out, TOS #8 is the difference here. Studiophile believers like Winer dismiss controlled blind tests in favor of sighted, biased woo beliefs, whenever it suits them/their business model.

McGill is..

https://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=110109
You should read it here like Ethan has. Then continue to apply denialism all you want.

It's perfectly obvious to me that there's a difference between the view points of all three men, and many of their critics

Me too. Two of those men are research scientists who rely on blind tests for supporting evidence, one isn't. The "critics" fall along the old believer divide.

The measurable and audible effects of the influences and structures that they work with are more useful and reliable then that of say the purveyors of magic cables, exotic speaker drivers and crossovers, or acoustic balderdash such as acoustic structures that are too small to be acoustically significant.

Red Herring. TOS #8 still applies and thus we can expect nothing more from believers.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #14
But honestly, if you need a double-blind test..


Read TOS #8 audiophile. This has nothing to do with "my" needs.

Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #15
But honestly, if you need a double-blind test..


Read TOS #8 audiophile. This has nothing to do with "my" needs.


Again with the pointless and rude name calling. It's rather insulting, to be honest.

Keep writing your screeds, I'm sure someone will read them. I'm going to a concert.

So there, you've won. Congratulations, I hope it makes you happy.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #16
Again with the pointless and rude name calling. It's rather insulting, to be honest.

Moan and dance all you want, but I find belief trumping science to be the far bigger insult. Fully expected that TOS #8 applied to a subject of belief like "treatments" would result in crying and diversion, rather than any DBT evidence. Still waiting.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #17
It's perfectly obvious to me that there's a difference between the view points of all three men, and many of their critics

Me too. Two of those men are research scientists who rely on blind tests for supporting evidence, one isn't. The "critics" fall along the old believer divide.


Take Toole's book for example. While a few DBTs are cited, the vast majority of its contents are based on sighted evaluations.

Toole's shufflers are among the very few extant tools for doing DBT's involving acoustics. They represented an investment that very few could fund.

The constant whining about anybody's lack of room acoustics DBTs seems therefore seems to be more deflection than thoughtful criticism.


Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #18
Take Toole's book for example. While a few DBTs are cited, the vast majority of its contents are based on sighted evaluations.
Toole's shufflers are among the very few extant tools for doing DBT's involving acoustics. They represented an investment that very few could fund.

Toole et al (lots of references) evaluations are mostly sighted?? Arnold, adding two sequential,  incredibly dumb statements together, don't sum to a smart one. Worse when things are already linked: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=16640.
Oh but please continue your shuffling, I enjoy it. 

The constant whining about anybody's lack of room acoustics DBTs seems therefore seems to be more deflection than thoughtful criticism.

Coming from the self-anointed godfather of ABX..... 
Loudspeaker manufacturer

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #19
But honestly, if you need a double-blind test to notice the changes in sound with different subwoofer placement, I'm not really sure how to reply to that.

Not just differences, there are double blind test protocols for establishing preferences.

This forum relies on both.
Why should the subject in the topic title deserve a pass?  That certain "authorities" appear to support the need for bias controls for most other things isn't a compelling argument.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #20
Take Toole's book for example. While a few DBTs are cited, the vast majority of its contents are based on sighted evaluations.
Toole's shufflers are among the very few extant tools for doing DBT's involving acoustics. They represented an investment that very few could fund.

Toole et al (lots of references) evaluations are mostly sighted?? Arnold, adding two sequential,  incredibly dumb statements together, don't sum to a smart one. Worse when things are already linked: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=16640.
Oh but please continue your shuffling, I enjoy it. 

The constant whining about anybody's lack of room acoustics DBTs seems therefore seems to be more deflection than thoughtful criticism.

Coming from the self-anointed godfather of ABX.....


Just insults. When you have some reliable evidence...

Fact is I was re reading Toole a few months back and was struck how much of the evidence could and was gathered using sighted evaluations.

One of the greatest audio pioneers was Helmholtz. Cite just one of his DBT  tests. He's the rule, not the exception.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #21
That AES paper you just quoted doesn't count as reliable evidence?
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #22
  • Clearly it's impractical for the vast majority of people to put together the equipment to conduct fast-switching listening tests of *any* type involving real room acoustics
  • Even recording the sound in a room before and after treatment (e.g. binaurally) to provide samples for a listening test would be a lot of work for a small payoff although may be useful if anyone felt like doing it
  • Treating even a small room can measurably affect decay times in different audible/midrange frequency ranges by several tenths of a second
  • Either by measuring pink noise within the room or mathematically calculating the reverberant component of the sound power level, treatment can be demonstrated to reduce the level of the corresponding frequency ranges within a room by several dB
  • It's well established that this order of magnitude of change in frequency balance can be perceived


Of course, reverberation isn't the same as just increasing the level (and becomes even more complex if the decay curve isn't linear) so if anything any changes caused by room treatment ought to be *more* perceptible than a simple level change of certain frequency ranges would be.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #23
I happen to like a very dead room

Sighted or blind?

Sighted, of course. You expect me to have an personal preference based on blind tests, when conducting such blind tests is non-trivial? Does it even matter? I clearly stated it is my opinion, right?

So, they do not only deaden a room, they make the frequency response of a room more even. That's why one would need bass traps.

What makes them optimum compared to gradient bass/multiple subs/eq, etc?

Nothing. Application is obviously very specific to a room, so depending on the room, I'd think multiple subs could be a better or worse solution depending on the room.

However, most people do not like them and prefer a more even frequency response, so treatment would be an improvement.

TOS #8

Sure, you're right. I can't prove that. I can just say that I prefer not to listen to my music in a bathroom, that's all. It's just that I've never come across someone who does, but indeed, that is no proof.
Music: sounds arranged such that they construct feelings.

Bass Traps and Other Treatments: Why so frequently assumed necessary?

Reply #24
Since I already said something to the same effect earlier, I doubt the following will discourage similar posts like that which was made two posts back; but alas, I'll try it again...

NO ONE[/b] is saying treatment can't make audible differences. The point of interest is whether expressed preferences are ever backed by bias-controlled testing.

The only test brought forth so far doesn't support what the lot of you are espousing.
Is 24-bit/192kHz good enough for your lo-fi vinyl, or do you need 32/384?

 
SimplePortal 1.0.0 RC1 © 2008-2020