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Author Topic: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?  (Read 2257 times)

Mike Henderson

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Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« on: November 07, 2020, 08:10:07 pm »

Hey guys, I would like to upgrade from old Sony surround system. Main issue in this small one car garage is the bass as I have cabinets, fridge, tool boxes, chairs e.t.c along the 3 walls.

Isn't there some option to get almost equal bass no matter where you sit? I am thinking of having the subs for bass on the walls instead of on the floor or may use 2 powered subs on the floor on opposite sides maybe, any thoughts?

Also, what is a good modern surround system which gives clean highs with which you can run and manipulate playlists from the phone and also bass and volume please?
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2020, 11:08:32 pm »

I thought you had an SB1000 for your garage sub??

Keith Broughton

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2020, 06:39:23 am »

I have a Sonos system in my 20'x20' garage/shop (not a theatre setup)and put the sub up in one corner on a shelf.
The coverage is fairly even but, as it is with bass, the reflections from the surfaces will make nulls no matter where it is placed.
Pick a listening location and move the sub until you hear what you like.
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Mike Henderson

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2020, 06:53:12 am »

I thought you had an SB1000 for your garage sub??

Yes I have a DJ system and a Sony surround system. I get the part of uneven bass due to the room acoustics, just grasping at straws I guess.

One of my friends has the Sonos system in his house but my Sony with a 10" powered sub sounds better to me.

When I get rich I will get a system like this:

https://hifiheaven.net/shop/Klipsch-THX-Ultra2-Home-Theater-System?language=en&currency=USD&gclid=Cj0KCQiAy579BRCPARIsAB6QoIb35akEE2m_Vi888u_bjr6R-wfak0ZozxErB__uFTnojkqfYfz1KRUaArMjEALw_wcB
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George Friedman-Jimenez

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2020, 09:42:47 am »

Acoustic treatment would help but seeking an "ideal" placement of subwoofers is not likely to produce the evenness of bass sound in many locations, as opposed to just at one single listening position, that you are asking for.
The evenness of bass sound at different locations in a room is determined mainly by the standing waves that form in the room due to sound reflecting off the walls and reinforcing or cancelling other sound at any given location. These standing waves are determined by several factors, including frequency of the bass sound, dimensions of the room, shape of the room, reflectivity/absorption of the walls, as well as the factor you are asking about, location of one or more sources of the bass sound in the room (including interactions among them around crossover frequencies). The loudness of the bass source (size of subwoofer) is not one of the main factors in determining the evenness of the sound, just the loudness at a given location. The variation in loudness is often large, tens of decibels louder and softer over several feet of change in location, due to peaks and nulls in the standing waves that form in the room. Smaller rooms tend to have much larger relative variation than large concert halls or outdoor spaces at audible bass frequencies.
Since your garage is a fixed size and shape, and you want to listen to all the audible frequencies, the only two factors you can really control are location of the subwoofers and the reflectivity/absorption of the walls. You could try to optimize the evenness of loudness of bass content of the music over the expected listening areas by moving the subwoofer(s) and main speakers around. This is complicated and not likely to produce a very even result in a small space like a garage, since the standing waves cause what works ok for one listening location to not work for other locations.
The other option is to install enough absorption in the space that the amplitudes of the standing waves will be reduced to acceptable levels. Typically studios and other listening areas use broadband bass traps that attenuate the sound level of the bass standing waves. These work best when placed one quarter wavelength out from the walls, where the peaks of the standing waves occur. Absorbers placed within a few inches of a wall do nothing to absorb low frequencies. Given the frequencies of bass sound (40-100 Hz or even lower), the speed of sound in air (1130 ft/sec) and the resulting wavelengths of the bass frequencies (11-28 feet), your bass traps would optimally be placed 3-7 feet out from the walls. To attenuate bass frequencies they would need to be many inches or feet thick of rockwool or fiberglass acoustic absorption material. Typically they are placed closer to the walls but then are less effective. One useful technique is to place them with six inches to a foot of dead space between the absorber and the wall, so the absorption is located closer to the optimal zone without wasting absorber in space close to the wall where it is ineffective.
This is all an oversimplified description of the acoustic theory that you can find in books and articles on acoustics of sound in small spaces, or that an acoustician would know and be able to apply to your space. Since you seem to be just interested in listening for enjoyment and not for critical professional purposes like mixing or mastering a recording, you can apply these principles in a partial and informal way. You basically want to create a relatively "dead" acoustic space with lots of absorption of the bass frequencies. I have had pretty good results in my basement rehearsal/recording studio from simply placing 4 bales (1ft x2ft x4 ft) of rockwool insulating boards a foot or so out from the walls, plus about 10 absorbers (4 inches x 2ft x 4ft) in strategic locations (mirror reflection points for each speaker for one listening position, clouds on the ceiling, across corners) for higher frequencies. You could probably get by with just a bunch of bales of rockwool insulation, still in its original plastic wrap, and play around with the locations such as in the rafters, across corners, or hung from the ceiling. The bales are pretty ugly and you can cover them with porous fabric to make them look a little better, but in a garage, keeping them clean will be difficult. Depending on how bad the unevenness is now, and your availability of space, time to work on it, and budget, you may want to just settle for the uneven sound.
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Luke Geis

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2020, 12:24:43 pm »

There are two modes of thought on how to fix your issue:

1.) Place a single sub in the ideal location. In your case, this may be in the actual center of the room tucked up against the ceiling ( if your garage has one ). It will be more even, but you will have weaker bass as you get further away from the sub. Room modes will still exist, but with the many large objects and things against the wall, this will be reduced quite a bit. The problem is that it is generally not practical to place a sub in such a spot. In many cases, placing a sub in the ideal location is usually not possible due to the layout of the room and aesthetics. this leads us to option two.

2.) Use many subs placed at the locations of the highest interest. This is an old home theater trick that employs several subs placed where they are needed to fill in the holes. You start with the typical single or stereo deployed subs at the focal point and then wherever you need more sub output within the listening space, you just add another sub at or near that location. The idea is that the saturation of energy from several low-level subs, will even out the coverage ( SPL wise ) in the room and not hinder sound quality too much. I disagree with this approach and feel it is a marketing ploy to get you to buy more subs, but it does work for the purpose of adding sub content to an area that is lacking in coverage. The quality of the sub content is absolute garbage, but if you must.....
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Dave Garoutte

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2020, 12:30:37 pm »

If you're going the treatment route,  This is my go-to. Rigid fiberglas panels.  Easily mounted with fender washers.
If you want them pretty: a light dust of spray paint, or nicer: light wood frame with an acoustic cloth cover.

https://www.acoustimac.com/acoustic-insulation-materials/acoustic-insulation/owens-corning-acoustic-insulation
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2020, 01:32:40 pm »

The idea is that the saturation of energy from several low-level subs, will even out the coverage ( SPL wise ) in the room and not hinder sound quality too much. I disagree with this approach and feel it is a marketing ploy to get you to buy more subs...

Subwoofers in different locations will activate different room modes. If you do the work and testing, you can position them so that the LF response is more even as you move around the room - one subwoofer will fill in the cancellations of another.

I'd consider the above factual, so I'm a little confused about how someone might disagree.

Chris
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Luke Geis

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2020, 07:11:37 pm »

It works, but is less than ideal for great results. If all you care about is the boom at X location, then it fills that box, if you want true to life quality of sound, well it doesn't do that so well. Sure you have what you want, but you still don't get your cake and get to eat it. I guess it comes down to your design goals. Do you want outright quality, or do you just want to have the sound? Perhaps to some, the latter is the same as having cake and eating it too? I still think that it originated as a marketing ploy from some home theater company to sell more subs. It may one of the more realistic and semi truthful marketing schemes, but it is still snake oil.

I guess my point is that it is much more difficult to convince someone to buy lots of foam to place on their wall than it is to sell a couple of extra subs with wire that costs over $100 per foot. Or said more gracefully: It is easier to sell more subs and expensive wire than it is to get someone to engineer their listening space. 
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Chris Grimshaw

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Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2020, 03:19:46 pm »

Luke,

The distributed subwoofer method is based on solid acoustic principles, and works well for bringing a more spatially uniform response, which can then be EQ'd overall to produce the desired results.

It's not just "boom at X location". It's even response at all locations.

You seem to think physics = snake oil, and that just ain't so.

Chris
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Modern Surround Sound "bass" System for Garage?
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2020, 03:19:46 pm »


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