The first thing you’ll notice about my lounge room is that it’s also an acoustically treated listening space. My preference would be for a more minimalist aesthetic – bare white walls with the odd decorative piece – but this room, like many rooms, sounds one step away from awful when left untreated.

Why? Sound comes out of the loudspeakers as a range of frequencies that bounce around the room like balls on a 3-D snooker table. The amount of time a frequency (or frequencies) takes to decay by 60dB is called the RT60. Left untreated, the RT60 in my room would approach 700ms. And that’s far too high. Acousticians generally agree that an RT60 of 200ms – 300ms is desirable for a room designed for music playback.

At the end of 2021, after several years of dotting my room with acoustic panels from Thomann and GIK Acoustics, I had my 6m x 5m space kitted out with acoustic panels from Vicoustic. We might call this ‘the works’.

The panels mounted to the walls and ceiling help tame reverberation time for frequencies above 250Hz. Vicoustic states in the project proposal that “several authors agree that the average RT for a listening room should be within 0.3 s to 0.6 s in the frequency range from 250Hz to 4kHz.” Skipping out on treating the ceiling would have severely compromised those results.

In the REW graph below, you can see that my Vicoustic-treated room’s RT60 in the 250Hz – 4kHz region is now a reasonably consistent 200 – 300ms. ✅

Darko’s listening room RT60 – January 2022

Bass is controlled somewhat by Vicoustic bass traps placed in the front left and rear right corners but a 35Hz mode still presents. And to avoid loading the room with even more bass traps, I look to room compensation software to tidy things up below 50Hz. I’ve had great success with Dirac running on NAD hardware and Lyngdorf’s RoomPerfect. Note: these software algorithms are no substitute for physical room treatment, especially in the uppermost frequencies.

RUGS

Floors are like ceilings. The hardwood floor space between the loudspeakers and the sofa is a highly reflective surface. But we have to be very careful when drawing parallels between rugs and ‘room treatment’. A rug will not do very much for the most destructive frequencies bounced by the floor to the listener’s ear.

Why not? Sound bouncing off the floor will arrive late to the ear and mix with the direct sound to create a comb filter. Using mehlau.net’s floor/ceiling reflection calculator we learn that with a loudspeaker’s mid/bass driver sat 85cm from the floor, our ear 95cm from the floor and 2.5m away from the loudspeaker, the resulting comb filter’s first and most prominent cancellation will occur at around 300Hz.

And yet according to Acoustic.ua’s Absorption Data, the average rug’s absorption coefficient is 0.08 at 125Hz, 0.08 at 250Hz, 0.30 at 500Hz, 0.60 at 1000Hz, 0.75 at 2000Hz and 0.80 at 4000Hz. At 300Hz, a rug will only absorb 15% of what it receives. The rug won’t be properly effective until it reaches 75% absorption at 2kHz. The most we can hope for from laying down a rug is a little more ease in the treble.

My rug is the Mala from MADE.com:
https://www.made.com/de/mala-teppich-200-x-290-cm-salbeigrun

SUBWOOFER INTEGRATION

I use Room EQ Wizard running on an…

Apple MacBook Pro 2021
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My room measurement microphone of choice is a…

Umik-1 USB microphone
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Connecting the MacBook Pro to the USB input of the DAC/amplifier is a…

AudioQuest Carbon USB cable
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🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3OfGE6e

When no USB input is available, I first convert the digital signal to TOSLINK using a…

Topping D10s (as USB to S/PDIF converter)
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And then I connect the Topping to the DAC/amplifier with a…

AudioQuest Forest TOSLINK cable
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HOUSEPLANTS

I have many houseplants in my room but they are not effective as acoustic treatments. And if they are, they certainly do less than 1% of what a wall-mounted diffusion-absorber panel would do. It’s why I made fun of their usage by audiophiles in our April Fool’s 2021 video.

VIDEO

The second thing you’ll notice about my lounge room as seen in videos filmed prior to February 2022 is that there’s no TV. Instead, a short-throw projector from LG – the HF65LS Adagio 2.0 – fires onto the wall from the top shelf of the hi-fi rack.

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BUT! In March 2022, the LG projector was parked in favour of a 55″ Samsung ‘The Frame’ 2022:

Samsung Frame 2022 55″:
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Feeding the 2022 Frame is an Apple TV 4K, a Google Chromecast and a Xiaomi MiBox S:
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Connecting the Samsung to the TV streamers when they are in close proximity is an AudioQuest Pearl HDMI cable:
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When I need to place the TV streamers along the sidewall, out of sight, I use a longer AmazonBasics braided HDMI cable:
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Darko’s listening room RT60 – July 2022

HOWEVER! The TV switch-up – along with the addition of IKEA ‘sound-absorbing’ curtains and the placement of a large chunk of my vinyl collection beneath the TV – netted some small improvements to the room’s RT60 in the midrange and above:

FURNITURE

The hi-fi rack mentioned – and seen – above is a Hifi Racks Podium XL V:
https://www.hifiracks.co.uk/collections/hi-fi-racks/products/podium-xl-v

Before that I used a Hifi Racks Podium Reference:
https://www.hifiracks.co.uk/products/podium-reference?variant=20696396103742

And before that, a Hifi Racks Podium Slimline:
https://www.hifiracks.co.uk/products/podium-slimline-rack

My attempts at using normal furniture to host audio gear have been short-lived. A pair of sideboards from Maisons du Monde both looked terrific but sounded poor. Their rear panels vibrated when music played at higher volumes. They were…

Maisons du Monde JANEIRO sideboard
https://www.maisonsdumonde.com/DE/de/p/kommode-im-vintage-stil-aus-mangoholz-janeiro-155739.htm

Maisons du Monde LENOX sideboard
https://www.maisonsdumonde.com/DE/de/p/anrichte-3-tueren-aus-massivem-mangoholz-und-metall-lenox-147101.htm

POWER

AudioQuest Niagara 1200
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audioquest-alpha/products/audioquest-niagara-1200-low-z-power-noise-dissipation-system?aff=56088

AudioQuest Powerquest 3
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/products/audioquest-powerquest-3-surge-protector?aff=56088

Dynavox X4100B
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CABLES

AudioQuest NRG-Y2
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audioquest-alpha/products/audioquest-nrg-y2-us-power-cord-1-0m?aff=56088

AudioQuest NRG-Z3
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audioquest-alpha/products/audioquest-nrg-z3-1-0m-us-power-cord?aff=56088

AudioQuest Carbon USB
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audioquest-alpha/products/audioquest-75m-carbon-usb-2-0-cable?aff=56088

AudioQuest Cinnamon TOSLINK
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audioquest-alpha/products/audioquest-cinnamon-optilink-toslink-cable-1-5m?aff=56088

AudioQuest Evergreen analogue interconnect
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/audioquest-alpha/products/audioquest-evergreen-audio-interconnect-rca-rca-0-6m?aff=56088

ISOLATION

IsoAcoustics zaZen I isolation platform
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/isoacoustics/products/isoacoustics-zazen-i-turntable-isolation-platform-25-lbs-max?aff=56088
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3H2xoPU

IsoAcoustics zaZen II isolation platform
🛒 (US) https://www.turntablelab.com/collections/isoacoustics/products/isoacoustics-zazen-ii-turntable-isolation-platform-40-lbs-max?aff=56088

ISOAcoustic GAIA II/III loudspeaker feet
🛒 (US) https://amzn.to/31Qgjtc
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ACCESSORIES

Doorstops
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KAIU vinyl art frames
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LIGHTING

QIUQIAN mushroom table lamp
🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3IAECet
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3Gcy1W9

Flos Bellhop lamp
🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3IzQxJp
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3r146fc

Mathmos Astro lava lamp
🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3FZiZTr
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3tYQRxs

Reliable Corp UberLightFlex turntable light
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LED rope light
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🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3tU8Ipf

BOOKS

Todd Hido Househunting
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Art Sleeves by DB Burkeman
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Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting by Eilon Paz
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VINYL STORAGE

IKEA Kallax 2 x 2
https://www.ikea.com/de/de/p/kallax-regal-weiss-20275814/

Plant roller (to put Kallax on wheels)
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Glorious record box
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VINYL CARE

RAMAR record brush
https://ramar.berlin/en/

AudioQuest anti-static record brush
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Milty Zerostat 3 Anti-Static Gun
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Boundless Audio Stylus Cleaner Brush
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Pro-Ject VC-S2 ALU Record Cleaning Machine
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🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3fXv4Oc
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3rQeRjn

HEADPHONE HOLDING

AudioQuest Perch headphone stand
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🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3nVYQHK
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3tZwXSS

Konig & Meyer 16080 desk headphone holder
🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3Avlk7j
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/3KDTydA

DTAPE DT50 50M Digital Laser Rangefinder
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🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/33HICv2
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ROON / PLEX SERVERS:

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i5BEH
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Crucial DDR4 4GB RAM
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Samsung MZ-V7S500BW SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB M.2 Internal NVMe SSD
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EVanlak HDMI Dummy Plug
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🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3MjNxUj
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Roon Nucleus
🛒 (DE) https://amzn.to/3fS1IRw

MEASURING DEVICE

DTAPE DT50 50M Digital Laser Rangefinder

🛒 (US) https://amzn.to/3KdUX9N
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