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Need Help With Acoustic Treatment For Critical Listening In My Basement


My basement has always been the music room of the house. It’s just a happy mess of fun stuff designed to enjoy music and spark creativity. It’s also the home of an eclectic collection of beer signs, vinyl records, old video games, a pachinko machine, and lots of guitars. But it’s also a sonic mess.

It has a concrete floor covered with short carpet. The walls and ceiling are all drywall with a low ceiling and enough nooks and crannies to mangle any sound wave. There is a non-functioning brick fireplace with some fake logs and an orange light bulb for ambience. There are also 2 recessed fluorescent light fixtures in the ceiling.

My band used to practice in the basement all the time. We don’t really practice any more since we play every weekend. Now we just learn new songs on our own and try them out at the gigs. I have also recorded a few albums here, and will continue to do so. But I no longer record drums here. We actually have a large conference room at work we can use that sounds way better for live drums.

Since I used to have drums in the basement, and loud amps, I do have a lot of foam on the walls a ceiling. I was trying to cut back on cymbal wash, and also make it easier to use vocal monitors without feeding back with the sound bouncing around, etc.

But now I would like to improve the quality of the acoustics in my basement and get it to the point where I can start to do some critical listening. Specifically, I’m trying to learn more about mixing. However, I don’t know anything about room treatments. I either need to learn, or find someone who can help.

My understanding is that I will need to do more to the room than just putting up foam. I’m sure I’ll need some bass traps, among other things. I also know that speaker placement and where I sit is important, I just don’t know where that is or how to figure that out. I do have a Behringer ECM8000 measurement mic and a copy of Room EQ Wizard, if that will help with gathering info and making decisions.

I have a pair of Yamaha HS8’s, and a pair of HS5’s, as well as the corresponding Yamaha sub. I also have an old pair of JBL 4208’s. I’d like to figure out what speakers best fit the room, and if I should use the sub or not.

I’m attaching a layout of my basement with dimensions, along with a 3D image and a couple of photos. I’m currently set up at the fireplace end of the room. Most of the basement has a ceiling height just shy of 7 feet. There is an area just right of where I’m currently sitting that is a little cubby with a 6 foot ceiling. That’s where I keep my stereo and records. I know this area causes a lot of problems with the low end. You'll see in the map with the measurements and also in the 3D image that there is a hallway on the other side of that cubby where the bathroom is, and another little storage nook. That leaves a large opening at the side of the main room near the back that leads to that hallway.

The two pictures show the fireplace wall, and the cubby. FYI - On either side of the fireplace, there are cabinets built into the wall. I can cover those up if need be. I'm also including an image of the first test I did with the measurement mic. I put the mic right where my head would be if I was sitting and listening to the speakers. I have no clue if I did the measurement correctly, though. I was about 6 feet from the fireplace, so 1/3 of the way into the room.

I’m really hoping to make some improvement to the sound of my basement and learn something in the process. I would appreciate any help or advice anyone can give me.









Best advice I can give you is to contact GIK Acoustics and give them your room specs (like you have above) and what your budget is. One of the GIK guys will put together something for you and help you out. That part is free. At least it was when I did it and I believe it still is.

GIK helped me a lot with my room. I have a 17' x 14' den in the middle of my house so I sent those measurements, where I thought I would place things (drums, baby grand, mixing station) and what my budget was. They came back with suggestions on how to better place my drums, piano and mixing station, what type of bass traps, panels, and clouds I would need and it worked with my budget.

I highly recommend GIK. I was really happy with my room after it was all done.


As crucial as room treatment is, the best bang for the buck improvement and first thing I might do is buy the MathAudio's amazing RoomEQ. This is high end room correction that maintains phase behavior. It's 100$ and another 50$ for a Dayton measurement mic. Takes 20-30 minutes for the process. You load it as a plugin. Audirvana is a great sounding music player that loads plugins. It's also zero latency making it awesome for live sound. Good Luck


I don't know. I know there are several folks who preferred it to Sonarworks (I'm not sure which version)


Power User
Ready Acoustics did a room analysis using a sketch of my room. I did the skecth in Google Sketchup, sent it to them. They returned the sketch with their recommended roo treatments in place.

I followed their design and I love it!

These pics show most of my studio.

The 2 HF panels on the right are now up to the correct height. I added "legs" to them so I can easily move them to access the window.






Power User
IMG_3247.jpg IMG_3246.jpg Treatment is pretty expensive. I found this site to have some inexpensive solutions and ordered bass traps and wall dissipators from here. I even have few pieces left over because I felt the room is treated enough to suit my taste.

For critical listening the most important formula is the placement of the side pieces, and possibly the overhead. I treated my room to jam my guitar thru a PA but I also have desktop monitors for mixing.

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