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I suspect that most serious music lovers with a keen interest in HiFi would dream of having their own dedicated listening room; for me at last this is about to become a reality.

Over the next few months I will be regularly updating this blog to keep you all informed of progress and give you some insight into the planning and construction process.

The thought of building my own room has been percolating through my mind for several years since I realised that my current room shown below was probably the biggest factor holding back my system's performance. The room is certainly far from bad which is surprising given the almost square proportions, but the offset position of the speakers helps to an extent as the room modes are not excited evenly. The real issue is that it is a shared room that we also use for television viewing and my wife and I chill out in different ways with her watching TV and me listening to music, so scheduling time can be difficult.

We are lucky to have a relatively large annex built behind the adjoining double garage which was serving as my office and a spare guest bedroom. This space was relatively under utilised so afforded the opportunity to build a largish space that is acoustically isolated from the remainder of the house. My first step was to build a room plan using MS Visio to give me a view of proportions and placement of items in the room. The room will still serve as my office so needs to accomodate a desk and chair and may also accomodate the occasional guest so a sofa bed is also required. Retaining some form of guest accomodation was critical to the domestic sign-off process...

The final plan is quite simple, but was arrived at after several iterations where I considered angling walls to break up the modal response. Having modelled these scenarios using the Cara Room Acoustic Design software it did not make a huge difference so I opted for the simplest construction with the acoustic performance tuned later using panels and soffit bass traps. The experince of using Cara was interesing in itself as the illustration of modal patterns and the effect of room dimensions and surface absorbtion was facinating. I have included a snap-shot from Cara of one of the more dramatic modal patterns which occurs at a frequency of 148Hz.

With the planning complete, construction (well demolition actually) commenced in late April with the removal of the existing stud walls and dry lining revealing a new empty space ready for the new build. This turned out to be the first potential show-stopper when my wife realised just how much space we had created and began to dream of a new kitchen... after a few conversations I am pleased to say that the longer term plans of extending the dining room into a 'garden room' with adjacent conservatory prevailed and the music room was saved.. phew!

I will be undertaking all of the building work myself with the exception of plastering, so need to fit this around my work and other social activities. I have a solid 3 weeks planned in July when most of the major build will take place, but I am currently working on the walls to get a bit of a head start. In this final picture I am checking the levels of the new wall and door frame with a laser level.

In the next phase of construction the old ceilings will be removed and replaced with 2 layers of acoustic plasterboard separated by a layer of 'Green Glue' acoustic isolating material. This will help keep the noise transmission to the remainder of the house down to an acceptable level.

That's about it for now, but in future updates I will provide full details on the electrical and networking design and the impementation of various acoustic treatments.

Views: 639

Comment by Tom Tom Audio on May 20, 2014 at 10:20

I enjoyed my tour of the new 'space' Dave and I'm looking forward to helping you bring this exciting plan to life. It is a very rare opportunity to work literally from the ground up when optimising a system for a client and this is going to be a fascinating experience.



Comment by Scott Brown on May 20, 2014 at 17:30

Looking good Dave! If the thought that is going into this translates into final results, this is going to be a very special place for listening to music.......have you decided on your demo tracks? Would love to compare notes with you on that topic!

All the best,

Comment by Dave Burke on May 20, 2014 at 17:48

Thanks James and Scott - I'm certainly hoping all the planning and work pays off! With regard to demo tracks -

London Grammar - Hey Now for the sustained low bass notes.

Rush - Tom Sawyer as I have used this track in all the listening Pete and I did when comparing active systems.

Probably some Alison Krauss - not sure what tracks yet.

I'll think about a complete list over the next few days.




Comment by Tom Tom Audio on May 20, 2014 at 21:34
I have another one for your list Dave in light of our shared weakness for Scandinavian female singers:-

The self titled debut album by 'Sumie'

Comment by Dave Burke on May 20, 2014 at 21:58
I'll check it out James. Thanks for the tip off!
Comment by Dave Burke on May 20, 2014 at 21:59
CD bought...
Comment by Tom Tom Audio on May 20, 2014 at 22:06
It has your name written all over it mate.

This is just so hauntingly beautiful
Comment by Scott Brown on May 22, 2014 at 10:53


London Grammar - Hey Now is one of my favourite demo tracks too. I found I had to do something about my windows rattling when we listened after the Scalas were set up.

I also like:

Blues Company - Dark Days (for me a good check on how realistic symbols sound)

Depeche Mode - Welcome to my world (to check soundstage)

Pylo - View (because I love it and it is one of the few hi-res tracks I have)

All of the above are well recorded too  in my opinion.

Bet you can't wait!


Comment by Dave Burke on May 22, 2014 at 21:25
Thanks for the advice on demo tracks Scott. I've bought the new Depeche Mode album to give it a spin and will sample the others you suggest. The walls will be finished over the weekend and I plan to take the old ceiling down on Monday so progress is being made.

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