Home » Audio » Home Theater » Furniture influence on sound
Furniture influence on sound [message #87603] Wed, 28 March 2018 20:50 Go to next message
lush is currently offline  lush
Messages: 16
Registered: March 2018
Chancellor
I have a sectional couch in my home theater room. A friend of mine came over earlier today and said that those kinds of couches distort sound patterns. Is that true?
Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #87611 is a reply to message #87603] Thu, 29 March 2018 09:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17269
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

No, in fact, it will help damp the room.

What causes problems are large solid surfaces, which act as reflectors. They're especially bad if they're between the listeners and the sound source.

Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #87613 is a reply to message #87611] Thu, 29 March 2018 13:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Quest01 is currently offline  Quest01
Messages: 14
Registered: March 2018
Chancellor
Wayne Parham wrote on Thu, 29 March 2018 09:38

What causes problems are large solid surfaces, which act as reflectors. They're especially bad if they're between the listeners and the sound source.




That's interesting. Does that mean that coffee tables are generally a bad idea? If the speaker is above the large solid surface, would a table still be considered in between the speaker and the listener?
Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #87617 is a reply to message #87613] Thu, 29 March 2018 15:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17269
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

That's right. One of our most common and useful pieces of furniture is problematic: The coffee table.

There are a few things you can do to mitigate the anomalies it creates:

1. Place it to the side of the listening area instead of right directly between the speakers and the listeners. A couple of end tables beside the listeners is better acoustically than a coffee table in front of the listeners.
2. When a coffee table in front of the listeners is desired, use one that is as small as possible. Limit the flat (reflective) surface area.
3. Place books and other things on it to diffuse and "soften" the reflection.

Directional speakers can also be used to reduce the problem, but the truth is that most speakers (even directional ones) lack control in the vertical.

Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #87638 is a reply to message #87603] Mon, 02 April 2018 14:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
lush is currently offline  lush
Messages: 16
Registered: March 2018
Chancellor
It's crazy how common coffee tables are despite how problematic they can be. Thank you for the tips. I could definitely make do with a couple of end tables instead of my coffee table, and I have enough books around my house to help soften things up a bit. How big is too big for an end table? Or does that not really matter so long as they aren't directly between the speakers and the listener?
Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #87640 is a reply to message #87638] Mon, 02 April 2018 15:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Wayne Parham is currently offline  Wayne Parham
Messages: 17269
Registered: January 2001
Illuminati (33rd Degree)

End tables beside the listeners don't reflect nearly as much to the listeners as a coffee table placed in front of them.

It's pretty easy to visualize the effect if you think of the incident of reflection and picture how much glare you'd have if the table were a mirror and the speakers were spotlights.

Picture that for a minute. Imagine that each main speaker was a bright light and that the coffee table had a mirror laying flat, face-up on the table's surface.

What you would see when facing the speakers (lights) was the coffee table (mirror) would be almost as bright as the mains (lights).

Just like the mirror creates a glaring reflection that's nearly as bright as the mains, the sound reflection from the coffee table is also very strong.

So you effectively have another sound source coming from the coffee table, and it is slightly delayed because the path from the speakers to the table to your ears is slightly longer than the direct path. The delay is actually the problem - The interaction causes comb filtering which adversely affects sound quality.

Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #87651 is a reply to message #87603] Mon, 02 April 2018 21:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Khanman is currently offline  Khanman
Messages: 21
Registered: March 2018
Chancellor
You know, I've asked myself many times why I even have a coffee table. It's pretty much just a glorified footrest, at least in my place. It's not all that big, but considering that it has nothing on it, it probably hasn't been doing me any favor sound-wise. I guess it's time to get rid of it. Would a bookshelf below a speaker cause issues?
Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #87657 is a reply to message #87651] Tue, 03 April 2018 00:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
J.Jacobs is currently offline  J.Jacobs
Messages: 16
Registered: March 2018
Chancellor
Khanman wrote on Mon, 02 April 2018 21:20
You know, I've asked myself many times why I even have a coffee table. It's pretty much just a glorified footrest, at least in my place. It's not all that big, but considering that it has nothing on it, it probably hasn't been doing me any favor sound-wise. I guess it's time to get rid of it. Would a bookshelf below a speaker cause issues?


That's pretty much what my coffee table serves as too. I'm assuming that you're talking about having a mounted speaker above a bookshelf. Is that what you meant? If it is, how far does your bookshelf stick out? I'm not sure if it would matter, but you never know!
Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #88347 is a reply to message #87603] Thu, 05 July 2018 21:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Junior is currently offline  Junior
Messages: 37
Registered: July 2018
Baron
What about a room where the sofa is behind a wall and the TV is mounted on the opposite wall? I have a friend whose apartment is set up this way. The sound is not comfortable to listen to, is that because of the walls?
Re: Furniture influence on sound [message #88644 is a reply to message #87603] Thu, 09 August 2018 17:50 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
JazzHog is currently offline  JazzHog
Messages: 33
Registered: July 2018
Location: Leeds, England
Baron
Go for large, comfortable squishy sofas. Not only are they comfortable to lounge on, but they will not have a detrimental effect on the sound either.
Previous Topic: Hiding The Cables
Next Topic: Window Panes Breaking With Loud Sounds
Goto Forum:
  


Current Time: Fri Oct 19 03:07:51 CDT 2018

Sponsoring Organizations

DIY Audio Projects
DIY Audio Projects
OddWatt Audio
OddWatt Audio
Pi Speakers
Pi Speakers
Prosound Shootout
Prosound Shootout
Smith & Larson Audio
Smith & Larson Audio
Tubes For Amps
TubesForAmps.com

Lone Star Audiofest