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dbowker
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Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?

I've been reading most of your articles on your site and I was wondering: Do bass waves (in general) pass through anything not truly solid (like a table or a cabinet)? Like for instance would they mostly go right though a sofa? I'm curious as to whether one could put some bass traps behind a sofa or chair for instance. I know upholstered furniture can reflect and absorb various frequencies (mine is fabric BTW and not at all overstuffed) and I have about 6" behind it and the wall where some bass traps could be discretely placed, if of course they'd do anything back there.

Thanks for the help. I ran your test CD with my new iPhone frequency meter and got some very interesting results! I did not have the time to do it absolutely thoroughly, and I may have had the volume up a bit too far because by the end I was feeling a little nauseous, and my dog was beginning to run around the house growling, hahaha.

Elk
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?

Bass both travels through a lot of materials and goes around objects (the degree depends on wavelength). Bass traps behind furniture and other things work well.

I'm sure Ethan can and will refine my general understanding with particulars.

ethanwiner
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?


Quote:
I'm sure Ethan can and will refine my general understanding with particulars.


Actually, that about sums it up. Anything thicker than 1/8 inch plywood can be considered to more or less block bass waves. But as you said, waves also go around.

--Ethan

dbowker
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?

Thanks guys. So Ethan, are you saying that I could in fact theoretically put a bass trap effectively behind a sofa with only about 6-8" behind it and have it work?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?


Quote:
I know upholstered furniture can reflect and absorb various frequencies (mine is fabric BTW and not at all overstuffed) and I have about 6" behind it and the wall where some bass traps could be discretely placed, if of course they'd do anything back there.

What are you trying to accomplish? If this is the only spot where traps will exist in the room, you're probably wasting your money. You would almost always be better off treating the typical locations within your room (corners, room junctions, midway into the room) before you place traps behind your listening position.

If your ears are only 6-12" away from a hard reflective surface such as most walls, you are probably hearing substantial amounts of reflected energy and bass traps won't solve that problem. You would do more good, IMO, with diffusion to the rear of your sofa. Placing an absorptive trap too close behind you could make the room sound rather dull.

Then you will have to decide whether a 6" trap will even get down into the range where your room needs help. Having some bounce off the rear wall would give you a bit of help if bass traps are what you really need but it doesn't sound like you have room for that in this location.

dbowker
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?

Good points, although my sofa is not my listening spot, an arm chair is (and not up against a wall). I was just looking for potential spots for modification or improvement. I might try a more diffusion based approach for behind the sofa as you said. Actually the room is pretty good as it is, but based on some recent analysis I can see some areas needed some help.

ethanwiner
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?


Quote:
So Ethan, are you saying that I could in fact theoretically put a bass trap effectively behind a sofa with only about 6-8" behind it and have it work?


That's not my first choice for a few reasons. Bass traps do the most good in corners, so the corner at the bottom of the wall where it meets the floor is usually a good candidate. But whether that works for you depends on the type of couch. So an open frame couch with minimal mass will not block much sound from reaching a bass trap in the floor corner behind. But a full size couch with lots of heavy wood will block and reflect making the trap useless there.

Is WAF an issue for you? If not, traps in wall-ceiling corners are excellent, and just as good as any other corners. If you can post a photo or two that will help.

--Ethan

dbowker
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?

"Is WAF an issue for you?"

Yes indeed- and don't get me wrong, as the person who actually bought half my system for me as various presents, she's the best. But room tuning would definitely be an area of heavy resistance. How about more stealth products like a wall mounted trap with a printed canvas painting/image?

ethanwiner
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Re: Question for Ethan: Does bass go through furniture?


Quote:
How about more stealth products like a wall mounted trap with a printed canvas painting/image?


The problem with acoustic panels is not so much the appearance of each panel, but that you need a lot of them. So no matter what color you have, or what fancy art is on the front, you still have to look at a bunch of panels.

In this case canvas would work okay for corner bass traps, but not so well flat on the walls at reflection points. The best way to hide treatment is to simply build fabric walls on a stretch frame, but that's very expensive. As I always say:

With acoustic treatment you can have effective, attractive, or affordable. pick any two.

--Ethan

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