Passion of the Hi-Fi: Part II - Dimensions

At the end of April, it will be time to renew the lease on my quaint Kensington duplex. Over the past three years, a cast of typical New Yorkers rotated residency within these plaster walls: stand-up comedians, chefs, and real-estate agents; art handlers and opera singers; venue managers and musicians. Claiming residential seniority over this home of interchanging misfits, it was time to stake claim on the room my system most deserved.

I charged up to Jared’s chamber: “Dude. Today is the day we measure the rooms. We need to know the truth.” Not only did I need to know the room dimensions to find the best room for my system, but as roommates, we needed to reassess the rent prices to set for each room.

With our handy-dandy measuring tape, we unveiled the following room dimensions (LxWxH, rounded to the nearest quarter of a fraction):
- Bedroom One: 20¼' x 12½' x 10½'
- Bedroom Two: 12' x 12' x 7'
- Bedroom Three (my current listening room): 12¼' x 11½' x 8¼'
- Bedroom Four: 7½' x 8¼' x 8½'
- Living Room: 16¼' x 11½' x 8½'

These dimensions were a revelation.

First of all, I had been overpaying for my room for the past three years under the impression it was the largest room in the house. Politely conned by previous roommates, Bedroom One’s sloped walls disguised the actual floor-space available making it appear smaller. These sloped walls also meant room acoustics could be unpredictable. Despite the added floor-space for storage of hi-fi boxes, unpredictable room acoustics were not a risk I was willing to take.

Limited size and physical obstructions hindering my current room made moving into the living room a realer option, but the costs for the additional space would be a consideration.

When I showed JA my room measurements, he noticed the near square shape of my current room and commented, “That will likely lead to some unwanted bass resonances and an overall unevenness in the bass response.” This is exactly what I had been experiencing. Woah. Random mid-bass frequencies were unnecessarily activated through my Usher S-520s. These same units were used in the Stereophile review where JA states, “the S-520s low-frequency alignment has been tuned for clarity and articulation rather than boom.” This is not what I had been hearing.

I then showed JA the measurements of my living room, to which he responded, “Oh wow. That will make you a happy man.” Happiness. Could you imagine that?

Maybe my room has been the problem all along. There is only way to know. The most expensive upgrade I may make is a rent hike, but it’s worth it, right?

Keep Reading: Passion of the Hi-fi: Part III.

Go back to Passion of the Hi-Fi: Part I

volvic's picture

I moved out of a gorgeous pre-war building because acoustics were horrible to a loft space, which greatly improved things, but lost out on valet parking, and new neighbour who vandalized my car.  In the end acoustic improvement wasn't worth the hassle.  

Ariel Bitran's picture

that's quite the tradeoff. 

where's the loft space?

volvic's picture

Several years ago when I was still a bachelor living in in NYC,so no loft space living here, too expensive,  now just an apartment with the wife and a pair of Linn Kan's right up against the wall to maximize on space.  Funnily enough the setup works better here than it did when I was in Montreal, not sure why.  

Ariel Bitran's picture

and reason and theorize about the next move in each problem I solve, a new problem arises. sometimes the theories and best practices are just balogne, and where you are the most comfortable will get you the best sound.

more to come.

volvic's picture

Amen brother..

WillWeber's picture

It may be an improvement over you current dimensions, but still, the length is close to twice the height. So resonances will still bunch up in the bass spectrum. Proceed with caution. Make the measurements with a spectrum analyzer if you can. Best of all, if you have access to setup a test run and time to experiment a bit, try out your system to hear what you get before committing.

good luck, happy listening,