What are the best dimensions for a sound room?

let’s look at this from a universal perspective. everything being equal, what width / height / length are optimal for music?

shipping containers are 8ft wide, 8.5ft high and 10, 20 or 40ft long. they’re also quite affordable and would be simple to frame / insulate and run electrical into. I suspect two put side by side for 16ft width with a 20ft length would be almost perfect, no?

Shipping containers have a lot of echo (steel walls, who knew?)
So I would worry more about that than dimensions.

I did. My uninformed opinion is that dimensions are of less concern than sound treatment.

did you not see my mention of framing / insulating, etc? it would be turned into something akin a Tiny house, minus everything but the living / sound room, LoL!

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indeed, it is likely far from as easy as I have in my head…but keep in mind this is purely for the enjoyment of listening to music, nothing more. no making or mastering, etc etc.

all with the goal of being low budget, if possible. :wink:

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It all depends on the gear you have. Some speakers need a lot more room than others, they need to be further from the wall, further apart from one another or you have to sit further away for the best sound. It all depends on the gear

I did say universally…so let’s remove the exceptions for equipment from the equation.

how about it be an exercise where we take a 16’ x 20’ x 8.5’ metal bin and turn it into a really nice living room that we listen to music in. hee hee!

There’s no universal answer as all gear is different… but that size you mentioned would be more than decent for most stuff. I always prefer to have speakers as far back from the wall as possible so I’d add a bit more to the length of the room. The height also matters more than one thinks and in the UK we have higher ceilings. Mine are almost 10 foot. That’s pretty nice for the sound.

yes, most people forget about height…but the average home in north America has an 8.5’ ceiling, though that has changed a lot with newer construction.

From a dimensional standpoint, you’re looking to minimize reinforced room modes.
I believe Cubic rooms are the worst, ideal would probably be some combination of dimensions that have a minimal number of common denominators, but I’m oversimplifying.

minimal number of common denominators…so 8’ x 8.5’ x 10’ would be bad?

It’s on the small side, there are probably online room mode calculators.
You really want more width in a room than you think, because most speakers really want to be away from the walls.

Another option would be to put a container either side and then have spancrete panels on top. Then you have more choice than welding two containers side by side.

Thats completely wrong, I can tell you that without a doubt that the single most important starting point for good acoustics are the raw dimensions. If you have poorly chosen dimensions you will fight the acoustic demons forever. and… avoid square and rectangle shaped rooms wherever possible. Avoid containers at all costs, massively bad starting point.

For those of us who, for one way of putting it well say uninitiated, shall we say are unaware, what exactly constitutes a sound room?

basically a custom designed room just for audio listening and sometimes movies, that’s been extensively treated for best possible acoustics. Sometimes its repurposing an unused room in your house for this purpose or building an extension or even a full separate building on your property if you got serious big… speaker energy

Some of the more insane rooms I’ve seen

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As for dimensions, shape and material. I don’t know how much damping you’d have to do to control the structural reverberances of something like a shipping container box but it’s technically possible. (smaller recording studios built for accoustics achieve this with multple layers of plywood, drywall and sheetrock fastened together with an acoustic gel adhesive called Green Glue that converts transmissive sound to heat)

As for shape. No on a box. And if you get a box you need to do a lot of work to create uneven surfaces to catch, diffuse and disperse noise and bass. Book shelves, diffusers (not the accoustic panels) Soft surfaces. Cieling mounted panels all to disperse and shape sound away from hard edges and reflective surfaces. This is all for repurposed rooms.

From my kinda really limited observations the most common naturally fitting shape or architecture of an ideal custom listening room is reliant on a proscenium or staged concept with higher vaulted ceilings if possible. Where there is a good amount of space between you and the stage line where the speakers are, ample space behind the speakers that tapers to catch backwards reflections and vaulted ceilings (also treated) so the sound has room to breathe.
Which if put simply… Is a church. The layout of a church but instead of a priest you got speakers at the altar.

Decware’s listening room looks like a church. The new york brownstone that’s dedicated solely to that dudes custom speakers, the front bay area serves as the taper point. The wooden beams help guide and shape the sound in the high water video. Ken’s DIY audio room (a full separate outbuilding on his property) is tapered at the end.

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so what shape are you saying is preferable?

David Gilmour’s Astoria would be my boaty choice :heart::heart_eyes:


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I’m partial to a room like this. Though I lIve in a 120 year old house and will never afford this