Does a clap test for room acoustics mean anything?

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fishbones
fishbones Posts: 947
edited July 2011 in 2 Channel Audio
Right now I have my listening room upstairs in a room that is 14x20. It has an arched ceiling (goes from 8'-9.5'). There is an open doorway area along one side that leads to a long bathroom, and another wall contains double slatted-doors for a large closet. It is fully carpeted, has wall-wall drapes on one end, 2 large cushion chairs and a couch (a-lot of sound absorbing materials).


I have always had trouble with placement in speakers in this room and the other day for giggles I tried to see if there was anything I could figure out with a clapping test that I've heard Wilson Audio uses to place speakers - not that I know what the hell I'm doing with it. What I found out was concerning. As I walked around clapping, almost throughout the entire room, there was TERRIBLE reflection noises (echo) bouncing back and forth between the walls. Any of you been in a completely empty home and clap your hands in one of the bedrooms? It's pretty similar to that. It's hard to believe with all the absorbing materials in here?


Now, at the same time, the wifey has been wanting to switch our master bedroom for the listening room upstairs. I was worried about the room because it is all tile flooring, has french glass doors (no drapes) and lower ceiling (flat, 8'). But I'll be damned if I didn't do the walk around clap test and I could barely get any echo at all? It was just a clean clap. There is a king mattress in there, but that's it?


I know some of you will say to buy a room tester thingy, but I don't have money for that right now, and without lifting all this heavy crap, wondered if any of you knew if this carried some weight or not?
..... ><////(*>
Post edited by fishbones on

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  • mhardy6647
    mhardy6647 Posts: 33,355
    edited May 2011
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    yup, you can test for the fast echo in the room - I think that's what they call "slap echo".
  • pearsall001
    pearsall001 Posts: 5,038
    edited May 2011
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    Here's a great site that's full of information on the subject. Nathan is one fellow & there's plenty of other sites to gather more information. Once you understand how a room effects your sound, you're on the right track for awesome playback.
    http://www.realtraps.com/
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "Two Channel:Magnepan LRSSchiit Audio Freya S - SS preConsonance Ref 50 - Tube preParasound HALO A21+ 2 channel ampBluesound NODE 2i streameriFi NEO iDSD DAC Oppo BDP-93KEF KC62 sub Home Theater:Full blown 11.2 set up.
  • stuwee
    stuwee Posts: 1,508
    edited May 2011
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    I'd agree with the wife and switch rooms, then you can carefully add treatments as you go along. Much easier in a room like that then the one you're using now, just my 2 nickels.

    btw, sounds like the master bedroom has better wall bracing and a soild ceiling and floor, it's not that unusual for a home to have different acoustics in different rooms like you discribed, strange but true.
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  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,657
    edited May 2011
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    fishbones wrote:
    Now, at the same time, the wifey has been wanting to switch our master bedroom for the listening room upstairs.
    Without hesitation, I would advise walking up to your wife, hugging her and then giving her the most loving of kisses. Tell her that you will be glad to do what she wants. That you'll be moving the master ASAP......for her, of course. :wink:

    Yes, the clap test works. Many here already know what room your rig should be in.
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • fishbones
    fishbones Posts: 947
    edited May 2011
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    Good to know I'm not crazy...


    Out of curiosity (after I switch rooms), anyone ever try using Duct Board - used for sound deadening for A/C ducts - for room treatments? I've followed on A'goner who did an entire room for $150 (14 large panels) and said it worked amazingly, but I don't know if he's done any comparisons with audiophile-engineered room treatments to know how much, or if, there's a difference.
    ..... ><////(*>
  • Hawkeye
    Hawkeye Posts: 1,313
    edited May 2011
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    I would suggest doing a lot of reading on the pro's and con's of all the different possible solutions. Phil mentioned RealTraps. Ethan has some great info on his site, utilize it even if you don't purchase from him. I have 10 different traps from him and they are by far, the best return I've ever received on an audio purchase.

    JM1, another poster here has taken room treatment to a very high level. I expect him to chime in soon about the benefit of trapping. A five hundred dollar purchase of traps will give you a benefit that would exceed a five hundred spent on gear.

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  • unc2701
    unc2701 Posts: 3,587
    edited May 2011
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    I would say that after speakers, the room has the biggest impact on sound. I find it hilarious to see guys debating $1200 cables vs $3000 cables when their room is full of glass, tile and untreated walls.

    As for the clap test, it is certainly telling for a quick, "is this room crap" evaluation. If you can perceive a difference in the reverb time from one spot to another- you have a problem (or if you just have echo-y reverb everywhere). It also works in tweaking problem spots- very easy to have someone clap right in front of your tweeter while you move around on the couch and position treatments. But shift to music once you think you're close.

    Be careful not to over-treat the room. A dead room is just as bad- makes it feel like you've got cotton in your ears.

    Where it fails is for bass issues, but talking to someone like the guys at RealTraps will help you figure out what to do there.
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  • treitz3
    treitz3 Posts: 18,657
    edited July 2011
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    So, what's the word brother? You moved it downstairs yet?
    ~ In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence. ~
  • tonyb
    tonyb Posts: 32,918
    edited July 2011
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    A clap test in my day ment something totally different.

    Only one way to find out, move the gear in and see how she sounds and go from there.
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  • inspiredsports
    inspiredsports Posts: 5,501
    edited July 2011
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    tonyb wrote: »
    A clap test in my day ment something totally different.

    Only one way to find out, move the gear in and see how she sounds and go from there.

    I was thinking the same thing . . . I hope that room doesn't test positive :biggrin:
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