Here's our home's (updated) music library room. It's about 18 by 24 feet in length with built in bookshelves on each wall.
We designed the room so that it would serve our audio purposes as well as be a place where you would want to go and hang out rather than an audio only man cave. We painted the walls with a lighter tan color from Benjamin Moore and stained the trim & baseboard with a dark Walnut Minwax gel stain. We just had the plantation shutters installed which has really helped break up some of the front reflections from our windows, not to mention blocking an annoying street light in front of our home. Drapes in front are linen drapes from Restoration Hardware. Finally, I constructed a bunch of OC 703 2" thick acoustic panels and covered them with a burgundy fabric from Joanne's and placed them in the front corners and 4 off the tray ceiling. It made worlds of difference, the room was very echo prone, but now its a great blend and not too dead. The panels along with the thick wool carpet tamed the room just fine.
The electrician ran 2 dedicated lines during the build, one to the McIntosh MC 402 and subwoofers and one to the equipment rack. No noise, hum, or ground loop problems thank God. Amplification is provided by a McIntosh C2300 tube preamp and MC 402 power amplifier which provides more than enough juice for the Avalons. The REL 212 SEs now sitting on a pair of Auralex platforms replaced a pair of B2 Britannias. The RELs sounded excellent in our old room as well as in this one. I replaced a VPI Classic 2 with a Classic Signature bundle (with the SDS speed controller) and a Stillpoints record clamp...amazing how much difference the Stillpoints clamp made. The Audio Research Ref 2 phono SE has taken the place of a Manley Chinook which was a fine component in its own right but cannot compete with the ARC piece. Interconnects throughout are Wireworld Gold while speaker cabling is by way of a pair of Wireworld Silver. Power cabling is Shunyata Alphas all connected to a Shunyata Denali power center.
Thanks to all the members on here for advice during the build and to my lovely wife who loves the room, but has told me that if she has to help me build or hang one more acoustic panel, she will serve me papers!
Thanks for the comments.....I’m gonna get some new pictures up as soon as I get a couple more Shunyata power cables that I have on order, gotta clean up some cable mess. Also will add some pics of the new dCS Rossini stack.
Cool system for sure. Would love to hear those Avalons. The plantation shutters are a great idea that more people should try. And a note to anyone else considering them: if they are open-pore wood, so much the better. That will add a small amount of absorption to the dispersion they already provide.
Thieliste - Oh it would be just fine. My Avalons aren’t the most efficient speakers and your Thiels need a lot of power as well. The 250 can play loud and smooth with no strain whatsoever. I think you’d be fine. Another thing is the 250 seems to be in the sweet spot of the lineup.....I’ve read some reviews giving it an almost tubelike midrange while still retaining the character of a SS amplifier. It’s expensive, but you’d have to spend a lot more to better it most likely. BTW, I was coming from a McIntosh MC 402 which is a fine amplifier in its own right, but we’re at a completely different price point here. It is significantly better than the 402 as it should be for the price!
Had an opportunity in late February to visit Buck and see is beautiful home and great system and share great music, food and time with fellow audio nuts. System sounded amazing and he's added more since then.
Buck and his wife and family are the most wonderful hosts and the house is filled with great feelings and love of life and music. It was a great day...
cymbop - The REL 212s are just as good as advertised, especially in a stereo configuration, I have to trouble getting smooth clean bass down in the low 20s. The RELs also do a great job of getting that "room pressurization" that you can really feel, they're that good. I came from a pair of Brittania B2 which were excellent as well, the 212s have more power and more headroom, but if you're familiar with the REL subs, you'll enjoy what they have to offer!
Updated pics with the Avalon Isis in burled walnut that replaced the Eidolons. Also new pics of the Dan D’agostino Momentum amplification that replaced the McIntosh gear. I am pretty much done for now!
System edited: Have just made a major upgrade without actually purchasing any new equipment. Last week I had Jim Smith from Get Better Sound (the Jim Smith that you all may be familiar with who does the room play/voicing and gives lectures at the audio shows) perform his room setup on my system. I'm fortunate enough to live near him on the north side of Atlanta, so he came to evaluate first and then made an appointment to set up. First off, the results were outstanding, for anyone skeptical of how big a difference it can make, I can't imagine any type of equipment upgrade (within reason of course) that could have improved the sound as much as setting everything properly.
Here's a quick synopsis: We began by measuring the distance at which we would achieve the best and flattest bass response for the listening position. He then used multiple laser levels to measure distances between walls to find the center points of the room walls etc. He was so precise we actually measured speaker placement in all planes including toe in to less than 1/16 of an inch. The dual REL subs were the last step in which we measured placement and phase in multiple postions and in 360 degrees for both subs. Sub volume was the final step. He was over for at least 8 hours, I know that sounds simple, but believe me, the precision made it anything but simple.
Anyway, my wife who doesn't care at all about this stuff couldn't believe the difference, she said it was no comparison (and just for the record, Jim told me that my setup was pretty good to begin with compared to a lot of rooms he's done). Anyway, if anyone has any questions in more detail, post here and I'll answer as best as I can, but suffice to say that room setup is just as important as other components in the chain. Also, just for the record, he doesn't know or didn't ask me to post a review about this.
Hey Sean.....honestly don't know 100% what they are....I have 2 taller fake trees in the corners I got from Garden Ridge....they look pretty realistic. The shorter one's are various house plants that take lower light from Home Depot. I've already managed to kill 2 of them!! Anyway, I thought adding some greenery would look nice instead of the sparse look that I've seen in some of the photos here. I like more of the cozy relaxed (pottery barn/restoration hardward) look I guess.
I've got a REL Gilbralter G1 mated with my Eidolon Diamonds. The Diamonds I will live with forever, but the REL gives me that 20-28Hz response I was missing in my room. They mate perfectly with the Avalons. Seemless.
I've got both of them set really low, I believe the next to highest "A" setting which is around the high 20s. It took me awhile to get them integrated nicely with the Avalons, I had them crossed over way too high at first and would get quite of bit of boominess. Once I lowered the crossover and turned the volume up, they really give clean deep bass. Its most noticeable on orchestral recordings and those with not a lot of "obvious" bass....and then something kicks in way down and you can almost feel the pressure in the room. It's pretty awesome. It's the first time I've been able to understand RELs philosophy of room pressurization. I will say the subs are great, but the Avalons are ridiculous good.
System edited: Added a couple of new pictures of the listening room.....only equipment upgrade recently is the pair of REL B2 subs. Added some plants to the front of the room, makes it look much more finished and comfortable.