The Cardas Room Setup Guide: FAQ: Room Design

A collection of questions we've received over the years about room design

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Speaker Placement

Q.)Hello George,

I have a rear wall in the basement that has stud and drywall enclosures around my water and gas meters. They stick out 30" into the room. One is upper right corner and the other is 2 feet from the left side wall, toward the center, and from the ground up. Would you compensate for these in the calculations using the G.R. speaker placement and if so how? Together they total about 1/3 of the total area of the rear wall.

My room width is 132" and 213" long with an 82" ceiling.

Secondly, there is a closet with no door that I have my components in, 2.5' deep x 3.5' wide x 6' tall, that ends right at 59" from the rear wall. Would this come into play as well?

I have Revel Gems and when I place them according to your calculator they measure very well. Only thing is they are 5' apart. I like everything about the sound with the exception that the sound stage size is very small and "squished".

Thank you in advance for your input!



A.)Hello Chris,

The rear wall things only very slightly affect the sound. I would soften their surfaces. The sound stage is "squished" because you are sitting to far back from the speakers. A perfect stage is achieved when your head and the speakers form an equilateral triangle.

Cheers George

Music Room Dimensions

Q.) Dear George, I am an audiophile based in India and I am in the process of designing my music room. I have gone through your room/speaker set up guide and have reached this conclusion. My room size would be 24 ft x 14.8 ft x 9.3 ft, based on your guidelines. Are these dimensions correct?

A.) They would be pretty close. A Golden Cuboid would be 24' x 14.832' x 9.16' or 24' x 14' 10" x 9' 2". If you are actually building the room, I would suggest tapering the side walls and ceiling a few inches. Increase the dimension of the back wall 4" in height and 6" in width, then connect the front and rear corners. Conversely, you could decrease the dimension of the wall behind the speakers by the same amount.

Q.) What treatments should be done on the floor, ceiling and all four walls? One of the side walls, which opens out into the garden may have French Windows. Is this a problem? Thanks and Regards, Arvind

A.) Soften the surfaces a much as possible. Use thick padded carpet and linen over cotton batting on the walls (or similar). The batting thickness is proportional to percentage of the area covered and shape of room. As a room goes from rectangular to trapagon in shape the thickness required diminishes dramatically. That said, if you do all surfaces, a 3/8" foam pad under the carpet and 1/8" of a fibrous material or foam on the walls (like linen over cotton batting or a thin polyurethane foam) will suffice if you give a little extra in the corners and at the first reflection points. If only half the surface is covered, probably 1/2" foam would be close, with a double pad under the carpet. If only a quarter, then you will probably have to go to more obvious treatments.

At a minimum, the room should be soft enough to eliminate audible slap/echo with the first reflection points padded. In any case, treatment should be the same left to right. It is desirable to have a softer wall behind the listener than behind the speakers. It is desirable to pad the ceiling a little more in a band between the speakers and the listening area. To deal with the French Windows, if they are behind your head you will need to have curtains. If they are behind the speakers and the wall behind you is soft, they are of little consequence, unless your speakers are Dipoles. George

Omni-Directional Speakers

Q.) Dear Mr. Cardas, I've used your room setup calculations for box speakers and later, when I owned Sound Labs, for dipoles. I'm curious if you have any suggestions for setting up omni-directional speakers? I have just purchased a pair of MBL 101E loudspeakers and I am going to place them along the long wall in a 22' x 16' x 8' high room. Thanks in advance for your help, Dave

A.) Hi Dave, The setup of omnis is about the same as box speakers. Box speakers are generally omni-directional in the bass region. The real setup difference for a fully omni-directional speaker is the need for wall damping. The first reflection points should be padded and, if possible, a slight softening of all wall surfaces. Cheers, George

Vaulted Ceilings for Dipoles

Q.) Hello Mr. Cardas, Your website is a pleasure, most recently the "Room Setup" online calculator. That's quite a service you're providing.

I've got dipoles with a vaulted ceiling. The ceiling starts on the left side of the room at 9' and peaks on the right side at 14'. The size of the room is 15' x 22'. What ceiling height value would you use to optimize placement of the dipoles?

Your sharing your dead-on expertise so openly makes a very convincing impression that your products are also a notch above the rest. Very impressive. Thanks and best regards, Gregory

A.) Hi Gregory, The ceiling height equation is not applicable because the ceiling and the floor are not parallel. This is a good situation for the standard formula. Cheers, George

More information on Speaker Positioning

Q.) George, Is there more information about room setup on the cardas website? Thanks, Han

A.) Yes, under the Insights menu, there is a detailed room setup guide. Click here to view our Room Setup Guide. Cheers, George