Standing Room Only

Standing Room Only

Standing Waves. What are they? Why should we avoid them when designing a home cinema room? And, how do we avoid them?

Sound travels in waves. The length of the wave depends on the frequency of the sound (actually it’s the other way round but let’s not split hairs!), and when that wave hits a hard flat surface it is reflected. Speakers set up “in a field somewhere in Hampshire” offer direct sound from the speakers to ears. There are no reflections from walls, ceiling etc so no sound comes back to you a second time from a rear wall. The sound waves are clean and undisturbed. Place the speakers in a room and chaos is created.

Home cinema screen with blinds closed

Wave Source

If the distance from the wave source to the hard surface is just right then the reflected wave will cancel out the original wave at certain points and increase the wave at other points. This is a standing wave and when evident you will notice areas of a room where a certain frequency is minimal and then in other areas that same frequency is exaggerated. For example, a sub woofer creating a standing wave will cause points within the room where there appears to be no bass and other points in the room where there is too much bass.

Our job at Seven Integration is to design a room for you that minimises the chaos and the cause of standing waves, within the constraints of your aesthetic requirements. We do this by using recognised ratios of room length, width and height when designing a home cinema room as well as (when possible) avoiding parallel walls and incorporating a sloping ceiling.

Our Advice

Some simple advice that you can use in your room at home is to avoid hard flat surfaces. Book shelves, pictures, recesses and chimney breasts all help. Soft furniture and bean bags strategically placed are also a great tool.

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