Dealing with Early Reflections and Bass Acoustics in Small Rooms



Illustration courtesy of


Frequent readers of this site know that I love getting under the hood on the latest research in acoustics.  I came across a recent article on that I wanted to share with everyone as it hits squarely on some key aspects that all audiophiles should care about.

Many music lovers and audiophiles oftentimes don’t fully appreciate a basic adage, that your room is an important part of the acoustics.  Room acoustics are so influential that some have rightly referred to the listening room itself as kind of speaker or driver.

Dr. Floyd Toole of Harman International has long been considered the expert on the acoustics and psychoacoustics of loudspeakers and rooms.  Indeed, his pioneering research has been foundational in  helping advance our understanding about the interactions between these two.
Gene DellaSala of has written an exceptional article that goes in-depth on this topic and helps bring some of Dr. Floyd Toole’s and Harman International’s research into a succinct overview for the average music lover.
In the article, Gene talks about selecting the right kind of speakers; outlines the differences between different listening environments (small rooms vs. large rooms); the hits directly at some of the conventional wisdom about whether its better to absorb or diffuse the first reflection point; and ways to get the best bass in your listening environment.  Gene summarizes some of the latest research on the topic and offers some great, practical advice on how audiophiles can take advantage of all this to improve their listening experience.
If you’re serious about getting the most from your entire audio setup then I strongly recommend checking this article out.  It’s a great read.