August 8, 2010

Cube rooms have bad bass

Do cube shaped rooms have bad bass? The idea is that a room having all the same dimensions will have very bad room modes as they will be the same between opposing wall pairs, thus reinforcing each other. Let's see if it's true, using the FRDC room simulator. This won't prove anything for every single room, but it will show one example.

Here are the results of all the rooms:

The red line is a 3m cube room - you might think it's the worst, but actually it gives the best result! Even better than a typical room of 5 x 7 x 2.7m, shown in black.

The rooms simulated are:

1. 3 x 3 x 3m with speakers 0.6m clear of walls and the listening position centred on the back wall.
2. 4 x 4 x 4m with the speakers 1m clear, listening in the same spot
3. 5 x 5 x 5m as above
4. As above but with the listening chair 1m into the room
5. 6 x 6 x 6 with the listening chair 1m in from the rear wall and speakers 1m clear of walls.

All of these results are good except the standard room! It has a large wide dip that is not easily fixed. It is far too big to EQ and acoustic room treatement will most likely do little to solve it. This room will make a beastly sub sound wimpy compared to it's potential. It will be lacking punch.

The 5m cube looks good until we start moving away from the rear wall. We start to see a dip in the upper bass range. Generally it is better to sit away from walls for imaging, so this arrangement suggests multi subs.


Cube rooms are not necessarily bad for bass. Bass in a room is more complicated than that. This is just a snapshot. Things will look different in a real.

There are a few different factors here:
  • size of the room (very small and very large rooms are very different to most)
  • where you sit makes a big difference
  • where you place bass sources changes everything
  • room construction varies
The main point is this: cube rooms aren't necessarily bad for bass. They may in fact be better than a room you expect to be good. Don't assume anything.


  1. Interesting but I'm afraid is not very useful. I never seen a room 6x6x6 meters. It would be better if the simulation was made with a fixed hight of 2.80 meters...

  2. You're right, it's not practical, however the point is testing an idea. People often comment that a cube room is the worst of all possibilities. What I've shown is that it's not necessarily the case. I may later cover some more practical spaces.


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