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Bought a house and moved in, I decided to turn one of the basement rooms into a home cinema. Turns out the room has a lot of echo, way too much to enjoy a movie.

The walls are stone (plastered bricks), the floor is tiles, so all surfaces are hard. As it's a basement room, it only has two very small windows and one door. The room is fairly long (about 4m by 11m). So that is a lot of hard surface to echo from. And I don't have unlimited money left over.

What's a pragmatic way of reducing the echo in this room? Since it's a dedicated cinema room, I'm happy with putting panels on the walls and ceiling, or do whatever else wouldn't work for a living room - as long as it is reasonably cheap even given the size. That excludes most of the special noise-reduction panels that I've found online.

I've already hanged about 2m of curtains on the side walls near the screen, put some empty boxes around the room and some leftover carpet on the floor - to little effect. It probably covers too little of the total surface area.

Would putting styrofoam plates have an appreciable effect? Do I have to cover the ceiling? Is there something I can do with the placement of the speakers (5.1 system) ?

  • I would try to hang curtains or heavy cloth, canvas tarps , etc. to see if that fixes the problem. If it does then you can use that as research to find a more permanent solution. – d.george Apr 17 '17 at 11:06
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    If you search for DIY Perks on Youtube, there is a man that takes bath towels and turns them into sound absorbing panels. They actually turned out really nice and it only cost a few $$'s. These can be hung on the wall around the room and they absorb a lot of the rogue sounds. – Scott Ramboz Apr 17 '17 at 15:13
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    Is the room empty right now? The emptiness of a room is what allows sound waves to bounce around unimpeded from one surface (wall, ceiling, floor) to another, giving rise to that sharp, tinny echo. Curtains won't help much as sound waves will just pass through them unless they're an inch thick or so. Boxes may help by reflecting sound in different directions (scattering). Filling the room with furniture (esp. old wooden upholstered furniture), random junk, boxes stuffed with books and cushions etc. will create lots of irregular absorption and scattering and subdue the echo nicely. – bobs12 Apr 17 '17 at 16:13
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    Sure hope you "hung" rather than "hanged" curtains - dead cloth is bad :-) – Carl Witthoft Apr 17 '17 at 17:07
  • Keeping speakers away from walls and especially away from corners will reduce the "boominess" . In general, I would go with @bobs12 suggestions. – Carl Witthoft Apr 17 '17 at 17:09

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