I have a 5 foot wide, 7 foot high opening in the right wall of my 22 by 13 listening room. Would a "wall" of 4 foot high panels such as echo busters across the space help significantly, or would I just be wasting my $'s? Any other ideas? A door is not an option.
It's been a while! I recommended something to close the whole up WAY back when, remember? ;) Anything that will significantly imitate the wall on the other side of the room will work well. Smaller gaps will affect the bass coming from your Mezzos less. The best thing would be to install a pair of solid doors, if you can get Sylvia to put up with such silliness. Heavy solid ones with a recessed panel structure would best mimic the other wall, with its semi-diffractive brick structure on the fireplace.
I've got a similar situation in my current room and the opening is about the same size as yours. Actually my situation is slightly worse because I have 2 such openings, the main one right to the side of my right speaker and the second one, a little narrower, towards the back of the room. My setup in my previous house had virtually no wall at all on the right side.
I find putting absorption on the opposite wall helps a lot but it still doesn't quite balance things out. Even so, it can produce surprisingly good results. I use 13 feet of bookcases a bit under 7 feet high to provide the absorption and a bit of diffusion on the left hand side.
I have experimented with putting a number of things in the opening over the years. It's hard to get anything really big and solid enough to really do a good job of negating the problems with the opening short of actually filling it in entirely. You definitely would need to use something reflective rather than absorptive if you're going to put something there, but I think you'll still end up needing absorption opposite anyway because you won't be able to completely balance the solid wall on the opposite side while some opening remains.
A combination of absorption on the opposite side and some sort of reflective screen or diffusing panel in the opening probably offers the best bet but you can do very well with just the absorption on the opposite wall.
For the price of a few 2x4's and a couple of sheets of sheet rock, you could build a false wall to seal the opening and listen to see if there if much degradation.
If you look at it as a Hemholtz resonator as a side branch in a transmission line as a first approxamation, the room volumne that the opening connect has to be pretty samll to affect the normal listening range.
Having a hole such as you describe is like having a big absorptive panel right there. Putting absorptive panels in place to cover the absorbtive effect of the hole doesn't really do anything.
It wouldn't have to be absorbive. These companies also make, or I could build, panels that diffuse or reflect. Whatever material I get would still leave a foot of open space at the top, even if I got or made 6 foot panels. So the real question is whether it would be enough to make a difference?
But what if you have an absorbtive panel on the other wall. I would think that having equally absorbtive surfaces across from each other would balance the setup better.
This post is made possible by the generous support of people like you and our sponsors: