Room Correction Event with Manny LaCarrubba – January 28, 2016
By Larry Deniston, SFAS Director of Membership Support
For the January 28, 2017 SFAS event, we had the pleasure of having Manny LaCarrubba* as a guest speaker. Among his many talents, Manny is an expert in music and sound recording as well as acoustically treating and setting up listening rooms and home theaters.
The event began with an overview of the updates to Leslie’s listening room and equipment, followed by Manny discussing in more detail the work he did to optimize the sound and frequency response in Leslie’s listening space (see below for a listing of the equipment and the results of the optimization). The discussion then evolved into the multi-faceted science of room treatment and digital sound correction.
To provide an in depth discussion of the topics covered during this event would require a text book; the following are bullet points of the topics discussed during this quite interesting event:
- Absorption vs. diffusion.
- Room modes
- Multiple subwoofers. (Subs are necessary!)
- Sound measurements of the bass and bass management.
- Manny’s preference for absorption on front, back and ceiling walls and the use of diffusers on the side walls (of course every room is different). Manny generally does not believe in absorption at first reflection points.
- Speakers with broad dispersion characteristics sound better than strongly directional speakers.
- Placement of speakers is critical, the closer to walls, the more reinforcement in some frequencies yielding nodes and a less flat room response.
- Completely flat response doesn’t sound very good. A slight downward slope of the room frequency response sounds better (see first frequency response graph below).
Room treatment and sound correction are topics that are on many audiophile’s minds and this event helped provide some clarity into those topics. Manny did a great job of explaining his craft and kept the attendees engaged. The members asked a lot of questions and got some very good answers. At the end of the event the attendees were treated to a demonstration of the fruit of Manny’s labor experiencing the full force of what can be achieved in a high-end, high-fidelity home theater set-up. To quote Leslie, “My bottom line impression of the system and what Manny put together is that it sounds so real and so good at high volume levels that I’m actually afraid that I’m going to damage my hearing. For those who doubt that you can have it all, I can confidently say that it is equally excellent for two channel and surround.” Excellent afternoon all around!
Leslie’s equipment list:
Frequency response curves:
* Grimani Systems cofounder, Manny LaCarrubba developed the principal acoustics technology of the revolutionary CinemaOne Audio Ensemble, the Conic Section Array™ waveguide. Manny’s work in this area started in the mid 1990s, he then founded Sausalito Audio to commercialize patents related to this work. This intellectual property has been integrated into commercial products manufactured by Bang & Olufsen of Denmark.
Earlier in his career, Manny spent a decade as a staff and later chief engineer at famed Sausalito recording studio, The Plant. His music engineering credits include tracks and albums for Santana, Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, Kenny G, Mariah Carey, and many more. He also designed some of The Plant’s seminal recording rooms.
Manny earned a Bachelor of Science in Tonmeister Studies from State University of New York at Fredonia. He holds several patents related to loudspeakers, and he is a member of the Audio Engineering Society (AES).
Manny lives in Marin County California with his singer/songwriter wife. For fun he does a little music production work, practices kung fu and yoga, and drives his car at unsafe speeds.