Do you prefer a "hard" or "soft" floor?

Discussion in 'Listening Spaces' started by Chris Brown, Jun 29, 2017.

  1. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I am curious how many here prefer a hard floor vs a soft floor.

    To be clear, I am talking about how the floor that you stand on connects to the ground. I'm not talking about carpet vs wood floor or anything like that. I define a "hard floor" as basically a concrete floor, perhaps with a layer of solid wood and/or carpet on top but no hollow spaces whatsoever below your feet when you are standing on the floor. A "soft floor" would be any case where you are standing on any amount of hollow space under the flooring, such as typical wood framed floors. Any part of a house/apartment that isn't on the first floor would be a soft floor for example, but in many places the bottom floor is a "soft floor" also.

    The main variable, to me, is in regards to the bass. Heavy bass can shake a soft floor, but can't really do much to a hard floor. To some, being able to feel the bass via the floor is a critical component of the low-end. Those same vibrations can also result in unwanted noise however, as furniture and other objects in the room are rattled. With a hard floor, pretty much the only bass you feel is what is conducted to your body (and maybe your seat) from the speaker/sub via the air. It can sometimes result in the bass seeming more tight and clearly defined, but you lose out on some of the effect that the bass has.

    Feeling the bass through the ground can be significant enough that some use "Bass shakers", otherwise known as "Tactile transducers" in their system specifically to shake the ground and mimic the results of a large subwoofer.

    What do you prefer, and why?
     
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  2. asilker

    asilker Bible Reader Subscriber

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    Very interesting question.
     
  3. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    I would say if you can feel the floor shaking, you have bigger problems than getting your sound right.
     
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  4. Chris Brown

    Chris Brown AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I'm not sure what you meant to imply by this. Bass transferred to the listener via their physical connection to the ground is hardly an uncommon or exotic event, and certainly does not indicate a problem. Also, this thread isn't about trying to get anything to "sound right". I know people with both types of flooring that are quite satisfied and would argue that there is nothing wrong with their listening environment. I'm simply curious about other member's preferences.
     
  5. Poinzy

    Poinzy Super Member

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    I get very well-defined bass with my concrete floor covered with a thin, loop-weave rug. Every auditorium or symphony hall I've been in has had a concrete floor with a thin rug fastened to it in, some places, for comfort. But a concrete floor isn't a practical option for livingroom listening. My studio gear is in a basement. When I go upstairs, I just deal with the wooden floor.
     
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  6. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    I have lived in homes with concrete slab covered with tile and homes with plywood sub-floor covering crawl space. My current home is the latter and has both carpet and hardwood floors. IME, both types can be made to sound good. In the concrete floor home, I used soft furniture and speaker stands. I also pointed the speakers straight instead of toe-in to minimize cross talk. I couldn't completely eliminate slap because that is the nature of hard flat surfaces but at least the sound fit the room. I much prefer my carpeted living room. There is no floor coupling. The room is remarkably echo free which means secondary reflection is not a problem. I have the advantage of having an acoustic (popcorn) ceiling. I have never felt the floor shake. I have felt sound in my lungs and finger tips but that is the extent of non-auditory sensory cues on offer in my soft room.

    BTW, I have been in homes where the floor moved noticeably under foot. That is a real problem.
     
  7. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    I have some gear out in my workshop, which is all concrete. The front room that is sort of a work in progress is also all concrete. Currently neither has any flooring material beyond the bare concrete floor, the front room is all insulated and has the wallboard up though. The walls are basically a false wall inside the concrete block, put up strictly for insulation, vapor barrier, and drywall hanging purposes. Ceiling is still open but stuffed with insulation. The roof above all that is also concrete. Imagine a fallout shelter, and thats pretty much what it is. My bedroom upstairs is wood floor with plaster over concrete on 2 walls, the other two walls are plaster interior walls. No insulation anywhere, the floor is bouncy enough that my 23 lb dog jumping a foot to get on the chair will make records skip.

    The concrete flooring is a lot more "dead" sounding compared to the bedroom. I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way, but you don't get echos and peaks in the sound caused by the flooring resonating. Bass is far tighter but the highs tend to be harsh just for lack of anything to absorb them. Once the room is done I'll have something on the floor and some furniture and whatnot that should help with that considerably. The workshop with the bare concrete walls is far worse with the harshness than the room with insulation and drywall on the walls.
     
  8. cgutz

    cgutz AK Member

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    I remember for a while in the 70's, there was a speaker "device" that was a plate that coupled to a solid wall or floor. The whole floor then became the subwoofer, kind of a "sensuround" type thing.

    Never saw one, but would think a non-solid floor would have provided more resonance for this type of bass.
     
  9. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    Friend of mine had one of those but intended for car audio uses. I seem to recall it being built kind of like a speaker, but instead of the coil driving a cone, it moved a weight. The base of the thing bolted to the floor, and it basically "pushed against" the weight, turning the floor of the car into the resonator. It sounded horrific, but it was a real good way of finding all of the loose panel screws.
     
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  10. mkane

    mkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    No slab on grade here. Were in the sticks and getting concrete here was a real chore so, we opted to build on a perimeter footing
     
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  11. 70'sAudio

    70'sAudio Where it All Started for Me Subscriber

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    We are remodeling Our Living Room(25'x 15') are thinking of using VCT Flooring........designs only limited to One's Imagination.
    Our House has Wood Sub-Flooring(soft)......
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Love the Color Choices that are Available.....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ,Mike.
     
  12. onwardjames

    onwardjames Hoardimus Maximus Subscriber

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    My listening area is a concrete driveway turned into an add on room. I rather like the solidity.
     
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  13. virak

    virak Save the vinyl!

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    The Fabric nightclub in London has a "bodysonic" room with 400 bass transducers mounted under the floor. I'd prefer that ;)
     
  14. mhardy6647

    mhardy6647 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  15. maxhifi

    maxhifi Super Member

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    I prefer concrete, with a thick layer of carpet on top to control reflections. My dream would be to have the interior walls of my living room be something non-resonant like red brick, or at least plaster over concrete filled block, however that really doesn't reflect the reality of how houses in Western Canada are built.
     
  16. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    In planning stage of replacing floorcovering in basement that was flooded. Had close loop carpet, overkill glued to concrete. Considering interlocking vinyl plank that will be free floating. A thin underlayment sheet will keep it from sticking to glue.
    Think it will become a bright sounding room. Bad thing.
    Yes it is a hard floor. My sprung LP12, nor any other Turntable has had any footfall bounce. Good thing.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2017
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  17. ragtopolds6

    ragtopolds6 Active Member

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    the whole first floor of my house is ceramic tile..i feel it helps in so many ways with the sound..imho
     
  18. bigx5murf

    bigx5murf Super Member

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    My house is only one floor, most of it is carpet, some of it is stone tile.I may not feel much bass through the floor, but I can feel it in the walls anywhere in the house when both my subs are going off.
     
  19. dave1701

    dave1701 Active Member

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    I like carpet. The less reverb, the better.
     
  20. Bobbyjack

    Bobbyjack Member

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    We have slab on grade with pad and commercial closed loop carpet in the listening room. It sounds pretty good to me and no foot fall problems with the Thorens TT.
     
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