Photograph by Jar Concengco
Culture Music

Building the ultimate listening room

An inside look at the components of a house built around sound.
David Celdran | Feb 07 2019

It’s rare to find a house built around a listening room. Many are built around open-plan kitchens, but none around a listening room. For former Rizal Congressman Jack Duavit, it was the only way to achieve the perfect sound reproduction he was looking for. Before hiring an architect to design his Greenhills home, Duavit was already deep into discussions with acoustic engineer Mike Pedero of Tracks Acoustics. The rest of the house would simply conform to what the two men would agree on.

More than just an audiophile, Duavit is a U.S.-trained acoustician. Building a home from scratch allowed him that rare opportunity to create the ultimate listening room, since there were no limits set by existing walls. In acoustic science parlance, the listening room would have to have a noise floor of 30 db—half the normal levels of most empty rooms.

The structure he built was precisely calculated to eliminate room echo and ensure even bass response. It’s a concrete box 4 meters by 7 meters by ii meters, with the ceiling dropped by 1 meter. The side and front walls were waterproofed, clad with frames, filled with rock wool, and covered with ply to keep the room from ringing at low frequencies. The flooring was likewise waterproofed, covered with an argyle pattern of ply, then covered with engineered wood flooring.

“You can spend millions on the best equipment, but without investing in a good room, all that money goes to waste,” Duavit says. He points out that a good room with simple equipment is much better than having top-of-the-line equipment in a bad room. Lucky for him, he’s got the best of both.

 

Speaker and amplification equipment

Loudspeakers: Von Schweikert Audio VR-9 SE Mk.2s with custom BMW Sepang Bronze finish and custom crossover upgraded with V-Cap Capacitors

Amplifiers: Mid and Treble

Module: Lamm M1.2 Reference on Critical Mass Systems PXK frame/Black Diamond filters Bass

Bass module: Lamm M2.2 on Critical Mass Systems Grand Master Filters

Built in Subwoofers: VSA 1,000w ICE power modules

Analog equipment

Turntable: TW Acustic AC-3 Tonearm: 2 Graham B-44 Phantom with Graham IC-70 cables

Cartridge: Dynavector DRT XV-it and Koetsu Jade Platinum

Motor controller: TW Acustic

Phonostage: Lamm LP2

Equipment rack: Critical Mass Systems QXK frame/Black Platinum filter rack

 

The house that jack built

The first step to audio heaven is a room worthy of the best equipment

01 Crosshatched wood. Broadband absorber and diffuser

02 Airconditioning. Enlarged ducts and vents for noise reduction

03 Wave cloud. Sound diffuser

04 Posts. Tuned Helmholtz resonators

05 Walls. Waterproofed "false" walls clad with frames, filled with rock wool, and covered with ply

06 Bass traps. Custom-made, sound-absorbent sintered aluminium

07 Wood slats. Labyrinth sound absorbers

08 Flooring. Waterproofed layer of ply covered with hardwood

09 Rear wall (upper half). Schroeder diffuser

 

This article originally came out in Issue 1, 2011 of Vault magazine.