Advanced Acoustic panels room treatment panels and bass traps review

Room order

When it comes to room acoustic there are many schools and even more or less strict followers.

Even among hard core audiophiles there is always a bit of tension when subject matter of room acoustics is opened.

It's a delicate subject since not everyone can afford to redecorate or remake a room with acoustical treatments. In one hand there is a matter of funds and on the other many of us music lovers have to share our living spaces as listening environments. How many of you out there dare to say that you don't need your wife's or girlfriend’s approval?

The foolish of the greatness

There are few really amazing listening rooms out there. They are either well planned while constructing the place or rebuilt later on. I have been lucky enough to hear music in few of them.  Some of those were nicely designed, but acoustic benefits were not exactly that evident. It was more of the luxury high-end show off.

First encounter

Advanced Acoustics’, Shaun kindly provided panels and bass traps for review. Since I was in the middle of the moving my listening space into new dedicated listening room, it was a great chance to try the room treatments in two completely different settings.

First installment

My living room is more spacious and in a way easier to control the sound. With it being a large space bass is somehow easier to control than in a dedicated room.

The Advanced Acoustics Corner Orbis Free Standing bass traps are cleverly and simply designed. I used to make my own traps from car industry machine cut circle shaped foam, but making them stand upright was always a failure.  Advanced Acoustics have used simple idea, but it both works well and looks elegant. Floor stand is a half circle and half triangle (tear drop shaped) glossy finished 25mm MDF that fits nicely in the desired corners. It’s around 1.5 meter in height and it dispatch the bass impact quite nicely for both floor-standing speakers and monitors that use wall oriented bass reflex chamber tube.

For the ceiling Advanced Acoustics produces a light weighted pair of panels that you simply hang onto already prepared small metal hooks called the Wall Sound Trap Panel, which can also be used on the ceiling. I loved the thinking behind it since this option allows screw or floating wire mounting. Both of the panels are used for the speaker’s  first reflections.

No brainer here and an effective solution. You just have to place them half distance between your listening position and speaker, so that sound is actually captured by them.

Wall panels were even easier to set up, using the Advanced Acoustics Symphonic-r Acoustic Panels. You can simply hang them on the nail or in wall screw and voila. Again, the distance should be half way between your speakers and the man in charge :).

I managed to "shape" the sound of the living room with good results and with easy setup. Corner bass traps helped with the bass and Sonus Faber Guarneri Memento's lower bass was even more controlled and focused as before.

Midrange seems to gain a bit more clarity. It felt like vocals were more natural and shaped closer to their real lifelike presence.

Hi-hats and specially the rides are some of the most bulletproof indicators for of the coherent high spectrum. Advanced Acoustics panels helped to shape a clearer picture of them and resulted in a more focused representation. I just love to torture any object under review with few good old analogue vinyl from 50's and 60's. Charles Mingus is a master of diverse percussion installment and I liked the breathing of the music with Advanced Acoustics panels in place.

Second installment

I had to choose between the living room, a shared space that offered more controllable room acoustics, and a dedicated listening space with quite few tunings ahead. The new listening room had a few benefits from the start like all wooden ceiling and textile floors, but it also presented harder to control bass. This room is far wider than its deep. This means an instant problem for bass boom effect. First and second reflections are still manageable with a little tweaking, but lower register will be affected without a second guess.

In my listening position I set my wife’s favorite old one seater couch that is a massive object. This helped a lot with so called standing waves and with the combination of Acoustic Preference Maestoso 2.0 inverse bass traps I managed to cure this to the great result. Now the Advanced Acoustics Corner Orbis free standing bass traps could operate with the desired result and help in the controlling of that nasty direct bass energy normally coming from the back of the woofer tube.

Changing my reference speakers from the Sonus Faber Guarneri Memento's to Acoustic

Preference Maestoso 2.0 revealed few more things to deal with. While Memento's are truly great speakers, they are still monitors and still Sonus Faber. What? Are you becoming a heretic I hear some of you say as I type? Not at all. I still have love and respect, but honestly we all know of a certain company inherent frequency bumps. This suits some music and some people. I'm trying to avoid those sweetening’s in favour of the music and a purer sound. It's much easier to combine great listening system with the components that holds linearity in them from the start. It's a nut job arguing about ultimate transparent high-end component (go listen to the live music instead). We can rather start matching the system with as linear chain parts we can afford or we have time to spend exploring.

Marjan and Davorin of Acoustic Preference spent many hours fine tuning the Maestoso 2.0 speakers with great results. This was also one of the motives for me to actually move to the new dedicated reference room. Maestoso 2.0 are not only great, but excellent enough to start building system around them. Combination of the Advanced Acoustics room treatments and Maestoso's not to large speaker drivers had a big part in helping me create the desired room sonics.

In combination with gorgeous looking, hand made and extra eco friendly Emelie Fras Organic Acoustic panels and Advanced Acoustics room treatments the room sound started to evolve towards a balanced nature and what is most important to me is music that is more life like. Recently we exchanged few thoughts with good friend Razwan of Amplitune UK and we discovered same passion and direction in the way we wanted our rooms to reflect music. With life and emotions! You can easily kill the room with over endeavouring and simply damp it too much. Some people still think that rugs will resolve everything, even seasoned audiophiles. Room treatment takes time and for some it is an art itself. A few days back I replied to one of the most common emails, where people ask me to advice in the matters of audio. I don’t feel like some sort of guru, but I'm public person and always like to help if I can. Anyhow, this audiophile almost fainted when I said that there is no problem with leaving some of the wooden floor uncovered. He felt that his highs are being damped to much and that is what exactly over damping can do. Be careful and use your ears as guidance. Everything you read and see is not set in stone. Thanks God for brains they say.

Advanced Acoustics’ panels took the major role in treating corners to avoid bass amplification and correcting first reflections. I found with a lot of tweaking, that two of the side panels helped with side wall reflections in a big way. Not having to deal with the massive bass impact of what normally comes from the back of the speakers the other panels could now deal with other room reflections and delays.

Fine tuning

Achieving the perfect room acoustics in a dedicated listening is more or less always a work in progress. With the growth of the system and even a little system correction the sound of the room will also evolve and change.

It's very important that we have means and products that are modular, flexible and easy to move and make new arrangements.

Advanced Acoustics panels offer a cost effective solution for both novice audiophile and experienced music and gear enthusiast. They are easy to install, remove, reposition and can be ordered in desired colour to meet the room aesthetics.

This is a recommended product and effective in helping to achieving a more controlled sound in your room.

Matej Isak: text & photos
Mono & Stereo high-end audio magazine
February 2011, All rights reserved

Left side panel
Left side panel
Left side panel and bass trap
Bass corner trap
Bass corner trap and wall panels
Right bass corner trap and right side panel
Right panel for first reflection
Rear wall panels close up
Rear wall panels close up
Bass trap close up
Bass trap and right panel close up
In company of Maestoso 2.0 speakers from Acoustic Preference