Custom acoustic panels with artwork or photos

wilro15

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Jan 19, 2012
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I think there have been a couple of threads on this in the past but I wonder if anyone has any practical experience that they can share?

I have recently redecorated my living room which went from a cluttered, carpeted room with curtains to a minimal, tidy room with laminate floors. The room now has a terrible echo/reverb and badly fails the hand clap test.

My hifi has become almost unlistenable as the high frequency reverb gives me earache and really ruins the sound quality.

I will be investing in a rug or two for the floor, but I am a bit stuck on what to do with the walls. I was hoping to print off some attractive artwork canvases like these and fill the back of them with acoustic foam. However from what I can gather they are printed with an oil based paint which would be just as reflective as my walls.

The good thing about that site is you get a good sized canvas for about £30 - £50.

Does anyone know where I can get acoustic panels with artwork printed on that aren't hideously expensive?
 

MakkaPakka

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May 25, 2013
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http://gikacoustics.co.uk/product/gik-artpanel-acoustic-panels/

I don't think there's anything around massively cheaper. That type of panel (rockwool) will work a lot better than foam.

If you can't breathe through the material then it's going to reflect high frequency sounds back out so canvas prints aren't usually suitable. You might be able to find a printing firm that will print onto a suitable fabric then just make panels yourself.

The problem you are likely to have is that you'd need quite a few to make any appreciable difference - one or two aren't going to cut it. Also, the placement is important - a panel at the first reflection point at the sides will do a lot but one placed randomly becaused it looks nice there won't be as effective.

Unfortunately modern, sparse rooms are terrible for sound. It is very difficult to get rid of the slap echo without puting in lots of absorbant stuff in - I speak from experience.
 

jonathanRD

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Jan 27, 2011
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I have a similar bare room (4m wide by 5m long with laminate floor and bare walls plus a large mirror), and I have also looked at the same canvas site.

But first, I tried moving in my speakers as much as could get away with. They are now 1m in from both the side and back walls and this has improved the SQ - and removed any booming. A rug is the next step (when I find one that matches the decor).

If you can - try moving your speakers in to see if that helps, or/and then add the rugs.

I've got a canvas print which was a present - it was produced from a photograph - I've asked and am waiting to find out where they got the print from . Looking at it, I suspect it will absorb some of the sound waves, it's probably better than a bare wall but how much better I couldn't say. I will find out how much it was as well.
 

wilro15

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Jan 19, 2012
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In terms of positioning speakers they are as far in as they can go (right up against the TV cabinet in the middle) so my options are limited.

I think I have a good idea of where to put the panels based on what used to be in the room before hand. I suppose there is more science to it than that, but other than the trick of using a mirror I wouldn't know where to start.

Here is an image of the room

IMG_0391.jpg
 

wilro15

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Jan 19, 2012
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Damn the image thing doesn't work. This forum software is pants by the way. How do people show images on this site? It doesn't seem to work.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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High freq. are fairly easy to treat, there are kits you can buy for about £100. Bass is more difficult and you need 4"-6" panels to absorb it and room needs measuring to know where to place them.

Wilro have you considered some tapestries on the side walls?
 

RobinKidderminster

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May 27, 2009
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Nice room. But tricky yes! Bass traps are difficult with the door. Position of panel/artwork seems possible tho. U could post query to GIK who will advise. Or mock up some panels to see if they work. My panel cost little as an experiment but I found it of little benefit. I was able to use corner traps.to great effect tho. Personally I would experiment with old carpet and even hanging rockwool just to see its effect. A false wall? How far do you want to go?
Nice room!
 

MakkaPakka

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May 25, 2013
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Rememer that no domestic room is ideal - most of us have similar issues - even if the room was carpeted opposing walls will still give you slap echo.

Personally I would go for a bass trap behind each speaker - GIK's 'off white' fabric is quite unobtrusive and you wouldn't really notice a panel behind those speakers. You can either buy ready made (the 244 panel) or DIY. Something 'soft' at the side of the right speaker (first reflection) would be helpful too as the speaker is very close to the wall.
 

wilro15

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Jan 19, 2012
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Thanks for all the feedback, very helpful. My thoughts had been on putting panels on the right hand wall, there used to be three bookcases there before and getting a bigger rug for the floor.

I actually don't have problems with bass - actually quite the opposite, there isn't enough! The room is quite long, the sofa you see facing the TV sits in the middle of the room. Behind the sofa is the dining room which is the same size as the sitting area.

This means I don't have a wall right behind me so all the bass gets lost in the room. As a result I usually turn up the bass control on the Arcam by +2/+3.

I *think* this also means the echo/reverb is coming from the side and the floor rather than behind.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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wilro15 said:
This looks like it might be a winner: Photosorption panels from Sound Service

That may work but not sure how much they will absorb, but you could always put more underneath it, make sure its at ear/tweeter level though which may look a bit odd at around 3 feet. I would also consider other options like carpets/rugs on the walls with panels underneath, that whats they used to do in the old days, too good to put on the floor.
 

MakkaPakka

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May 25, 2013
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Bass traps don't take away bass - they reduce the reasonance introduced by the room allowing you to hear the bass properly (which can also come across like more bass). You will have reasonance in high and low frequencies - a bass trap like the 244 I mentioned will work, to an extent, on both.
 

MakkaPakka

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May 25, 2013
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BigH said:
That may work but not sure how much they will absorb,

I have panels of similar characteristics in my room - the answer is very little. You could certainly use rockwool panels behind them to make them work better but then you're losing a lot of the aesthetic they're meant to give as you'd need a box frame behind it.
 

RobinKidderminster

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May 27, 2009
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I suggest u get a good understanding of room treatment. Here or elsewhere. Not being rude! My experiments have proved very fruitful for little money. Bass 'light' in room treatment twrms means that bass in particular is not easily absorbed and its reflections cause cancellation. (Think noise cancelling headphones). Bass traps aim to absorb the reflected bass and therefore increases base as well as 'cleaning it up'. A rockwell wall behind speakers might be ideal but clearly aethetics are important so compromise will be inevitable. Good luck
 

andyjm

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Jul 20, 2012
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I bought some rockwool cavity insulation batts (cheapo) and experimented with them before I ordered acoustic panels to make sure I was getting the size and placement right. The batts are pretty rigid unlike loft insulation and can be cut / propped up against the wall to test. My lesson was that you need a lot of them, and they need to be thick to work. A few picture sized acoustic panels are unlikely to make much difference. I ended up covering both end walls with panels, thick carpet with double underlay and large interlined floor to ceiling curtains.

Just to reinforce a point above - taking resonant bass away by using a trap actually results in more bass. I have a dreadful resonance at 160Hz. I use a digital signal processor with a notch filter to cut the resonance - it makes a hell of a difference. Arguably a bass trap would be better.
 

wilro15

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Jan 19, 2012
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@RobinKidderminster I was looking at your completed bass trap project. Do you have a link to the thread detailing how you built it?
 

RobinKidderminster

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May 27, 2009
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+1. My sig suggests some of my experiments. A pack of rockwool, tho can be messy, at £20 allows 4inch slabs in various positions. Corners are best covered but your door makws that impossible. Cloth covered behind your kit could look acceptable but not an easy room to 'hide' treatment. Having said that, the basic shape & layout looks pretty good.
PS. I know nuffin.
But my experimentation has proved very beneficial.
 

RobinKidderminster

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May 27, 2009
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Hi wilro15.
Hope my build gives you some ideas. Essentially I simply cut triangles of 2inch rockwool and piled them up into the corners. Satisfied that they were effective, I built the timber frame and covered it with acoustically transparent cloth. Were it not for curtains I would have made them as high as the front speakers. Ideally they would be floor to ceiling!
The panel trap used thin timber, with steel brackets and garden wire for rigitity. Not convinced in my room that the panel helps significantly I dont use it but it was worth a try.
I have also found recently that changing crossover frequency has had a significant effect. With so many variables I recon the only rule is that there are no rules.
 

wilro15

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Jan 19, 2012
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I must admit to being apprehensive about trying to build a bass trap as my woodwork skills are non-existent. I imagine I would get it done but it would be all wonky and look amateurish.

The alternative seems to be to shell out hundreds of pounds on pre-built stuff.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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wilro15 said:
I must admit to being apprehensive about trying to build a bass trap as my woodwork skills are non-existent. I imagine I would get it done but it would be all wonky and look amateurish.

The alternative seems to be to shell out hundreds of pounds on pre-built stuff.

See link above you can get 2 bass traps for under £40, these are about 3 foot by 8 inches. As said before you can get kits for about £100 that inc. 2 bass traps and many panels for reflections. There was a link in an earlier post can't find it now.
 

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