Most likely not by much but could compromise there diffusion quality with fabric. I would contact RPG they have a large line of possible fabric choices and should guide much better then taking pot luck.
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The fabric may sag or wrinkle over time, it certainly did with my tuning panels. Furutech did not help me at all..
An email exchange with Furutech
Me: I bought a pair of RWL-1 tuning panels five years ago and have the original boxes/packing. Over time the silk material has wrinkled and sagged (I suppose gravity is doing its thing). Can you repair this cosmetic flaw somehow or replace the panels for me? They're unusable as is, I'd be happy to email you pictures.
I am sorry to hear of the problem you are experiencing with the room tuning panels. If possible, please email us and image of the sagging silk cover, so we can have a better understanding of the problem.
Me: Thanks for the quick reply, attached please find a picture..
I am afraid not much can be done about these wrinkles. It is a special silk, so applying water would only make it worse. However the effectiveness of the panel with not be diminished by the wrinkles in the silk.
Me: I agree with you, I wouldnt try to use water or steam on them. The panels obviously add value in my sound, however looking the way they do now I cannot use them. Given the price of these panels, and Furutechs reputation for first class products I thought you would repair them, or if thats not possible, replace them. Please advise, and thank you.
The wall panels are a discontinued item and Furutech no longer carries stock, but it may be possible to repair the two panels. Unfortunately, as the product is no longer covered by Furutechs one year manufacturers warranty, they would need to be returned to Tokyo at your expense and repair costs charged. Shipping costs for 1 set (2pcs) would be JPY59,450≒USD735 from Oregon USA to Tokyo and repair cost would be advised after the repair is complete. Please let me know if you would like to proceed
Me: That is certainly not what I expected from a premium manufacturer such as Furutech. The only practical solution at this point is to fix them myself; can you provide some instructions/guidance on how to go about repairing the panels?
No response from Furutech
I would paint them. The addition of a fabric cover is not going to really 'hide them' well, being they are white, and you want a dark cover. And making a cover, and a frame etc.. If the cover was enough to really hide them, then it is no longer really transparent to the sound either.
So i say take the time and paint the things.
Cannot be any worse than painting concrete blocks..
Just need patience.
If i were painting the panels. I would start with a coating to seal the material. A waterbased flat paint, some sort of primer. A dark color primer.
You could ask the paint dept at the store what would be a suitable brushed on primer for the material.
Then just use the same paint that is actually ON the walls would be fine.
This warning is on the RPG site:
The Skyline® is fabricated from flame- retardant, high- density expanded polystyrene foam. It is the nature of this material to have rough surface imperfections and contain steam vent holes. Some of these imperfections can be partially concealed by a factory paint process. If you are interested in a painted product, RPG® offers a painted version in Duron Multispec Fine Fleck paint. RPG® does not recommend that the Skyline® be painted in the field and assumes no responsibility for any damage resulting from field painting.
So as long as you use a primer suitable for the polystyrene foam, you are good to go.
(IMO you will have zero problems painting the panels IF you use a proper primer coating.)
Added: the panels are a size for a specific frequency.
If you used the calculations and made panels that were sized for the problematical frequencies in your room, they would be more effective.
If you just Google RPG Skyline, in the first page are a discussion of do it yourself with several lists of the calculations, and referneces to the method of calculation.
If I were to use the theory (which by the way is NOT copywrited for making panels) you could make panels suitable for any room
This comment is more for others interested in these devices...
I would make some out of wood... though that is a very heavy and work intensive process. Other materials might work too.
Making one, and replicating that one in a poured material from a home made casting could be the easiest means of making many of them.
I have RPG skylines that I had RPG paint for me. I do not know if they used any type of undercoating when they paint them but they did use the exact paint that I specified for them that I used on my ceiling - same brand, type and color. By looking at them, I would guess that they use a paint spray gun to do this as the paint is very thinly applied. YOu could probably just call them and find out the specifics of what they do. I would also agree that it would be very difficult to cover them with an acoustic fabric. Covering something with acoustic fabric usually works best if you are covering a smooth, flat surface which as you know is not what an RPG Skyling is. I suspect you would need to do lots of cutting of the fabric to make this work effectively. Painting is the way to go.