Room Acoustics - Trying the ZR Acoustics Panels


With the pandemic keeping me in the house much more than I'd like, I decided to remove, replace, retry, and validate all of the various tweaks (including acoustical treatments) I've added to my system/listening room over the years. My conclusion as a result of doing this over many months was that room acoustics was the weakest link. The sound is much more natural and dynamic with all of the RPG BAD panels you see in my listening room photo on the walls and ceiling, but I still hear too much reflected sound at the listening position This is particularly true at higher volume levels. When I replaced the two BAD combination panels behind the listening seat with absorbing panels the reflections vanished but the room sounded completely dead. Note that I do not have any obvious bass mode issues and have not tried traditional bass traps because of the space they take up.
So I decided to try the DHDI ZR Acoustics panels on the wall behind the speakers (initially). The two photos are of one of the ZR panels I just received. I was surprised to see how complex and intricately "carved" they are (see the closeup photo). I have not seen any scientific studies that prove or disprove the "Quantum Acoustics" claims behind the design of these panels. My decision to try them was a function of the large and growing number of well known recording studios and mastering labs that are using them (see: https://deltahdesign.com/portfolio/). My layman's understanding of the science is that the many tiny non-parallel surfaces that you can see in the photo below essentially diffuse air at the molecular level, preventing the formation of reflected sound waves. I don't have to know if the science behind them is 100% accurate or not. There are many other tweaks we can hear working but can't explain the science behind. If my ears tell me that they work that will be enough for me. I will post the results of my experience with these panels. 


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Hey OP,

I’m always on the lookout for good acoustic treatments, but am even more interested if they are reasonably cost effective.

Would you mind sharing your costs?

BTW, they are just using big science words to discuss how diffusion works. All sorts of neat mathematical ways to make diffusion work at different frequency ranges, and in different directions and geometric planes. A lot of it seems weird because the effects seem to rely more on statistics than anything else, and there's a lot of space for innovation that balance aesthetic, space and cost.

Looking forward to your own personal experiences.

Best,

Erik
I made my own acoustical treatment and devices for peanuts cost.... the key factor is listening experiments( 2 years in my case but it was fun)

The results are complete transformation of the performance of my audio system....

NO single design panel is the key solution by itself especially in small room with irregular geometry and topology....If they cost thousand dollars forget them....

But who has enough faith and trust in his own ears to listen and try homemade solutions?

Asking the question is answering it.... :)

To be honest tough, it takes a room dedicated to my audio system only and the esthetic aspect of my devices are not very good.....But the final S.Q. is out of this world and there is no comparison between before and after my acoustical passive treatment and my active acoustical controls devices ( non electronical)....

The system is so good that upgrading a component makes no sense anymore.... Not because my components are the best there is, not at all, they are only good but rightfully embedded and that makes all the difference in the world.....


My best to all....
I have the ZR Acoustics panels on the wall now and have been listening for several days.  In my listening room, even without the minimum recommended wall coverage (sf) they are far superior to the combination of Gik absorbers and RPG BAD panels that I have been using for more than a decade. The four panels that I have represent half the minimum recommended wall coverage for my room (I plan to order more) but with just these four replacing my RPG BAD panels the bass is tauter and more tuneful, and everything is clearer across the frequency spectrum. The harshness on some recordings from room reflections is gone, and I am hearing deeper into every recording I play. And even with the speakers pushed right up against the panels/wall (as the manufacturer recommends) I hear no loss of soundstage depth. To provide a specific example, I have been frustrated by my inability to listen to Mauri Samuelsen's Nordic Noir at realistic volume levels. I've had to turn the volume down to unsatisfying levels to keep her violin from sounding shrill. My system is very advanced and extensively tweaked so I knew that powerline noise for example was not the issue. Furthermore I had experimented with absorber and BAD panel placement enough to satisfy myself that room reflections were a problem. With these four ZR Acoustics panels replacing the front wall BAD's the shrillness is gone and I can listen at normal volume levels. I can't vouch for Delta Design's explanation of the technology behind these but they work as advertised. My ears tell me that ZR Acoustics panels may represent a disruptive technology that renders conventional absorbers, diffusers, and bass traps obsolete. The panels are expensive and delicate (easily broken if not handled carefully), but worth it. Highly recommended.
Listened extensively last night and my wife provided a test of the panels beyond anything I had conceived. She plugged her i-phone into the usb port on the front of the Modwright-Marantz SA8005 and played/danced to Hip-Hop and R&B at foundation shaking volume levels for several hours. I would say that she had the volume at least twice as high as I've ever had it and to my surprise the sound quality was good (given the source). More significantly everything stayed balanced and the reflection-induced distortions that would have made the music un-listenable at that volume level with the RPG and Gik Acoustics panels were absent. The ZR panels on the wall behind the speakers are incredible - in a whole different league from any conventional absorptive/diffusive treatment I've tried, and better than with the ASI resonators.