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First phase acoustic treatment: Cathedral Sound Acoustic Panels

First phase acoustic treatment: Cathedral Sound Acoustic Panels
First phase acoustic treatment:  Cathedral Sound Acoustic Panels

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How can we best treat our primary pressure zones?... the corners. Remember that our walls, the ceiling, and the floor will multiply pressure where they meet. This effect is most pronounced at the ceiling where there are no furnishings, etc. to break up this process of acoustic energy collection.

I feel a little like a broken record writing again about this new product, but from an acoustic perspective it borders on being a new paradigm. Our excitement about the new Cathedral Sound Acoustic Panels is because they address the primary pressure zones - the corners - and they do it better than anything else we have come across. Furthermore they are one of the very few acoustic treatment products that are effective down to 20 Hz (and below).

These 2 charts above,
independently prepared by Rives Audio in a typical room, demonstrate the impact of a set of 4 panels on the deep bass frequencies. (Note that the second scale is reduced in the vertical axis to better illustrate the effect.)

Because these panels are "tuned" to low frequencies by the nature of their construction, they are particularly effective at reducing problems associated with "standing waves," which can cause boomy bass in some areas in the listening room, and anemic bass response in other locations in the same room. And when you can control bass standing waves, not only is the low frequency "foundation" better controlled, the midrange and higher frequencies can also "breathe" more easily. Not only is bass more tuneful with greater impact, the midrange (and dialog) is more articulate and dynamic, and sound stage size and layering is significantly improved. (You will understand this concept if have a well-integrated subwoofer in your system, or have upgraded the signal, and/or AC cables to your subwoofer. It is not so much what these improvements do for the bass, although this is certainly significant, as it is what they do for the midrange and high frequencies.)
Note: these Panels only work in one location - the corners of the room, especially near the ceiling. And they will ALWAYS work in this location, very effectively equalizing the pressure buildup, even for deep bass.  They don't do it the old fashion way with absorption. Other acoustic products using this old school absorption approach, if effective to 20 Hz, must be at least 6ft (1.8m) tall, or you can trade off girth for height, eg. 4ft (1.2m) height and 2ft (.6m diameter). Instead the Cathedral Sound Panels make use of the ages old "Venturi effect," a restricted flow = reduced pressure concept, which helps common devices from carburetors to swimming pool filters function. And these panels fit beautifully into our concept of working with the room, rather than against it, as they are effectively "activated" by the pressure buildup naturally occurring in the corners, rather than trying to gobble it up with absorption.

These are small, light weight, and contain no damping materials, so will not interfere with any of the other acoustic treatment products we will be discussing in parts 2 and 3. Perfect for our extreme high end applications, but also the best single thing anyone can do acoustically regardless of their system set-up, for two channel stereo or home theater. If there is a "must have" product in room acoustics. this is it.





Go Back to Main newsletters : Room Acoustics 201 - Part 1
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