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Old 05-11-2020, 08:35 PM
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Vintage Pete Vintage Pete is online now
Remembering Dan

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Tampa Bay, FL
Posts: 7,365
Default Living room treatments get a makeover

I learned a long time ago that one of the most dramatic improvements that can be realized from a system is with the installation of room treatments-acoustic foam, acoustic panels, bass traps and the like-can all make a tremendous difference.

At one time, I had bare walls around behind my main system and around its loudspeakers. I had long heard that the addition of acoustic foam behind and around the loudspeakers would vastly improve the stereo presentation, in many ways. So, around 1992, I made my first foray into the room treatment arena with the purchase of I guess about 80 square feet of acoustic wedge foam. It was charcoal gray, and I basically glued it to the walls. It was not the best way to do it, but boy oh boy, did it make a difference! Some of the foam was new, and some was actually used. But I loved the difference it made.

After about 8 years, some of the foam began to deteriorate (after all, it wasn't all new in the first place). I knew I needed a better method to install the foam, so I set about designing a solution. What I came up with were a number of removable, wooden frames that could be easily taken down from the walls when it came time to replace the foam. The units consisted of the wooden frame, with a lightweight foamboard panel on which the acoustic foam would be mounted to (on the front side). On the back I would mount 3/8" mass loaded vinyl with open call foam decoupler, the aim here being to reduce sound transmission through the walls (I have neighbors). For the front side foam I chose a 2" thick pyramid design, in brown color (the available colors at the time were charcoal grey, blue, or brown).

I built the beginnings of the project in the year 2000. I was very pleased with the results, and so the following year I built another phase, and in 2010 I build a third phase. In the end I had 17 panels, in varying sizes from 12" x 12", up to 48" x 60", plus the frame dimensions.

Fast forward to the year 2020, when much of the foam is due for replacement. Some of it had gotten to be in pretty poor condition. The same went for the open cell foam decouplers on the reverse side. Also in the year 2020, I found myself on a 4 week furlough due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first week of my time off was spent implementing the horn modifications on my JBL L220's, as some of you may be aware. I decided that now would be the time to refresh my foam panels; it's a very sizable project, especially if I am to refresh both sides of every panel. Worse yet, my system has grown substantially since the year 2000, and unfortunately most of the system would have to be disassembled, one half at a time, in order to replace the panels.

As it turned out, in contacting my original supplier, the brown colored pyramid foam was no longer available, only charcoal grey. So, I set about finding a different supplier. I settled on Auralex Studio foam, which is available in a nice burgundy color. I thought this would be a nice change in the room. Better yet, Auralex claims that their product would not deteriorate or crumble over time. I liked that assurance, since it had gotten so just touching the old foam started making a mess, and some of it was becoming detached from its foamboard mounting surface. I also found a different source for the rear side mass loaded vinyl-Acoustical Surfaces, Inc. Their product features a closed cell foam decouple which, like the Auralex Studio Foam, is said to not deteriorate with age. I ordered the materials, and away we went.

Here are a few photos as things progressed:

The old foam boards were painted brown, so any gaps between the acoustic foam would be effectively masked. Here I was cleaning the old adhesive (silicone sealer) off the panels.

Here's a look at the back side of one of the larger panels, with the decoupler material:

Two of the three largest panels (48" x 48" plus frames) have cutouts incorporated to allow for power outlets. There was some homework involved in the original project to make this turn out right with the pyramids lining up with the outlets one the panels were hung:

Some photos as the right (turntable) side of the system was disassembled, and the refreshed panels installed. Here you can compare the old brown color to the new Burgundy color.

Some general photos of some of the smaller panels:

Once I reached the left (electronics) side of the room, the worst part remained: All of the electronics had to be disassembled to remove the large brown panel you see here:

Of course, this was a major project by itself, with plenty of disruption....

Here we see the system being gradually reassembled:

I made a last minute decision to build (5) new, smaller panels as a finishing touch. I had plenty of leftover materials, and I'd considered doing this for some time.

The finished project....

This was a pretty big project....between the L220 mod, and this effort, I was nearly at the end of my 4th week of furlough before I was done.

Was it worth all the effort? Oh my God yes. The speaker modification was a dramatic improvement. The replacement of all that deteriorating foam made a substantial difference as well. I just don't think I was getting the full benefit anymore from the old treatments. I replaced all that, and even added a little more. I know one thing-my living room system has never looked or sounded better. Ever.

Thanks for looking guys!

No. 35

Main System: VPI Prime Signature TT in Rosewood, Ortofon Cadenza Black, Stillpoints LP1 V2, McIntosh: MP100, MR78, MCD1000 Transport on Stillpoint Ultra Minis, MDA1000 D/A Converter on Stillpoint Ultra Minis, MS750 Music Server, C40, MC501's (3), Soundcraftsmen: DC2215 Eq/AS1000 Real time analyzer, DBX 3BX II, Carver C9, Nakamichi Dragon, Crown SX724, Crown D-75A (as headphone amp), Sony XBR55X900E 4K TV, JBL L220A's, JBL B460, Sumo Delilah active crossover, WireWorld Silver Eclipse audio interconnects, WireWorld Starlight and Silver Starlight Coaxial Digital interconnects, Wireworld SuperNova 7 Toslink digital interconnect, WireWorld Aurora 7 and Silver Electra Power cords, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 8 speaker cables, Terk AF-1 Powered Antenna, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-Ray Player, Bryson BUC-1 USB Converter, Wireworld Gold Starlight XLR Digital interconnect, PS Audio Direct Stream Power Plant 12 on Stillpoint Ultra Minis, PS Audio Dectect, FuruTech Flux-50 NCF Inline Power Filter, Add-Powr Wizard EM Field AC Line conditioner; Stillpoint Ultra SS's under (3) McIntosh MC501 Amplifiers

Florida Room/Art Studio System: Harmon Kardon T60 TT/Ortofon 2M Black, McIntosh: MR77, C32, MC2205; Crown Power Line Four, Wyred for Sound DAC-2 Digital to Analog converter, Soundcraftsmen AE2000 Eq, JBL 4313B's, JBL 2241-based Sub, JBL BX63A Active Crossover, Oppo BDP-105D Blu-Ray Player, Samsung 5500 Series 32" Smart TV, Terk AF-1 Powered Antenna

Master Bedroom System: McIntosh: MX120 Theater processor, MC206 6-channel amplifier; MR74 AM/FM Tuner, Oppo UDP-203 4K Blu-ray player, JVC HM-DH40000U D-Theater Digital VHS, Phase Technology PC80 Towers (now used as stands), (2) JBL 4401's, (1) JBL Studio 6IW speaker, (2) JBL Studio 6IC speakers, Sony XBR-49X900E UHD TV, Panamax 1000 Line Conditioner, (2) JL Audio E110 Subwoofers, Wireworld Solstice speaker cables, Wireworld Aurora Power cords, Wireworld Equinox and Solstice speaker cables and various other flavors of Wireworld and Audioquest cabling

Office System: Marantz 150 Tuner, Crown DL 2, Crown EQ 2, Crown SA 2, Crown D-75A (as headphone amp), McIntosh MCD7009 (as transport), DBX 3BX Series II, Oppo BDP-103 Blu-ray player, JBL 4401's, JL Audio E112 Subwoofer, Samsung 5500 series 32" Smart TV, Wire World Oasis audio interconnects, Wire World Solstice speaker cables, Wyred for Sound DAC-2 DSDse Digital to Analog converter, Wireworld Starlight Coaxial Digital Interconnect, Sennheiser HD800 Headphones, Sennheiser HDVA600 Headphone amp, Wireworld Silver Eclipse Balanced Interconnects, Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB Cable, Add-Powr EAU-2 AC Harmonic resonator

High Resolution Source: HP Omen 17" Gaming Laptop
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