Trying the ZR Acoustics Panels

Cellcbern

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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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Cellcbern

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I see that Stereophile tested the ZR Acoustics panels in a small listening room:

 

Cellcbern

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Finally have the ZR panels on the wall. Took the time to glue small pieces back on that broke off in transit, and put each panel in a floater frame to protect it. They are delicate and can be easily broken without careful handling. Four panels 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 I am surprised by the improvement in sound quality. The bass is deeper/fuller/tauter and everything is clearer. The harshness on some recordings that I attributed to 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.
 

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Cellcbern

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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. ZR Acoustics panels.jpg
 
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Cellcbern

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Here is a photo that shows the side wall and ceiling panels that remain - the ZR Acoustics panels will be on the wall behind the speakers only at least initially. listening room.jpg
 

Cellcbern

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Next step is adding another 16 sf of ZR Acoustics panels behind the speakers - this time the "Hybrid" panels which add a thin (1/4" - 1/2" thick) layer of absorptive material and fabric covering to panels like the ones in the photo of my listening room (on the left of this post). The hybrid panels may actually go directly behind the speakers with the original ones being moved higher up on the wall. As I understand the technical explanation the absorption acts on the air quantized by the underlying panels - not on sound waves like conventional panels. Ultimately I may also add ZR panels in the gaps in the middle of the wall and below the existing panels, and on the side walls next to each speaker. Studio implementations (the company's focus) all show a mix of the bare and covered panels (example below): 25299085_1560408790710313_3066435955840124767_n.jpg
 
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Nuprin

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Just found this thread and watched the video:


I was looking at GIK and some other possible solutions for my issue here:

Now you've got me really looking at ZR Acoustics...just can't find how to buy or pricing.
 

Cellcbern

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Just found this thread and watched the video:


I was looking at GIK and some other possible solutions for my issue here:

Now you've got me really looking at ZR Acoustics...just can't find how to buy or pricing.

Prices are on the Product Comparison Sheet (scroll down). Ordering is by phone or email.
 

Nuprin

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Ok, he does talk about pricing in the video but hard to find on the site.

Prices are on the Product Comparison Sheet (scroll down). Ordering is by phone or email.
Thanks, unfortunately the comparison page seems to be down
 

Ron Resnick

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I'm very happy for you that these panels are working out for you!

Is it the photo -- or what -- because when I look at the round ones I feel like I'm almost getting a headache? Like they are one of those illusion images in which you are not quite sure what you are looking at?
 

Cellcbern

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I'm very happy for you that these panels are working out for you!

Is it the photo -- or what -- because when I look at the round ones I feel like I'm almost getting a headache? Like they are one of those illusion images in which you are not quite sure what you are looking at?

I'm very happy for you that these panels are working out for you!

Is it the photo -- or what -- because when I look at the round ones I feel like I'm almost getting a headache? Like they are one of those illusion images in which you are not quite sure what you are looking at?
They are actually quite stunning in person. My wife thought they were art pieces before I explained their function to her.
 
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rbbert

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Since the prices are no longer on the Web site, can you tell us how much each of your panels cost?
 

Nuprin

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spiritofmusic

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Has anyone actually checked the numerous claims on their website? I haven't seen such bold statements in a long time.
 
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Nuprin

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Has anyone actually checked the numerous claims on their website? I haven't seen such bold statements in a long time.
I would expect it to work to a certain degree given the room dimensions, equipment and setup is at least decent sounding to start. Question is, how well does it work and is it better than other technologies and traditional acoustic treatment methods, and the cost/value determination. In the video, Hsu's goal is to try to get the same thing he heard when it was originally mixed in the studio, or the producer's intent.

However, I don't know how this will translate to large, live, acoustic recordings vs smaller studio format. Especially orchestral.

Maybe Cellcbern can comment on that?
 

spiritofmusic

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I'm sorry, but the claims made, numerous, mean I won't ever be a customer. And I'm actually looking for a potential room treatments system to replace my basic GIK package.
 

Nuprin

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I'm sorry, but the claims made, numerous, mean I won't ever be a customer. And I'm actually looking for a potential room treatments system to replace my basic GIK package.
Just because a company makes claims as many do, but you haven't validated them means you've already written them off? Without ever hearing them or directly comparing them? Doesn't sound very scientific. Sure there is exaggerated marketing but it doesn't mean they're lying.

I mean this entire post from Cellcbern basically said it significantly improved his acoustics and he had previous GIK and BAD in the room. I'm not saying I know whether it will sound good in my room or not, but I'm willing to give them a try if I can get some pricing or talk to someone at the company, a few panels at least to start. If they are crap, I will let people (here) know but if they are great, I will post as well.
 

sbnx

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Mar 28, 2017
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It would be nice to see some measurements. Don't get me wrong. There are definitely things we hear that either don't show up in measurements. However, room acoustic treatment differences should be easily measurable.

Rant alert: I also laugh at the use of the word "quantum". Somehow every manufacturer seems to want to add this word in front of their latest gadget as if it gives some mystique to it. Which quantum mechanics principle are these using? The grooves cut into the material are far too large to be in the realm of quantum physics. The diameter of a nitrogen molecule (which makes up most of what our speakers push around) is just over 3.5 Angstoms or 0.00035 microns. Even if the wall treatment had micro perforated holes (meaning holes on the order of a micron or even a few tenths of a micron) then they are still far too large to be concerned with this showing up as "wave diffraction" of the nitrogen particle.

I don't doubt that these work well as a diffuser and they do indeed look very nice.
 
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