Trying the ZR Acoustics Panels

QuadDiffusor

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Cellcbern,
Some physics to digest before biting the bait (video link below).

My front walls, with six P-17 diffusors covering 8.5’H x 9.5’W x 16”D of space, has a horizontal diffusion bandwidth of 242 - 3,385 Hz. The randomized non-correlation of the indirect sound from your speaker’s output is what’s critical in creating the illusion of deliciously precise and well-localized sonic events in a 3D soundstage.

What’s the diffusion bandwidth of the ZR Acoustics panel which you’re using?

 
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Nuprin

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Either Industrial Light and Magic is buying "Snake Oil" according to most of the guys on Gearslutz or it actually works (to a degree).
 

Cellcbern

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Either Industrial Light and Magic is buying "Snake Oil" according to most of the guys on Gearslutz or it actually works (to a degree).
The reactions on Gearslutz are just human nature. This is how human beings react to something new and different which cannot be explained using familiar, accepted concepts and terminology. And of course the people who make a living selling conventional room treatments and acoustical services are threatened by what may be a disruptive technology so they denounce it as "snake oil". What I find fascinating and frankly amusing is the extent to which people are comfortable explaining authoritatively why a new technology or product can't work without having any direct experience with it. Again, my direct experience with the ZR Acoustics panels on the wall behind my speakers is that they work as advertised and are superior to all conventional room treatments I've tried.
 
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Cellcbern

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Cellcbern,
Some physics to digest before biting the bait (video link below).

My front walls, with six P-17 diffusors covering 8.5’H x 9.5’W x 16”D of space, has a horizontal diffusion bandwidth of 242 - 3,385 Hz. The randomized non-correlation of the indirect sound from your speaker’s output is what’s critical in creating the illusion of deliciously precise and well-localized sonic events in a 3D soundstage.

What’s the diffusion bandwidth of the ZR Acoustics panel which you’re using?

Diffusion bandwidth is not relevant to the ZR Acoustics panels. Panel thickness is not relevant. The ZR panels are neither absorbers nor diffusers in the conventional sense. They perform the same at all frequencies, eliminating room modes (by eliminating reflections). Maybe this explanation is easier for me to accept because I have no background or experience with the math and science of room acoustics. All of the acoustical room treating I've done has been based solely on my educated audiophile ears.

Here is my layman's distillation of the explanations I've seen of how the ZR technology works: A sound wave hits the ZR panel and is obliterated (down to the molecular level the manufacturer says) by the many small, non-parallel surfaces, scattering the air and eliminating the sound wave so no reflection is possible.

My test of the panels in my listening room provided no reason to doubt this explanation. The bass response and overall clarity improved dramatically with just the four panels in the photo, without making the room sound dead in the way that absorbers can. With my speakers right up against the panels/wall the soundstage is wider than with the conventional panels and just as deep as with the speakers a couple of feet away from the wall. Again, it looks to me like DHDI has developed a disruptive technology which is the next step beyond conventional acoustics/room treatment. That's what my ears tell me, and that's what the growing list of film and recording studios, mastering labs, etc. who are implementing the ZR technology suggests - (e.g., https://www.local695.com/magazine/mixing-the-mandalorian-season-one-this-is-the-way/).
 

Nuprin

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@Cellcbern

Did you find out if there's any kind of return policy when you first purchased your panels? Nothing on the FAQ mentions this if someone wasn't satisfied with their products.
 

spiritofmusic

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So Cellcbern, we're sticking with this quantum claim literally, as advertised? Ie NOT diffusion, NOT absorption, NOT some combination of the two, but indeed working on a level that's beyond sub-molecular, sub-atomic even?

I have no issue with quantum used purely as an advertising hook...find it tedious, and predictable, but get the reason for the word being used, especially as promotional tool.

But if we're really saying these panels work at the quantum level, it really entrenches what I feel about things. I don't care how good (or indeed, not good) they sound.
 
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Cellcbern

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So Cellcbern, we're sticking with this quantum claim literally, as advertised? Ie NOT diffusion, NOT absorption, NOT some combination of the two, but indeed working on a level that's beyond sub-molecular, sub-atomic even?

I have no issue with quantum used purely as an advertising hook...find it tedious, and predictable, but get the reason for the word being used, especially as promotional tool.

But if we're really saying these panels work at the quantum level, it really entrenches what I feel about things. I don't care how good (or indeed, not good) they sound.
I didn't use the word "quantum" in my comments, and frankly I am not any more bothered by ZR Acoustics' use of it than I am by Nordost's use of it. I don't care what lanquage audio manufacturers use in their marketing hype. The reality is that we don't know how the ZR Acoustics panels actually work - we only have the manufacturer's explanation which cannot be verified or refuted with conventional acoustical concepts and methods. Given how trade secrets and patent applications work we may not know for some time. That doesn't bother me. The only thing that matters to me is whether or not they improve the sound in my listening room.
 
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spiritofmusic

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That's absolutely fine, zero criticism of you intended.
 

wil

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A curious thing to me about the ZR panels is that they are said to perform optimally with speakers pressed very close to the front wall directly in front of the panels. I expect they want to be close to the side walls as well? So, this is contrary to how most speakers are designed to function at their best.

However, I've noticed that many pro mix rooms use monitors very close to the front wall. I'm wonder about the reasons for this disconnect between pro and audiophile speaker set up. Perhaps the ZR's are most useful in more typical pro room environments?

My Boenicke W13's are placed 10' out into the room. The ZR's would truly have to be a disruptive technology to make them perform better backed up to within inches of the front wall.
 
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Cellcbern

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A curious thing to me about the ZR panels is that they are said to perform optimally with speakers pressed very close to the front wall directly in front of the panels. I expect they want to be close to the side walls as well? So, this is contrary to how most speakers are designed to function at their best.

However, I've noticed that many pro mix rooms use monitors very close to the front wall. I'm wonder about the reasons for this disconnect between pro and audiophile speaker set up. Perhaps the ZR's are most useful in more typical pro room environments?

My Boenicke W13's are placed 10' out into the room. The ZR's would truly have to be a disruptive technology to make them perform better backed up to within inches of the front wall.
I have my speakers right up against the ZR panelswall behind them (as the manufacturer recommends). This seems to work fine - I hear none of the ill effects that I would have expected with this placement. There are no manufacturer's recommendations with respect to side wall proximity. Once I receive the additional ZR panels and have at least the minimim recommended wall coverage I intend to pull my speakers out away from the wall to see what happens. I will post my experiences. ZR Acoustics technology/room treatments were developed for the sound/recording studio and mastering lab, and that market accounts for the lion's share of their business. They have done a few high end home installations but as far as I know they have not actively marketed to audiophiles.
I stumbled across ZR Acoustics (the Stereophile review) and decided to try them because they claimed to obviate the need for bass traps which I wanted to avoid because of the space they take up. In my listening room they made bass traps unnecessary and dramatically improved clarity to boot. Can't predict how your Boenicke's would work with them. In a direct A-B comparison with GIK absorbers the ZR panels eliminated audible reflections as did the GIK panels, but didn't make the room sound dead the way the absorbers did - not sure why.
 

Swisstrips

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According to these examples, which would align with what I think a typical listening room size would need and not a "small square office", looks to be about $15k and up?
 

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Cellcbern

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According to these examples, which would align with what I think a typical listening room size would need and not a "small square office", looks to be about $15k and up?
The photo of my 16' deep x 9-1/2' wide x 8' high listening room shows just 16sf of panels which made a dramatic improvement. I've ordered another 16sf for this wall and 16sf for the smaller wall behind the listening position (there's a door to a bathroom in this wall). That's 48 sf at a cost of about $6K. Note that I am not buying as many panels as shown in the "Creators Series" examples you posted because of the cost. I am keeping the RPG BAD and GIK absorber panels at the side wall and ceiling reflection points for now, and will add additional ZR Acoustics panels later.
 

Nuprin

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Cellcbern, I haven't received a response back from DHDI since Jan 19th. Does it usually take this long to communicate with them? I've been corresponding with a Sherri Holms from DHDI. Wondering if you've been dealing with the same person on your purchase.
 

Cellcbern

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Cellcbern, I haven't received a response back from DHDI since Jan 19th. Does it usually take this long to communicate with them? I've been corresponding with a Sherri Holms from DHDI. Wondering if you've been dealing with the same person on your purchase.
Yes - she's the one I've placed my orders with, and she has been responsive for the most part.
 

Swisstrips

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The photo of my 16' deep x 9-1/2' wide x 8' high listening room shows just 16sf of panels which made a dramatic improvement. I've ordered another 16sf for this wall and 16sf for the smaller wall behind the listening position (there's a door to a bathroom in this wall). That's 48 sf at a cost of about $6K. Note that I am not buying as many panels as shown in the "Creators Series" examples you posted because of the cost. I am keeping the RPG BAD and GIK absorber panels at the side wall and ceiling reflection points for now, and will add additional ZR Acoustics panels later.
So compared to traditional acoustics, that would equate to roughly six 4'x2' panels (broadband, diffusion etc.) - just as a SQft comparison or $1k per 4'x2'.

The low + sub freq are always the most difficult to manage and takes quite a bit of "material" or product, mainly in the form of taps, to do anything of significance. It's difficult to wrap your head around a .5" thick panel eliminating these low end issues that many have been engineering "out" with traditional acoustics/physics.

Interesting product, glad its working out for you.
 

Cellcbern

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So compared to traditional acoustics, that would equate to roughly six 4'x2' panels (broadband, diffusion etc.) - just as a SQft comparison or $1k per 4'x2'.

The low + sub freq are always the most difficult to manage and takes quite a bit of "material" or product, mainly in the form of taps, to do anything of significance. It's difficult to wrap your head around a .5" thick panel eliminating these low end issues that many have been engineering "out" with traditional acoustics/physics.

Interesting product, glad its working out for you.
It is hard to get your head around but I think a lot of people, particularly with small listening rooms don't deal with the bass issues because of the bulkiness of bass traps. I got rid of my corner ASC tube traps because they were just in the way, and didn't replace them with flat bass traps because of the required thickness. So for me the ZR panels were a welcome alternative.
 

Nuprin

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I will mention you to her to see if that helps.
Sent another email and she replied back, apparently training a new person so probably forgot to respond back. Their team recommended the Hybrid with some Sample Rate, but I told them I just wanted the SR24 MK3. Planning on ordering 8 of them and then we'll see how much of an improvement they make and whether I need more or not.

I'm hoping they will resolve some of the mid and high frequency echo issues. For example, anything with Piano is just all over the place in my room. Poor imaging and resolution. Bass peak at 45hz and big dip at around 120hz so it will be interesting if these panels will address those issues. Will post measurements as well as what I "hear" - curious to see if there's direct correlation or like you said, it may be difficult to measure the results (hopefully improvements).
 

Cellcbern

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Sent another email and she replied back, apparently training a new person so probably forgot to respond back. Their team recommended the Hybrid with some Sample Rate, but I told them I just wanted the SR24 MK3. Planning on ordering 8 of them and then we'll see how much of an improvement they make and whether I need more or not.

I'm hoping they will resolve some of the mid and high frequency echo issues. For example, anything with Piano is just all over the place in my room. Poor imaging and resolution. Bass peak at 45hz and big dip at around 120hz so it will be interesting if these panels will address those issues. Will post measurements as well as what I "hear" - curious to see if there's direct correlation or like you said, it may be difficult to measure the results (hopefully improvements).
I ordered some Hybrid panels so I can see if they sound any different. The Hybrid panels are basically the Sample Rate panels with a 1/2" layer of absorptive material and acoustical fabric covering. DHDI says that the Hybrid panels sound a little better directly behind the speakers. We'll see. Looking at the photo of my room the Sample Rate panels will be moved up on the wall a couple of feet and the Hybrid panels will be placed beneath them. I'll have the same setup on the wall behind the listening position. I strongly suggest that you put each panel in the kind of floater frame that is used for canvas art. That's what I did. They are so intricately CNC machined that you will risk damage just by handling them if you don't put them in a protective frame.
 

Nuprin

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It'll be interesting to find out how the Hybrid panels sound compared to the Sample Rate. Looking forward to hearing your results as it could be something I'll consider if I like the Sample Rate.
 

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