Trying the ZR Acoustics Panels

kach22i

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Thank you, that link works.

Always interested in what the next great mouse trap looks like.

EDIT:

The video posted earlier at the 29:00 to 31:00 mark is pretty darn interesting, and gets more weird/exciting from there.

Link:
 
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kach22i

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.........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. ....................................
Any idea how this might behave or affect dipolar/bipolar speakers like open baffle or electrostatics?

Would it diffuse the rear wave or absorb it?

EDIT:

At the end of the video the 46:00 mark he says go ahead and put your speakers right against the treated front wall.
 
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Nuprin

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Yes...I wondered about the same thing for open baffle designs. If the ZR panels work as advertised, I'll have to borrow some speakers of that type or get a pair of Maggie LRS to play around with.

Maybe Hansen usually deals with studio monitors. My understanding is that most of them are not rear ported so it will be interesting as my speakers ARE rear ported.
 

Cellcbern

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Any idea how this might behave or affect dipolar/bipolar speakers like open baffle or electrostatics?

Would it diffuse the rear wave or absorb it?

EDIT:

At the end of the video the 46:00 mark he says go ahead and put your speakers right against the treated front wall.
No experience with dipole/open baffle speakers and the ZR panels, and not sure how dipole/open baffle speakers behave with conventional room treatments. The ZR panels do not absorb or diffuse in the conventional sense. I think what they do could be better described as deconstructing the sound wave and I see no reason why they wouldn't do the same with the rear wave of a dipolar/open baffle speaker. My Bache loudspeakers are front ported and I have them up against the ZR panels/wall with no negative effects on soundstaging and a dramatic improvement in clarity compared with the RPG BAD combination panels and Gik absorbers. Note also that while they both reduce reflections the ZR panels don't make the room sound dead the way the Gik absorbers do, so perhaps there is some diffusive effect. I also tried my rear ported Ars Aures speakers up against the ZR panels/wall and got the same result as with the Bache. I don't have bass traps because of their bulk and my (2" thick plus air gap) RPG and Gik panels don't provide much treatment of the low frequencies. The ZR panels on the other hand impact all frequencies equally so the big increase in clarity may be a result of the ZR panels eliminating room modes. When my additional ZR panels arrive and I have more wall coverage I plan to pull my speakers back from the wall to see how that impacts the sound. Note that I had the opportunity to speak with Hanson Hsu directly about the panels and asked him specifically about the recommended placement of speakers right up against the panels. His comment was that pulling the speakers back from the panels/wall "would let too much air escape". He was very careful during our conversation about revealing technical insights, and said that he was working on patenting aspects of the ZR technology.
 

kach22i

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.......................The ZR panels do not absorb or diffuse in the conventional sense..............
Good to know, thank you very much.

Any predictions on ZR panel 1st and 2nd reflection points use including the ceiling reflection point?

I find their website to be terribly frustrating, I'm having a hard time getting the information I usually seek on products.

Sound energy reorganizers or recalibrators.............................that's what I would call them if I'm understanding their function correctly.

The video mentions dissipating the energy so that it's neither bounced back nor passes though typical drywall and stud construction, maybe call it a sound vanquisher?

EDIT:

I found where they hid some of their explanation in written form, I was really looking to see if they did curved panels with their etched scrolling on them, that would be doubly cool.

 
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Cellcbern

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Good to know, thank you very much.

Any predictions on ZR panel 1st and 2nd reflection points use including the ceiling reflection point?

I find their website to be terribly frustrating, I'm having a hard time getting the information I usually seek on products.

Sound energy reorganizers or recalibrators.............................that's what I would call them if I'm understanding their function correctly.

The video mentions dissipating the energy so that it's neither bounced back nor passes though typical drywall and stud construction, maybe call it a sound vanquisher?

EDIT:

I found where they hid some of their explanation in written form, I was really looking to see if they did curved panels with their etched scrolling on them, that would be doubly cool.

 

Cellcbern

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Jul 31, 2015
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If you look at their "Creator Series" (https://deltahdesign.com/zr_products/zr-systems-creator-series/) they show examples of the panels used at the side wall and ceiling first reflection points. I'm keeping my conventional panels at these locations for now just because of the cost of the ZR panels. Hsu says that his research showed that treating the wall behind the speakers resulted in the biggest improvement. Given the improvement I've realized with just the four panels behind the speakers I have no reason to doubt that. Treating the wall behind the listening position is my 2nd priority. With ZR Acoustics panels on the front and rear walls I expect to have eliminated the possibility of room modes at all frequencies.
 

MTB Vince

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If you look at their "Creator Series" (https://deltahdesign.com/zr_products/zr-systems-creator-series/) they show examples of the panels used at the side wall and ceiling first reflection points. I'm keeping my conventional panels at these locations for now just because of the cost of the ZR panels. Hsu says that his research showed that treating the wall behind the speakers resulted in the biggest improvement. Given the improvement I've realized with just the four panels behind the speakers I have no reason to doubt that. Treating the wall behind the listening position is my 2nd priority. With ZR Acoustics panels on the front and rear walls I expect to have eliminated the possibility of room modes at all frequencies.
Hey Cellcbern, even if we choose to accept the seemingly magical thinking behind the function of the ZR Systems room treatment, treating the opposing front and rear walls would only logically impact the low frequency mode associated with that specific room dimension. So in your case, the mode associated with the length of your room. If you wanted to treat the modes associated with width and height you would also need to treat at least one of the sidewalls and either the ceiling or floor.
 

Cellcbern

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Hey Cellcbern, even if we choose to accept the seemingly magical thinking behind the function of the ZR Systems room treatment, treating the opposing front and rear walls would only logically impact the low frequency mode associated with that specific room dimension. So in your case, the mode associated with the length of your room. If you wanted to treat the modes associated with width and height you would also need to treat at least one of the sidewalls and either the ceiling or floor.
As I've indicated previously and posted photos of, I have RPG BAD and Gik Acoustics panels at the ceiling and sidewall reflection points in my listening room. ZR Acoustics panels on the front and rear walls will eliminate reflections in that plane at all frequencies.
 

MTB Vince

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May 11, 2019
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As I've indicated previously and posted photos of, I have RPG BAD and Gik Acoustics panels at the ceiling and sidewall reflection points in my listening room. ZR Acoustics panels on the front and rear walls will eliminate reflections in that plane at all frequencies.
Modal problems are a low frequency-specific issue Cellcbern. Your existing GIK and RPG panel treatments on the sidewalls do not address low frequencies, only specular reflections at mid and high frequencies. And if I've read your existing posts correctly, you presently have no ceiling treatments.
 

Cellcbern

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Modal problems are a low frequency-specific issue Cellcbern. Your existing GIK and RPG panel treatments on the sidewalls do not address low frequencies, only specular reflections at mid and high frequencies. And if I've read your existing posts correctly, you presently have no ceiling treatments.
Not getting the point of your posts on this issue. Of course the GIK and RPG panels at the first reflection points don't address the low frequencies - never said they did (actually with the air gap design they may help a tiny bit with the low frequencies). I've said in multiple posts that I was keeping the conventional panels at the first reflection points for now because of the cost of the ZR Acoustics panels. You have not read my posts correctly or at least thoroughly. My 12/26/20 post #5 under "Trying the ZR Acoustics Panels" includes a photo of my pre-ZR Acoustics room showing the conventional panels including the RPG BAD panes in the ceiling, and the accompanying text points them out. I am attaching post ZR photos since me stating in a post that I had ceiling panels apparently wasn't good enough for you. IMG_0333.jpg IMG_0390.jpg
 
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Cellcbern

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Received the 2nd order of ZR Acoustics panels so I now have adequate wall coverage. I have the same combination of panels for the rear wall behind the listening position. The additional panels have increased sound clarity to an astonishing and unprecedented level. Soundstage height and width have increased noticeably too. I will likely add some of the small wood panels in the gap in the middle of the wall, but I could stop now and be happy. I am getting the best sound I've ever gotten from my system and room. Note that the fabric covered panels have a thin layer of absorptive material over the sculpted wooden panel.
 

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Nuprin

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Received the 2nd order of ZR Acoustics panels so I now have adequate wall coverage. I have the same combination of panels for the rear wall behind the listening position. The additional panels have increased sound clarity to an astonishing and unprecedented level. Soundstage height and width have increased noticeably too. I will likely add some of the small wood panels in the gap in the middle of the wall, but I could stop now and be happy. I am getting the best sound I've ever gotten from my system and room. Note that the fabric covered panels have a thin layer of absorptive material over the sculpted wooden panel.
That looks great! Glad to hear you're getting great results in your room. I wish my front and rear wall were easier to mount the panels as your room. Just received my (8x) ZR 24" x 24" panels as well, temporarily have them up around the front wall but need to decided on the best permanent mounting solution.
 

Cellcbern

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That looks great! Glad to hear you're getting great results in your room. I wish my front and rear wall were easier to mount the panels as your room. Just received my (8x) ZR 24" x 24" panels as well, temporarily have them up around the front wall but need to decided on the best permanent mounting solution.
The first thing I've done with all of my ZR panels is to mount them in floater frames for protection and safe handling. I then hang them with wire like an art print. Otherwise they are too fragile to relocate without damage if you use the supplied velcro.
 
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Nuprin

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Just received my ZR panels and made some uh, "temporary" stands for them until I figure out how to mount and place them. So some initial impressions:

Soundstage increased in depth, both front and back. Instruments were more "rounded", took on a more 3-dimensional shape and just sounded more like a real, physical object in the room instead of just a sound being there.

An increase in resolution, or at least I noticed more there on familiar recordings. My room had a difficult time reproducing accurate piano sounds and this is where I heard the most improvement so far.

It is still a surprise to hear these differences, although not dramatic. Bass below 120hz is still an issue in the room and I will have to try different positions with the panels to see if I can solve those problems. I have a suspicion I may need to combine traditional bass trapping along with the ZR panels to get the best results in my room.
 

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Cellcbern

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Just received my ZR panels and made some uh, "temporary" stands for them until I figure out how to mount and place them. So some initial impressions:

Soundstage increased in depth, both front and back. Instruments were more "rounded", took on a more 3-dimensional shape and just sounded more like a real, physical object in the room instead of just a sound being there.

An increase in resolution, or at least I noticed more there on familiar recordings. My room had a difficult time reproducing accurate piano sounds and this is where I heard the most improvement so far.

It is still a surprise to hear these differences, although not dramatic. Bass below 120hz is still an issue in the room and I will have to try different positions with the panels to see if I can solve those problems. I have a suspicion I may need to combine traditional bass trapping along with the ZR panels to get the best results in my room.
You've got a much tougher challenge than I faced in terms of placement.
 

Nuprin

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Yeah the windows directly behind the speakers are the main challenge. The speakers are rear-ported and moving them back against the wall certainly changes the soundstage and particularly 3-dimensionality of instruments. From tweeter to back wall is about 46" right now. Tried moving them all the way to 24" from the wall and in between distances but did not like the loss of the sense of space of the recording.

Where the speakers currently sit is where I've found the bass so far. I really do need to get an active crossover for my sub too. My thought is to eventually stack two ZR panels, hang 6 of them on the middle front wall, somehow put two stacked in front of the window, add a traditional corner bass trap (If the crossover is not enough), another standing bass trap to the sides of the speakers, and then a set of panels behind the listening position.

I did notice I had to increase the volume on the preamp to get similar SPLs once the panels were in the room, probably lost another 3db or so in efficiency and my speakers are already only 87db efficient.
 

Cellcbern

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Yeah the windows directly behind the speakers are the main challenge. The speakers are rear-ported and moving them back against the wall certainly changes the soundstage and particularly 3-dimensionality of instruments. From tweeter to back wall is about 46" right now. Tried moving them all the way to 24" from the wall and in between distances but did not like the loss of the sense of space of the recording.

Where the speakers currently sit is where I've found the bass so far. I really do need to get an active crossover for my sub too. My thought is to eventually stack two ZR panels, hang 6 of them on the middle front wall, somehow put two stacked in front of the window, add a traditional corner bass trap (If the crossover is not enough), another standing bass trap to the sides of the speakers, and then a set of panels behind the listening position.

I did notice I had to increase the volume on the preamp to get similar SPLs once the panels were in the room, probably lost another 3db or so in efficiency and my speakers are already only 87db efficient.
Yes - you will have to experiment in order to find the optimum positioning. Note that I've experienced no loss of soundstage depth/spatiality with my speakers right up against the panels. Haven't experienced any SPL loss either. I think its a tradeoff between bass traps and the ZR panels. If you have enough coverage with the ZR panels you may not need bass traps. I've had the ASC "Tube Trap" bass traps in my system in the past. The ZR panels have done at least as good a job as the ASC with bass issues in my room.
 

Nuprin

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So some surprising observations after a few experiments. In an attempt to confirm real, audible differences, I took the 8 panels in and out of the room several times, playing a few tracks over and over to make sure an improvement could be heard.

My previous experience was correct and it reproduced the same results. Improved soundstage, better instrument tone, realism and spacing. Not, "blow you out of the water", but still good improvements. The panels had less of an effect on vocals but some improvement nevertheless.

But here's where things got interesting. First, in my previous house/room I had the 851N streamer and compared it's digital pre-amp vs the Wyred4sound STP-SE 2. The STP-SE 2 was way better, less digital, cleaner and higher resolution. Same thing with the Ares DAC vs the 851N DAC - better bass and less of a digital sound. Without the panels, in the new house/room the differences were there but less so than my previous room. I would attribute this to the room acoustics and that I just simply had a better room before (which is true especially in the bass response).

However - with the panels in the room, I had a really hard time hearing ANY difference between the preamp/DAC switch. And this was done in a way where I was able to toggle between input 1 (STP-SE/Ares) and input 2 (set as bypass for the 851N) immediately during playback. I did the test comparing both the pre-amp portion and DAC portion separately and later together. No difference. I am going to try this experiment with my other two amplifiers I use for the home theater and even my 25 year old pioneer Elite receiver. Will also see if it sounds different with my midfi turntable setup.
 

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