Trying the ZR Acoustics Panels

Cellcbern

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the solution to your problem is to place Tube Bass traps in the space, for more details see the page:
ssteu.com
Probably youll find some good

I have a small dedicated room, 11x11x11, with a 3x3 window on one of the side walls. I have no treatment now, but have been looking, and I am going to try the ZR panels. I wonder how many I will need . . . two big ones, four 24x24 . . .? The explanation of how they work strikes me as plain old gobbledygook -- a bunch of complicated pseudo-scientific nonsense to confuse a reader -- reminds of the MIT "poles of articulation" nonsense -- which cables many like regardless of explanation. However, it seems as if, regardless of how they work, they do apparently "work," which is all that I care about. I don't need to know how the circuit boards in my Pass Labs X250.8 work, just that they do. I am interested to see what the ZR will do for my reflective room!
Suggest you read the whole thread.
 

Motoman

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Suggest you read the whole thread.
I did, but I'll never understand whether there is some scientific reason for it to work. But my point is vastly different. I don't care whether there is a sound scientific foundation for the ZR panels . . . I am satisfied that they work, regardless of why they work. I couldn't explain how one cable sounds better than another, or why my Pass Labs amp sounds better than other amps I have listened to. Doesn't matter to me. Its the end result that counts and you, among others, have certainly and clearly made the point that however the ZR panels do what they do, they actually work, which is good enough for me!
 

Cellcbern

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I have a small dedicated room, 11x11x11, with a 3x3 window on one of the side walls. I have no treatment now, but have been looking, and I am going to try the ZR panels. I wonder how many I will need . . . two big ones, four 24x24 . . .? The explanation of how they work strikes me as plain old gobbledygook -- a bunch of complicated pseudo-scientific nonsense to confuse a reader -- reminds of the MIT "poles of articulation" nonsense -- which cables many like regardless of explanation. However, it seems as if, regardless of how they work, they do apparently "work," which is all that I care about. I don't need to know how the circuit boards in my Pass Labs X250.8 work, just that they do. I am interested to see what the ZR will do for my reflective room!
Based on my experience 16 sf (four x 24" square or two x 24" x 48") on the wall behind the speakers is the minimum deployment in order to hear a significant improvement. The trade off between the cheaper "Sample Rate" panels and the more expensive "Hybrid Panels" is that the former are delicate and easily broken if you don't put them in floater frames for protection, while the latter come already in such a frame. It ends up being a wash in terms of cost. Sonically I don't hear a big difference between the two. The "Hybrid" panels are the "Sample Rate" panels with a 1/2" layer of damping material over them.
 
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Cellcbern

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Here is a link to coverage of DHDI's deployment of their ZR Acoustics panels at Audiomachine Studios. If you scroll down past the comments from the studio owners there is an interesting short video showing the installation of the ZR panels. In this case 100% of the wall and ceiling space is covered by ZR "Hybrid" and "Sample Rate" panels - no bass or tube traps, no ceiling cloud absorbers - just the ZR panels. This suggests that either the ZR panels themselves optimize the bass response, or that the client doesn't care about bass modes/issues.

 

benito

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Sound is better than words, at your headphone:


Overall I found the sound more natural with the wall treatments in particular in the mid and high.
 
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Carlos269

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Sound is better than words, at your headphone:


Overall I found the sound more natural with the wall treatments in particular in the mid and high.

Thanks for posting the video. The good news, for the ZR Acoustic panels is that you can hear the difference in the sound as the panels clearly diffused and absorbed some of the energy on each strike. The bad news, at least for me, is that I prefer the sound without the ZR Acoustic panels treatment, the untreated wall, in each comparison. Goes to show that in a studio environment, specially during tracking, the aim is to capture clean, discrete and focused sound, while in the audiophile home environment my aim is to reproduce the raw natural sound.
 
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Cellcbern

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Thanks for posting the video. The good news, for the ZR Acoustic panels is that you can hear the difference in the sound as the panels clearly diffused and absorbed some of the energy on each strike. The bad news, at least for me, is that I prefer the sound without the ZR Acoustic panels treatment, the untreated wall, in each comparison. Goes to show that in a studio environment, specially during tracking, the aim is to capture clean, discrete and focused sound, while in the audiophile home environment my aim is to reproduce the raw natural sound.
Not sure you get a real sense of the difference from an online video, although even from the video the drums in front of the ZR pop-up panels sound more natural and musical to me. However having done direct A-B comparative listening against conventional acoustical treatments in my home audiophile listening room I found the ZR panels to be clearly superior. Since the ZR panels eliminate reflections that muddy the sound, dramatically increasing clarity over conventional room treatments, and since they work across all frequencies, much more of the "raw natural sound" comes through.
 
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Cellcbern

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There are some additional DHDI/ZR music videos at this link:


Note that all of these videos are showcasing "pop-up" wall screen type panels behind the musicians - not fully treated rooms (like mine).
 
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Beenthereagain

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I actually have extensive experience with the ZR products, having worked as a mastering engineer in 2 different rooms with ZR products for many years. Both the original ZR design which included actual construction of the room & an existing room that used the newer mountable panel version that is available now. One of the rooms was already constructed when I started working there, the other room using the modular ZR panels, I was involved in the design & built-out.
I also have over 2 decades of acoustic design experience & have designed & built around a hundred studios meeting many different budgets over the past 10 years using products from pretty much every manufacture available & custom built designs.

The original design, that included room construction was pretty amazing & probably one of the best sounding rooms I've ever worked in.
It also cost upwards of a few hundred thousand dollars to have that room built.

I can not say the same thing about the modular panel versions that are being sold now.
What I can tell you is that they are really good diffusors. But the diffused waves that come off of the panels still need to be absorbed to be truly reduced & controlled. And the 3/4" thick MDF panel does not really do much for bass freq's. If you understand the physical size of a single waveform cycle at around 40-60Hz that concept is silly, much less getting down to 20/30Hz.
Maybe if you covered every inch of all 4 walls & ceiling with the panels that also have the thin layer of absorber material over them you could get away with just using the ZD panels, but it would really depend on the dimensions of the room, how thin and/or solid the walls physically are, etc, etc...

When I was building out the room I had with the ZR panels it became evident really fast that we were still going to need to add some standard bass trapping & absorption to get the freq response to a point considered usable for a professional mastering studio.
In the end the ZR stuff did handle the diffusion well, but it also prob cost around 3/4 times more to get it there, than it would have just using classic methods.
And compared to what we paid for the bass trapping & absorption from other manufactures that was still needed after all the ZR stuff was installed, it was not really worth the cost & we have not used ZR products for any of the rooms that we've built since that one, if that tells you anything.

These were for mastering studios, not home listening rooms, which tend to be considerably different animals when it comes to acoustics & speaker setup & the aesthetics of the room after it is all done.
BTW, not giving my name here because I still work in the industry, so you can take this info with a grain of salt. This is just what was what my collogues & I found when working with the ZR panels & then having actually worked as a mastering engineer in 2 of those rooms for a over a decade.
 
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Cellcbern

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I actually have extensive experience with the ZR products, having worked as a mastering engineer in 2 different rooms for many years with ZR products. Both the original ZR design which included actual construction of the room & an existing room that used the newer mountable panel version that is available now. One of the rooms was already constructed when I started working there, the second room using the panels, I had a part in designing.
I also have over 2 decades of acoustic design experience & have designed & built around a hundred studios meeting many different budgets over the past 10 years using products from pretty much every manufacture available & custom built designs.

The original design, that included room construction was pretty amazing & probably one of the best sounding rooms I've ever worked in.
It also cost upwards of a few hundred thousand dollars to have that room built.

I can not say the same thing about the modular panel versions that are being sold now.
What I can tell you is that they are really good diffusors. But the diffused waves that come off of the panels still need to be absorbed to be truly reduced & controlled. And the 3.4" thick MDF panel does not really do much for bass freq's. If you understand the physical size of a single waveform cycle at around 40-60Hz that concept is silly, much less getting down to 20/30Hz.
Maybe if you covered every inch of all 4 walls & ceiling with the panels that also have the thin layer of absorber material over them you could get away with just using the ZD panels, but it would really depend on the dimensions of the room, how thin and/or solid the walls physically are, etc, etc...

When I was building out the room I had with the ZR panels it became evident really fast that we were still going to need to add some standard bass trapping & absorption to get the freq response to a point considered usable for a professional mastering studio.
In the end the ZR stuff did handle the diffusion well, but it also prob cost around 3/4 times more to get it there, than it would have just using classic methods.
And compared to what we paid for the bass trapping & absorption from other manufactures that was still needed after all the ZR stuff was installed, it was not really worth the cost & we have not used ZR products for any of the rooms that we've built since that one, if that tells you anything.

These were for mastering studios, not home listening rooms, which tend to be considerably different animals when it comes to acoustics & speaker setup & the aesthetics of the room after it is all done.
BTW, not giving my name here because I still work in the industry, so you can take this info with a grain of salt. This is just what was what my collogues & I found when working with the ZR panels & then having actually worked as a mastering engineer in 2 of those rooms for a over a decade.
I can't speak for the pro audio customers but the number of and testimonials from high end film/recording/mastering studio/lab customers speaks volumes. There are a coupIe of write-ups of studio installations at the DHDI website where it is indicated that bass traps were used along with the ZR panels. In my home listening room the 3/4" mdf panels (alone) resulted in an unprecedented increase in clarity and articulation including in the bass frequencies, and bested conventional treatments in head to head comparisons. I posted my experiences with the ZR panels because the improvement they made was dramatic-not subtle. You are right about the high cost. I have only deployed them behind the speakers and listening position (and used conventional panels elsewhere) because of the cost. The good news is that in my room at least, putting them on those two walls has been well worth the cost. The other critical thing is that in my 9.5' x 16' listening room there wasn't space for large or thick absorbers and bass traps, so the thin ZR panels were just what I needed.
 
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Beenthereagain

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Yeah, personal, home listening environments are a significantly different thing from a studio environment.

The personal, home listening setup is more about what sounds good to YOU.
But a good studio environment is more about being truly accurate & usually requires (or at least involves) actual repeatable measurements, as well as human listening & responding to the environment.
If a recording or mix truly sounds bad, you want to hear it sound BAD in glorious detail is a studio environment! So you can then hopefully correct, or fix it so it can sound good on any personal, home listening system that that is may be played on.

The differences between a studio listening environment -vs- individual home listening systems are similar to the differences between someone building a bed & someone else having to actually sleep in it
;^)

I do think the ZR products can be used for great diffusion, I just don't know how much more effective they truly are...especially when compared to other diffusion products available & when considering the price differences.
 
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Carlos269

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Yeah, personal, home listening environments are a significantly different thing from a studio environment.

The personal, home listening setup is more about what sounds good to YOU.
But a good studio environment is more about being truly accurate & usually requires (or at least involves) actual repeatable measurements, as well as human listening & responding to the environment.
If a recording or mix truly sounds bad, you want to hear it sound BAD in glorious detail is a studio environment! So you can then hopefully correct, or fix it so it can sound good on any personal, home listening system that that is may be played on.

The differences between a studio listening environment -vs- individual home listening systems are similar to the differences between someone building a bed & someone else having to actually sleep in it
;^)

I do think the ZR products can be used for great diffusion, I just don't know how much more effective they truly are...especially when compared to other diffusion products available & when considering the price differences.

Good points. The studio versus home environment differences cannot be emphasized enough.

There is no criteria that I have seen or has been specified or presented for a home listening room. It is always about how great a room is and how wonderful a room sounds without any evidence of it. The audiophile world is a strange world of cock-sparing, ego-stroking and this imaginary competition, like running a race with no finish line and where most in the audience are clueless as to what is or isn’t a good performance. There is all this talk about room acoustics but I have yet to see what exactly constitutes a good room versus the average domestic room acoustics. Even the acoustics consultants and bespoke room designers fail to understand that you cannot decouple the room from the source of acoustic excitations and their characteristics such as wave propagation patterns. Instead they talk their clients into building one size fits all vanity affairs that are no better than traditional domestic listening environments. I want some one to show me how arbitrarily adding room treatments or wrapping a room in absorbent and/or diffusive material is beneficial without any before and after measurements, with every significant change in the acoustic excitation sources.

For room treatments to be effective, the environment must remain static. Changes to excitation sources require re-calibration and judicious analysis, but in the home environment, to what standard? It is all arbitrary..

Okay, I’m getting off of my soap box and going back to listening to music.
 

spiritofmusic

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Carlos, you mean it might be all, y'know, I'm almost too ashamed to say it, but...well, subjective/personal taste? That'd be a first in this hobby Lol.
 

Carlos269

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Carlos, you mean it might be all, y'know, I'm almost too ashamed to say it, but...well, subjective/personal taste? That'd be a first in this hobby Lol.

Okay, let’s follow this line of thinking. Give me an example of an audiophile’s room you think sounds fabulous, and then tell me what makes you think that it is the room that sounds great based on your subjective/personal taste.

I’m curious and await to see how you will decouple the room from the system in order to extract that it is the room that has all the great characteristics and attributes.

I’m not picking on you, if I was you would know it, but the logic of making assessments on room acoustics based on subjective/personal taste is flawed.

I will keep an open mind and wait for your response. Maybe I will learn something new today.
 

spiritofmusic

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Carlos, nothing I ever state is that educational.
My new room compared to old is a massive uptick in its own right, and I felt that was me done. But when are any of us truly done?
So I put in some GIKs unused from my old room, and a certain calm was introduced.
I'd always been intrigued by diffusion, and a member here helpfully put me onto a fairly inexpensive series of diffuser/absorbers.
Plus ideas on bespoke bass traps.
And sequential install of these treatments contributed to *perceived* improvements in clarity and imaging. Starting w my eaves, and then front and side walls.
Filling a communication hatch in my floor that was a direct conduit between my 1000 cub ft room and the 20,000 cub ft room below, plus extra large bespoke wool-filled bass traps, has provided the basis for me to turn my subs xover setting lower, but the output level quite a bit higher, more bass, more controlled, less boom and smear.
I now have a fuller sound, but clearer and calmer.
And for me, this seals the deal on my treatments' efficacy and why they're staying.
 
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Carlos269

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Carlos, nothing I ever state is that educational.
My new room compared to old is a massive uptick in its own right, and I felt that was me done. But when are any of us truly done?
So I put in some GIKs unused from my old room, and a certain calm was introduced.
I'd always been intrigued by diffusion, and a member here helpfully put me onto a fairly inexpensive series of diffuser/absorbers.
Plus ideas on bespoke bass traps.
And sequential install of these treatments contributed to *perceived* improvements in clarity and imaging. Starting w my eaves, and then front and side walls.
Filling a communication hatch in my floor that was a direct conduit between my 1000 cub ft room and the 20,000 cub ft room below, plus extra large bespoke wool-filled bass traps, has provided the basis for me to turn my subs xover setting lower, but the output level quite a bit higher, more bass, more controlled, less boom and smear.
I now have a fuller sound, but clearer and calmer.
And for me, this seals the deal on my treatments' efficacy and why they're staying.

Sounds like you have done some good work there that has resulted in your “perceived” improvement.

Unfortunately we will never know how the treatments impacted the room’s response and how the new response compares with the old. Getting the impulse response of the room through your system is very easy and straightforward; it may be of interest to you if you are a curious, next time you are about to make some changes.

Sounds like you feel like you stepped in the right direction with your treatments , enjoy it in good health.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Carlos, what's really interesting for me right now is that I've just listened to a totally exemplary sound in a room that on the surface could have been really challenging (small, square, bay window), totally untreated...and a sound to die for.
 

Addicted to hifi

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Yeah, personal, home listening environments are a significantly different thing from a studio environment.

The personal, home listening setup is more about what sounds good to YOU.
But a good studio environment is more about being truly accurate & usually requires (or at least involves) actual repeatable measurements, as well as human listening & responding to the environment.
If a recording or mix truly sounds bad, you want to hear it sound BAD in glorious detail is a studio environment! So you can then hopefully correct, or fix it so it can sound good on any personal, home listening system that that is may be played on.

The differences between a studio listening environment -vs- individual home listening systems are similar to the differences between someone building a bed & someone else having to actually sleep in it
;^)

I do think the ZR products can be used for great diffusion, I just don't know how much more effective they truly are...especially when compared to other diffusion products available & when considering the price differences.
Welcome beenthereagain to wbf.
 

Cellcbern

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Yeah, personal, home listening environments are a significantly different thing from a studio environment.

The personal, home listening setup is more about what sounds good to YOU.
But a good studio environment is more about being truly accurate & usually requires (or at least involves) actual repeatable measurements, as well as human listening & responding to the environment.
If a recording or mix truly sounds bad, you want to hear it sound BAD in glorious detail is a studio environment! So you can then hopefully correct, or fix it so it can sound good on any personal, home listening system that that is may be played on.

The differences between a studio listening environment -vs- individual home listening systems are similar to the differences between someone building a bed & someone else having to actually sleep in it
;^)

I do think the ZR products can be used for great diffusion, I just don't know how much more effective they truly are...especially when compared to other diffusion products available & when considering the price differences.
The ZR panels aren't diffusers. How they actually work was addressed in the thread - I'm not interested n rehashing it. I know how much more effective they are because I bought a few and did head to head comparisons with RPG BAD and GIK 242 and 244 panels. Anyone who is interested can do the same. Short of trying them comments about their cost effectiveness are purely speculation.
 

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