Trying the ZR Acoustics Panels

Tim Link

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Can you elaborate on what you mean by waves passing parallel to the surface?
I mean the sonic wave is propagating along the length of the wall rather than propagating toward or away from the wall. There's air motion back and forth in the direction of propagation, so if a surface is rough it will disrupt the air motion to some degree and convert acoustic energy to heat. At the front of the room, if you put the speakers up against the front wall as they suggest, and cover the wall with a bunch of these panels, you will get some calming of the bass that's shooting sideways off the speakers and bouncing back and forth across the front of the room. I wouldn't expect it to make a huge difference but it might be noticeable and measurable using REW and looking at the clarity graphs.
 

MadFloyd

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Thank you, Tim.
 

Tim Link

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For the sake of comparison I googled Acoustic Sciences Corporation "Portfolio" and "Commercial Client List". Here is a link to what my search turned up:

https://www.acousticsciences.com/pro/projects-studio/
You make a good point here. We should perhaps add more content to that webpage.
You can see a partial list of people and organizations we work with here:
 

Cellcbern

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You make a good point here. We should perhaps add more content to that webpage.
You can see a partial list of people and organizations we work with here:
"Friends We Keep" doesn't sound quite the same as current clients. You list Disney as a "friend" for example. DHDI lists them as a current client. And we know for example that the sound work for The Mandalorian is being done using DHDI's Zero Reflection technology (see:https://www.local695.com/magazine/mixing-the-mandalorian-season-one-this-is-the-way/). I could be wrong but my impression is that DHDI is displacing conventional acoustics firms with its ZR technology (which has all of the hallmarks of a disruptive technology) and has become the "go to" firm in the film & recording studio/mastering lab space. The good news for conventional acoustics firms is that DHDI does not target or market to the home audiophile market. I stumbled on them and took the initiative to try their products based on a review, but they are focused on the pro/commercial space. Still, in my opinion (based on my tests) anyone looking at room treatment is missing out big time if they don't take a look at DHDI's ZR panels. There's nothing else available that is as effective while also being thin, light, and attractive.
 
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Carlos269

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"Friends We Keep" doesn't sound quite the same as current clients. You list Disney as a "friend" for example. DHDI lists them as a current client. And we know for example that the sound work for The Mandalorian is being done using DHDI's Zero Reflection technology (see:https://www.local695.com/magazine/mixing-the-mandalorian-season-one-this-is-the-way/). I could be wrong but my impression is that DHDI is displacing conventional acoustics firms with its ZR technology (which has all of the hallmarks of a disruptive technology) and has become the "go to" firm in the film & recording studio/mastering lab space. The good news for conventional acoustics firms is that DHDI does not target or market to the home audiophile market. I stumbled on them and took the initiative to try their products based on a review, but they are focused on the pro/commercial space. Still, in my opinion (based on my tests) anyone looking at room treatment is missing out big time if they don't take a look at DHDI's ZR panels. There's nothing else available that is as effective while also being thin, light, and attractive.

Please post some videos of your systems so that we can hear how great your room with these ZR Acoustics panels sounds. Make some videos of well know music so that we can make a relative analysis of the sound of your system in your room treated with the ZR Acoustic panels and your speakers up against the wall. Interested to hear what it sounds like, relatively speaking.
 
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Cellcbern

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Please post some videos of your systems so that we can hear how great your room with these ZR Acoustics panels sounds. Make some videos of well know music so that we can make a relative analysis of the sound of your system in your room treated with the ZR Acoustic panels and your speakers up against the wall. Interested to hear what it sounds like, relatively speaking.
I will try to do that once the system is back together. Speakers are back at Bache for driver, crossover, and wiring upgrades.
 

Tim Link

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"Friends We Keep" doesn't sound quite the same as current clients. You list Disney as a "friend" for example. DHDI lists them as a current client. And we know for example that the sound work for The Mandalorian is being done using DHDI's Zero Reflection technology (see:https://www.local695.com/magazine/mixing-the-mandalorian-season-one-this-is-the-way/). I could be wrong but my impression is that DHDI is displacing conventional acoustics firms with its ZR technology (which has all of the hallmarks of a disruptive technology) and has become the "go to" firm in the film & recording studio/mastering lab space. The good news for conventional acoustics firms is that DHDI does not target or market to the home audiophile market. I stumbled on them and took the initiative to try their products based on a review, but they are focused on the pro/commercial space. Still, in my opinion (based on my tests) anyone looking at room treatment is missing out big time if they don't take a look at DHDI's ZR panels. There's nothing else available that is as effective while also being thin, light, and attractive.
From what I've read Hanson Hsu has a long established name in the industry from designing rooms that were deemed to sound very good. I don't doubt that his work was effective with the issues at the Mandalorian set, and that these panels have some acoustic merit. What a 3/4" panel does to the bass has to be something, but the question is exactly what. I'd like to see some measurements. We're not seeing any abatement in demand for our products from professional studios, for both new and replacement parts as stuff gets lost or damaged, although there has been a shift away from doing all the work in professional studios even for big name entertainers, so portable acoustics is increasingly important so that they can effectively work in whatever room they happen to have available.

Here's a video recently made by Brian Vibberts explaining how he uses StudioTraps;
 

Cellcbern

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From what I've read Hanson Hsu has a long established name in the industry from designing rooms that were deemed to sound very good. I don't doubt that his work was effective with the issues at the Mandalorian set, and that these panels have some acoustic merit. What a 3/4" panel does to the bass has to be something, but the question is exactly what. I'd like to see some measurements. We're not seeing any abatement in demand for our products from professional studios, for both new and replacement parts as stuff gets lost or damaged, although there has been a shift away from doing all the work in professional studios even for big name entertainers, so portable acoustics is increasingly important so that they can effectively work in whatever room they happen to have available.

Here's a video recently made by Brian Vibberts explaining how he uses StudioTraps;
I don't do measurements and don't know exactly how/what the ZR panels do specifically in terms of the low frequencies. What I hear, as I've reported, is a dramatic reduction in reflections and increase in clarity including the bass without the dead acoustic and loss of ambiance I hear from conventional absorbers. I hear no bass or other room mode issues with the ZR panels deployed.

Stereophile reviewer John Marks (Fifth Element #90 - 4/3/2015) commented specifically on the panels' impact on on bass frequencies:

"That said, with the ZR Micro panels centered behind my ATC SCM19 speakers and as close to the front wall as possible (see photo), I heard none of the ill effects I would otherwise expect from placing the speakers so close to the wall. With the room reconfigured per Hsu's instructions, the bass was not only tighter, but more powerful and subjectively deeper".

From the Mix Online article "Alan Meyerson Adds DHDI ZR Acoustics in Hans Zimmer's Facility (8/18/2016):

“The low end got tighter and clearer while the overall imaging grew larger,” Meyerson adds. “It kept the life in the sound and the inspiration in the music rather than just deadening the sound.”


So clearly the ZR panels do something to improve the bass - what, beyond what the manufacturer says I don't know. And I don't think Hanson Hsu is going to reveal any more than he already has. He seems to be very smart about protecting his trade secrets.

Your references to the 3/4"thickness of the panels (the Hybrid panels are 1.25" thick and have a 1/2" layer of sound damping material - I have both) suggests that you are viewing them from the perspective of conventional panels. If they work as HSU claims thickness is not relevant.
 
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Tim Link

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I don't do measurements and don't know exactly how/what the ZR panels do specifically in terms of the low frequencies. What I hear, as I've reported, is a dramatic reduction in reflections and increase in clarity including the bass without the dead acoustic and loss of ambiance I hear from conventional absorbers. I hear no bass or other room mode issues with the ZR panels deployed.

Stereophile reviewer John Marks (Fifth Element #90 - 4/3/2015) commented specifically on the panels' impact on on bass frequencies:

"That said, with the ZR Micro panels centered behind my ATC SCM19 speakers and as close to the front wall as possible (see photo), I heard none of the ill effects I would otherwise expect from placing the speakers so close to the wall. With the room reconfigured per Hsu's instructions, the bass was not only tighter, but more powerful and subjectively deeper".

From the Mix Online article "Alan Meyerson Adds DHDI ZR Acoustics in Hans Zimmer's Facility (8/18/2016):

“The low end got tighter and clearer while the overall imaging grew larger,” Meyerson adds. “It kept the life in the sound and the inspiration in the music rather than just deadening the sound.”

So clearly the ZR panels do something to improve the bass - what, beyond what the manufacturer says I don't know. And I don't think Hanson Hsu is going to reveal any more than he already has. He seems to be very smart about protecting his trade secrets.

Your references to the 3/4"thickness of the panels (the Hybrid panels are 1.25" thick and have a 1/2" layer of sound damping material - I have both) suggests that you are viewing them from the perspective of conventional panels. If they work as HSU claims thickness is not relevant.
Looking at the measured response of the ATC SCM19 I'd say that's a speaker that could benefit from being pushed up close to the wall to boost it's bass performance. So Hsu's instructions make sense. It also makes sense that the ZR panels will scrub the midbass coming off the sides of the speakers and bouncing back and forth between the sidewalls and ceiling in the plane of the speakers, helping to clear it up. It all seems reasonable to me.
 
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Cellcbern

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Looking at the measured response of the ATC SCM19 I'd say that's a speaker that could benefit from being pushed up close to the wall to boost it's bass performance. So Hsu's instructions make sense. It also makes sense that the ZR panels will scrub the midbass coming off the sides of the speakers and bouncing back and forth between the sidewalls and ceiling in the plane of the speakers, helping to clear it up. It all seems reasonable to me.

Looking at the measured response of the ATC SCM19 I'd say that's a speaker that could benefit from being pushed up close to the wall to boost it's bass performance. So Hsu's instructions make sense. It also makes sense that the ZR panels will scrub the midbass coming off the sides of the speakers and bouncing back and forth between the sidewalls and ceiling in the plane of the speakers, helping to clear it up. It all seems reasonable to me.
 

Cellcbern

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Of course if the ZR panel is reducing reflections of the low frequencies (I understand that you can't get your head around how that could work given its thickness) then little if any bass reinforcement is taking place. Rather, the bass is clearer and tighter because reflected sound isn't muddying the direct sound from the speakers, i.e., the ZR panels reduce reflections in the low frequencies enough to minimize SBIR (see: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/speaker-placement-boundary-interference/). The ZR panels were developed for and are used almost exclusively in pro studios where bass reinforcement is not wanted. It also has nothing to do with the size of the ATC speakers which are but one example. If you click on the customer pages at the DHDI "Portfolio" link a photo of each installation comes up. Some of them show small monitors but others show towers or the big Lipinski monitors. All are right up against the wall/panels, but that's also the case in virtually every photo of a pro studio with conventional absorbers/traps.
 
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MPS

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Acoustic elements operate in different properties, reflexion, dampening and/or diffusion. This design is interesting and looks like it could be combination of all mentioned properties. However I fail to see how it could operate in LF. At those wavelenghts there is no phase difference at all in the depth or width of the panel. If some dampening material is placed behind the acoustic element then it could have some dampening properties due to membrane effect but with these thicknesses I doubt that absorption effect would be very limited maybe only around 0.1.
Having said that, I do not doubt people's experiences with improved LF, improvements in the lower mid, mid and even HF can affect how we experience LF.
Any professionally produced acoustic element needs to have it's parameters and standardized measurements published.
 
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Cellcbern

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Acoustic elements operate in different properties, reflexion, dampening and/or diffusion. This design is interesting and looks like it could be combination of all mentioned properties. However I fail to see how it could operate in LF. At those wavelenghts there is no phase difference at all in the depth or width of the panel. If some dampening material is placed behind the acoustic element then it could have some dampening properties due to membrane effect but with these thicknesses I doubt that absorption effect would be very limited maybe only around 0.1.
Having said that, I do not doubt people's experiences with improved LF, improvements in the lower mid, mid and even HF can affect how we experience LF.
Any professionally produced acoustic element needs to have it's parameters and standardized measurements published.
What do you mean “Any…..needs to have……published”? Why? Not publishing technical details and measurements hasn’t kept DHDI from becoming the leading player in the film/recording/mastering space. Have you looked at their client list? It’s hard to imagine that they don’t share much more than is on their website with clients. However I know for a fact that every client signs an NDA. DHDI is just being smart about protecting their trade secrets. Meanwhile anyone who trusts their ears and is generally interested in finding out what the ZR panels can do can buy a few and test them (as I did), or ask one of DHDI’s clients to let them listen.
 
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MPS

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What do you mean “Any…..needs to have……published”? Why? Not publishing technical details and measurements hasn’t kept DHDI from becoming the leading player in the film/recording/mastering space. Have you looked at their client list? It’s hard to imagine that they don’t share much more than is on their website with clients. However I know for a fact that every client signs an NDA. DHDI is just being smart about protecting their trade secrets. Meanwhile anyone who trusts their ears and is generally interested in finding out what the ZR panels can do can buy a few and test them (as I did), or ask one of DHDI’s clients to let them listen.
I mean that acoustic treatment is designed to treat issues. First step is to identify the issues and then decide which treatment will best fill the need to fix those. How can this decision be made if it is not known which properties the treatment has?
It's like a doctor ordering medicine without examining the patient and then ordering a medicine which, while good for something, might work or not for this individual case.
Just my 2c
 

Tim Link

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Of course if the ZR panel is reducing reflections of the low frequencies (I understand that you can't get your head around how that could work given its thickness) then little if any bass reinforcement is taking place. Rather, the bass is clearer and tighter because reflected sound isn't muddying the direct sound from the speakers, i.e., the ZR panels reduce reflections in the low frequencies enough to minimize SBIR (see: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/speaker-placement-boundary-interference/). The ZR panels were developed for and are used almost exclusively in pro studios where bass reinforcement is not wanted. It also has nothing to do with the size of the ATC speakers which are but one example. If you click on the customer pages at the DHDI "Portfolio" link a photo of each installation comes up. Some of them show small monitors but others show towers or the big Lipinski monitors. All are right up against the wall/panels, but that's also the case in virtually every photo of a pro studio with conventional absorbers/traps.
All good points. Some professional monitors have adjustable settings for wall boundary placement. The ATC SCM9 doesn't seem to be a studio monitor, and has no adjustable settings. Regardless of it's size, it has a response that would make me inclined to put it near the back wall, with or without wall treatments.

Here's a couple quotes from their website:
"Zero Reflection Technology is powered by Quantum Acoustics, rendering all hard surfaces inaudible: walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors."
"Without reflections, acoustical issues simply cease to exist."

Without giving up any trade secrets, they could prove with measurements that a room treated with their panel had greatly reduced reflections by showing that all the acoustical issues were cleaned up. This would be as easy as demonstrating that the bass response was flat and smooth everywhere in the room with a single speaker playing anywhere in the room. That would be phenomenal and I guarantee we'd all be exceedingly impressed and recognize him as someone who knows something unknown to the rest of physicists. He'd have instant military contracts. (Maybe he does!) All new anechoic chambers would be built using these things. (Doesn't look like it.) But there's no point in pushing on this because if you read carefully it doesn't really say that the actual panels will result in zero reflections, but just implies that the underlying technology is theoretically capable of resulting in zero reflections. So basically they aren't saying just how well these panels work, only that they work to some extent, which Mr. Hsu has determined to make rooms sound good. His name recognition in the industry carries some weight, so major producers trust his judgement. And undoubtedly they do make rooms sound good.

Here's the only patent I found granted to Hanson Hsu: https://patents.google.com/patent/US10240347B2/en?q=acoustic+absorber&inventor=Hanson+Hsu

I can't find any reference to anything quantum here, so the quantum part of the puzzle is apparently the trade secret. If I were trying to keep it a secret I wouldn't mention that it was quantum at all. I might be on to something here - maybe it has nothing to do with quantum effects. He's just using that to throw the would-be copycats off course.
 
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Cellcbern

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I mean that acoustic treatment is designed to treat issues. First step is to identify the issues and then decide which treatment will best fill the need to fix those. How can this decision be made if it is not known which properties the treatment has?
It's like a doctor ordering medicine without examining the patient and then ordering a medicine which, while good for something, might work or not for this individual case.
Just my 2c

That's exactly what I did. I was hearing too much reflected sound bouncing around the room and the bass was a litte muddy. When I added more absorbers on the wall the room sounded dead. Having stumbled upon the Stereophile review of the ZR panels I decided to try them. I did not take any measurements because the panels claimed to address all frequencies, and it is clear after deployment that measurements would not have added any value. The measurements taken in conventional room treatment are of reflected sound, which is the source of most if not all of the room anomalies that acoustical treatments are designed to address. In conventional acoustics you have to "identify the issues" by frequency because the treatments by their nature (absorbers, diffusers, traps) are designed to target specific frequency ranges. However if you eliminate the reflections across all frequencies as the ZR panels do (or come close to) you eliminate all of the reflection related issues. If there are no reflections what is there to measure? To continue the medical analogy, the equivalent of conventional room treatment would be targeted prescription of disease specific (e.g., gram negative, or gram positive) antibiotics, whereas DHDI's Zero Reflection technology is a broad spectrum antibiotic.
 

MPS

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BTW I'm not trying to put down the product, all I know it might be excellent and suit multiple purposes. It's even very likely that those panels can be beneficial in typical untreated environment but at the same time it's impossible to say if they are the best or even relatively good. If anything, acoustic environments vary and that means there is no single one solution that suits all.
It's the lack of information that makes it very difficult to be useful for it's intended purpose. Acoustic designers need to stick to known items or design such for themselves.
It would be very welcome if one or more users could bring in their measurements treated/untreated, just to give a rough idea of the effects of the treatment.
 
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Cellcbern

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All good points. Some professional monitors have adjustable settings for wall boundary placement. The ATC SCM9 doesn't seem to be a studio monitor, and has no adjustable settings. Regardless of it's size, it has a response that would make me inclined to put it near the back wall, with or without wall treatments.

Here's a couple quotes from their website:
"Zero Reflection Technology is powered by Quantum Acoustics, rendering all hard surfaces inaudible: walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors."
"Without reflections, acoustical issues simply cease to exist."

Without giving up any trade secrets, they could prove with measurements that a room treated with their panel had greatly reduced reflections by showing that all the acoustical issues were cleaned up. This would be as easy as demonstrating that the bass response was flat and smooth everywhere in the room with a single speaker playing anywhere in the room. That would be phenomenal and I guarantee we'd all be exceedingly impressed and recognize him as someone who knows something unknown to the rest of physicists. He'd have instant military contracts. (Maybe he does!) All new anechoic chambers would be built using these things. (Doesn't look like it.) But there's no point in pushing on this because if you read carefully it doesn't really say that the actual panels will result in zero reflections, but just implies that the underlying technology is theoretically capable of resulting in zero reflections. So basically they aren't saying just how well these panels work, only that they work to some extent, which Mr. Hsu has determined to make rooms sound good. His name recognition in the industry carries some weight, so major producers trust his judgement. And undoubtedly they do make rooms sound good.

Here's the only patent I found granted to Hanson Hsu: https://patents.google.com/patent/US10240347B2/en?q=acoustic+absorber&inventor=Hanson+Hsu

I can't find any reference to anything quantum here, so the quantum part of the puzzle is apparently the trade secret. If I were trying to keep it a secret I wouldn't mention that it was quantum at all. I might be on to something here - maybe it has nothing to do with quantum effects. He's just using that to throw the would-be copycats off course.
Yes they could provide measurements but they haven't. What would be their motivation to do so?
 
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MPS

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That's exactly what I did. I was hearing too much reflected sound bouncing around the room and the bass was a litte muddy. When I added more absorbers on the wall the room sounded dead. Having stumbled upon the Stereophile review of the ZR panels I decided to try them. I did not take any measurements because the panels claimed to address all frequencies, and it is clear after deployment that measurements would not have added any value. The measurements taken in conventional room treatment are of reflected sound, which is the source of most if not all of the room anomalies that acoustical treatments are designed to address. In conventional acoustics you have to "identify the issues" by frequency because the treatments by their nature (absorbers, diffusers, traps) are designed to target specific frequency ranges. However if you eliminate the reflections across all frequencies as the ZR panels do (or come close to) you eliminate all of the reflection related issues. If there are no reflections what is there to measure? To continue the medical analogy, the equivalent of conventional room treatment would be targeted prescription of disease specific (e.g., gram negative, or gram positive) antibiotics, whereas DHDI's Zero Reflection technology is a broad spectrum antibiotic.
No reflexions in the room would mean anechoic chamber and that definitely is not wanted. A smooth and reasonable 200-400ms RT60 values are in the ballpark for stereophonic music listening room.
I have no doubt that you are happy with the result and the treatment is working in your case but at the same time that's about all we know.
 

Tim Link

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Yes they could provide measurements but they haven't. What would be their motivation to do so?
My motivation would be to show people who haven't experienced the product yet just how effective it is at dealing with room reflections, especially considering it's something that seems to defy common acoustical intuition in regards to bass absorption due to its svelte profile.
 
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