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Today’s Show:

Home Theater Acoustic Treatments

We all want great sounding home theaters. We spend our hard earned cash on receivers, speakers, subwoofers and TV/Projectors but one area many of us overlook is the actual room acoustics. Bare floors and walls can ruin an experience by allowing sound waves to bounce off these surfaces and create audio distortions. The net result is the most expensive systems will not live up to their potential. Acoustic treatments can absorb the sound waves and prevent echoes, reverberation, and audio distortion that reduce the enjoyment of your home theater. This discussion will focus on things you can do after the fact. If you are building a dedicated theater room you’ll want to incorporate acoustic elements into the design and construction of the room.

Acoustic Panels

These wall panel absorbs sound and can enhance the look of your room. Available in a wide variety of shapes and colors,  Acoustic Panels typically install easily on your walls or ceiling to absorb sound waves to allow the sound to be as pure as possible. Some manufacturers will customize the panel with your own personal images, others have a wide selection of colors and prints so that they look good while performing a vital function.

Cost: A 2′X3′X2″ single color panel runs about $45. If you want a print on the panel it can run about $200 for the same size. Some can be customized to add a nice personal touch to the decor of any room.

Bass Traps

Online definition – Bass Traps are acoustic energy absorbers which are designed to damp low frequency sound energy with the goal of attaining a flatter low frequency room response by reducing LF resonances in rooms. They are commonly used in recording studios, mastering rooms, home theaters and other rooms built to provide a critical listening environment. Like all acoustically absorptive devices, they function by turning sound energy into heat through friction. These are devices that are typically placed in the corners of rooms.

Cost: A two foot trap that can be installed in a corner runs about $70 but can go into the hundreds of dollars very quickly.

Fabric/Curtains

Curtains in general can absorb sound. There are some that are made with sound absorbing material and do a good job controlling acoustic reflection off of glass. You can also line the walls of your room with fabric to achieve the same affect.

Cost: Curtains can vary but you don’t have to spend any more than normal curtains. The thicker the better. As far as fabric goes, again prices varies based on the type of fabric and amount.

Acoustic Baffles

Rooms with high ceilings in large rooms can benefit from using acoustic baffles. Think of these like banners hanging from the ceiling.

Cost: Typically in the hundreds of dollars since you typically need to buy these in multiple units.

Download Episode #432


Posted by The HT Guys, July 1, 2010 11:25 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.