My DIY acoustic panels and bass traps are a burden. They are too ugly (according to my wife, I think they're works of art) to keep in our listening room when not in use. So every time I want to begin or finish a listening session I am forced to drag the panels and traps between the utility room and the listening room. It's my cross to bear.
What if I could have the same effectiveness of the bass traps (wave absorption below 200 Hz) but in a much smaller and inconspicuous package?
The Cable Company's Ultra System carries Nucore's Cathedral Sound Room Dampening Panels. The small (11" x 16" x 2") panel pairs are placed near the ceiling in the four corners of your room (where harmful standing waves and room resonances are "horn-loaded"). According to their literature the panels smooth frequency amplitude by a few dBs and cut decay time by a few milliseconds. These acoustic effects at and below 200 Hz smooth low and mid bass and gives a solid foundation to the midrange and upper frequencies.
Positive Feedback (last mini-review on the page) gave the Dampening Panels a good review, the reviewer verifying he heard the same improvements Nucore measured while testing their panels' effectiveness.
The panels are $179 a pair. You'll need at least two pair to treat your front corners, so really $358. In the world of retail acoustic treatments these are reasonable prices, if the panels work as advertised. According to what I've read from Jon Risch and the Master Handbook of Acoustics these panels (because of their compact size) should have very little effect on frequencies below 200 Hz (but maybe Nucore bent the laws of physics). Plus $360 is three times what I spent on my DIY bass traps and acoustic panels. Depending on your room you may need to double that cost to treat all four corners.
I wish I had the resources and brains of Discovery Channel's Mythbusters so I could debunk some of the audiophile snake oil out there. If I could afford these panels I could at least listen and measure improvements if any, because their wife acceptance factor is so high in the realm of ugly and bulky room treatments.
For now I'm stuck with my wonderful burden of my DIY bass traps and acoustic panels.
Have you tried these panels? Do you think they should work (am I missing something)? Comment with your impressions.