Nearly six months ago I started this “project” of renovating a new media room in a new house. While I was unable to affect the the room’s dimensions, I could do something about the the sound profile. Incessant ringing, boom’iness, poor sound-staging… all of these problems were classic symptoms of a poorly treated room. Or in my case, a room that had zero treatment besides a carpeted floor.
Previously I talked on my “big” move to a new house and the issues I faced with our new media room. To sum things up, it was rather impossible for me to spend more than a few minutes in the room listening to music (or movies) at any reasonable volume.
I briefly touched on a few paths forward, but fairly quickly settled on pre-built panels from GIK Acoustics. Of all the manufacturers I looked at, I choose GIK primarily for the all the test data they provide. As an engineer, I often say that “act on data, not on feelings”. In fact, this thought process is often something that I come into conflict with when talking about audio gear. If you’re curious, that post is here.
So, coming back to data, GIK provides it in abundance. And when dealing with room acoustics, treating said room is 100% a math game. Our ultimate goal is to reduce that “ringing” effect and absorb unwanted frequencies. If I was going to do this, that meant going all out, as it were.
I have to mention this – hats off to the representatives from GIK. Not only are they professional, but often quick to respond even outside of work hours. The guy I worked with was wonderful and did a great job working with all the niche requests I had. After a few weeks of communication and planning, we came up with as perfect a solution possible for the given budget.
I put this list in the previous post, but here it is again. The only caveat that made treatment somewhat difficult was the occlusion of the front wall which is occupied by a massive 135″ screen. Not ideal, but no room is!
2 -Tri-Trap Corner Bass Trap© with Range Limiter Custom Height 40” 2 -Tri-Trap Corner Bass Trap© with Range Limiter 2 -Monster Bass Trap w/FRT (Rectangle) with Range Limiters 24”x36” 4 -Monster Bass Trap w/FRT (Square) with Range Limiter 2 -244 Bass Trap w/FRT (24"x 48" rectangle) Full Range 4 -4” Impression Series Bass Trap Diffusor/Absorber (Narrow) 4 -4” Impression Series Bass Trap Diffusor/Absorber (Rectangle) 3 -6” Impression Series Bass Trap Diffusor/Absorber (Rectangle) 2 -Soffit Bass Trap© Full Range 1 -Soffit Bass Trap© Full Range custom height 23” 2 -242 Acoustic Panel Full Range Rectangle 24”x36” 4 -244 Bass Trap w/FRT (24"x 36" rectangle) Full Range
Shipment and Unboxing
I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any issues with the shipping or unboxing of GIK panels. Let’s go over the high points first. For such a long lead timne (10 weeks), the actual ship date was far more accurate than I expected. It was only a week late, and that was due to vital tools being down for a few days which halted production.
Let’s talk about the packaging. The panels were wrapped in plastic, packed 1-4 panels per box depending on the panel size. Bigger panels were packed by themselves (like the big 6-8″ thick ones) while the smaller panels are either two or four to a box. For the non-impression series panels, I didn’t encounter any issues with packing or panel damage. This came much to my surprise as the cardboard boxes felt on the thinner side.
As you might have guessed, that means I encountered problems with some of the impression panels. Now, let me say first that GIK did a “best effort” in packing. Around all of the front edges were additional layers of protection for the patterned side. I won’t blame GIK for the damage, but rather lay it on FedEx for their poor treatment of boxes.
As for the actual damage. Of the 11 impression panels, 8 of them have some form of damage on the corners. Of those 8 panels, 2 have damage that I’d consider “visible from a distance”. To me, this means I can spot it from 7-10 feet away. This isn’t an insignificant amount and I’m positive GIK wouldn’t have shipped then in this state.
Am I unhappy about the damage? Yes. Will I be demanding that all the panels are replaced or repaired? No. While no one ever wants nor desires damaged goods, this is mostly minor in my books. Still, I’ve reached out GIK so we’ll see where that leads us.
So, at this point, they aren’t on the walls yet. Instead, I’ve placed them against the wall close to the final positions. Even like this, I can tell a difference. Is it huge? Somewhat. That’s what measurements are for – confirmation.
First, I’d like to say that I have never used REW prior to these measurements. I purchased a new UMIK-2 microphone and got to work figuring out how to interpret these graphs. Even with my limited knowledge, I can tell that some of the room nodes have been greatly reduced in severity. Have they been fixed completely? No, but that may be something I can resolve by messing with speaker placement a bit.
Still, it should be fairly obvious that we’re headed in the right direction towards audio nirvana!
Until Next Time
In the next part of my room-treatment series, I’ll talk about getting the panels on the wall and do another round of measurements. I’d also like to include decay charts to better show how long a sound resonates before dissipating. If anything, I think that is the true value of sound panels.