Artnovion Verona bsA friend has just split with his wife and his living room acoustics are devastated. Well I was devastated by them anyway, he didn’t seem to be paying much attention.

She was the art lover and took all her artworks with her. These consisted almost entirely of pictures on the walls, some framed and behind glass, others stretched canvases. Their removal is the only change that has been made to that living room and while it always sounded a bit bright in there, now the room echoes like an empty water tank. The change wrought by the removal of the art has been so pronounced that everyone has noticed, not just fussy purists like me. Turn up the volume during the footy and the commentators’ voices reverberate all over the place.

What can he do? In the short term he could string a few blankets to the walls. Insulation bats work better but who has them lying around? He could do the old hi fi shop trick of stuffing a few cardboard boxes with blankets or cushions or insulation to place strategically around the sound lounge. Simply hanging the laundry to dry in there would make a difference, even loading up the couches and chairs with cushions could help.

Artnovion Verona asIn the longer term there are more elegant solutions. My friend’s experience underlines one of the old truths about getting great sound – it’s not just the equipment, it’s the room as well.

A number of companies make acoustic panels that either soak up, reinforce or disperse soundwaves as required, and while these have usually been aimed at businesses they’re now being used by plenty of home owners. So popular have they become that two local hi fi importers have launched different ranges of them in the last month.

One is called Artnovion and hails from Portugal. It offers panels with a parametric design that can be arranged to flow along the wall “morphing and unfolding according to your point of view,” the company says.

Artnovion Sahara aThere are five different panels in this series, finished in wood and acoustic fabric, to create differing patterns. These have an effective absorption range starting at 250 Hertz and extending to 5000 Hertz to scatter mid-range sound, and they’re most effective in rooms with mid and high-frequency issues. In my friend’s parlance that’s rooms lacking art.

Artnovion’s website,, is a ripper. If you’re at all interested in reading some brief and simple explanations of how sound works go there. There are demonstrations as well.

Artnovion Siena asThe other manufacturer is Sonitus, from Croatia. Importer Geoff Mathews says the brand offers “a multitude of colours, thicknesses and designs to allow a wide variety of acoustic treatment solutions, including absorbers, diffusers and bass traps.” But what is particularly appealing is the magnetic fastening system. Panels are readily removable and relocatable. If your listening room is suddenly required as a nursery and the only option for the stereo is the shed, well it could be the best sounding shed in the street.

The Sonitus website,, has a collection of installation pictures that range from reserved and conservative to dead scary. It may be best not to show them to a life partner who’s on the timid side or you may wind up like my friend.

You’ll need professional guidance in what and how much treatment your room needs, and every room is different. Dealers handling Artnovion panels are typically packaging home theatres with room treatments from around $10,000 and stereo music systems with a panel package from around $7000, but probably $10,000 is more realistic.

Fits published on August 2018


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