26 Artnovian Myriad c.It’s an old axiom of audio; the biggest item in your sound system is the room it’s in. Experts invariably say that practically every room can be improved acoustically, some significantly, with a couple of sound panels. So how come so few audiophiles fit sound panels?

There are three big reasons. First; they’re expensive. Second; they’re hard to fit. And third; how on earth do you figure out where to put them anyway? This last one is the real killer because even lots of hi fi dealers have very little idea about installing sound panels. The job usually requires an expert to come out and listen to the room, and then develop a design. See ‘expensive’ above.

There has always been the aesthetic argument as well, one usually put forward with particular vigour by the long-suffering partner of the audiophile. This is the issue that makers of sound panels have been addressing with equal vigour in recent years. None more so than Artnovion, from Portugal. With a range of acoustic panels that look great and work beautifully it’s now addressing those other three reasons so many potential buyers avoid this topic.

26 Artnovian Myriad aIt has just announced acoustic panels it calls Myriad, consisting of 25.7-cm squares with a depth of either three or five cm. They’re available in a wide range of colours and are self-adhesive, just peel off the backing. And they cost $299 for a 12 pack in five-cm depth, and $459 for a 24 pack in three-cm.

These are absorber panels specifically targeted at reducing the sharpness of high range sounds as well as absorbing echoes and reverberations. They’re made with foam covered with an acoustic fibre that, depending on the colours you choose, can either blend in or make a statement, and they can be installed in minutes. You’ll even get a template to ensure the spacing is consistent.

According to Tom Jolly, who specialises in acoustic treatments for importer Interdyn, the panels are a good option for DIY users who don’t own the tools or have the knowledge to put together a more sophisticated solution.

Okay, but where do you put them?

26 Artnovian Myriad b“We have a lot of retailers who are a little afraid of doing acoustic designs for their clients home theatres and listening rooms,” he said. “I tell them to work off some easy base principles, and these principles work for end users too. First, cover the first reflection points on the side walls. Second, a little bit goes a long way, and third, anything you put in the room is going to improve the sound.”

The Myriad panels, he says, should be used in blocks on the side walls about halfway between the listening position and the speakers. “This will cover your first reflection points,” he said. “It will improve most listening spaces massively. Many ceilings are first reflection points too, but it’s harder for lots of folk to actually get panels on the roof.”

He hastens to point out this should not be done for soundbars that have virtual surround or virtual Dolby Atmos. These rely on sound reflecting at those first reflection points.

26 Artnovian Myriad d“Rooms are typically overlooked when people upgrade their audio but acoustic treatments can boost the performance of a system instantly, clearing up echoes and reflections that can make music sound brittle or muddy,” Jolly said.

Interdyn is also targeting commercial clients with Myriad panels and their ease of application makes them ideal for restaurants and cafes. Off the top of my head I can name at least a dozen restaurants that need them.

First published by smh.com.au July 2019.



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