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2023 Editors’ Choice: Best Room Treatments

ASC Tube Traps

ASC Tube Traps

$498–$2638

Tube Traps from Acoustic Sciences Corporation are indispensable to improving your system’s sound. They can solve a wide range of acoustic problems with strategic placement and orientation. Boomy bass can be cured with a pair of 16″ Full Rounds in the corners behind the loudspeakers. Placed along the sidewalls between you and the loudspeakers, Tube Traps kill unwanted sidewall reflections, prevent flutter echo, and aid in diffusion. A single Tube Trap in the center of the wall behind the loudspeakers can expand soundstage depth. There are lots of questionable acoustic products on the market, but Tube Traps are the real deal. New IsoThermal version (not yet tested) claims to double absorption below 60Hz. RH

Acoustic Geometry Room Packs

Acoustic Geometry Room Packs

$580–$9519

Acoustic Geometry’s Room Packs are extremely effective in taming room problems and improving sound quality. These affordable packages take the guesswork out of choosing what acoustic treatments your room needs and where to position them. The components of the Room Packs are also available separately. The CornerSorbers ($999 per pair) remove bass bloat and increase definition and dynamic fidelity. Curve Diffusors ($399 each) improve soundstaging, articulation, and bass. A full Pro Room Pack 10 ($8619) can transform your system. RH, 290

Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedges

Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedges

Price varies

If you’ve logged much time in home recording studios, odds are that you’ve already seen Auralex Studiofoam Wedges in action. Studiofoam is highly absorptive, and therefore can be just the ticket for taming slap echoes or comb-filtering effects.

A/V RoomService Ltd. Metu Acoustic Panels and Corner Traps

A/V RoomService Ltd. Metu Acoustic Panels and Corner Traps

Price depends on configuration

Although the set of Metus that came to JV—and that he now depends on—came in a particularly unattractive Fudgsicle brown, these wall-hanging, cloth-faced, rectangular acoustic panels (mounted to wooden backboards) and cloth-faced corner traps can be precisely color-matched to your paint scheme or be made to look like framed art of any kind (from posters to paintings). Designed by Norman Varney, who did the acoustical treatment of Robert Harley’s previous room, they are the real deal—precisely calibrated room treatments that use a patent-pending adjustable diaphragmatic/sound absorptive technology to reliably reduce all sorts of colorations. JV

RPG Diffusor Systems B.A.D. (Binary Amplitude Diffsorber) Panels

RPG Diffusor Systems B.A.D. (Binary Amplitude Diffsorber) Panels

Price varies

RPG’s B.A.D. panels are thin absorptive diffuser panels that can help tame problem room acoustics without quashing dynamics or swallowing midrange and high-frequency details. The design of B.A.D. panels is deceptively simple, but their effects can be remarkable. In rooms treated with B.A.D. panels, speakers often exhibit lower coloration, more focused imaging, and deeper soundstages.

Stillpoints Aperture II Panels

Stillpoints Aperture II Panels

$960 each (all color combinations)

These 2’ x 2’ panels (four to six are recommended) do wonders for soundstage depth, image focus, detail resolution, and midbass clarity. They can be positioned freely or mounted on Stillpoints’ dedicated stands that can hold up to three panels. A pair of stands, each supporting three Aperture panels and positioned just outside and in front of the speakers, renders a significant increase in soundstage depth, image specificity, focus, air between images, and soundstage symmetry. RH

Shakti Hallographs

Shakti Hallographs

$1195/pr.

Master of the inexplicable, Shakti’s Ben Piazza has followed up on his magic “Shakti stones” with yet another impossible-to-explain-but-effective-as-claimed item, the Hallographs. With direct-radiating or omni speakers, these large, rotatable, free-standing, tuning-fork-shaped items work some kind of voodoo when placed in the corners and/or to the sides of a room, masking chaotic wall reflections and “clarifying” the soundfield (just as Shakti says they do). Indispensable. JV

SteinMusic H2-Plus Acoustic Harmonizer

SteinMusic H2-Plus Acoustic Harmonizer

$2458 (package of 2 including stands)

The brainchild of an immensely likable, utterly sincere, and wholly devoted German music lover, Holger Stein, the H2 Harmonizer System is yet another impossible-to-explain room treatment that works—in this case, markedly increasing three-dimensionality, better “disappearing” loudspeakers, widening the soundstage, enriching tone color, and heightening transient energy, top to bottom, to an extent that’s kinda incredible. To make its magic the H2 boxes use ruby (and other) crystal materials (to which a small amount of current is applied) in concert with various “stones” and wall appliances. Magic it may well be, but the differences between “before” and “after” aren’t subtle, are repeatable, and are finely adjustable to taste. JV

Synergistic Research ART System

Synergistic Research ART System

Price varies

This amazing, expandable system of wall-mounted and floor-seated Helmholtz-like radiators (the eldest form of acoustic treatment) from SR’s Ten Denney predictably enriches timbres, clarifies detail, and tightens images without constricting the soundstage. As far as JV can tell—and he’s had the ARTs for years—they have no downside. Indeed, along with the Shakti Hallographs and Stein Harmonizers, the ART (Acoustic Room Treatment) System is one of the most effective passive room treatments he has used. Like the Shaktis it has become an indispensable tool without which his listening room simply doesn’t sound “right”—and music played back in it doesn’t sound as realistic, expansive, and delicious. JV

Synergistic Research Atmosphere Infinity/UEF Room Treatment

Synergistic Research Atmosphere Infinity/UEF Room Treatment

Infinity, $3495; UEF Dots, $295/10-pack; HFT, $299/5-pack

Synergistic’s latest twist on Helmholtz-like radiators are HFT thimbles and UEF dots that “ring” salubriously in response to a signal emitted by Synergistic’s active Atmosphere Infinity Tuning Module. The combination of module, HFTs, and UEFs really does dramatically change the acoustic of your room in completely predictable, user-selectable ways. Further tweaks include UEF acoustic panels ($549/4-pack) and the Black Box, which together make for a uniquely ingenious and effective room-treatment system. This is one you’ve gotta hear. JV, 280

Stillpoints Aperture II Panels

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