Acoustic Panels w/pics of room in question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I am slowly working on my home theatre setup and need a little help with placing acoustic panels.

My room is a small rectangle measuring 16 feet by 10 1/2 feet with 8 foot ceilings. There is a 9 foot doorway/opening that connects my theatre room to an adjacent stairwell, bookcase and hallway to bathroom. The room is in the basement and has a single 2 foot by 3 foot window that sits above grade.

I plan on draping heavy curtains over the window and am even thinking of a classic red velvet/or other heavy material curtain for the 9 foot opening. The walls are all drywall with the floor being a hard laminate.

I have attached two photos to this post to provide detail of the room. As you can see I have some built in shelves and a utility cabinet to deal with.

I plan on picking up some Roxul R6 boards to DIY into panels. They will measure 48x24x1.5 inches at max and can be cut smaller if required.

Any suggestions on placement would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance



PS: The wife has cleared the room to me, so I will be redecorating it as well. So its basically a blank canvass. Panels take precedence. I will decorate the remaining space with movie memorabilia.

My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #2 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 01:00 PM
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I have no idea what those speakers are, but they are obviously way too small to be effective front speakers.

Job one is to get some front speakers that will give you more sound and bass down to around 50 hz, and spend plenty of time getting them placed optimally in the room. The Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 speakers are excellent.

I doubt if you are going to have much luck with 5.1 in there; i would recommend a 2.1 or 3.1 system.

I would also get rid of the "wing" part of that couch that sicks out oddly and replace it with a couple of ECKORNES leather chairs or conventional recliners for listening/viewing chairs.

Moving the TV a bit to the right would help also.
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post #3 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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They are Energy Take Classics. I don't have a budget for a high price system. I wanted to get the best I could for around $500. It's what I got, so I have to work with it.

My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #4 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozweego View Post

They are Energy Take Classics. I don't have a budget for a high price system. I wanted to get the best I could for around $500. It's what I got, so I have to work with it.
In that case, don't waste money on acoustic panels either smile.gif. Put a throw rug on the floor. Your room has a lot of hard surfaces and that would help with that, and reduce the floor bounce. Putting more furnishings in the room will also help. You have a pretty space. Keep it that way! smile.gif

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post #5 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Since Commsysman's post I have been second guessing my Energy Take's purchase. I researched thoroughly before getting them and with a budget of $500 for surround speakers they seemed to be the best I could get within my price range. I picked up a Denon AVR 1713 to run the speakers. Completing the setup is my 60" ST50. I am happy with the sound I am getting out of the Takes, but wonder if it should be more. I generally find I have to pump the receiver up to about 60-65 to obtain the loudness I am looking for.

I did some looking around at local retailers here in Atlantic Canada and did see that I could get a Klipsch 5.1 setup for $200 more then my Takes. I could return the Takes and spend a little more to get the Klipsch, but is it worth it?

The Klipsch setup in question are:
KW-100 Sub
F-10 Front towers
C-10 Center
B-10B surrounds

Can get the package at a local Bestbuy for $699 +tax

Any thoughts out there? Should I return the Takes and get the above? I know the Klipsch will look and fill the space better then the tiny Takes, but ultimately sound quality is what I want. If the Klipsch sounds better then maybe it's worth the jump.

My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #6 of 22 Old 01-12-2013, 09:09 PM
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Hey Ozweego why don't you check out your local Furure Shop to see if they have ant Energy RC-70's left. $399 each adds up to 100 bucks more than the Klipsch setup, but who could argue with that kind of deal. Not surround, but a great start.
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-13-2013, 08:34 AM
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I'll try to answer the question rather than telling you to upgrade your speakers wink.gif

That said are you devoted to that seating arrangement? As long as you realize that the people sitting on the right side of the sofa will never really get ideal sound and are OK with that there is room for improvement. I do agree that changing the seating would produce a much better sonic result but would really not be ideal for maximizing the # of seats. If you can make the room work and turn that sofa I reall would do that. Or I would consider getting the same sofa with the chase on the other side so it rode along the wall and did not block the open entryway.

  • Start with the wall behind the speakers and place absorption panels covering as much of that surface as you are comfortable in doing.
  • One the side wall where the tall shelf is I wold treat that surface with an absorption panel and place one on the wall directly opposite of that panel.
  • On the back wall it is hard to tell how far away the back of the sofa is. With that said I wold treat that wall with a(n) absorption panal(s) that lie in line with the listeners ears. Diffusion often works best on the rear wall however with as close as the sofa appears to be you may prefer absorption back there.
  • I would place an area rug also, something somewhat thick that can help with the floor.
  • SOmething that would be free would be to place items on the shelf along the window that can help break up reflections. Anything that is not a flat panel, figurings, sculptures, wall decorations that are three dimensional etc... These can function as makeshift diffusion.
  • Now reading that you have fre reign, before you do any of the above fix the seating, you are going to need a physical therapist for you neck if you continue to watch movies looking to the side...

I hope this helps. There are MUCH more scientific and precise ways to do this and there are also much better ways, with that said I see what you are trying to accomplish within a specific budget and I believe the above can and will help you yield better sonic results but ultimately let your ears decide.
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-13-2013, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Dynfan for actually addressing my queries. I really appreciate the tips and Wow! in regards to your home setup. Awesome man!

I have rearranged the sectional and agree it is a ton better. I am also in progress completing my panels and will place them over the next couple of days. I will post some new pics when I get them hung. I also met with a seamstress and am having some custom curtains for the window and opening made.

I'm not going to get hung up what I have for a sound system at the moment. When cranked up it puts a smile on my face and sound is delivered clear as day. Next year I plan on adding theatre style seating and will perhaps have a budget to better my speakers then. One thing great about the Takes, they're pretty much an Apple product and always have someone interested in picking them up second hand.

My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-13-2013, 06:24 PM
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"I'll try to answer the question rather than telling you to upgrade your speakers"

Quite right--sorry guys.
I was just excited over my purchase, and was a bit too enthusiastic I guess.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-13-2013, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssthrd View Post

"I'll try to answer the question rather than telling you to upgrade your speakers"

Quite right--sorry guys.
I was just excited over my purchase, and was a bit too enthusiastic I guess.

I think we all do that when we are supper happy with something that we bought. I stated that just because I see so many topics on the site derailed from the issue at hand based on similar dialog. Not that what you guys said about upgrading speakers doesn't make sense, but for now treating the room is an awesome thing to do. In fact I see many people build amazing systems that can often cost in the tens of thousands of $$$ and yet their room is completely untreated... It just doesn't make sense to me to place ANY sort of quality component in an inferior listening environment and then expect things like cables and power outlets to magically transform your system...

Anyway keep us posted on your progress OP and I am really glad to hear you moved the sofa, honestly that was the first thing that needed to be done. In terms of the window curtain I think the blinds are helping you a bit with that window versus just having it wide open. About the only issue I see going forward is that your listening position is closer to one side wall than the other which isn't horrible, but will take some treatments to level the playing field.

Best of luck on the project, oh and the Energy Take system is nice for the $$$. I auditioned that setup over 10 years ago when I first go in to this hobby and always thought it sounded pretty good. Much better than the Bose **** that people pay much more money for!
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-13-2013, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynfan View Post

In fact I see many people build amazing systems that can often cost in the tens of thousands of $$$ and yet their room is completely untreated...
There is nothing wrong with an untreated room. If it is an empty room, sure, that is a problem. But in typical rooms there are furnishings and sufficient amount of them does a very good job of reducing problematic late reflections. Early reflections on the sides can actually be beneficial. Floor reflections as I noted should be dealt with but since timbre changes there occur above 500 Hz, simple carpeting with good padding will do the job. Here is a formal study of how techniques like this work very effectively:

i-jjWhnJp-XL.png

We see how addition of standard furnishing lowered the (late) reflections, getting them to the target we want (lower graph). And how on the average, standard western living rooms are more or less there. Here is Dr. Toole's on the above experiment:

"Adding some functional storage and display cabinet and bookcases (no significant absorption but a lot of scattering) dropped the RT and eliminated most of the “empty” sound in the room. The scattering devices were redirecting more of the sounds into the carpet, making it work harder. Bringing in the rest of the furniture and some drapes finished the task. The drapes were chosen to be acoustically effective: heavy cotton with lining, pleated to less than one-half fabric length, and hung 4 in. (100 mm) from the wall so they would function at lower frequencies. The room sounded utterly “normal”; conversation was very comfortable, and reproduced sound, then in stereo, was excellent.

It was in this room that experience was gained in understanding the role of first reflections from the side walls. The drapes were on tracks, permitting them to easily be brought forward toward the listening area so listeners could compare impressions with natural and attenuated lateral reflections (see Figures 4.10a and 8.8). In stereo listening, the effect would be considered by most as being subtle, but to the extent that there was a preference in terms of sound and imaging quality, the votes favored having the side walls left in a reflective state. In mono listening, the voting definitely favored having the side walls reflective."


And the following from a presentation from him:

"The amount of reflected sound will alter impressions of spaciousness and reverberation (sounds that persist after the source has gone quiet). There is an optimum amount of reflected sound in small listening rooms - not too live, and not too dead. Normally-furnished rooms (carpet, drapes, chairs and tables) tend to be close to optimum, but custom home theaters need to be treated.
[...]
This is one of the main reasons why a normal well-furnished room can sound so good. Combined with carpet/underlay, drapes, and seating the combination can work superbly with little tweaking."


It is a mistaken notion on these forums that unless you see a room of full of acoustic panels, the room does not sound good. Get well designed speakers with good off-axis performance and furnish your room as you would per above and you can have excellent sound. Now, if this is a dedicated room and you are only going to put a set of seats in there, then sure, you need to use acoustic products as "furnishings" but let's not subject every living/multi-use room to that based on the notion that if it is not there, it won't sound good. Formal research says it can and it does. The same research says that having acoustic material on places most everyone says to put here, is actually a bad idea.

Below transition frequency the tool of choice is (advanced) correction and proper number and placement of two or more subs. Once there, then you can resort to acoustic products as necessary. You want to reduce the magnitude of the problem first.

So no, there is no need to feel sorry for anyone having an untreated room smile.gif.

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post #12 of 22 Old 01-14-2013, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Amirm for the tips, but this is going to be a viewing room only as mentioned in my initial post. I understand that book cases and an array of other furnishings may substitute for adding panels to the walls but this isn't the case for me. Other then the sectional (for now until it is replaced) nothing else will be furnishing the room. I will be decorating the walls/shelf and adding some fun movie elements but that is it.

This seems to be coming more of an addiction now then a simple project or hobby. While feeding our newborn at 3 AM I found myself ordering an additional 3 pairs of 3D glasses and a stand to hold the soon to be 5 pairs I'll have. Its only the wife and me who live here!!!!

I am also thinking of creating stencils and painting some designs on the black panels I am creating. Logos such as THX, Dolby Digital, or other things like that. Any thoughts, or would this be overkill? I'm getting carried away here.

My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #13 of 22 Old 01-14-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozweego View Post

Thanks Amirm for the tips,
Try this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1413173/does-sound-sounds-better-in-a-room-full-of-furniture-and-stuff-or-without You will see how he got debunked.
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-14-2013, 01:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

There is nothing wrong with an untreated room. If it is an empty room, sure, that is a problem. But in typical rooms there are furnishings and sufficient amount of them does a very good job of reducing problematic late reflections. Early reflections on the sides can actually be beneficial. Floor reflections as I noted should be dealt with but since timbre changes there occur above 500 Hz, simple carpeting with good padding will do the job. Here is a formal study of how techniques like this work very effectively:

i-jjWhnJp-XL.png

We see how addition of standard furnishing lowered the (late) reflections, getting them to the target we want (lower graph). And how on the average, standard western living rooms are more or less there. Here is Dr. Toole's on the above experiment:

"Adding some functional storage and display cabinet and bookcases (no significant absorption but a lot of scattering) dropped the RT and eliminated most of the “empty” sound in the room. The scattering devices were redirecting more of the sounds into the carpet, making it work harder. Bringing in the rest of the furniture and some drapes finished the task. The drapes were chosen to be acoustically effective: heavy cotton with lining, pleated to less than one-half fabric length, and hung 4 in. (100 mm) from the wall so they would function at lower frequencies. The room sounded utterly “normal”; conversation was very comfortable, and reproduced sound, then in stereo, was excellent.

It was in this room that experience was gained in understanding the role of first reflections from the side walls. The drapes were on tracks, permitting them to easily be brought forward toward the listening area so listeners could compare impressions with natural and attenuated lateral reflections (see Figures 4.10a and 8.8). In stereo listening, the effect would be considered by most as being subtle, but to the extent that there was a preference in terms of sound and imaging quality, the votes favored having the side walls left in a reflective state. In mono listening, the voting definitely favored having the side walls reflective."


And the following from a presentation from him:

"The amount of reflected sound will alter impressions of spaciousness and reverberation (sounds that persist after the source has gone quiet). There is an optimum amount of reflected sound in small listening rooms - not too live, and not too dead. Normally-furnished rooms (carpet, drapes, chairs and tables) tend to be close to optimum, but custom home theaters need to be treated.
[...]
This is one of the main reasons why a normal well-furnished room can sound so good. Combined with carpet/underlay, drapes, and seating the combination can work superbly with little tweaking."


It is a mistaken notion on these forums that unless you see a room of full of acoustic panels, the room does not sound good. Get well designed speakers with good off-axis performance and furnish your room as you would per above and you can have excellent sound. Now, if this is a dedicated room and you are only going to put a set of seats in there, then sure, you need to use acoustic products as "furnishings" but let's not subject every living/multi-use room to that based on the notion that if it is not there, it won't sound good. Formal research says it can and it does. The same research says that having acoustic material on places most everyone says to put here, is actually a bad idea.

Below transition frequency the tool of choice is (advanced) correction and proper number and placement of two or more subs. Once there, then you can resort to acoustic products as necessary. You want to reduce the magnitude of the problem first.

So no, there is no need to feel sorry for anyone having an untreated room smile.gif.

I quite agree with some of those things. It does go against supported research from many other people "in the business" but I will not hash that as it is not my own research. That said in HIS room and in MANY of the pictures I see people asking for input it is some sort of dedicated or semi dedicated room where most of what was mentioned in the graph is not present. If you read my entire post again you will see that I also added he could treat the shelf area with household items that can help with diffusion (the same as bookshelves etc...).

Most carpet with the typical pad (not the felt used in this data set) acts as a comb filter and without the other items mentioned can have a negative impact. Only with those other items can you achieve a good sounding room. Please do not mistake my choice of words in saying "treated room" to mean "only treated with acoustic panels and other acoustic dedicated contrivances". I have listened too and have seen pictures of rooms that sound or I am sure sound good with nothing more than typical household items and the common thread among them is that ALL of those rooms were planned that way! SOmeone might get lucky and hit the nail on the head with random **** placed about, but really, all of the worthwhile rooms have put some thought and effort in to room treatment and what materials they used to achieve those results really does not matter. So go back and interpret what I wrote the way that I meant it. "Put some effort and thought in to room setup and acoustics."

I also question the smiley at the end of your post. Waxing philosophic with another's data and summing up with your own closing sentence and ending with a smiley comes across as a bit of a dig. If you want to rib that's fine but don't be shy about it. Own that **** and call me a dumbass or say I am giving bad advice; I would at least respect that!
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post #15 of 22 Old 01-15-2013, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Have completed my panels. Here are a few pics of the setup. I still have allot to do, such as mounting the sabers, wrapping the wires, hanging the curtains when completed, and finding a rug for the room. After that it will be more a decorating project for now. Hopefully the budget will allow for theatre seating next year.




My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #16 of 22 Old 01-16-2013, 06:45 AM
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Nice work! What are your impressions so far? I would add a panel on the are directly to the left of the front left speaker or maybe pull one of the other ones and place it there for a movie and see what you think. Curious to see if you are happy with the results... I also look at your mounting choice. Mounting them like a diamond instead of a square is in theory placing less of the absorption width along the reflection point closest to your ear. Also the shelf appears to be right at ear level so adding some art style items or cinema related 3D art might help along the shelf also. Books of varying depth and thickness would help also or even a DVD collection.

For sure share your impressions of the differences with us.
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post #17 of 22 Old 01-16-2013, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I watched Backdraft on Bluray last night for the first time with the panels up. It seemed like I could really differentiate sound from speaker to speaker, especially the fronts and center. I used to find that with most movies the sound coming from the front could sometimes get mixed together and not as crisp. Now, it appears it clear and precise. It wasn't particularly a good test run though as I did it with our baby in the room so the volume was only at 30%.

I will put it through its paces today and move a panel to your suggested location while testing. I can move the diamond panel closest to the couch to that position and give it a shot.

I know it looks like the shelf is at ear height but in reality when seated it is well above. I thought of this when mounting. I guess my old couch has significant ass groves and everyone ends up sinking to level the panels are at. I will fiddle with square to diamond when testing as well. The diamond mount just looks better wink.gif The shelf will be populated soon with other decorations and with the addition of a heavy drape covering both the window and opening to the hallway, I think everything will fall into place.

All in all my first impressions are extremely positive.

My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #18 of 22 Old 01-16-2013, 12:45 PM
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Suggestion - read this site and use the mirror method to place your panels, looks like random palcement based on looks not some strategy, unless I'm wrong.
http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html#rfz
Quote:
A useful goal for any room where music plays through loudspeakers is to create a Reflection Free Zone (RFZ) at the listening position. The concept is very simple - to prevent "early reflections" from obscuring the stereo image. This occurs when sound from the loudspeakers arrives at your ears through two different paths - one direct and the other delayed after reflecting off a nearby wall.
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post #19 of 22 Old 01-16-2013, 12:57 PM
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Suggestion - read this site and use the mirror method to place your panels, looks like random palcement based on looks not some strategy, unless I'm wrong.
I was pleased that it was random placement and not according to link you provided wink.gifsmile.gif. Likely the improvement he is hearing is due to reduction of late reflections which that room needs as it is "too live" otherwise. The mirror method and using it to absorb reflections is 1970s acoustic folklore not backed by what we know about science of room reflections today. Do you have a controlled listening test you can put forward that says it improves the sound? Because I have plenty that says it doesn't smile.gif.

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post #20 of 22 Old 01-16-2013, 03:03 PM
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I like how your room turned out! I'm thinking of getting some of that roxul and making my own...what did you use to cover the panels? Just black fabric and staples?

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post #21 of 22 Old 01-16-2013, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, minus the staples. I used a black fabric that was very similar to speaker fabric. Basically I just went to the fabric store and looked through all there blacks until I found a similar match to speaker cloth. Instead of staples, I used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. It worked great at binding the masonite to the Roxul and the fabric to the board. I can try and give you a step by step tutorial via PM if you would like. The cost worked out to be around $25 per panel totaling $150 for the entire project.

My modest Setup:
Panasonic 60ST50
Onkyo NR-616 (no reliability issues yet...fingers remain crossed)
Klipsch F20 Towers, C10 Center and B10 Surrounds
Polk PSW 110 Sub
PS3
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post #22 of 22 Old 01-17-2013, 07:40 AM
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Thanks for the info. If you wanna do a step by step tutorial, that's up to you. But if you do, you should put it here so others can benefit!

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