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In Reply to: RE: "their size is the equivilent of the size of the opening when a standard door is open one inch." posted by David Aiken on May 09, 2009 at 13:38:28
Sure David, there's always the unknown. But even if a new device type is discovered in the future, it still needs to be relatively large to have much affect. This is physics, which is well known. At least the sort of entry-level physics that applies to room acoustics.
Well, we believe size is a given and there are extremely compelling reasons for thinking so. A passive acoustic treatment can only act on the sound which actually falls on it, and the most it can absorb is all of the sound that falls on it. The only way we can get reduce size without compromising performance is by increasing effectiveness and there's always going to be a finite limit to what we can do there. Broadband absorption is the ideal for a couple of reasons to do with both impact on the sound we hear and also the fact that such treatments can be used in any room or space so that makes them a commercially more viable product for manufacture but they can never be more efficient than 1 Sabin of absorption per square foot of surface area. We can get more effective absorption than that from a device like a Helmholtz resonator but then we lose broadband performance and achieve maximum efficiency over an extremely narrow bandwidth of a couple of Hz at most.
And the Cathedral Panels are a passive acoustic treatment in the same way that my RealTrap panels are—they can only work on the sound falling on them. Their area is 11" x 16" which is 182 square inches so at most you could get 1.25 Sabins of absorption from a panel. Using the 1" door opening statement as an indication of how effective they're claimed to be, we're talking around .4 of a Sabin over an unspecified frequency range. If they're actually getting that at the below 40 Hz frequencies indicated by their plots they're doing extremely well but it's quite a trick to do that and have no effect above 40 Hz. That would mean that they aren't broadband in operation and if they're not broadband they're not going to be an effective treatment on their own because if we're going to treat, we need to treat over a wider bandwidth than just up to 40 Hz because modal problems occur over a wider bandwidth than that in every room.
The problem with the claims made for the Cathedral Panels is that if the claims are true and they are effective at controlling standing wave behaviour at frequencies up to 200 Hz, then the plots don't show what's going on because they should show significant benefit above 40 Hz, and if the plots do show what is actually going on, then the claims can't be true because the plots aren't showing significant benefit above 40 Hz even though the untreated room plot is showing standing wave behaviour there, actually more standing wave problems there than below 40 Hz. One assumes they show the best test data they have because you want to present the product in the best light so even if we accept the plots at face value, which I don't, things simply don't add up. The plots are showing something different from the performance claims being made, something that fails to support those claims.
Agreed fully on all points David, especially about the maximum possible benefit being limited to 1.4 sabins due to the small size.
You gotta love this forum. Pages of commentary on how and why something works or doesn't work, primarily between two people neither of whom have listened to the effect of the product being discussed.
Actually I guess it is "products" being discussed, because anything small in the acoustics realm is being dismissed at the same time (or at best given a probability of actually having value that is "vanishingly small, as close to zero as I can make it."). Which means that everyone who has used any of these products and heard a meaningful difference is deluded, including of course anyone else who dares to post.
Ask any carpenter what he thinks of engineers:-)
Now that is off my chest, let me respond to a few specifics:
1. Unless the RPG perforated product also uses the Venturi effect, I doubt there is much similarity in the functioning. Venturi, by the way you engineers, has been in use in many other realms for a very long time making things like carburators function and (via a related principal) airplanes fly. Your comment on the RPG panels that "...we can assume that the mechanism of operation is similar" is an unwarranted leap. So is "...the Cathedral Panels are a passive acoustic treatment in the same way that my RealTrap panels are..."
2. You keep reverting to concepts of absorption. My understanding is that the Cathedral Panels do not absorb. They use the Venturi effect to create negative pressure to offset high pressure room nodes caused eg. by standing waves.
3. Since most of what we humans can hear is above 40hz, it makes sense that most of the changes from the introduction of acoustic treatment into a room will be apparent at above 40hz, even if the acoustic product is working primarily on standing waves below 40hz.
4. It is a good thing to have a product that is particularly effective at very low frequencies. A lot goes wrong at deep bass (standing waves again) and precious few acoustic products have their primary effect at these very low frequencies, especially anything that isn't bigger than a ... cow.
> two people neither of whom have listened to the effect of the product being discussed. <
I heard them in the lab room at my company's factory, so I know for certain that the Cathedral panels do not do anything useful.
> everyone who has used any of these products and heard a meaningful difference is deluded <
Deluded is a strong word, and I prefer to say "mistaken." But you're correct - some people think they hear a change even when there was no change. This happens all the time, and anyone who truly understands audio and how we hear knows this.
> My understanding is that the Cathedral Panels do not absorb. They use the Venturi effect to create negative pressure to offset high pressure room nodes caused eg. by standing waves. <
Even if that were true, which I doubt, the net effect would be improved peaks and nulls and ringing. As David said, "Either the claim is wrong or the plots are wrong. They made the claim and they provided the plots. The plots do not support the claim."
I don't think much more can be said! :-> )
Oh really? Interested to hear all about your listening system in the lab room. I seem to recall seeing some photos posted on your site. If memory serves I saw the test equipment, but no hifi gear. Or are you saying you were listening to a test tone?
If all the people who use the product with music or theater systems like the results, and you listen to a test tone and don't, I will go with the people that listen to music/ theater, which includes me.
And anyway as noted in an earlier post, as I was told that the manufacturer did not feel your testing methodology was correct for this productt so "the manufacturer offered you the opportunity to retest using the appropriate methodology and you declined." I don't believe anyone is saying you did anything wrong in your test, or that the results from the testing methodology you used were in error, only that meaningful testing the Cathedral Panels requires measurement of a sustained tone or noise (to allow the standing waves to build up), rather than a tone/noise burst.
My terminology may be all wrong, but hopefully you get the gist of what I am writing.
Maybe this methodology is unusual in your experience, but this product functions differently from what you are used to.
> this product functions differently from what you are used to. <
Dude, you'd sound less like a shill for this product if you posted your real name and city. If you're unwilling to do that publicly, send me an email from my personal web site and tell me about yourself.
Otherwise you're just repeating the vendor's marketing prose, as if saying it often enough will make the claims true. You've already acknowledged that the related science is over your head. Perhaps you should quit while you're ahead?
Edit: Boy do I feel silly! I just clicked the link for your name and see that you're the sales rep for this product. Wow! So you shill for the product hiding (not very well) who you are, and you admit you have no idea how the product works. Wow, just wow.
Yes, Ethan, like duh, but the (D) next to my posting name means I am a dealer in this industry. Because we sell acoustic products including the Cathedral Panels, ASC, Echobusters, etc., I took your 2 year old critique of the Cathedral product and their documentation seriously and followed the earlier threads and exchanges between you and the manufacturer very carefully. I have been very direct with the manufacturer in this regard and they have been very forthcoming in return. I respect their responsiveness, willingness to acknowledge that the third party that ran the original, since withdrawn waterfall plots, goofed, and they didn't catch it (you did), and their willingness to offer even you, their most vocal critic, the opportunity to retest using a testing methodology that works with their product.
Why don't you address the questions (such as when you say you "heard them in the lab room at my company's factory" are you talking about hearing test tones or music?) instead of getting personal? I can get personal too if you insist.
I love the part too about my needing to quit because I am not an engineer. Hey, at least, unlike you, I have used the products I referred to (Cathedral Panels, Shakti Hallograph, Roomlens, Synergistic Research Acoustic ART, as well as the "conventional" ASC and Echobuster products). At least I admit what I don't understand, instead of insisting that if I don't understand it, it can't work.
Anyone is welcome to share their opinions, but you claim to be an expert, and you beat everyone up with it that has differing opinions (or, sob, who isn't an engineer). Don't you have to have basic experience with the products being discussed to be an expert on them?
So if I am a "shill" because I have actually used the products and like them, what exactly is someone who trashes them unheard because they don't fit your set of comfortable theories?
I don't "beat people up" when they disagree with me, at least not if their disagreement is legitimate. I've learned a lot over the years from people that disagreed with me. But this is not at all like that.
In this case the product is too small to be useful, even if it did work. But it doesn't work, so it's not even minimally effective. Claiming these panels work on "new physics" that defies the large body of current knowledge about room acoustics is sophomoric and disingenuous.
A good example here is Auralex LENRD bass traps. The absorbing material they're made from works well enough, but they're too small to target low bass frequencies. They still improve a room at least a little at higher bass frequencies, which can be easily heard and measured. Versus Cathedral panels that do nothing beyond placebo effect and wishful thinking.
Nobody called it "new physics." Quite the contrary, as was pointed out, the Venturi effect is very old physics. Since the first up when I Google it is Wikipedia, I will post that link below.
I think the only "wishful thinking" here, is your wishing that it didn't work because that would challenge your stuck in cement attitudes.
Assuming that your having avoided the repeated questions regarding your claim to actually have listened to the Cathedral panels means that in fact you did not listen to them, maybe you can stop repeating with emphasis that it doesn't work unless and until you actually have some listening experience with the product in the real world, by which I mean with a music or video system.
And if you want to test it in your lab, at least try the methodology suggested by the manufacturer. Just a thought.
Which leaves us right back with the fact that everyone who has posted on this product after having actually used it, and every reviewer who has actually reviewed this product, liked it.
Since this whole thread started with someone asking for opinions on his room, maybe we can leave it on this note, and suggest that if he is interested, maybe he can test with a money back guaranty - ask a dealer.
I know I am worn down by the whole interchange.
> I know I am worn down by the whole interchange. <
BTW, I did listen to music in the room that day with the Cathedral Panels in place and heard no effect. They don't work. They can't work. Wishing they work will not make it so. Convincing a few people that they work also does not make it so. Some people are convinced they heard an improvement after "demagnetizing" their vinyl LPs. That doesn't make it so either.
Okay, I'm done. :-> )
"1. Unless the RPG perforated product also uses the Venturi effect, I doubt there is much similarity in the functioning. Venturi, by the way you engineers, has been in use in many other realms for a very long time making things like carburators function and (via a related principal) airplanes fly. Your comment on the RPG panels that "...we can assume that the mechanism of operation is similar" is an unwarranted leap. So is "...the Cathedral Panels are a passive acoustic treatment in the same way that my RealTrap panels are...""
If I remember correctly, RPG say their products use principles of laminar flow. The venturi effect is, I think, a special case of lamninar flow.
"2. You keep reverting to concepts of absorption. My understanding is that the Cathedral Panels do not absorb. They use the Venturi effect to create negative pressure to offset high pressure room nodes caused eg. by standing waves."
The effect of absorption in a room is the reduction of pressure. What gets measured is sound pressure levels and SPL measurements are what produce the plots that you provided the links to. The ability of a product to reduce SPL is measured in Sabins whether that reduction be caused by an pressure escaping to another space through an opening, by venturi effect or laminar flow, or by conversion to heat during passage through an absorbing panel. In all cases what is being measured is SPL change in the treated room and that's what was measured to produce the plots supplied by Cathedral Panels, exactly the same measurement technique as used by all other acoustic treatments regardless of their mechanism of behaviour. If you could not measure the Cathedral Panels in this way, then the plots you provided a link to would not be appropriate.
"3. Since most of what we humans can hear is above 40hz, it makes sense that most of the changes from the introduction of acoustic treatment into a room will be apparent at above 40hz, even if the acoustic product is working primarily on standing waves below 40hz."
In the claims stated in the text associated with your link, the manufacturer of Cathedral Panels claims they are effective in taming standing wave behaviour up to 200 Hz. That's their claim. Their untreated room plot shows a number of standing wave effects, both peaks and troughs at frequencies up to 130 Hz but the only changes that they mention in their comments on the plots, and the only real changes shown in the plot of the treated room, occur below 40 Hz. Further, the standing wave behaviour shown in the plots above 40 Hz is much more significant than that shown below 40 Hz, with much deeper peaks and troughs, and it is not significantly affected by the panels according to their plots, despite the claim that behaviour is tamed up to 200 Hz. Their plots do not support their claim of beneficial effects up to 200 Hz and for any effect above 40 Hz to be audible, it would have to show in the plot. Either the claim is wrong or the plots are wrong. They made the claim and they provided the plots. The plots do not support the claim. Make of that what you will.
"4. It is a good thing to have a product that is particularly effective at very low frequencies. A lot goes wrong at deep bass (standing waves again) and precious few acoustic products have their primary effect at these very low frequencies, especially anything that isn't bigger than a ... cow."
You're right, it would be good if we had such a product but the improvement shown below 40 Hz is actually fairly small, not what I would call "particularly effective" and most of the standing wave behaviour that causes problems occurs above 40 Hz—that's even obvious in the plot they show for the untreated room—so it's even better to have a product that works very well there, where the problems plaguing us are. If the plots showed significant behaviour above 40 Hz, the panels would be an even better product than they are, but the plots don't show that and don't support the manufacturer's claims. You need to consider whether you have to worry about problems below 40 Hz, really only an issue in a room with one or more dimensions greater than 28' which rules out most listening rooms including mine, and ignore what's happening above that or be concerned about problems up to 200 or even 300 or 400 Hz which is where room response tends to smooth out in most of our rooms. The plots provided by Cathedral Panels don't show the panels helping where most of the problems are.
I've said I think they do something and I've explained what I think they do. I have not said they aren't beneficial. What I am saying is that the claims they make about benefits up to 200 Hz are not supported by their plots which only show a benefit, and a small one at that, below 40 Hz. They chose the plots they wished to use to demonstrate the product's effectiveness and they chose the claims they wanted to make. Just compare their plots to their claims and you can see that the plots do not support the claim of benefits up to 200 Hz. Do with that what you like. Certainly try the panels and keep them if they help in your room but if you want to provide evidence that the claim of benefits up to 200 Hz is reliable then you'll need to find some plots showing changes in the room's behaviour which extend up to 200 Hz, two and a bit octaves above 40 Hz.
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