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Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby olivier » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:09 pm

Martin Walker wrote:

Not only did I buy the set of four Minitraps sent for review, but I also ordered a further two to improve my acoustics still further

Martin

just my 2 pence here

you make us jalous martin, I wish I had that same kind of spare money to spend on basstrapping. the UK list price for each minitrap is around £250 if I remember well your review. It means that your bass trapping (and I'm talking treating BASS only here) cost you £1500. not bad.

the point is that minitraps are bloody expensive here in europe, given that there is not more than 50 quids worth of raw material in each minitraps... yeah I know, there is the cost of designing the thing, man-hours etc. and bloody shipping to europe. so, unless Ethan has plans to open a factory in Romania, there is no chance that minitraps are going to be priced attractively.

the cheapest solution is DIY, and it's heavy rockwool covered with fabric, or even better building a frame yourself. there's tons of stuff on the internet, and if you browse around and have a bit of DIY competencies you can have decent basstrapping for , say, £150 instead of £1500. this is a 10-fold difference and maybe minitraps will bring you a few Sabins down under the 100 Hz region. big deal.

at the end of the day, when you forget all the hype induced by a couple of raving articles (including one in your favorite magazine), it's all down to the efficiency-to-cost ratio, and I personally am not ready to pay 10-fold for a marginal improvement on bass response. it'll not make my music better.
I've spent a grand on decent monitoring and now what I'd have to spend even MORE on bass trapping ? nah..

just my 2pence
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby DoeZer » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:27 pm

hi olivier...

now THAT seems to make alot of sense to me..
could be time to get my hands a little dirty im afraid.
thanks for the reality check!

cheers
D
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Tequila Slammer » Fri Nov 19, 2004 12:48 pm

Nice one Olivier - I was about to make that exact point...

There's a few threads on here giving step-by-step instructions on building broadband absorbers. One started by Digipenguin is particularly good, and is forming the blueprint for mine - although I'm replacing the fibreglass he used with thicker slabs. It should come to about £30 a trap for materials.

It constantly surprises me that acoustic treatment is so expensive, considering what it actually is - foam, fibreglass, wood, fabric - hardly exotic materials! I think someone needs to do a 'Behringer' on the industry and start to offer good treatments at realistic costs.

Or maybe Ethan needs to open a Realtraps branch in the UK.
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:02 pm

Agreed - if only Minitraps cold be manufactured in the UK rather than expensively shipped over in palettes they ought to be available for £150 or under. I have toyed with the idea of building my own traps with fibreglass slabs, which would certainly be considerably cheaper, but Minitraps were just so smart and convenient for me, and they have given me the best acoustics I've had to date, which made them worth the price, especially as time (for DIY) is the one commodity that I find myself incredibly short of.

As for the shapes of the graphs in that link, they do tie in with those on Ethan's own web site - WHEN THE TRAPS ARE PLACED ACROSS THE CORNERS. Both slab designs in that graph form a sort of tuned trap when placed in front of a deep corner air gap (you can hear a deep boom if you tap on them in this position), whereas both solid traps exhibit more wideband absorption. However, for my purposes I found this better, since my bass end is far more controlled, but without making the room feel unnaturally dead.

If you look at Ethan's graph on his own web site (www.realtraps.com/data.htm) you'll see that wall-mounting Minitraps provides far flatter broadband absorption from 200Hz upwards if you need it, but he has deliberately incorporated a 'semi-reflective membrane' at mid and high frequencies to avoid the 'dead zone'.

For me, the best thing about all this debate is that more and more musicians are finally realising the potential benefits in installing some acoustic treatment, whatever it may be 8-)


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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Spy1 » Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:19 pm

Greetings All,

How someone chooses to spend their money is their business, so I'll try not to be/appear (too) judgmental here.

Olivier does make a very good point about cost/expense being something that has to be considered (especially for those of us that aren't doing this professionally).

However, if I spent a grand on monitors I'd want to know that I'm going to get the best out of them and, to me, that means spending time and money on getting the acoustics right. If you're handy with a set of tools and you have the space and the time to devote to a self-build solution, then more power to you. If, on the other hand, you don't have one or more of these resources (ability, tools, space, time), you'd be better off contacting someone who has (e.g. Real Traps) - in my opinion, of course.

Also, the remark regarding it not making your music better is irrelevant as we're talking about recording and mixing here, not composition or performance (although, of course, you can't record and mix something that hasn't been composed and performed :tongue:).

Anyway, the bottom line is if you can build them yourself then do so, if not buy Mini Traps or, if you can afford it, buy Mini Traps + foam absorbers and diffusers to tackle the mid and high frequencies.

But as bass frequencies tend to give the most problems and are usually the most difficult to deal with I'd suggest that you start with them (and therefore the self-build or Mini Traps).
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Tequila Slammer » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:28 pm

Wel, both (very good and important) points can be simply and cheaply addressed by aquiring the services of a handyman to do the work. There are plenty of jobbing carpenters and the like around who'd enjoy the challenge (and the money) and do a far better job than you, leaving you to do what you do best.

Make music.

I agree though - it's good to see more and more people aware of the importance of sound treatment.
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby olivier » Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:29 pm

so Spy, basically you're saying that there's nothing wrong about spending more than a grand on basstrapping, when you can either :
* spend up to 10 times less (DIY) and still getting comparable results ?
* spend less (up to 30%) on something that's built in europe and therefore does not have a huge transport cost attached to its price tag ?

I've been thinking about sound treatment for a while now as I'm going to have my cellar converted into a studio next month, so believe me, I've conducted quite an extensive feasibility study about the sound treatment side of things.

I've sourced approximately 10 cheaper alternatives to Ethan's minitraps here in France (tube traps, helmoltz resonators, membrane traps, foam, etc.) , all nicely budgeted and compared to each other in an excel spreadsheet, and believe me if I had gone for a Real traps based solution it'd been 30% more expensive than its direct competitors.

my points are :

* looking at the theoretical results and hearing from satisfied customers, ideally I *WOULD* buy minitraps if I had the money or if I lived in the US. fact is I'm skint and the revenue I get from my music is not high enough to pay more than my bills.

* from what I can see there IS a market for minitraps in the UK thanks to the SOS article and other raving reviews.

* a large chunk of Ethan's Minitrap UK price tag is passed on to FedEx as shipping costs. that's where the rip-off is. if you don't have a problem with that, fine. Now don't come and say UK customers are being ripped-off after that.

* unless Ethan decides to have them manufactured in Europe/UK, minitraps are going to remain an expensive solution for european customers, at least 20-30% more expensive than any other membrane absorber here in France, and way more expensive than the DIY solution.

* I'm sure that if you do a tiny bit of research you can find specialist companies in the UK selling membrane absorbers. I found many here in France. with the advent of home cinemas and the likes there is a growing number of companies selling acoustic products.


Spy! wrote:Greetings All,

Anyway, the bottom line is if you can build them yourself then do so, if not buy Mini Traps or, if you can afford it, buy Mini Traps + foam absorbers and diffusers to tackle the mid and high frequencies.



I'd add that Minitraps are not the only way , it's kind of a luxury way. do you work for sonic distribution btw ?

I agree though, it's good to see people becoming aware of sound treatment :)

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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:16 pm

olivier wrote:so Spy, basically you're saying that there's nothing wrong about spending more than a grand on basstrapping, when you can either :
* spend up to 10 times less (DIY) and still getting comparable results ?
* spend less (up to 30%) on something that's built in europe and therefore does not have a huge transport cost attached to its price tag ?

Whoa!!! This is getting a bit heated rather unnecessarily.

People can surely spend money on whatever they want. The thread started with a question about foam corner bass trapping, and I think we have all agreed that this is not a very effective solution, cheap and easy though it might be.

In contrast the Real Traps solution does work well, is easy to install, and requires no specialised analysis equipment to set it up properly...but it is relatively expensive.

Yes there are alternatives, and yes many of them are cheaper (in the UK/Europe). And there are plenty of DIY systems available too -- including from Ethan's own web site.

If money is tight and/or you like DIY, then use an alternative approach. If you happen to like the way the MiniTraps are put together and can afford them, you wont be disappointed in the results. That's all there is too it. No need for any bitterness!

I've sourced approximately 10 cheaper alternatives to Ethan's minitraps here in France (tube traps, helmoltz resonators, membrane traps, foam, etc.) , all nicely budgeted and compared to each other in an excel spreadsheet, and believe me if I had gone for a Real traps based solution it'd been 30% more expensive than its direct competitors.

I don't doubt it. However, some of the alternatives you mention require far more careful selection and placement to optimise their performance, some are much less versatile, and some won't look as attractive -- although that's obviously a subjective thing.

a large chunk of Ethan's Minitrap UK price tag is passed on to FedEx as shipping costs. that's where the rip-off is.

I don't think 'rip off' is an appropriate term here. The shipping/delivery charges certainly add to the cost and make the MiniTraps less cost-effective inthe UK/Europe than they might otherwise be, but in my opinion they still represent reasonable value for money by delivering professional quality results in an easy to use format.

Having said all that, we are on the lookout for alternative
acoustic treatment systems for project studio applications and will be reviewing them as and when they become available.

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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Spy1 » Fri Nov 19, 2004 7:10 pm

Greetings Olivier,

olivier wrote:so Spy, basically you're saying that there's nothing wrong about spending more than a grand on basstrapping, when you can either :
* spend up to 10 times less (DIY) and still getting comparable results ?
* spend less (up to 30%) on something that's built in europe and therefore does not have a huge transport cost attached to its price tag ?
What I actually said was how a person chooses to spend their money is their own affair. However, I went on to say that if I could afford to shell out a grand on monitors it would be foolish of me not to consider the acoustics of the room in which I placed them. If my previous post didn't read that way to you then I apologize, but that is what I meant.

I'd add that Minitraps are not the only way , it's kind of a luxury way. do you work for sonic distribution btw ?

Olivier

Of course Minitraps are not the only way, however it's widely (though, obviously, not totally) accepted that they're the best (i.e. most efficient), non-custom product on the (UK) market at the moment. My point was why buy second (or third) best when you can get the best?

And no, I don't work for Sonic, but I'd be glad to if they've got any vacancies :D

However, I think Tequila Slammer made a very pertinent point about get a local chippie to do the work for you, which is a very good compromise between the two.

BTW, if you were to look at every post I've made (although, why you'd want to I don't know :roll:) on this and the V.2 forum, you'd see that I've never complained that "UK customers are being ripped-off".

Anyway, apologies all round if anyone took offence at what I said. I wasn't trying to rattle anyone's cage, just stating my opinion on Doezer's predicament.
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Ethan Winer » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:34 pm

Digi,

> Apparently this Eric Desart guy has a hard on for bustin' Ethan's chops. <

Yes, and it amazes me that a 56 year old man (Eric) can devote so much of his time and energy to harrassing me. He literally Googles me every day to see where I post, then shows up and starts trouble. He poses as an objective scientist, but it's clear from all his name calling that he is anything but. 'Nuff said.

--Ethan
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Ethan Winer » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:38 pm

DoeZer,

> theyre a DAMN sight cheaper over here than the realtraps stuff! <

Understand that the foam product shown in that comparison costs about the same as a MiniTrap, yet it's four times larger. This is not a typical piece of corner foam! You can see how effective typical sized corner foam is on the Product Data page of the RealTraps site.

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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Ethan Winer » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:48 pm

Olivier,

> the graph in the link below seems to say that minitraps are much more efficient in the bass department than they are in the mids <

Yes, and this is intentional! Bass traps made from foam or plain rigid fiberglass absorb too much at mid and high frequencies. So by the time you've installed enough of them to truly clean up the bass problems, the mids and highs are over-absorbed and the room is too dead sounding. A MiniTrap's fall-off in absorption from the low-mids and up is an important feature, not a liability.

> whereas auralex LENRDS and simple chunks of heavy rockwool stuck in the corners seem to have a much wider bandwidth. <

That's why the other day I was careful to say, "it may appear from the data at our site that they are tuned, but they are not." The curve is in fact a pair of "shelves" so to speak, and the seemingly peaky behavior around 100 Hz is a meeting of the two shelves, and also a function of the corner placement.

> to me what I say is consistent with the "resonating membrane" design you have chosen. am I wrong ? <

Yes, sorry, you are wrong. A wood panel membrane trap can be considered a tuned device because it has a center frequency where absorption is greatest, and which then falls off about half an octave on either side. Although MiniTraps and MondoTraps do employ a membrane, it is a "fully damped membrane" because it's solidly bonded to the rigid fiberglass. (We then bond a second layer to that to obtain a specific weight.) It does not vibrate freely in the air, and if it did its natural frequency would be well above the bass range. This is a very different principle from either plain fiberglass (or foam) and standard membrane traps. If our membrane really were resonant, the absorption would continue to decline as the frequency goes higher, rather than level off as it does.

--Ethan
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Guest » Sat Nov 20, 2004 1:34 am

Ethan Winer:
More important, that data is invalid for a variety of technical reasons.

Would you care to expand on that?
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby Ethan Winer » Sat Nov 20, 2004 4:11 pm

0VU,

> Would you care to expand on that? <

Sure, and much of this is explained in the article "Measuring Absorption" on my company's web site.

Acoustic materials are measured in a large and highly reverberant room. After establishing a steady temperature and humidity, the room is measured empty and again with the materials present. The Sabins of absorption are then computed based on the change in reverb time at each third octave band. In the US these tests are defined by the ASTM, which is a standards organization.

When acoustic panels are tested according to ASTM standards, at least 64 square feet of surface material is demanded to ensure a large enough change in reverb time in the test chamber. This is very important because small changes in measured reverb time occur even when nothing else changes. If you test the same pieces three times in a row you'll get three different results. The goal is for the tests to give results that are different enough from when the room was empty, to determine the absorption with some level of certainty.

The tests reported in that other forum used only one fourth the required sample size. This does not mean the data is completely useless, but it certainly means it's suspect. Especially at low frequencies where the variations from one test to another are inherently larger than at higher frequencies. Related, no acoustic labs in the US are certified to test below 100 Hz for this exact reason. Indeed, I've seen very low frequency absorption tests yield negative values, even when testing 64 square feet of material. Think about that! This is exactly why the difference in reverb time between tests must be minimal, and the difference between empty and full must be as large as possible. The requirement for 64 square feet is a minimum for a good reason.

This was posted by Eric Desart July 22, 2004 at that other forum, where he even admits the data is questionable:

The RAL lab didn't fail to give numbers [below 63 Hz] but failed to give sensible ones, and even 63 Hz itself is questionable.


Another rule was also violated, quoted from ASTM document C-423: "extreme aspect ratios, such as long narrow strips, shall be avoided." Those tests Auralex paid for placed the traps end to end creating - yup - a long narrow strip.

Frankly, it doesn't matter to me whether the Auralex tests are valid or not because MiniTraps held their own admirably. What looks like lower absorption above the high bass range is a big feature of MiniTraps, not a failing. Further, the only way Auralex could best a MiniTrap was by comparing it to a huge chunk of foam. That was not a standard LENRD they tested, it was a MegaLENRD, which is 34 inches across the face and has four times the volume of a MiniTrap. Likewise for the "super chunk" which also is 34 inches across the face and solid rigid fiberglass all the way through.

--Ethan
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Re: Auralex Roominator Kits??? Any good??

Postby olivier » Sat Nov 20, 2004 9:47 pm

I'm sorry guys for all the fuss, my intention was clearly not to spread any bitterness or anything here, just to say that if money is tight like it is for me, there are still solutions for this kind of budget..
I think we've had the kind of answers and comments to make ourselves an opinion of how sound treatmnt can be done and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each solution , clearly the DIY route seems to be the most appropriate for me and I understand there are other people having their minds made up as to what is best etc.

after all, we all have here our little studio and think our way is the best.. fair enough !

peace,
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