Chops' 2-Channel Audio System, NOW with Room Acoustic Treatments... Finally!

The 2" Impression panels came in Friday, the 4" Alpha panels showed up first thing yesterday morning around 9am! That alone was shocking! They were supposed to ship out on the 24th and arrive by the 29th! Good on GIK Acoustics for that. As for fit and finish, I’ve read that a lot of these panels arrive looking like they were rushed, bad corners, wrinkled cloth, etc, etc. I have none of that with these panels. They look great front to back, top to bottom.

All day yesterday, and I do mean all day, I played around with location. I tried the Alpha and Impressions panels everywhere in the room, swapped one out for the other in each location, tried all combinations, tried all types of locations, and the simplest actually ended up providing the best results.

Music was from Phil Collins, Norah Jones, James Taylor, Depeche Mode, Neil Young, Diana Krall, The Cure, Peter Murphy, Gregory Porter, Holly Cole, Fleetwood Mack, Pink Floyd… Basically, artists and music I know extremely well and a lot that I have been listening to recently with the current system.

I first tried the Alpha panels in the 1st reflection points on the side walls. They gave me a solid center image, but they killed the width of the sound stage. Any stage width I got it was restricted to only between the inner edges of the speakers. Even the ambient width in the recording was sucked out almost completely. While keeping the Alphas there, I tried putting the four Impressions in various locations to see if they would resolve these new issues, but they didn’t. Even completely out of the room, these new issues stayed.

So I swapped out the Alphas for the two Impressions you currently see in those 1st reflection locations. With no other panels in the room, these “removed” the walls, widened the sound stage considerably beyond the walls, and still give me that solid center image. This is something these speakers and room needed, and the Impressions in these locations deliver.

I then tried the Alphas on the back wall and the other two Impressions on the front wall. They seemed to work really well, but something was off. After more listening of various tracks, I realized that stage depth had flattened and vocal height had dropped to about just below center of the TV screen. Also, some of that ambience in the recordings had gone away again, though not as bad as before, but it was noticeable. Lastly, imaging focus had become a little bit fuzzy. Again, just because I could, I removed the Impressions on the sidewalls while keeping the other panels in place and that just made things worse, so those Impressions went back to the sidewalls.

The Alphas then got moved up front. What the Alphas did on the front wall is what the room/system needed. They opened up that front wall giving more space, air and much needed stage depth to the sound, as well as lifting the vocal/instrument height to realistic heights as if those vocals/instruments were in front of me. The ambience of the venues in the "live’ recordings are back in strides and very clearly apparent, giving even more space and air within the room. The second pair of Impressions are on the back wall where they help reinforce what the Alphas are doing up front as well as the fact that there’s zero slap echo in this room now.

As an added bonus to these panels, and something I wasn’t expecting them to do much of if any, is that they have in fact improved the bass in this room. I don’t know if they helped clean up some of the upper bass or bass harmonics or what, but the overall sound of the bass is just a bit more clean, solid and planted. Almost to the same effect as putting the subs up on those IsoAcoustics sub stands I have them on. Definition and sharpness of attack just seem to be better. And no, the Maggies, the subs or the sub settings were never touched through any of this.

Lastly, in order the mount one of the panels in front of the window, I mounted a couple of “legs” to the side of the panel, put a couple of eyehooks on the back of them, and a couple of L hooks in the wall, so installation and removal is simple and literally only takes seconds to do. Also, instead of using the sawtooth hangers that GIK provided with the panels, I decided to use heavy duty D-ring picture hangers for the wall mounted panels.

All in all, I am extremely happy with the results and am quite amazed at how much was achieved with only six panels. They far exceeded my expectations. This doesn’t mean I’m done however. I still want to get some diffusors for behind/above the TV, and maybe a few other things here and there after some more research and advise seeking.

Boy, I should have done this years ago! Truly the biggest improvements!

Anyway, here’s some pics…


How long ago did you order them?

About 3 weeks ago.

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It’s interesting that you installed first reflection room treatment for planar dipole speakers as they should be very directional and not require treatment on the side walls. Behind the speakers makes a lot of sense given the dipole radiation pattern emitting equally front and back.

And if you don’t have bass traps these are essential. Check out GIK Tri-Traps with the range limiter feature that reflects some higher frequencies which works great with my 'stats. They also offer the wood diffusion panel option with these as well.


That’s what I thought as well, but a lot of people with Maggies have done this with great results, and I can honestly say they aren’t wrong.

As for the front wall behind the Maggies, there’s a lot of debate whether to put absorption or pure diffusion back there, or even nothing at all. In my particular room, a combination of both has gone a long way in the right direction.

I’ll second what kcleveland said. Bass traps are what shocked me the most. I have 16 panels in my room, a mix of absorption and diffusion, in a room about the same size as yours. You are off to a great start! Just think about bass trapping the corners next, you won’t regret it. I made mine using 24 x 48 Owens Corning cut into triangles and stacked in the corners. Used furring strips to make a light frame and covered with black fabric. Turned out great with minimal expense and time.


I agree with bass traps as well, but before I go that route I want to do what I can with the subs first as far as possibly location tweaks, settings and their built-in DSP after I take some measurements of the room this weekend with and without the panels installed. It literally takes about two minutes to remove them all from the room.

And speaking of room, I don’t have a whole lot in the way of room for bass traps. The two front corners are already nearly occupied by the Alpha panels. The back two corners of the room have the front door of the house and a large 5 ft x 7 ft opening into the hallway. Both right in the corners.

Not to mention this IS the living room, not a dedicated listening room, though I treat it that way. LOL

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If you can’t move the Alpha panels over to make room for bass traps, move the Alphas somewhere else and purchase the half width Alphas for behind the speakers. I know you will love the traps.

I totally get the non dedicated room, fought that animal for 10 years!

Good luck!

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I’m sure I’ll figure something out eventually. Baby steps… :wink:

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Don’t forget you already have bass traps in your room! It’s called your seating furniture. Even though I’ve got bass traps in my space, even moving around my seating caused bass differences. Glad you made the upgrade and experimentation with your GIK panels. IMO more improvement than cabling, tubes…even though it all matters.

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I too am glad I finally took the step to get some treatments. Definitely more bang for the buck improvements than equipment/cabling upgrades. The only exception would be loudspeakers of course as no matter what, the loudspeakers are what’s putting the music in the room to begin with.

These six panels are only the beginning. There will be more treatments coming later down the road.

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Would you mind providing some more details about the diffusor panels you put up in the front of the room (make, model and sizes)?

Diffusors behind the speakers/along the front wall somewhere are my list of additional room treatments to experiment with.

Thanks in advance.

These are the ones on the front wall…

These are the ones on the sides and rear wall…

I chose the Alphas for on the front wall for a couple reasons…

  • I went with 4" thick panels because they are somewhat close to the corners of the room, so figured they’d help eat up some of the extra upper bass energy which they seem to be doing.
  • They are recommended for mounting behind dipole speakers which my Maggies are, are able to absorb as well as scatter enough to keep the sound lively, which they also seem to be doing quite well. They redirect/scatter further down into the midrange as well as into the treble.

I chose the 2" Impressions for the other locations because I still wanted absorption, but not to the extent of the 4" panels. I also wanted less of a “broadband” scatter effect and only really scatter more treble, again to keep the room lively yet still absorbing enough to eliminate the slap echo I had in this room.

Thanks for the info. @Chops.

I think the 2" versions with the emphasis on diffusion might be more “on spec” for what I want to try.


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Why not shoot GIK an email and tell them what you’re wanting to do? Couldn’t hurt and it’s free. Just a thought.

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Has GIK solved its production and supply issues in the US now? To fill some of my orders they had to have them built in Europe. Affordable products that perform.

I suppose they do. I didn’t have any issues with mine. Like I said above, it only took about 3 weeks for them to be made and delivered to my door. And as for the fit and finish, I have no complaints. They look great all the way around.


A little update…

Since my last post in this thread, things came to a standstill as shortly after my significant other had full hip surgery scheduled. So the week of, I took off from work to take care of her and help her around the house and such, then back to work the next week. Also, other things family related have occupied my spare time as well. Needless to say, I never got around to getting REW up and running and doing all of that jazz.

However, last weekend, I did manage to get a few quick hours to myself. For about an hour, I played a track here and there of very familiar recordings for about an hour, quickly removed the Alpha panels from the front wall, then played those same tracks again, in the same order. The results were the same as before, no suck-outs of any kind and increased air, space, height and depth.

With that being said, I do have to retract one statement where I said there was “zero slap echo now”. There’s still some, but nowhere near as bad as it was. It doesn’t ring out as long as it used to, but it’s also difficult to tell where it’s coming from (side walls, ceiling, maybe front/back walls still?). If I loudly say “AH!” in really short bursts, or clap my hands, I still hear this short echo that has more of a “zing” quality to it that rises in pitch by the time it ends. I would say maybe two tenths to a third of a second at most? So far I haven’t noticed it in any music that I’ve played like I used to before the treatments.

In other news, for the most part, I have preferred the sound of the Maggies with the tweeters on the outside edge for a bit wider sounds stage and a larger center image with very little to no toe-in. Just for giggles, I swapped them a couple nights ago and now have the tweeters on the inside edge with a fair amount of toe-in (tweeters intersect about a foot in front of my head). I was expecting a smaller center image and a narrower, somewhat closed in sounds stage. To my surprise, the opposite happened!

First thing I noticed is that the sound stage now extends out past the side walls by at least a foot or two, well beyond the speakers themselves. There’s also a 3D or surround-sound like effect depending on the recording. You’re placed IN the recording venue, hearing the natural acoustics and reverb of the live recording venue. Of course, highly engineered studio music does the same, sometimes to extremes. One recording I was listening to (can’t remember what it was now) had an acoustic guitar being played close-mic’ed, and I swear it was a foot behind my head to the left. You could actually hear the pick come in contact with the string, and that string sounded like it had a rough texture to it like a round-wound string. However, that late at night I was starting to get really tired (was up 26 hours, 14+ hours of that at work) and failed to make note of the album/track or even put it in my favorites for that matter. It was just something I randomly picked on Qobuz.

The second thing I noticed is that the size of the center image has remained the same (as with the tweeters out) but now that center image is sharper and has more roundness and dimensionality to it. Also, that center image is its own entity between the speakers. In no way does it sound like it’s coming from either speaker.

I had these Maggies set up this way a while back when I was experimenting with placement, and I was getting none of this, hence why I had them with tweeters out and very little or no toe-in. All I was hearing before was like a large mono speaker in front of me with some stereo ques here and there set up as they are now, only without any of the room treatments. It’s a totally different story now with these GIK panels installed!