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  #1  
Old 01-13-2015, 05:09 PM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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Default Room Treatment - Stillpoints Aperture

In the February, 2015 issue of Stereophile Michael Fremer has a short review of the Stillpoints Aperture room treatment panels. The Apertures were designed by the acoustician who invented Sonex panels. Fremer attributes "a truly dramatic and positive change in the sound" by using the Apertures. In contrast, he attributes only a "modest" improvement in using RPG's Skylines. Unfortunately there is no mention of how or why they work nor how to best use them.
I plan on in trying to improve my room acoustics this year, but have little direct experience in doing so or in the use of room improvement products. I am hoping that those of you that have experience with the Apertures or the use of similar products will share your thoughts.
Thanks, Mike
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Old 01-14-2015, 05:36 AM
tima tima is offline
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Okay, I'll start. For a year now I have experimented with the number and placement of Stillpoints' Aperture panels to optimize playback acoustics. For context, my 17'x22'x9' room is not real big but I feel fortunate to have it dedicated for audio. All walls and the ceiling use double drywall with Green Glue between the drywall panels.

Acoustic treatments are often indecorous but the Apertures are nicely attractive for their function. Visibly, the Aperture is a 22"x22" finished wood frame surrounding a cloth panel. I chose oak for the frame to go with the room's trim, with cream color cloth to keep things neutral. Stillpoints can imprint digitized images of your choice on the cloth panel using a dye sublimation(?) process. I mention the aesthetics of the panels because the Aperture's look and size allows its placement where other products may not be accommodating to wifely requirements for living rooms and other more publicly visible listening spaces in one's home.

Likewise important is the high effectiveness of the Aperture for its size: it combines a diffuser, absorber, and resonator in a small package. I heard the difference made by each panel I brought in the room and though it took a bit of time to work out their best placement, each time I moved a panel the difference was obvious.

Experimenting is easy. Panels can sit on the floor and be stacked. They come with 3M Command Strips (removable-without-damage Velcro-like thingies) for temporary placement on a wall. Once position is known, the panel can mount to the wall using the included aluminum Z-Hangers.

I tried different numbers and arrangements of panels on the wall behind my speakers. Each side wall reflection point needed only one as two over-damped the upper-mids and highs. Stillpoints suggested two or three stacked behind each speaker and/or stacked in the middle. I tried those positions and many others before arriving at a final placement. They are not for the ceiling.

The room tuning capped off with three Apertures on the wall behind the listening position. Soundstage depth had already increased considerably with the speaker wall set-up. The three rear panels caused the soundstage to pull toward the listening spot while retaining its depth.

I don't know the Aperture's effectiveness cut-off point into the lowest frequencies. They are not bass traps if your room needs that sort of help. Mine did not, but improvements in one part of the frequency range can yield audible benefit in another and I sensed some general improvement in the lower bass. I use one panel on the floor behind my speakers. Its precise placement makes something of a tradeoff between bass tightness versus weight.

With the Apertures in my room I heard improvements in frequency balance, image clarity and placement, soundstage depth, detail clarity, tonality, low frequency articulation, and a general sense of presence and verisimilitude. Fremer's quoted comments reflect my own. The Apertures brought a genuinely real and impressive improvement both to my audio room's acoustics and my enjoyment of music from my stereo. I appreciate having them each time I listen.



Last edited by tima; 03-04-2017 at 06:05 AM. Reason: fix picture
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:04 AM
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cmarin cmarin is offline
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Tima,

Thank you for the detailed and very useful description of your setup process for the Stillpoints Apertures panels in your room.

They were being setup at the Constellation room at CES last week by Bruce Jacobs when I was there; but unfortunately I had to leave before getting a chance to compare the before and after effect.

What is the MSRP?

By the way, congratulations on your room and equipment. It looks amazing; and the Gryphon monos I'm sure are impressive. I've been ogling the Mephistos, but the lack of a US rep has made it very difficult to hear them.

Best wishes,
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Old 01-14-2015, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmarin View Post
Tima,

Thank you for the detailed and very useful description of your setup process for the Stillpoints Apertures panels in your room.

They were being setup at the Constellation room at CES last week by Bruce Jacobs when I was there; but unfortunately I had to leave before getting a chance to compare the before and after effect.

What is the MSRP?

By the way, congratulations on your room and equipment. It looks amazing; and the Gryphon monos I'm sure are impressive. I've been ogling the Mephistos, but the lack of a US rep has made it very difficult to hear them.

Best wishes,
Retail is $650 ea
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2015, 11:36 AM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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Thanks Tima for the very clear and helpful product review. From your comments I conclude that the Apertures combine several room tuning abilities that work together synergistically, thus reducing the number and types of tuning products required and simplifying the process required to improve a room's acoustics.
I fortunately do not seem to have any serious audible bass response issues in my room and am encouraged by the sonic benefits you describe. Also, I'm reading into your comments that sophisticated room measurement, while useful, isn't necessary to optimize the effectiveness of the Apertures.
Thanks for taking the time to so thoughtfully share your experience with the Apertures. Also, I love your listening room, it looks great and I'll bet it sounds great too!
Mike
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:46 AM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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Hi Tima, as a lover of felines, I was remiss in not commenting on your very handsome feline friend. Mine will sometimes join me when I'm listening to music and always adds to my enjoyment. I hope yours is similarly inclined.
Mike
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Old 01-14-2015, 11:59 PM
tima tima is offline
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mfoley3 & cmarin, I do appreciate your comments.

Yes, from friends I heard that Bruce's demo is convincing and I'm waiting to catch it myself, maybe at Axpona. I'm thinking Stillpoints dealers support in-home trials and/or money back guarantees so direct trial in one's own room may be possible. For me that is the way I prefer to evaluate gear. I had the good fortune to use six panels initially though (guessing) having three or four could be enough to gain insight. You might follow-up with AA participant 'allvinyl' (JohnT) who is with Stillpoints.

It was fun experimenting with the Apertures in different positions and it was easy to gauge their effect, even down to adjustments of less than one foot. That gave me confidence, knowing both they and my ears were working. I had other acoustic treatments in my room and at first spent time integrating the Apertures with those. Only after removing all the non-Aperture panels (excepting some small Michael Green Corner Tunes at ceiling wall junctions) did I really make progress. mfolely3 I agree with your thoughts about room measurement.

I've become an advocate for attention to audio infrastructure with priority to room acoustics, clean power and signal delivery, and vibration control/isolation - pretty much in that order but one can start anywhere. The Apertures reinforced belief that only when infrastructure is attended can one truly gauge a component designer's intent.

The amps are Lamms (they do look similar to Gryphon gear.) The cat is Finzi; he likes being in the music room.

Hoping others with Aperture experience chime in.
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Old 01-15-2015, 12:36 AM
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My dealer has a handful of apertures. They look really good in person, better than I thought they would. Nice to read the positive comments. I may have to borrow some and demo for myself.
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  #9  
Old 05-05-2015, 02:44 AM
tima tima is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfoley3 View Post
Hi all, I'd like to begin experimenting with some Apertures over the next month or two (I'm currently upgrading electrical power). I'd like to start small to gain some experience. I'm thinking of starting with two, one on the front wall located above and behind each speaker. My layout does not provide the opportunity to place any between the speakers as that wall space is occupied by a tv. If that goes well, I'll try two others at the rear wall behind my listening position. Is this a reasonable approach, any other suggestions?
...
Thanks for any help.
Mike
Congratulations on devoting effort to your room's sonic infrastructure.

The Aperture benefit is focused and you can hear how different panel positions cash out acoustically. Relatively small positional differences can be audible.

Behind each speaker, or in the center between speakers, or both, are good starting spots. Depending on room and speaker size you may want two behind each speaker, but one each is enough for a start. For a first take, just sit them on the floor; they're easily moved. For wall mounting, I'd start directly behind the speaker at tweeter/mid level; slightly toward the inner or outer speaker edges can also be effective. Each room is different so you'll want to experiment for optimizing their effect in yours. After addressing the front wall, you may want to try the first reflection points on each side wall if your room allows it. 3M Command Strips come with each Aperture to allow temporary mounting and experimentation; you may want to buy additional strips to try different positions. Each Aperture also includes a Z-hanger for permanent mounting. Have fun.
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Old 05-05-2015, 10:21 AM
mfoley3 mfoley3 is offline
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Hi Tima, thanks for all the info you've provided. I have two audio projects to complete before I begin using the Apertures and, from your comments, am very comfortable about getting started with them. I'm looking forward to it!
Mike
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