The acoustical properties of a home theater space or media room can have a profound impact on sound quality — even more so than the components that produce the sound.
Take a room with bare walls, "hard" furniture and no carpeting. With nothing to absorb the sound, music and movie soundtracks will lack definition and essentially turn to mush as sound waves bounce off the walls, floor and ceiling over and over again. Introducing carpeting, plush furniture and some strategically placed absorptive panels into the room will go along way toward taming acoustics in a "live" room.
At the opposite end of the spectrum is a "dead" room — one with carpeting, heavy drapes and overstuffed furniture, all of which absorb sound to the point where music and movie soundtracks seem sterile and, well, dead.
The science behind room acoustics is beyond the scope of this article, but suffice to say that trained pros employ a number of tools to optimize media room acoustics.
The thing is, for most of us the words "acoustical treatment" conjure images of tacky foam and egg crates stapled to walls. The good news is, the science of acoustics has an art component — literally. Today's home theater designers and acousticians have a range of décor-friendly acoustical treatments to choose from, some of which may surprise you.
Love Eric Clapton? Crazy about Coltrane? Consider an acoustical panel that places your favorite musician right in the room with you. Available solutions include a variety of photography and artwork, including musician portraits.
Can't get enough of the New York skyline at dusk? Look for acoustic panels featuring striking cityscapes or scenic landscapes. Or, you can use your own artwork or photography to create custom acoustic panels.
Is a starfield home theater ceiling just not enough? Or maybe your Star Trek themed room needs a finishing touch? Add a truly "out of this world" feel with acoustical panels that feature spectacularly colorful space images, including planets, stars, galaxies, nebulae, and more.
With any of these acoustic art solutions, your media room could well become the talk of the neighborhood.
To learn more about room acoustics, consult a CEDIA professional. Click here for a list of CEDIA-member home technology professional companies in your area.