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Delta H Designs - Product Assessment
I was given the opportunity to examine two products from Delta H Designs. The first is model ZR SR12, and it appears to be some sort of diffuser. This device is one foot square and costs $126 US, which amounts to $1,008 for a standard 2x4 foot area. They don't call this a diffuser, but rather claim it uses "quantum" acoustic technology that controls air at the molecular level, or some such nonsense. It's only 0.75 inches thick, and the deepest groove is only half an inch, so any diffusion this device may provide extends no lower than about 6 or 7 KHz. When I held this panel in front of my face and talked into it, the reflected sound coming back to me sounded a little like a diffuser, but nothing like a real QRD diffuser having wells three or more inches deep.
This 1 by 1 foot Delta H model ZR SR12 might be a diffuser, or it might not be. Nobody knows for sure. But hey, it's quantum!
The second product I examined is the ZR SR24+ which also claims to work via "quantum" technology. I put "quantum" in quotes because it's a silly buzzword often used by companies that sell snake oil products to uneducated audiophiles. Acoustic products are assessed by either their absorption coefficient or diffusion coefficient, or sometimes both for diffusers. This product is 2' by 2' by 1.75 inches thick, and is sold as a "wall panel" for $626, or $1,252 for the standard 2x4 foot area. The Delta H literature lists it at 4 pounds, but it actually weighs more than 13 pounds. This panel is stapled, nailed, and glued, and so was very difficult to take apart. They really don't want anyone to see what's inside! The photos below show why.
The ZR SR24+ has the same swirly pattern as their bare panels, but is covered with what looks like padding you'd put under a carpet.
|With the padding pulled back you can see there's no magic ingredient that could possibly absorb bass frequencies, which every music room requires.|
Delta H offers no real data for these products, relying instead on glowing user testimonials and the metric Acoustic Resolution stated in "NPS per square foot" invented by company founder Hanson Hsu. From the Delta H web site:
Both the SR12 and SR24+ claim "450+ NPS/sq.ft." for their 1/2-inch deep grooves. But notably missing from this metric is the frequency range of this so-called resolution. With acoustics, the range of frequencies affected must always be considered. It's physically impossible for any acoustic device to behave identically at all audible frequencies.
Based on a lack of any meaningful performance data and their thin profile, I can only conclude that these products are not useful as acoustic treatment, and work mostly on the placebo effect. They're probably better than a bare reflecting wall, but only a little better. As usual, I'll gladly change my opinion when I see either official lab data proving the performance of these products, or legitimate Before / After room measurements proving the same.
Ethan Winer has been an audio engineer and professional musician for more than 45 years, and is a principle at RealTraps where he designs acoustic treatment products for recording studios and home listening rooms. Ethan's Cello Rondo music video has received nearly 2 Million views on YouTube and other web sites, and his book The Audio Expert published by Focal Press is available at amazon.com and his own web site.
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