Ramping Up Your Room Acoustics

If the perpetual pursuit of sonic perfection is in your DNA, here’s a wall treatment you might consider.

XIX Acoustics, a Medford, MA-based company specializing in “problem-solving for all kinds of rooms—especially spaces devoted to critical listening”—is very proud of its wedge-shaped Acoustic Ramp Diffuser, which it describes as a powerful solution for anyone intent on creating a space that’s “spectrally flat but not acoustically dead.”

In technical terms, the Ramp is a quadratic residue diffuser (QRD) designed to improve the acoustic properties of a room by controlling the existing acoustics. Diffusers are nothing new but XIX says the Acoustic Ramp improves on conventional designs by responding to a greater number of frequencies from a panel that takes up less space than competitive models.

The Ramp’s angled design is said to scatter sound vertically and horizontally. “The depth of the wells between the dividers changes over the length of the diffuser and this greatly improves the effective bandwidth,” XIX explains.

The company says when used as a rear-wall treatment an array of Acoustic Ramps “helps to tighten the definition of imaging and clarifies the sound stage”; in home theater setups the Ramps are said to create a sense of envelopment and immersion.

“The goal of an Acoustic Ramp diffuser is to control the existing acoustics of the room without absorbing the acoustic energy,” according to XIX. “A reflection of sound off of a flat hard surface can be disorienting and distracting. A reflection can mix with the source of the sound and cause comb-filtering which changes the timbre or tone-color of what you are hearing. People often describe the effect of comb-filtering as “hollowing out” the sound, making the sound “tinny”, or sounding like it is in a “garbage can.”

The Acoustic Ramp can be custom built to exact specifications. The standard Ramp is about 24 x 12 x 45 inches and made of ½-inch Rock Maple plywood reflectors, eighth-inch-thick black powder-coated aluminum dividers, and a ¾-inch Rock Maple plywood top plate. Cost per Ramp is $1,099 or $999 when “a few are ordered at a time.”

For more information, visit xix-acoustics.com, which includes the results of tests XIX has conducted.

hnickm's picture

Not until it starts showing up in Architectural Digest…

TimmyS's picture

So, are there 6 ramps in the picture?