GIK Acoustics FlexRange Technology Preview
Membrane add-on to the GiK 244 and Monster Bass Traps
If you've spent any time on the Audioholics forum, you know that our mantra is treat the room. Have issues with the brightness of your speakers or imaging problems and you haven't at least treated your first reflections, then that is going to be the first suggestion you get. We recognize that speakers sound different and there is a lot that can change the sound of your system, but if you haven't addressed your room, you really have missed the biggest part of the equation.
But room treatments are a double-edged sword. If you over-treat your room, you end up with something that sounds dead and unnatural. Sure, you've dampened the bass but you've also killed all the high frequency reflections as well. Whether some would like to admit it or not, some reflections are necessary for a realistic presentation. If you turn your room into an anechoic chamber, it may be great for the bass, but you'll be the only one that will spend any time in there as most will find the room unnerving. If you've ever been in an anechoic chamber, you know it makes you feel like you need to "pop" your ears.
GiK Acoustics has been pushing the limits of affordable room treatments for a lot of years now. They've expanded from a garage operation to one that truly is professional in quality and international in scale. Their offerings have exploded past simple panel treatments to corners, diffusion, and more. Now, they've added a product that once again has us very interested - FlexRange Technology.
Panel absorbers are the starting point for any room treatment solution. Their job is simple, hang on the wall and absorb sound. The effectiveness of the absorption is determined by the material used (often fibreglass or rockwool), thickness, covering, and design. But GiK isn't happy with that; they think they can do more.
The problem with smaller rooms is that the bass becomes a big issue. These small rooms wreak havoc with bass and it takes a lot of absorption to tame the bass modes. But that much absorption can absolutely kill the high frequencies making the room sound lifeless and dead. FlexRange Technology from GiK is looking to fix this.
FlexRange is available on the GiK 244 panels and their Monster Bass Trap products. As shown in the picture above, it is a membrane that covers the front of the panel that not only increases the lower-end absorption but reflects high-ed energy back into the room much better than a standard panel. How much of a performance boost?
GiK Graphs of the 244 Panel with and without FlexRange
From the above image, you can see there is quite a bit more low-end energy absorption while the high end experiences much less. Is this something you want for all your panels in your home theater? No, absolutely not. But it is part of a larger room treatment plan and gives you more options. We really like how flexible (forgive the pun) FlexRange is. More importantly is price - FlexRange, as an option, will run you an extra $15 per panel. This is about a 20% increase in price - less so for the more expensive Monster Traps. The low end absorption on the panels with FlexRange is increased by up to 50% below 60Hz while retaining 70% more of of the sound from 400Hz and up.
We've seen so many companies stared by enthusiasts that offer a product far outperforming its price point, only to slowly increase their prices until they resemble those companies they once undercut. GiK is not one of them. Every time they release a new product we expect a price bump but it just hasn't happened. GiK's new FlexRange technology increases the low-end absorption of their panels while reducing the high end. Do you want this? You do if you have a small room and don't want it to sound overly dead or if you already have a lot of absorption and want to increase it without overly dampening the high frequencies. Either way, at a $15 price bump over the standard 244 and Monster Bass Traps, it isn't exactly going to blow your budget. We can see the new FlexRange panels becoming a staple in both DIY and professional installations.
For more information, please visit www.gikacoustics.com.
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