Soundwave Acoustic Panels - A Review

Designed either to hang on the wall or to stand on a surface such as a table or desk these panels take advantage of something called Mondaplen® technology to help in providing acoustic damping. No doubt useful for musicians or sound engineers too my principal interest in them was for my Voice Over home studio.

They are made from layers of recyclable polyester fibre which do an excellent job of just what they set out to provide: absorbing the ambient noise in an otherwise untreated or partially treated room. The frames, measuring a shade over 59cm x 59cm square, are made from dark grey cardboard and include pre-cut stands that can be folded out from the rear to allow the panel to be free-standing. The illustrations give the general impression.

Once more Italian design flair is on display. The beauty of the panels as wall-hangings is that they are very light and do not require more than two light nails or hooks to do the job. Holes are provided in the rear to fit the panel in whichever orientation suits you - portrait or landscape, as it were, depending on how you want the grooves to run. Typically, with say four panels, these would be alternately portrait and landscape, approximately 10-15 cm apart. The effect is not only practical and useful but also aesthetically pleasing. As with so many of the best things, simplicity rules.

I was a little less impressed by the free-standing arrangement - not because it doesn't work well (the pre-cut shapes were easy and highly effective to make the stand itself) but more because of the space that just two panels required, behind a mic, on a desk top. This is almost certainly more a reflection of how cluttered my desktop gets, but I can't help feeling I'm not alone in that. So whilst the free-standing arrangement is a neat idea I suspect that 9 out of 10 of such panels will end up on a wall.

An alternative thought was that squares measuring approximately 44cmx44cm might get more use on a desk top, but that may simply be wishful thinking.

More to the point how do they perform in their primary function as sound-absorbing acoustic panels? The answer is very well, if not very well indeed. Much will depend on the room or studio's needs of course but I found that by simply installing two panels on a wall some 10 feet from the microphone that there was a noticeable reduction in 'echo' which has in the past been my main challenge. I tried them in four different arrangements on two different walls; in each instance the audible benefit was remarkable. My intention is to install at least a further two and I'm anticipating a still greater benefit.

The fact that the panels can so easily be repositioned or rehung is a major plus. Particularly for those using spaces as studios infrequently it would be as simple as having a number of small hooks on a wall (which might accommodate pictures or posters if the room was dual-purpose) on which the panels could be rehung in a matter of a minute.

The fact that the frames are cardboard is a slight concern as far as durability goes but as ever if you take good care when hanging the panels they should give many years of service.

To summarise these are well worth investigating; adaptable, light with strong 'green' credentials and excellent value for money. Best of all, if you want to improve your room's ambient noise they will give you great support.

Available from Amazon (UK).

Should you be interested in large rolls of the same acoustic damping raw material these too are available from Amazon.

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