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Baffle Wall Case Study: Acoustic Frontiers Demo Room

by Nyal Mellor November 29, 2013

This article is a case study of how we designed and built the THX style baffle wall in the Acoustic Frontiers demo room. A baffle wall can be thought of as a false wall into which speakers are 'flush' mounted and can be built in front of the existing wall in a home theater or instead of the front wall. There are many acoustical benefits to baffle walls including reduced increased low frequency headroom and smoother frequency response due to reduced speaker boundary interference and diffraction.  

Step 1: Speaker Selection

The first step is to select the speakers that will be installed in the baffle wall. There are obviously many ways to select loudspeakers. For a home theater that replicates the commercial cinema experience narrow down your selection based on loudspeakers that can reproduce THX reference level 105dB peaks. You might also want to choose loudspeakers that are designed to be baffle wall mounted (many are not and have baffle step compensation circuits that cause bass boost if mounted in a baffle wall). Speaker size dictates baffle wall framing requirements. Deep, heavy speakers may require special shelves or thicker studs to support their weight. In wall speakers will require a more standardized framing approach. In our demo room we selected the Procella Audio P610, a full range speaker capable of 105dB peaks in our room and expressly designed for baffle wall mounting. speaker layout rules. In the Acoustic Frontiers demo room we used a large screen for a 50 degree viewing angle (see our home theater viewing angles article). Because of the narrow width of the room we chose to place the left and right speakers inside the edges of the Seymour Screen Excellence 4K acoustically transparent screen rather than outside, which would have resulted in the speakers being located close to room corners (an acoustically sub optimal location).

THX reference level bass (115dB peaks) to the primary seats in the home theater. Typically this means two or four subwoofers, some of which will be located at the front of the room. A baffle wall provides a great opportunity to hide subwoofers and so the subwoofer selection and layout process should be done before completing the baffle wall design. The demo room has four subs, two front and two rear. The two front subs are shallow format Procella Audio P10. These are dual 10" driver subwoofers, 7" deep with side input cabling. Procella Audio also make dual 15" and dual 18" subwoofers. Subwoofers are typically the deepest object in any baffle wall and most high performance 12" subs are 20" deep with rear entry cabling. This means the front of the baffle wall ends up maybe 22" off the front wall without using shallow format or in wall subwoofers. Alternatives to shallow format Procella Audio subwoofers are few and far between - our extensive search has led us to in wall subwoofer from Triad and Artison. 

Nyal Mellor
Nyal Mellor


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Nyal Mellor, Founder, Acoustic Frontiers

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