RealTraps - Bob Katz Review

Bob Katz loves his MondoTraps!



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This photo shows part of Bob Katz's mastering room at his Digital Domain studio. Only two of his MondoTraps are visible. More are in other corners, and three are hidden behind the curtain. Click the image for a larger version.

"The bass response has smoothed out measurably and audibly and there's not a bass note out of place!"


The acoustics of my mastering room have been in continuous "development" since 1996. If I can find an improvement that makes the sound more linear, natural, dynamic and musical, I'm all for it. Last week I got a new listening couch and the sound became a bit too bright. But this was not caused by a change in absorption; I had to restore the tonal balance by simply raising the new couch two inches to put the listener's ears back on the mid-axis of the Lipinski loudspeakers. So the room is in continuous development. The sound quality and frequency response linearity is now an A+, thanks to the addition of some RealTraps MondoTraps.

Prior to the addition of the MondoTraps, I only had some acoustic treatment to control flutter echo as well as spending much time on careful placement of the subwoofers using time-domain analysis, and using tricks with the phase control of the subwoofer to cancel a slight bass hump due to the room geometry. But eventually I reached the limit of that approach and I sought out other ways to further smooth the bass response. That's where RealTraps come in, specifically the MondoTraps from RealTraps.

Designer/owner Ethan Winer was extremely helpful in helping me choose the number and placement of traps. Cautiously, I started with three and then I was hooked. Currently I have seven MondoTraps. In this picture you can see the two left-hand ones, and the two right-hand ones are bilaterally symmetrical. Plus three behind the curtain. The bass response has smoothed out measurably and audibly and there's not a bass note out of place! Plus, the sweet spot has grown - where before I had to sit in a very narrow spot, now I can lean forward and backward on the couch by a couple of feet without perceiving a big change in bass response. And now you can stand against the back wall and actually enjoy listening without hearing too much thump, so the front-to-back room mode has been greatly attenuated. I'm sold, you've gotta do it!

There's no such thing as a free lunch, of course, all of this should be done with careful measurement, and acoustic consultation. You may need to add some diffusion on top of the absorption if the high frequency decay curve becomes too sharp.

--Bob Katz, June 12, 2006

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