A lively, warm and gentle tea rose hue has been designated the »color of the year 2019«. It »appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media«, explained color specialist Pantone LLC as they presented their choice, which they decided to call »Living Coral«.
Presumably Strong Trend
The color of the year 2018, a bold, bright, and somewhat pompous violet referred to as »Ultraviolet« didn’t really catch on. For the much more harmonious tea rose hue »Living Coral«, chances are expected to be much better. It is expected to become a dominant trend in fashion, consumer goods, and even interior design next year. The trend was already looming on the catwalks lately. Tea rose and coral hues are playing an important role in spring fashion from Prada, Hermès, Brandon Maxwell, and Giambatista Valli for instance, while Calvin Klein, Moschino, and other fashion labels already used them in their 2018 fall collection.
Sound-transparent Fabrics in the Colour of the Year
Speaker cloth from Akustikstoff.com in Tea Rose keep you well prepared for the upcoming trend. The colour is available as a Standard Acoustic Cloth (colour code 35), as water-repellent and stain-resistant Acoustic Cloth 2.0 (colour code 135), and as nonflammable Acoustic Cloth FR, which is particularly suitable for public buildings (colour code 235).
Tea Rose can be harmoniously combined with many colours – another big difference to last year’s somewhat conceited violet. It comes especially nice when combined with speaker fabric in Pastel Blue (color code 34) – a combination that creates the positive, maritime yet warm color play of a coral reef, to which Pantone themselves refer in their video for their color of the year 2019. Artichoke (47), Navy Blue (38), Light Ochre (20), Off Yellow (21), and Green Tea (40) also make for attractive, warm, summery combinations.
This video shows that our new Acoustic Cloth FR is actually nonflammable. That’s why Acoustic Cloth FR is the perfect choice whenever a sound-transparent fabric is required for public buildings.
It’s a speaker cloth the world has been waiting for: Flame-retardant, easy to work with and elastic, with excellent acoustic and aesthetic properties, available off the shelf in numerous attractive colors. Our newly developed Acoustic Cloth FR makes the world of sound-transparent fabrics significantly better.
The renowned French test institute FCBA has certified Acoustic Cloth FR to be nonflammable according to the European standard EN 13773-1 as well as to the much more demanding French standard NFP 92503 M1. It puts an end to a notorious problem that bothered architects, interior architects, PA and event technicians day by day: So far, applicable fire protection regulations and the use of visually attractive, sound-transparent fabric in publicly accessible buildings didn’t go well together. Sound-transparent, visually appealing speaker fabrics are usually made of flammable plastic fibres. But building codes and other regulations—as well as technical guidelines that are part of many contracts—require fabrics to be certified at least fire retardant (FR) according to EN 13773-1.
For the first time ever, this dilemma can be considered solved. Our non-combustible Acoustic Cloth FR combines optimal preventive fire protection and outstanding acoustic properties and is available in 42 different colours right off the shelf with no lead time. The nonflammable (M1) speaker cloth exceeds the fire retardancy requirements that are part of most tenders. According to the FCBA test results, it’s about as combustible as plasterboard.
Whether used as speaker fabric or in decorative applications that require acoustically transparent fabric: Acoustic Cloth FR enables optimum fire protection without compromising on sound transparency in architecture and interior design as well as in exhibition booth building, stage building, shop construction, advertising technology, and at exhibitions, concerts, and events—and last but not least in the entire catering sector.
It all started with an enquiry from Nevada: A customer wanted to know whether our acoustic fabric would be dustproof enough to protect a couple of Bose F1 Arrays from exposure to dust during this year’s Burning Man festival. Good question. We didn’t have any empirical data, as we’d usually focus on sound permeability and translucence (or rather the opposite) in the development of our speaker fabrics. But the question piqued our curiosity and we wanted to come up with a proper solution. We decided to use superfine flour as an imitation of the dust in Black Rock Desert. Not the worst idea: Marc-Antoine from Nevada replied that “superfine wheat flour is a good approximation of Burning Man’s dust.”
The core of our test setup consisted of a piece of our stain-resistant and water-repellent Acoustic Cloth 2.0, an empty cardboard box, and a DIY “flour cannon” made of a cardboard roll core and several bits and pieces. We pointed the “cannon” to the speaker cloth at a distance of about 20 cm. Dried pressurised air at about 80 psi from our workshop was used to propel the flour towards the fabric. The measured air speed (and, consequently, the exit velocity of the flour) at a distance of about 10 cm from the cardboard tube was 27 knots (which equals 50 km/h or wind force 6). Not bad, eh?
We wasted the first pack of flour to find that one layer of fabric isn’t sufficient in our view. We weren’t happy with the amount of flour that went through. So we modified the setup and attached two layers of fabric. The distance between the two layers was about 1.5 inches and the frame with the first layer was slightly tilted to prevent the flour particles from building up between the two layers and instead simply drop to the ground. Admittedly a somewhat shaky impromptu installation that wouldn’t meet the requirements for whatever ISO certification, but good enough for our purposes.
The result of this second round made us happy, as there were only very few particles still going through the two layers of speaker fabric. We found just a little dust on the ground of the box, after we’d propelled another full pack of flour towards the front of the construction and finally cleaned both with an air nozzle before opening the box.
We’ve uploaded a video of this test on Youtube, so why not have 90 seconds of fun, watch this bonkers and weird dustproofness test, and judge for yourself.
Every week we receive a considerable number of emails that go like “I’ve seen a photo of this and that piece of furniture on your blog. What is the colour of the acoustic fabric?” If you’re about to drop us a similar email, please hang on for a sec and read the following lines first.
As we know where the photos come from (we have many customers who send us photos of their pieces of work and are happy to see them featured on our blog), it’s easy for us to answer such questions precisely. However, the answer could be pretty useless anyway.
The problem is that the screen reproduction of colours in RGB colour mode can (and in most cases, especially with Windows computers and budget monitors, does) differ considerably from the actual colours of the objects in a photo, Unless your screen is set to a white point of D65 and precisely calibrated with a colorimeter, certain colour aberrations are virtually inevitable. On top of that, lighting conditions and individual camera settings have noticeable additional impact on how colours are reproduced in a photo.
This means that if you only use a photo to choose the colour for your piece of our Acoustic Cloth, what you get may not be what you’ve seen and expected. Sure we accept returns in most cases and are happy to exchange them for another colour. But it will delay your project, you’ll have to cover the postage if you return an order, have to bring it to the next post office and so on.
Why not avoid all the hassle by ordering a sample set? It will provide you with an absolutely reliable way to find the right colour for your project if go for anything else than black or white. They are about postcard size, so they also give a good impression of how the fabric appears as a larger surface.
Don’t get us wrong: The reason behind this blogpost is not to increase the turnover from sample sets. Okay, we charge a couple quid for them, but if you consider the material costs (the production of 100 sample sets requires a whopping 90 square metres of speaker fabric) plus the time-consuming work of putting the sets together, you’ll find that we don’t make any money from samples. We rather subsidise them to offer our customers a reliable and convenient way of finding the right colour.
The great days of the classic passive loudspeaker seem to be over: In times of AirPlay, DLNA, and streaming, WLAN loudspeakers are virtually ubiquitous. On the other hand, however, true audiophiles and devotees of classic hi-fi technology still prefer sound reproduction at the highest possible level to the convenient, wireless omnipresence of MP3-compressed music. Are these totally incompatible points of view, or is there a way to combine the outstanding acoustic characteristics of venerable passive speakers such as the Beovox CX50 and CX100 with the advantages of sophisticated WLAN technology?
There is indeed, at an amazingly high level. The solution entered the market last year: the Beocreate 4CA. This four-channel amplifier, designed by the Swiss company HiFiBerry together with Bang & Olufsen, updates passive loudspeakers to state-of-the-art active speakers with full wireless functionality in a few simple steps. Even better, this handy DIY solution works with speakers from all manufacturers.
The folks at HiFiBerry refer to the digital upgrade of vintage speakers as “upcycling”, and it doesn’t sound odd: Updating excellent passive hi-fi speakers surely makes much more sense than the »creative« utilisation of (most often new) Euro pallets for trendy but rather uncomfortable garden furniture and the reuse of scrap tire snippets as equally uncomfy shoe soles.
And if you’re already about to upcycle your speakers with the smart Beocreate device, why not attach new cloth to your speakers as well? After all, the speaker fabric used with most B&O speakers is extremely delicate and most probably got a bit long in the dent anyway – just like may be the case with most other vintage speakers. Unfortunately, most manufacturers have been a bit too keen on saving a few quid by using budget speaker fabric. But the HiFiBerry staff have also spent a few thoughts on the visual refurbishment of old speakers: They’ve come up with a blog post in which they describe how to replace the speaker cloth of the popular 80s classics Beovox CX50 and CX100. It’s more or less a matter of course that they also rely on the highest possible quality for the speaker fabric. That’s why they recommend products from Akustikstoff.com: https://www.hifiberry.com/blog/changing-the-spaker-fabric-of-your-beovox -cx-50 cx100
HiFiBerry is no stranger to DIY hi-fi circles around the world: The leading provider of audio add-ons for the Raspberry Pi has a clear focus on high-quality sound. For several years, HiFiBerry has been developing hardware-on-top modules and digital interfaces – some of them with onboard amplifiers that are mounted directly on the Raspberry Pi. HiFiBerry boards can be used to create streaming players and media centres, but also to customise multi-room setups.
Excellent workmanship, glorious Scandinavian design, and individual, custom-made production a– that’s what the Danish carpenter Per Plauborg and his company Hifimøbler.dk stand for.
Per’s aim is to make custom-made AV furniture of outstanding quality that meets any customer’s individual taste and demand. All furniture is tailored to the individual customer in terms of color, size, number of shelves, cable holes, and any accessories, such as drawers and legs, wheels, and wall-mounting options. This way, AV furniture from Hifimøbler.dk suits any audio and video equipment and at the same time contributes to an elegant Scandinavian home furnishing style.
If you want your Hifi and video equipment as well as similar gear ready for use at all times but still perfectly hidden away in a great piece of handmade design furniture, Hifimøbler.dk will provide the perfect solution. All furniture is prepared for inside and outside cabling within and between the modules. This way, all cables are hidden, ensuring that the living room always looks tidy and stylish. Even better, these great pieces of furniture come at a price you’d usually expect for standard run-of-the-mill pieces.
Per places great emphasis on quality and the compelling craftsmanship of which he is justifiably proud. It’s no wonder, then, that he has chosen fabrics from Akustikstoff.com for the front covers of his furniture. The outstanding acoustic properties of these acoustic fabrics ensure perfect sound reproduction even if the speakers are placed behind the doors. At the same time, the specially designed acoustic cloth lets infrared signals pass through, so remote controls even work with closed doors.
»Afgang« is the name of the MFA degree show of the of the Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi, the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. It is taking place at the moment at the Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen. The exhibition curated by Henriette Bretton-Meyer features works from twenty-five graduates from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts’ Schools of Visual Arts. It will be on display until 20 May 2018 and is well worth a visit. If you happen to be in Copenhagen before the end of May, make sure not to miss it.
One of the featured artists is George Koutsouris, who has created »a strangers’ attractor«, a large installation that reminds a bit of a spider at first sight. If you dare to walk around that somewhat repellent object, you will discover a colourful inside that features pieces from Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen’s space capsule and an interesting soundscape: With the support of various sponsors, Koutsouris has built a kind of sound machine that uses the black tubes to collect voices and ambient noise from other rooms, even from outside the building, and reproduces them in the strikingly colourful inside, full of artificial echoes. The impressive work is meant to demonstrate power and creepiness, but also opportunities.
You may ask what all this has to do with our speaker fabrics. Quite easy: Artists depend on support, and we are committed to supporting art in all its forms. So we decided to contribute to this extraordinary piece of art along with a couple of other companies such as Dayton Audio and Odeon. Our Acoustic Cloth, which is available in 42 colours, provided the opportunity to realise the inside of the »strangers’ attractor« exactly as it had been conceived by the artist.
For more information about George Koutsouris and his work, simply visit his Facebook page, which also documents the making of the exhibit.
More information on the exhibition is available in the online version of the exhibition catalogue.
All photos by the artist.
The range of textiles that are offered as speaker cloth or acoustic fabric is almost impossible to grasp, particularly on the Internet. But what makes a true acoustic cloth? Here’s a short quality checklist:
Acoustic information, i.e. sound waves, must be able to penetrate the material as freely and unchanged as possible. Unsuitable fabrics will impair the sound—especially the high and high-mid frequencies—because sound waves are absorbed or diffused. That’s why simple air permeability is no sufficient criterion for the quality of a speaker fabric or acoustic cloth.
Only lab measurements will reveal what a specific fabric is actually suitable for. A direct comparison of measuring results generated with different types of speaker fabric reveals that even a double-layer of standard Acoustic Cloth from Akustikstoff.com is more sound transparent than other polyester or linen fabrics.
By the way: Strictly speaking, fabrics like molleton, which are meant to absorb sound rather than let it through, are not an acoustic fabric but an insulating material.
A good acoustic fabric bridges the physical gap between sound transparency and opaqueness. It will usually be developed exactly for this purpose and produced on state-of-the-art machines, which make an appropriate material structure possible. After all, the fabric is used as speaker fabric, as cover fabric for acoustic elements such as absorbers, diffusers, and bass traps, for AV furniture and instrument amplifiers such as guitar amps, in the car hi-fi sector, and last but not least for cladding in shop fitting, exhibition stand construction, and interior design. Of course, there are physical limits to opaqueness. You can find some more details on this topic here.
Acoustic cloth requires some tension to ensure an even surface of the cabinet front. That’s why it needs to offer exactly the right amount of horizontal and vertical elasticity. Any fabric that is too elastic will warp during processing and crinkle or buckle after a while. If it’s too rigid, on the other hand, workability will suffer, which can also cause crinkles. Standard Acoustic Cloth from Akustikstoff.com can even be easily stretched around several edges and finally stapled to the frame, as this photo of a model for the speaker cover of a high-end loudspeaker shows. With the topic of stapling we get straight to the next point:
Speaker fabric is often stretched around hard edges and stapled (watch this tutorial to see how it works), and high-quality acoustic fabrics are durable enough to stand this procedure without laddering or tearing. The weight of a certain speaker cloth usually is a good hint at its stability: Fabrics that weigh between 90 and 140 grams per square metre consist of a single layer of very thin yarn—which puts them close to nylons. No wonder they are similarly sensitive. Akustikstoff.com offers only robust double jersey with a weight of 180 grams or higher per square metre. The particularly rugged PA-Type Acoustic Cloth, which is equipped with a special protective net on the front, even reaches 550 grams without any loss in sound transparency.
High-quality acoustic fabric is characterised by its even structure. It’s quite easy to distinguish good material from cheap qualities at first sight in direct comparison. Simply have a look at the image: The crinkled fabric on the left is an imported fabric from somewhere in East Asia. It is offered at prices of about 8-10 euros per square meter by various stores on the Internet and on Ebay without any information about the origin and the manufacturer of the fabric. On the right there’s a photo of the more expensive proprietary fabric made in Germany by Akustikstoff.com–of course taken from the same angle and from the same distance.
Acoustic cloth is a rather delicate fabric, so only high-quality raw materials and perfect processing in all steps can prevent quality defects. And as always, careful processing and consistent, fastidious quality control have their price.
An example of common quality defects are ugly traces of worn needles. Actually, this should be an absolute no-no for any supplier. Such fabrics are clearly seconds that any professional customer will reject. Unfortunately, such defects are quite common with low-cost no-name speaker fabrics such as the budget cloth in our example. Taking a look at the fabric at backlight conditions clearly shows the sloppy work. If you attach some importance to detail in the realm of your hi-fi and AV equipment, you will most probably not be pleased with such speaker fabric.
Uneven colouring due to the use of non-mixed, uncontaminated yarn is another quality flaw that can often be observed with cheap speaker cloth. It is particularly noticeable with dark colours, when somewhat lighter stripes cause an irregular surface. That’s why acoustic fabrics from Akustikstoff.com are exclusively made from high-quality, white polyester yarns.
Azo dyes, formaldehyde, heavy metals … There’s quite a number of hazardous chemicals that may be hidden in textiles, and the use of some of them is still not sufficiently regulated by law. Even worse, the main reason for the use of these questionable substances, which are still often found in imported textiles, is to ensure cheapest possible production processes. Questions about potential risks for humans and the environment and about the working conditions under which these fabrics are produced are simply ignored. At first glance, the end product may seem “inexpensive”, but closer inspection often brings a different picture to light.
That’s why all fabrics in the product range made by Akustikstoff.com are certified according to the OekoTex 100 standard. This long-established standard contributes to high and effective product safety. The test criteria and limit values often go well beyond the national and international requirements, extensive product controls and regular company audits ensure compliance with the strict guidelines.
Over the past few weeks we’ve received an increasing number of questions about so-called acoustic pictures, a certain type of acoustic panels that seem to be the latest craze among HiFi and home theatre devotees. In most cases the conversation starts like “I want to make a DIY acoustic picture. Can’t I use that lovely piece of cotton cloth I already have? It’s relatively permeable to air, and the actual acoustic work is done by the absorber behind it anyway, right?
The answer to the second question is a straightforward “yes”. Only the absorber itself influences the sound in a room by absorbing sound waves. From a technical point of view, you don’t really need to cover absorbers at all. Unfortunately, an open absorber is a true eyesore. That’s why you better attach a front cover.
When it comes to selecting the appropriate fabric for this cover, however, maximum sound permeability is the key criterion – for a very simple reason: Only sound waves that reach the absorber can be absorbed. Sounds logic, eh? There’s nothing to be gained from a cover that reflects the sound before it hits the absorber. So our answer to the fist question is equally straightforward: “you better don’t!”
Simple air permeability doesn’t mean much at all. Even a sanforised sheet of mercerised cotton is permeable to air. The key question is the speed at which the air permeates the fabric, or how much resistance it has to overcome. The higher this resistance, the lower the acoustic transparency and the higher the reflection of higher frequencies. Just as you do not want to cover the fronts of speakers with a dense cotton fabric or canvas, you wouldn’t use such fabrics for acoustic pictures that are supposed to do their job properly. After all, there are acoustically effective elements involved in both cases: a loudspeaker, which is a sound wave generator, on the one hand, a sound absorber on the other hand. And there’s a simple rule that applies to all acoustically effective elements: For optimal acoustic results, virtually nothing should be placed between the acoustically effective element and the human ear.
So correct material selection makes quite a bit of a difference. It’s highly advisable to use nothing but high-quality speaker cloth, even if some suppliers of ready-made acoustic pictures staunchly claim the opposite. A handful are really telling porkies when they sell standard stretcher frames covered with printed canvas and filled with absorber material as “effective acoustic panels”. Such constructions are virtually non-transparent to sound. Even worse, they tend to reflect mainly high-mids and high frequencies – which are perceived as particularly annoying, because they make up the essential part of a room’s audible reverb. Okay, the professional audio sector certainly places much higher demands on the acoustic properties of a room than a home user usually does. We can also take for granted that aesthetic considerations in your own four walls are most probably completely different from those that apply in a recording studio or a speaker’s cabin, especially if you’ve decided to build your own acoustic panels. Nevertheless, don’t pour your money down the drain for such iffy stuff.
Our range of Acoustic Cloth has been carefully designed for a maximum of sound permeability plus sufficient opacity. And if you want to design your 100% individual acoustic picture, you’ll be happy to hear that our standard Acoustic Cloth is suitable for printing. All you need is a flatbed printer (which is something every major digital print shop calls its own nowadays). This is the perfect solution for DIY acoustic pictures that combine excellent acoustic property and individual design – all the more so as Akustikstoff.com offers an enormous amount of design options: 42 standard colours plus nine metallic colours.
So-called acoustic pictures for home use are very much in vogue. These sound-absorbing elements improve the acoustics of a room by eliminating unwanted sound reflections, and they can look good too.
The good thing is that there’s a quick and inexpensive way of making them as a DIY project: The first step is the construction of a wooden frame with an edge height of about 5 centimetres. Then, a special acoustic foam such as Basotect is tightly inserted in the frame. Finally, the front of the entire construction is covered with an acoustically transparent fabric, such as Acoustic Cloth.
Akustikstoff.com fabrics are particularly robust and elastic, which ensures easy processing in the DIY workshop. Our Youtube channel provides a number of practical tutorials that apply to loudspeaker frames as well as for acoustic pictures.
Have a look at the photos one of our customer has kindly provided to give an impression of how good such DIY acoustic pictures with our Acoustic Cloth can look in a room. Thanks to a choice of 42 colours and a further nine metallic shades, there are no limits to creativity here.
Of course, you can give your DIY sound pictures a further individual touch by painting them with suitable textile colors. Just make sure that the colour doesn’t clog the pores of the acoustic fabric.
To fix the textile colours, the polyester speaker fabric can be ironed at up to 175 ° C. Simply put a piece of thin, flat cloth between the Acoustic Cloth and the iron. It makes some sense to mount the fabric on the frame only after fixing the paint. If you do so, make sure that the picture isn’t spoiled by uneven tension. And if this appears to be too tricky, you can also mount the fabric on the frame first, then paint it like canvas on a stretcher frame, then fix the colors by ironing from behind, and finally insert the acoustic foam tightly in the frame. Just make sure not to paint the areas of the Acoustic Cloth that are right on top of the frame, as you cannot iron these areas properly afterwards.
Please note that due to its water-repellent and stain-resistant properties, Acoustic Cloth 2.0 is not suitable for painting.
The newly opened Kung Fu Studios in the hip Berlin neighbourhood of Kreuzberg are the latest top address for world-class hit productions made in Germany. Replacing the former Numarek sound studios, the new recording facilities are the residence of Marek Pompetzki, Paul NZA, and Cecil Remmler—presumably today’s most successful producer team in Germany.
The trio has ranked among the German top producers for several years now, and the three guys churn out productions that do not have to shy away from comparison on even the highest international level: The sound of German rapper Sido bears the mark of Pompetzki & Co. just as much as countless other recordings by artists such as Miley Cyrus, Kelly Rowland, Nico Santos, Max Herre, Cassandra Steen, Deichkind, or Ivy Quainoo … the list could go on for a while.
Recording technology and acoustics at the Kung Fu Studios meet the highest technical standards, of course. At the same time, the premises provide plenty of room for creative work and offer a convincingly appealing, pleasant work environment.
It goes without saying that the producer team also insisted on highest quality when it came to choosing the sound-transprent cover fabric for the acoustic cladding elements and absorbers in the recording and control rooms. That’s why they chose Acoustic Cloth by Akustikstoff.com in fig, anthracite, and other colours.
If you want to know more about the new sound studio, check out this interesting tour on Youtube.
The “Color of the Year 2018″ is a dramatic violet that expresses originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking.
The blue-based “Pantone™ Ultra Violet” already played a predominant role on the major catwalks around the world during this season’s fall fashion shows. As in previous years, it will certainly not be long before the “color of the year” will be the prevailing design color in consumer electronics, shop and trade fair construction, and interior design.
Our colour »Lavender« makes the colour trend of the coming year available in the field of high-quality, acoustically transparent speaker fabrics. The colour, available as standard Speaker Cloth (colour code 37) and as Acoustic Cloth 2.0 (colour code 137), sets awesome highlights wherever a trendy color is required in addition to excellent acoustic and technical properties. Lavender is even available as PA-Type Speaker Fabric (colour code 737). This extra-strong fabric, reinforced with a unique top layer, has been specially designed for PA speakers, amps and combos.
Expert design tip: Lavender appears particularly lush and classy when combined with colours from our Metallic Line, especially with Gold, Rose Gold, Copper, and Brass, while it develops a pleasantly modest, natural elegance with dark natural shades such as Wine, Sandstone, Artichoke or Butterscotch. Best try it out yourself with our sample sets.
Spray adhesive is very popular with many of our customers, especially with the professionals, because it offers a quick and convenient method of fastening our speaker cloth. Have a look at our our video tutorial on Youtube to see how it’s done.
Most adhesives are somewhat yellowish due to their composition, which sets certain limits to the bonding of speaker fabric on the visible sides of workpieces. Our new high-quality spray adhesive is completely transparent and provides excellent adhesion. It is virtually invisible, which is great when it comes to fastening speaker cloth directly on sound-absorbing styrofoam, such as Basotect, for instance.
The spray glue is now available in our online shop.