Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Good vibes

Franck Tchang of Acoustic System International.
Note the 'Sugarcubes' - wooden cubes to control
tonality - on the wall behind him.

There we were having a chat at the cafe at J.W. Marriott hotel during the Kuala Lumpur International AV Show recently when Franck Tchang of Acoustic System International, the designer of acoustic resonators using precious metals, took out one of his tiny trophy-shaped gadgets to prove a point.


He took an empty glass, overturned it, cupped the resonator with it and told us to listen to the ambient noise and he wanted to know whether it was muted and enabled us to hear each other's voices better.

His concept of tuning a room is unlike the conventional way - instead of using foam panels and fibre-filled bass traps to absorb the sound waves to prevent bass boom and unwanted reflections, he uses his acoustic resonators to convert the low frequencies into high frequencies - 30kHz and beyond - to cancel unwanted resonances.

To achieve that, the metals used - copper, silver, yellow gold, red gold and platinum - must be of high purity and moulded into a special shape of a certain density. Even the little 'wings' can be turned to tune the room.

"The room is a box and movement of air is only at low frequencies. These low frequencies cannot be absorbed. If you use bass traps to absorb the low frequencies, you will hear the tone of the absorbing material," he said.

The best way to fight it is to 'recycle' the bass frequencies into another frequency beyond human hearing so that they would not affect the music.

He uses the metal harmonic resonators to fine-tune a room's harmonic response like tuning a musical instrument. Sometimes, he uses SugarCubes, which are made of Rosewood with holes bored in them in a specific design. These wooden cubes are to control tonality.

He said the acoustic resonators are small but powerful tools for room tuning, noise reduction and to minimise air turbulences especially at the corners of rooms.

They have powerful effects on soundstage focus, virtual stage width and depth, bass clarity, treble extension and tonality.

"You need vibrations, but they must be good vibrations," he said.

Franck Tchang's acoustic resonators are distributed in Malaysia by CMY Audio & Visual.

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