As this is an audiophile magazine, I thought our first physical room treatment product here would be distinctly audiophile in nature – Acustica Applicata’s DaaD system. The Italian company makes elegant treatment towers in broadly Tuscan order (DaaD), as well as wall and ceiling hanging pads (Eco DaaD) to treat first reflections, and some pretty gnarly looking large clear plastic Helmholtz resonators (Polifemo and Phemo). There’s also a DaaD that sits between the floor mounted and wall-mounted models called the Studio DaaD, but the idea of wheeling in things sitting on a tripod into the listening room might push the domestically acceptable envelope.
The main DaaD is a three size affair, working on frequencies over 50Hz, 70Hz and 120Hz respectively. Of these, the DaaD4 (50Hz) is the best first choice for most European listening rooms. Start with a pair of these in the corners behind the loudspeakers. Now, here’s the reason why the DaaD’s push the audiophile buttons. First, they are reasonably discrete in their own right, looking like tall plant-pot holders that disappear fairly comfortably in the room, instead of flat panels bisecting the corners. Second, if they do look unacceptable for domestic management, it’s easy to move them out of the room without too much disruption. But perhaps most important of all, they are not heavy-handed in their acoustic treatment, and can be tuned lobe-shaped profile and different surfaces allow the user to ‘tune’ the room slightly by turning the DaaDs slightly more or less reflective. The benefits of the DaaD system are clear from the outset; the sound is more natural, the bass is better controlled and the diction of any vocalist or speaker is more articulate and precise. It’s like your system had the wax taken out of its ears! The tuning has a direct and obvious effect on the apparent width and depth of the stereo image. Without changing loudspeaker position, you can adjust the sound to make it seem as if the room is slightly bigger or smaller and as if you are sitting further forward or deeper into the auditorium. I’m putting the cart before the horse here, because this grade of fine tuning is best done when all the other attributes of the room are dealt with first.
From here there are three possible next steps. Either add two more of the same to the room corners behind your ears, stacking a pair of the smaller DaaD 3 on top of the DaaD 4s in the corners behind the speakers or going for DaaD 4s at the front, DaaD 3 at the rear. The results are not the same (the former acts more on bass control, the latter on midrange articulation) and ultimately we’re describing steps in the room treatment process (most people seem to start with six DaaDs for the corners).