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Field Report: Acoustical Solutions AlphaSorb
The AlphaSorb wall panels ship with either impaling clips or Z-clips for fixing the panels to the walls. The impaling clips look exactly like the gusset plates used to hold trusses together. They are small and are simply hot glued or screwed to the wall. Then, a glob of construction adhesive is applied next to the impaling clip. When the panels are pressed into place, the impaling clips and adhesive hold everything together. If Z-clips are desired, a 4' x 6' panel, for example, would ship with six evenly spaced metal clips attached to the back of the panel. The installer simply installs the matching metal clip to the wall, and the panel essentially hangs on the Z-clips. This installation is excellent for panels that are temporarily moved or hang from ceilings. Layout and leveling of the Z-clips is important, but not terribly time consuming.
I chose to install the panels myself with some help from the radio station staff. Except for a few longer panels that required more hands, the process was simple. I started with the panels that touched the ceiling, assuming that if there was any drift or something got out of square, it would be best to have it show up near the less-visible cove base on the floor. The biggest challenge was measuring and cutting around receptacles and light switches. A utility knife easily cuts the panels and a pair of scissors cuts the Guilford of Maine fabric. I spaced the impaling clips evenly over the area of the panels and used the construction adhesive somewhat liberally. After aligning the panel, I used the palm of my hand to pop panels into place. The impaling clips take hold, the adhesive sets up, and the panels look incredible.
It is important to consider the installation of receptacle and switch boxes. Since we were adding an extra 1" of material to our walls, the electricians installed electrical boxes that stuck out an extra inch until the AlphaSorb was installed. This allowed us to easily cut around the boxes and put regular cover plates back on. By way of a hint, if your cutout in the panel is slightly too big, used an oversized cover plate and the problem is solved!
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Using AlphaSorb panels equally provide an aesthetic showpiece and acoustic treatment for our studios. The 1" option fits neatly on the walls and cleans up reflections that would otherwise render the room useless for live on-air work and recording. Don Strahle and Michael Binns from Acoustical Solutions were great to work with, and they took our needs into serious consideration. AlphaSorb is a well-designed product that will serve our needs for many years to come.
Wygal is the programmer and engineer for Victory FM at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.
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