Argent Room Lens - Acoustical Room Treatments

$0

Original MSRP of $395 each when new.

Available via local pickup only from our shop in New Jersey.

More from an excellent SoundStage! Review written by Doug Blackburn:

So how do you make a Room Lens?
You start out with Ric Cummins’ resonator design. This incorporates 3 vertical tubes, each almost 6’ long. These attach to a based made from Rosinante’s proprietary "Dark Matter" material, a combination of different materials, each with different resonant properties all held together with a polymer. The base has 3 holes all the way through it to accept the 3 tubes. The open tops of the 3 tubes are joined together with a bracket. There is a mesh material on the bottom of the base covering the 3 tube holes. The whole thing is painted black, not too shiny, not too dull. 4 adjustable feet allow for setting the height of the Room Lenses from the floor. Set the feet for maximum clearance over carpet, and experiment with lower settings for hard floors. When setting up the Room Lenses, do take time to insure that they are vertical (plumb) in both directions. The base does not take up too much floor space, just a little more than a six pack of beer. The Room Lenses look easy to tip over, but the base is heavy and does make the Room Lenses fairly stable. Though a frisky retriever or 3-year-old will have no trouble knocking them over. Of course those of you with those kinds of concerns already own the necessary tethering hardware.

What about the appearance of the Room Lens?
There is always a concern that things you need in your listening room just won’t cut the mustard with the interior decorator. The Room Lenses were well received here. The symmetrical appearance of the 3 tubes, even though their spacing is slightly non-symmetrical on purpose, has so far tended to strike people as being rather cool looking. They do tend to attract dust but a quick wipe down every month or two with Static Guard on a dust rag keeps dust well in check.

How the heck do 3 six-foot tubes change the sound of the room?
The Room Lens is a type of Helmholtz Resonator. These devices rely on the "spring" characteristics of air to do their work. The tubes are open at the top and bottom. Somewhere inside the tubes is some "stuffing" that has to have the correct top-to-bottom position inside each tube and has to have the ideal density and uniformity. If you do this correctly -- and this is one of the major tricks to designing this type of Helmholtz Resonator -- you get a device that, put in appropriate locations within the room, can have a significant impact on the sound you get at the listening position.

But how much improvement is there… really?
Once you have the Room Lenses in your room and correctly positioned, you go though the typical honeymoon period where everything sounds fresh and wonderful. You pull out all your favorite recordings to hear the "new sound" then in days or weeks, you settle back in to your normal listening patterns and pretty much forget about them. After a while you may even begin to think that they aren’t really doing anything worthwhile. This has happened to me a couple of times. There is a quick way to reconfirm your initial impression… take them out of the room again and listen to some of your favorite recordings. Eeeeeeewwwww, it’s awful. Put ‘em back. Put ‘em back! I’m not fooling around here either. I have a listening room that does a lot of things a lot better than more typical rooms because I was lucky enough to be able to have it built specially to be a listening room. If there was going to be a room where the Room Lenses were not going to be a big help, this would be the room. They actually ticked me off a bit in the beginning… how dare 9 black tubes show me how inadequate my special room sounds without them. If you tried other room treatments and were unimpressed, give the Room Lenses a try. They may be just what your room needs. If you are already using other room treatments, don’t assume these can’t do better! I almost blew off Todd Laudeman at the beginning because I was so sure that my special room was as good as it was going to get with my existing room treatment.

OK, we get the message… they work. But tell us more about what they do for the sound…
In my room, the most noticeable improvement is in how much more real the space in the soundstage seems. There’s no more width or depth than before, but now it is simply more real. You’ve perhaps heard people talk about soundstages that seem so real you think you can get up and walk around between the musicians… that’s what I got using the Room Lenses. After you get over the initial goose bumps and giggles this wonderful soundstage provides, you begin to notice other things. That little lumpy area in the bass? It isn’t lumpy any more. That recording where the harp just kind of sits there… now you hear small inflections in the playing and the full measure of the harp’s shimmer. Those cool drums? Whoa! Now there’s an actual vibrating head/skin on the drum and you hear it very clearly after the initial whack. Even on recordings where I could already hear the drum head/skin after the whack, the improvement in tonality whas such that the tuning and tautness of the head/skin were evident. No matter how great you think your system is at making realistic "space", you won’t hear how good it really is till you get 3 Room Lenses in your room and position them correctly.

Corn-clusion
The Argent Room Lens is a unique room tuning device. The cost, while not inexpensive, is typical for effective high end products. The prices of some other room tuning systems could easily exceed the price of the 3 Room Lenses recommended for most rooms. You can expect the Room Lenses to deliver in any listening room, though results can vary from room to room and positioning correctly is important. Your room influences the sound of your system more then you realize. The Room Lenses are the most effective devices I’ve encountered so far to improve the sound of a system by making the room sound/work better. I think you’ll like them a lot. Excuse me now, please. I'm going to go figure out what I have to sell to keep the Room Lenses,if I have anything left to sell. Maybe Todd will forget he loaned them to me (as if that ever happens!).

One last temptation... you can probably imagine that launching a new high end product isn't easy. You need some dealers and sales in order to get product moving. During this startup phase, Argent has a special offer for customers who do not have local dealers (and believe me Todd knows exactly who and where all his dealers are). Direct order customers can get 25% off the $990 list price ($742.50) for 3 Room Lenses. Direct orders will have a 30 day return/money back guarantee so you can try them risk free. Tell Todd that SoundStage! sent you. This special discount is only good during the time this review is "live" on SoundStage! (4 to 6 weeks total). Once this review is moved to the Talkin' Shop Archive, the special price will end.

If you aren't sure about the direct sale thing consider this... the Room Lenses aren't electronic components. They won't need service or upgrading, they won't break, they won't become obsolete and they won't ever wear out. These are truely a "safe" buy whether Argent remains in business for 6 months, 6 years or 60 years. They will always make your room sound better. To be perfectly honest... these Room Lenses are very cool. If you think you might want them, do not wait around. Get them now. The price is right and procrastinators could lose the opportunity to ever get them if there aren't enough orders to make it worthwhile for Todd to keep building them. I hope Room Lenses are around for a long time, but there are no guarantees. I would never urge you this strongly to go out on a limb for a speaker, amp, preamp or other electronic component. You really need to have those kinds of products from companies that are going to be around for the long haul. Something like the Room Lens is a completely different sort of product. It works, works convincingly and once built, it lasts as long or longer than you do. You don't have to be an acoustics expert to use the Room Lenses effectively, follow the guidelines in the owners literature for placement and you'll find the right locations within a couple of days. I don't want to hear any excuses. You can put the Room Lenses to work in your room without much effort. The results will make you very happy indeed.

Item

Included

Original Box

Not Included

Manual

Not Applicable

Remote

Not Applicable

Cables

Not Applicable

Physical Condition

7 / 10

Working Condition

10 / 10

Recently viewed