Recently, I came across an ad for $29 bass traps from Monoprice. It looked eerily like LENRD® bass traps, Auralex’s trademarked product. Although I initially let it go, the advertisement kept following me around (thanks, Google). After repeated viewings, I was certain these bass traps were blatant copies of the LENRD. My interest was also piqued due to the low cost.
I did what any rational person would do: I ordered 120 of them so we could test their performance against our product. Since its shape was almost identical to our product, I had to know how it compared. Why 120, you ask? Riverbank Acoustical Laboratories, the independent third-party testing company, requires a specific amount of material to test. We also wanted to be very cautious and lay out the bass traps in the same manner that our products were tested.
Before sending the Monoprice bass traps to Riverbank, I took a few pictures to compare their version versus the original LENRD bass trap. The shape of the two products is identical. We spent many hours in research and development creating the trademark surface contour of the LENRD, and we consider copies like this to be unacceptable. Beyond the shape, however, the differences are striking, as you see in the image above this article. I've heard of "cutting corners" before, but they took it quite literally!
Figure 1: Profile shot of the two products
Riverbank performed the tests on August 8. You can see the results in Figure 2 and 3 below.
Not to get too technical, but the absorption of the bass traps is measured at multiple frequencies. Absorption coefficients measure how much sound is absorbed. The scale ranges from 0.0 to 1.0. If 75 percent of the sound was absorbed at a given frequency, the absorption coefficient would be 0.75. A perfect reflector would absorb no sound, so its coefficient would be 0.0. Theoretically, 1.0 is the maximum value and indicates 100-percent absorption, but you will sometimes see numbers that are higher. This is typically due to the shape of the absorber (which is why we designed the LENRD as we did).
The other concept to know is the frequency range of bass. Bass frequencies extend from 60 Hz to 250 Hz. Below 60 Hz is called sub bass and frequencies above 250 Hz are considered midrange.
The test results in Figure 2 compare the absorption coefficient of the LENRD bass traps versus Monoprice’s bass traps at the bass frequencies. As you can see, there is considerable difference between the two products. The data on Monoprice’s bass traps show negligible bass trapping and absorption through most of the bass frequency range.
Figure 2: Absorption Comparison at Bass Frequencies
You can also see the results below for the entire audible frequency range. LENRD far outperforms Monoprice throughout the frequency range, except at 40Hz and 8kHz, where the results are similar.
Figure 3: Entire Audible Frequency Range
The results did not surprise me, based on the size and feel of the Monoprice product. To be 100 percent sure, however, we verified using Riverbank, a globally recognized third-party tester.
The data is clear: Auralex’s LENRD is a vastly superior product and absorbs incredibly well. Monoprice bass traps, meanwhile, fail to absorb nearly any bass frequencies. To be fair, the Monoprice bass traps tested well at frequencies above 200Hz, meaning it absorbs reasonably well at midrange and high frequencies. They are designed as bass traps, however, which are meant to go in a corner for bass. Those results are limited, at best.
Auralex Acoustics continually strives to provide best-in-class products. We put a significant amount of time, money and resources into research and development. We ensure our absorption products are tested by prestigious, independent third-party companies for both performance and safety. We want to give our customers acoustical products that meet or exceed your expectations. Some companies may charge less, but a cheap price often accompanies an inferior product, as it clearly does in this case.
For 43 years, Auralex has set the bar for innovation and quality. There is a reason the top artists, audio engineers and mixers use our product - they won't settle for less, and neither should you.