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I was toying the idea of attaching an MDF grill to your typical 2'x4' DYI panel frame, essentially making a wooden cage in which the fabric covered panels would be housed in. Given the right style/color frame and fabric, this could be very stylish way to hanging panels in a room.

Has this ever been done before?

What impact on the acoustics would doing something like this have? Since less panel surface is visible, would this make it less absorptive and more reflective? Would that be a bad thing? Would it improve the acoustics by adding a little diffusion to an otherwise completely absorptive panel? All hypothetical I know, but I was hoping someone had some thoughts. At the very least, it would be a very robust way to house your panels.

I attached an picture to give you an example of what I mean by "MDF grill". If you want more examples, just do a google image search for the same term.
 

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It would certainly have an impact on higher frequencies being somewhat reflected. It's not going to actually diffuse as that requires specific depths/widths coupled with no absorption to allow even scattering in time and space.

Bryan
 

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I'd say go for it. Just make the panel a little bigger to compensate. You could paint the panel itself with a water based paint as opposed to trying to add another structure over it.

If you have a projector you could even use it to trace an image onto the fabric. Then just paint by number.

I have looked into options for screen printing but as of yet have not been able to DIY anything(apartment dweller)

The trick is water based paint because it won't seal the pours of the fabric like acrylic paint will.
 

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I'm not as worried about covering up absorption area as I am the reflections off of the hard wood surfaces.
 

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For broadband absorbers, it would be fine. For those specifically where you're trying to address first early reflections, it would be a problem regardless of other reflective surfaces in the room.
 
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