Primacoustic has been making high-quality sound-control products since 2000. I have owned a pair of Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizer speaker-isolation platforms [Tape Op #62] for many years now, and I love them. I had recently upgraded the acoustic treatment in my new mix space, and things were sounding great in the mix position, but not so great when I moved back from the desk. The ceiling in the rear half of the room in particular needed a little more attention, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time throwing together a solution using the wall-mount absorbers I had on hand. So I decided to purchase the purpose-built Stratus ceiling cloud kit from Primacoustic consisting of three adjoined 24'' × 48'' panels.

When assembled, each panel of the Stratus kit consists of a fabric-covered, 2'' thick Primacoustic Broadway broadband absorber made of glass wool with resin-hardened edges; two aluminum rails framing the longitudinal edges; and two crossbars across the top face of the panel between the rails. Brackets link the panels together into a single cloud, and Radial's ingenious SlipNot suspension system hangs the completed cloud from the ceiling.

Assembly is very straightforward, requiring nothing more than a screwdriver and a small wrench. The parts are machined well, the screw holes line up perfectly, and the series of bars, braces, and brackets come together as expected. All hardware is included, and the printed instructions make everything clear.

Once our three-panel cloud was complete, we got the tape measure out and marked the locations on the ceiling for the included drywall anchors. We drilled guide holes as instructed, before hammering the anchors in. Wear some eye protection when you do this, unless you prefer the sweet feeling of drywall dust in your eyes. Once I had flushed my eyes with water (I never learn), we screwed in the provided eye-hooks to the anchors. (Obviously, if your mounting points are at ceiling joists, you can skip the drywall anchors and screw directly into the joists.)

We then attached the SlipNot cables to the hooks. SlipNot is a unique suspension system that combines aircraft cable with a cam-style releasable hook at one end and a simple eye-sling at the other. I have hung ceiling panels using other methods in the past, and SlipNot is the easiest system I've encountered. Aligning the cloud to the ceiling was as simple as pulling on the cable to tighten or loosen the hold. Cinch it, baby!

When you install effective room treatment, the results are immediate. In the case of the Stratus cloud, music from my speakers gained a new level of clarity and focus. Before, reflections occurring behind me were adding unwanted resonance to my overall sound picture, resulting in distracting and harmful masking of sonic detail. Now, whether I am sitting in the mix position, or pushed back from the desk, or standing farther back in the room, there is a much more consistent listening experience.

I would not hesitate to recommend the affordable and professional-looking Stratus cloud kit as an effective solution to getting your mixing or tracking space under control. The whole assembly and installation process took two of us less than an hour to complete — from cutting open the box, to enjoying a more accurate sonic environment. Primacoustic offers a whole array of acoustic treatments and kits to fit a variety of budgets, needs, and preferences, so check out the company's website for more solutions.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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