Active control of the acoustic impedance of walls in rooms allows fine control of the reverberation in auditoria. Such active materials may use locally reacting cells comprising a transducer connected to an electronic control circuit. In this paper, a simple feedback circuit based on a linear combination of the pressure at the transducer diaphragm and the velocity of the diaphragm is presented. We then discuss the desired characteristics of a transducer dedicated to our application, and show that the isodynamic technology is an interesting candidate, especially if using rubber magnet bars. We present results from simulations involving a finite element model of such transducer, which predict a good control over two frequency decades. Preliminary experimental results obtained with a basic prototype of isodynamic transducer are encouraging, yielding an absorption coefficient approaching 1 (>0.7) from 30 up to 500 Hz. We think that far better results can be obtained (specially in the "super-reflecting" case) with closer control over the various mechanical parameters. Future work will also address the optimisation of the magnet geometry. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.