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When our ears combine all this reflected sound with the small amount of sound that comes straight from a speaker, the result is severe acoustic distortion! One way to minimise the detrimental effects of reflections is to absorb them using treatments that are, remarkably, called absorbers.


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Absorbers, such as the StudioPanel Absorber, are like acoustic vacuum cleaners that suck in sound energy and convert it into heat energy through a resistive process. Little, if any, sound is reflected off of an absorber. The effectiveness of an absorber is determined by its thickness, which, contrary to popular opinion, mainly affects the range of sound absorbed, not how much sound is absorbed! Naturally, if we want to absorb as many reflections as possible, the thicker an absorber is, the better.

Diffusion is another method for treating reflections. Like absorbers, diffusers only perform their magic over a certain range of frequencies which is — you guessed it — determined by the depth of the diffuser among other things. There is a rhyme and reason to using a blend of absorption and diffusion in a project studio or Home Theatre. Does this mean that we have no way to treat reflections that are not absorbed by the StudioPanel Absorber or diffused by the StudioPanel Diffuser?

Absolutely not! We may not be able to use the same type of absorber for reflections below Hz that we used for reflections above Hz, but there are absorbers designed specifically for the range of sound below Hz.

Services - Vicoustic

In the past, most of these absorbers have utilized one of two different approaches: Helmholtz or diaphragmatic. The StudioPanel Bazorber is a combination of both methods, taking advantage of the best of each! It does its work from Hz to Hz. StudioPanel Absorbers, Diffusers, and Bazorbers are normally placed on the walls of a room in locations where reflections occur. In most cases, Bazorbers are placed on the front wall of a room to reduce reflections in the upper bass.

Reflections across the entire range of audible frequencies are now controlled, with the exception of very low frequencies. However, single point reflections at very low frequencies are not as problematic as another acoustic phenomenon known as standing waves. We will save the discussion of these mysterious standing waves for a later section. In addition to low, mid, and high frequency single point reflections, we must control pesky things called slap or flutter echoes.

Flutter echoes occur when sound bounces back and forth between two large, flat, parallel surfaces. In rooms, we call these surfaces walls. Fortunately, StudioPanel Absorbers and Diffusers are very efficient over the range of sound where flutter echoes develop, so the Absorbers and Diffusers can be effectively employed to control flutters echoes. Reflection decay time is another acoustic phenomenon that we must control in a project studio.

Solving the Problem

After a period of time, the reflections in a room that are not absorbed combine to create an ambiguous wash of decaying sound. The time that is required for this wash of sound to decay to a certain level is called the reflection decay time of a room. Reflection decay time is very important. If the time window is too long, clarity and articulation will be reduced, sound localization will be confused, and stereo separation will suffer. Extensive research has been done to determine the proper level and time window for reflection decay time.

This research shows that most people prefer a time window of about 0. In large rooms, reflection decay time is called reverberation time, which is a statistically random soundfield with no particular time or direction component. Rooms the sizes of project studios are not big enough to exhibit true reverberation because the reflections die out before they reach fully random character.

Reflection decay time is largely determined by the percentage of surface area in a room that is covered with absorptive material.

Lots of Hard Reflections Muddy the Sound

Rooms with little or no absorption will have time windows that are too long. For those of us who are not intimidated by numbers and math, there are equations that predict the reflection decay time of a room. The latest and most accurate equation is known as Arau-Puchades:. We can use the data from this equation to prescribe the proper amount of absorption for a room…after researching absorption coefficients, calculating surface area, and simplifying complicated math problems.

For those of us who are more afraid of math than we are of acoustics, StudioPanel is a true blessing. The engineers who created StudioPanel did the calculating for us, so all we have to do is pick the proper kit for our room based on square footage! We have now covered all the topics of acoustic reflections but one — perhaps the most intriguing, exciting, and complex one of all: standing waves! So what, exactly, are standing waves?

We know they mess up the bass in our project studios or any enclosed space , but what causes them and how do we get rid of them? In order to understand what a standing wave is, we have to know something about sound waves. Sound waves of various pitches happen to be different lengths. Sound waves that we associate with bass are very long; sound waves that we associate with treble are really short. The rest of the sound waves we hear lie somewhere in between.

What are spatial acoustics?

Now, it happens that, when a sound wave is exactly as long as the dimension of a room, that wave will resonate in that room. A resonating wave is louder than waves that are not resonating, and also takes longer to decay. Reference the above discussion of reflection decay time. Such a wave is called a standing wave. In addition to the original standing wave, whose length matches that of a room dimension, other standing waves will develop when sound waves are one-half, one-and-a-half, two, two and-a-half, three, etc.

Room Acoustics

If we consider that standing waves occur between all three pairs of wall surfaces in our project studios, we can understand why standing waves are so detrimental to sound quality! For most project studios, the sound waves that resonate in the length, width, and height dimensions are all bass sound waves from 30Hz to Hz. The increased volume and longer decay times of the resonating bass sound waves totally destroys any chance of bass sounding clean, tight, and chestpounding like it does in large venues, commercial cinemas, and outdoor concerts.

Furthermore, standing waves are not uniform across a room. Certain places in a room will experience much louder bass than others. It is easy to see that we must do something to eliminate these bass standing waves. How do we go about it? Fortunately, we have a whole arsenal of ways to treat standing waves.

Room acoustics and technical noise protection

Some ways are acoustic, some are electrical, and some are structural. For example, during the design phase of a project studio, we can adjust the dimensions of the room so that the bass sound waves that resonate are all different.

ajymavyc.ga If two room dimensions are or are almost the same, the resonating bass sound waves that correspond to those dimensions will aggravate each other, creating even greater sound pressure level variations and longer decay times. In addition, we can place loudspeakers, subwoofers, and listening positions so that their interaction with standing waves is reasonably limited.

We can also use electronic equalization to reduce the volume of the resonating waves. The StudioPanel SpringTrap is another way to eliminate standing waves. Like the Bazorber, the SpringTrap is designed to absorb bass sound waves that are below the range of the StudioPanel Absorbers. However, SpringTraps operate over an even lower range of sound than Bazorbers. Nothing can make or break the sound of your performance, your rehearsal space, a recording venue or a home entertainment system more than room acoustics.

Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to improve even the worst spaces. Well, that applies to room acoustics too. Lot of exposed glass windows, hardwood floor, things like that. The room sounds like your high school gymnasium—things seem to echo forever.


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See figure 1. Those excessive echoes make it hard to distinguish between individual instruments and vocalists in the music. Everything smears together in a harsh cacophony of overly-bright, hard-edged sound. In an overly live space, the echo that follows the handclap will be fairly loud and quite distinct from the original clap itself.