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Acoustic panels control echo and reverberation in a room. Most commonly used to resolve speech intelligibility issues in commercial soundproofing treatments. Most panels are constructed with a wooden frame, filled with sound absorption material (mineral wool, fiber glass, cellulose, open cell foam, or combination of) and wrapped with fabric. Acoustic Panels are also referred to as Sound Absorption Panels, Soundproof Panels, or Sound Panels.
Acoustic panels are a solution to noises that distract from your listening pleasure, whether you’re talking on the phone, recording music or shooting a video. But, how they work exactly, and how to set them up optimally is not something you would know right off the bat.
There are two types of sound: direct sound and reflected sound. Reflected sound arrives at our ears later than direct sound, even though it started out at the same time. Because it’s traveling farther. Also, a wall is only one flat surface -there are at least six in the average room-, and that’s a lot of reflected sound.
Reflected sound creates destructive Interference patterns that change the original sound wave. Here’s the problem: Original sound waves are distorted by strong later-arriving reflections.
Also, sound travels really fast, about 1130 feet per second (344 meters per second). A sound wave will bounce back and forth between these two walls about 60 times in one second. Sound travels so fast, it fills a room almost instantly. This is also only one bounce angle – every room has thousands.
There are two acoustical tools – an absorber to reduce the strength of sound bounces. To a sound wave, an absorber looks a little like a hole in the wall. So, some of the energy doesn’t come back.
An absorber works by reducing the strength of reflected sound that would otherwise cause more destructive interference. But, if we use only absorbers in a room, it makes it sound dull and unnatural.
Historically, humans don’t like overly-absorbent rooms. So – let’s use the second of our two acoustical tools – the curved-surface diffuser. It also reduces the strength of sound bounces.
A diffuser works by scattering the sound reflections in different directions, smoothing out destructive interferences throughout the room. Room acoustics are greatly improved using
A combination of absorption and diffusion. It’s all about reducing those flat-surface reflections.
Use a combination of absorbers and diffusers, and your room will sound a lot more natural. With that said, it brings us to the different types of acoustic panels.
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