Here’s a great article from the August 2017 Edition of audioXpress, from our own Jim DeGrandis , on acoustic diffusers and diffusion. The article gives an overview of the ‘state-of-the-industry’ as it relates to diffuser design, measurement, and practical application. Jim is a member of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and ASTM International.
Here is what we know, and where it’s headed.
Acoustics First® is pleased to announce our latest creation: The Aeolian™ Sound Diffuser. In some ways a simplified version of our popular Art Diffusor® Model D, the Aeolian™ is the latest in our line of ‘Organic Quadratics’. Part of the Aeolian’s™ unique design comes from its use of “implied symmetry”. Although the edges are all asymmetric, the height variations are just subtle enough to create an illusion of symmetry when installed in a standard 15/16” grid, or spaced appropriately on a wall. The lack of a uniform edge also has added acoustical benefits in the way of “randomness”.
The development process for the Aeolian™ was similar to that of our ‘Model D’. Various 3D models were created and refined, after which we ran acoustical simulations. Once we settled on what we considered the optimum design for what we were going for, a full scale 3D model was printed for lab testing. With the ‘real world’ test results in hand, confirming our predicted results, we set about making the final mold, and this new diffuser was born.
The Aeolian™ Diffuser is class A thermoplastic, and 4 lbs. per unit.
Nominal size is 23-3/4” x 23-3/4” with a depth of 5.1”.
For anyone new to the world of acoustics, there is a multitude of terms, coefficients and numbers that are thrown around. This flood of information can seem intimidating, especially to beginners. In this series, acoustician Cameron Girard of Acoustics First® hopes to help you distinguish between what’s useful and what’s not.
Part 3: Perception of Volume
Our ears are wonderful and intricate tools that many of us take for granted. It is very important to understand the idiosyncrasies of our hearing when considering the effect a certain acoustic treatment will make. For starters, let’s take a look at how our ears interpret volume.
Volume (Sound Intensity)
Sound levels (i.e. how loud something is) are typically expressed in decibels (dB). Human hearing ranges from 0dB (threshold of hearing) to 130dB (threshold of pain). The following chart displays common sound sources and their typical dB level.
Do two candles really burn twice as bright?
If one trombonist plays at 70dB, how much louder would it be if another trombonist started playing at 70dB? One might assume that the two trombonists combined would play at 140 dB, but this is not the case. Since decibels are logarithmic values, they cannot be combined by normal algebraic addition. When two sources at the same level play, 3dB should be added to the value to find the combined sound level. So in adding another trombonist, you would really only increase the level to 73dB, a much smaller jump than expected.
“Doubling” the amount of players will double the acoustic power, but what do we actually hear? The loudness perception table shown below displays how these decibel changes are actually perceived by the listener.
Loudness Perception Table
|Change of Level||Approx. Perceived Difference||Volume Gain Factor||Acoustic Power Gain Factor|
|+10dB||“twice as loud”||2.000||10.000|
|– 3dB||“noticeably quieter”||0.812||0.500|
|– 6dB||“significantly less loud/noisy”||0.660||0.250|
|– 10dB||“half as loud”||0.500||0.100|
*Chart Courtesy of David Eagan’s Architectural Acoustics (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1988),
As you can see, doubling the acoustic power (a change of 3dB) would be “noticeable” but not “significant”. It would take a jump of 10dB to make something sound twice as loud. Keep this chart in mind when reviewing acoustic predictions, particularly those that that pertain to noise reduction/control and sound isolation.
Here’s a nice example of a 3D rendering vs. real life. This 3D model was created by our acoustic analyst, Cameron Girard, for one of our church clients. We think the final results turned out fantastic!
Sonora® Acoustical Wall Panels are always a great choice where excessive reverb and diminished speech intelligibility are an issue.
Acoustics First® Art Diffusor® Model D spotted in music video for Usher’s “Rivals” featuring Future…
Watch the video on YouTube here… Usher – “Rivals” Featuring Future.