Archive for April, 2022

Absorption & Diffusion – The Construction Specifier

For the May 2022 edition of “The Construction Specifier,” Acoustics First was asked to illustrate the use of absorption and diffusion in creating optimal acoustic spaces. The article is a great reference for understanding the types of acoustic absorbers and diffusers, as well as some use scenarios like offices, critical listening spaces, and larger communal spaces.

Note: This version has been edited and the advertisements are removed. The full published version of the May 2022 digital edition can be found on The Construction Specifier’s website here.

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“If a tree were to fall … and there was no one to hear it, would there be any sound?”

The philosophical thought experiment of “does something need to be perceived to exist,” has been around since the beginning of time.  This allows for human extrapolation into concepts such as quantum mechanics (Schrödinger’s cat) and advanced Artificial Intelligence principals.  Albert Einstein was effectively “unfriended” for asking the question of his colleague, Abraham Pais,

“Do you really believe that the moon only exists if you look at it?”

Albert Einstein to Abraham Pais

Pais prescribing to “the majority view of the quantum mechanics community then (and arguably to this day) that existence in the absence of an observer is at best a conjecture, a conclusion that can neither be proven nor disproven.”

But the question still exists. “If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Fallen tree in forest in Haukkamäki district, Jyväskylä. The forest is situated between the streets Nuutinkorventie and Koppalankaari. – Tiia Monto (Tiia was not on site when the tree fell and was unable to verify that the tree made a sound.)

The eminently interesting, Dr. Irving Lirpa asked the burning question…

“If observation is proof, can we calculate the Amplification Coefficient of Human Perception upon something that is ‘likely’ into ‘truth’ versus the amplification of ‘hogwash’ – which will always remain ‘hogwash?’  Because if something is able to be perceived, it must exist in some degree, as amplifying the perception of the non-existent is akin to multiplying by zero.”

Dr. I. Lirpa further posited that: “while the observation of sound proves its existence, the lack of observation does not disprove it… it merely has not been amplified by the scrutiny of human perception.” 

He further affirmed that the tree would indeed create sound, but with a much lower intensity due to the Human Perception Amplification Coefficient… henceforth, there would still be sound because it exists – but it would fail to be amplified by human perception.

Seminal work on the Human Perception Amplification Coefficient by Dr. I. Lirpa.

This seminal work calculated a Maximum Reverb Time of only 0.04 @ 1000 Hz “Without Audience” in a full-leafed, deciduous biome common to the vernal mid-temperate zone. Further calculations found that the Human Perception Amplification Coefficient is equivalent to the reverb time being amplified by 42 TIMES per frequency band upon being observed – which coincides exactly with the calculation made by the supercomputer DEEP THOUGHT on the “Ultimate Question.

Coincidence? We think not.

“If a tree was to fall in the forest and there was no one there to hear it, would there be any sound?”
“Yes, but there would be 42 Times more sound if there was someone there to hear it.”

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