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There are many home theaters of note, but rarely is one created (at this scale) by the singular dream and dedication of one man. Ken Fritz involved Acoustics First® early in the project to perform acoustic measurements of the space, and his theater became the first large-scale installation of our newly developed HiPer® Panel. From beginning to end, Ken says that he spent more than 25 years on the realization of his dream – and others have taken notice.
There have been numerous write-ups of Ken’s theater, which was constructed (from the ground up) specifically for this purpose. The walls are hurricane grade block construction, the roof-line is constructed to improve the acoustics, the walls are clad in HiPer® Panels, the bass emanates effortlessly from in-wall enclosures – and just look at those custom built arrays that Ken designed and constructed by hand! This project is more than just a labor of love, it is an obsession with excellence.
This obsession covers every aspect of the room and the system, with everything being either built by hand, customized to his specifications, or simply the best you can get! If there is a “home theater mountain,” Ken built a skyscraper at the summit – but don’t take our word for it…
You can watch the one-hour documentary telling the story behind the dream – in Ken’s own words.
Sound Attenuation Matrix Management
by Acoustics First®
20 Years ago, John W. Gardner developed the ASP™ Panel Technology to maintain optimal acoustic performance of our acoustic absorber product lines – like the Sonora® Wall Panels. Recent developments have been made to augment this earlier technology, and our Research & Development team has evolved this technology into the “information age.”
Meet S.A.M.M.™, the smart way to manage your panel maintenance tasks.
S.A.M.M.™ Panels analyze the acoustic environment and use this information to track their exposure to sound pressure levels. This can be monitored real-time, either directly through the energy efficient OLED screen, or using any device with a web browser.
This technology allows more than just monitoring the acoustic environment. The S.A.M.M.™ Enabled panels have a HAL BIOS which runs a webserver daemon that gives you full-control of your panels and the acoustic environment…
… but this isn’t only for S.A.M.M.™ Enabled Panels!
After a simple firmware upgrade to your ASP™ panels, you will have full control over your entire acoustic environment – from anywhere in the world.
I am flattered that you have taken the time to reevaluate one of my lifetime projects. I owe all of my minimal knowledge… to my first professor… I LIRPA.Dr. John Wesley Gardner
Watch the following video to see the history of the ASP™ panels developed by the irreverent, John W. Gardner, and their evolution into the Sound Attenuation Matrix Management Technology known as… S.A.M.M.™
S.A.M.M.™ is Open Source
Acoustics First® values innovation, and we can all stand on the shoulders of giants. Customers can build their own implementations and create the ideal solution for their environment. While you can use whichever hardware that you have access to, here is the hardware our research team used to develop our in house integration.
Custom 3D Printed Housing (PLA)
SEEEDuino XIAO M0 (MCU)
128×64 OLED (SSD1306)
SD Card Reader (SPI)
Electret MIC w/Adj. Gain (MAX4466)
5 Watt/8 Ohm Speaker
12mm Momentary Switch (Red LED)
Optional – 10000mah USB Battery
(Click the image to enlarge)
The S.A.M.M.™ Source code was written in PlatformIO to be compatible with the Arduino Platform. The MCU is the SEEEDuino XIAO M0 with the ARM Cortex M0 processor.
The libraries used in this project may need to be changed based on your hardware selections.
S.A.M.M.™ Web Console
Experience the S.A.M.M.™ Web Console interface. View the real-time output of the first S.A.M.M.™ unit, installed in the Acoustics First® R&D LAB. You can view the current capacity of the panel, as well as the average sound intensity – and as a bonus – we allow users to PURGE the panel remotely!
Stay up-to-date with cutting edge advances in acoustics with Acoustics First®.
The Rex Theater is multipurpose venue that hosts live performances, corporate events, movies as well as weddings. The venue’s designers aimed for an acoustical environment that achieves a balanced and intimate atmosphere for their audience and performers.
Sonora® Wall Panels and Sonora® Baffles were used to control specular reflections (echoes) and reduce overall reverberation down to a suitable level for the wide variety of Rex Theater shows and events. The results are absolutely stunning!
A large gymnasium/basketball court made of concrete blocks and metal is not an acoustically tame place. Add dozens of active boys and girls and the cacophony of sound can be a little overwhelming. This is exactly the reason why the Boys & Girls club reached out to Acoustics First®.
After a quick consultation, it was decided that the most efficient and cost effective option was installing Cloudscape® baffles to tame the overall reverb and sound pressure levels in the gym. Because the baffles are hanging with all of the sides are exposed, this increases their effective surface area and, in turn, improves their ability to absorb noise. This efficiency, ease of installation, and their relatively low cost is why they were the perfect option for this space.
For this installment of “Similar, yet Different”, we will be going retro – The Barrel Vs. The Pyramid! These two shapes are the historic foundations for modern acoustic treatments. How did they come about? Why do they work? How are they different?
These two shapes have origins before written history. The pyramids of Egypt may not have been renowned for their acoustic properties, but they certainly show the historical age of this shape. The barrel is also an ancient shape, born from the pillars of historic temples and gathering places. Both of these shapes have been used in architecture for the expanse of human history, and their acoustic properties have been studied in numerous environments, in many different applications.
These shapes are often referred to as “primitive.” The barrel, in its basic form, is a truncated cylinder – basically a segment of the cylinder. The pyramidal is, in this case, a modified/offset pyramid… a pyramid without equal sides. Their differences begin with this fundamental variable – the pyramid has angled planes and the Double Duty™ is a large curved surface.
Symmetry vs. Asymmetry
Another simple difference is the fact that the Double Duty™ is symmetric and the offset pyramid is asymmetric. The barrel primarily scatters sound across the curve of the face – sending acoustic energy in a wide arc. However, the pyramid’s facets are all angled slightly differently – reflecting in different directions. This allows the pyramid to be installed in complex arrays which create more “random” reflections due to their different facet angles. The Barrel is primarily a one-dimensional diffuser, and installs either horizontally or vertically.
There is another phenomenon that helps to contribute to diffusion – and that is diffraction. Diffraction is what happens to sound when it hits a corner or edge. Unlike light, acoustic energy is the physical fluctuation of pressure changes – which gives sound the ability to travel around corners. This bending varies by the wavelength of the sound and the size of the object in encounters. Both barrels and pyramids have facets which introduce diffraction, and while both can be made in different sizes, the offset pyramid has different sized facets on each device – contributing to more randomized diffraction at different frequencies.
Inverse Square Law
Without getting too heavy into math, as sound travels it decreases in intensity. This is due to the fact that sound “spreads out” as it travels. It is produced with a finite amount of energy, so intensity drops as it covers more space. Both the barrel and pyramid increase the rate that sound “spreads out,” which diminishes the intensity of the sound – however, they both do it slightly differently, however..
The Double Duty’s™ curvature leaves the wave primarily intact, but it increases the rate of expansion across the curve. This redirection is very smooth and predictable, where the random facets of the offset pyramid break up the sound into sections which travel in different directions. At the intersection of those facets, diffraction takes the reigns and scatters sound even further.
By increasing the rate of expansion of the wave, you decrease its intensity while also breaking up the wavefront which helps to reduce echoes and flutter. Both the barrel and the pyramid are perfect for larger spaces, as those massive surfaces do a great job of controlling reflections from large wave fronts. Also, due to their simple shapes, they can be made really big, which helps!
There is one more feature which is sometimes overlooked. Because of the material of their construction, and the large volume of air behind them, these diffusers exhibit a certain amount of “bass trapping.” The Double Duty™ diffuser got it’s name due to this characteristic. It’s not just a diffuser, but also a bass trap. The Pyramidal diffuser also exhibits bass absorption, though it is slightly less.
So there it is… the battle of the classics! Sometimes, keeping it simple is the way to go!