Archive for category Mentions

The HiPer® Panel and Ken Fritz’s Dream

Ken Fritz completes his dream theater, and behind the scenes is the HiPer® Panel by Acoustics First®

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.

Ken’s vision had a scale that is rarely seen in home theaters.

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.

Even a custom-designed and hand-built turntable feeds Ken’s dream environment.

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.

Watch the documentary of what has been called “The Best Stereo System in the World.”

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S.A.M.M.™ – Smart Sound Management

S.A.M.M.™
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.”

SAMM panel

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.™

The History of ASP™ Technology and its evolution into 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.

Components:

Custom 3D Printed Housing (PLA)
SEEEDuino XIAO M0 (MCU)
128×64 OLED (SSD1306)
SD Card Reader (SPI)
Electret MIC w/Adj. Gain (MAX4466)
LM386 Amplifier
5 Watt/8 Ohm Speaker
12mm Momentary Switch (Red LED)

Optional – 10000mah USB Battery
(Click the image to enlarge)

Source Code:

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.

Download Source Here.

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!

View the S.A.M.M.™ Web Interface


Stay up-to-date with cutting edge advances in acoustics with Acoustics First®.

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The Elephant in the Lab – AudioXPress

The elephant in the Anechoic chamber

AudioXPress turned to Acoustics First® for their “Focus on Acoustics” Edition (August 2020), to help shed light on what test data is – and what it isn’t.  Many people rely on lab results when trying to find products that meet design criteria… but there are limitations to this data.  The “Elephant in the Lab” is that there is no such thing as absolute, repeatable, accuracy in lab tests… and this article brings to light why that is, and why it will likely always be the case.

It also addresses the impact this has on calculation accuracy, simulations, and what is being done to address this issue.

Read the article now!

Read the article on AudioXPress.com
You can get more information about the AudioXPress August 2020 issue here.

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Improving your room’s acoustic system.

When RPN magazine needed an article to teach readers how to improve their room acoustics, they turned to Acoustics First® to get the scoop.

 

Read the Article:

Download (PDF) 
or
Use online reader
or
Just keep reading!

Learn About
YOUR ROOM’S ACOUSTIC SYSTEM – and How to Improve It

Ever wonder why some rooms sound better than others? What components contribute to
perception of sound in a space? What knowledge do you need to solve the sound problems that
you have?

The System

When people read the heading “The System,” there will be a great number who assume I am
talking about the “sound system” in a room – the speakers, amplifiers, signal processors, and
other electronic components that generally produce sound in a space. This is only part of the
acoustic system that creates the soundscape we hear when we are exposed to sound in a space.

Yes, sound comes out of speakers, and they are important, but the source of sound isn’t what
gives us a perception of the space we are in – it’s the space itself!

The walls, ceiling, floors, seats, sculptures, drapes, artwork, construction, and even people in the
space are all contributing to how we perceive that sound source in any given acoustic
environment. I’m not saying that the speakers aren’t important – but they are just the source of
sound.

If you have a room with a 5-second reverb time, it doesn’t matter what type of speakers you
have, any sound they make is going to continue to be heard for five seconds – as is every sound
afterward.

What does this mean? Even if you have the best speakers in the world in that room, it will sound
terrible (unless you are listening to Gregorian Chants…then it will sound awesome.)

However, if someone is speaking at a normal rate of speed, it will be unintelligible after the first 2
or 3 words – as those words will continue to bounce around with the sound of the next 15
words…like listening to 15 people all saying different things at the same time.

Your room is an acoustic system – from the sound source, to the ears of the listeners – as well as
everything in, around, and even outside of that room.

The Acoustician

Have you ever watched an acoustical consultant begin the analysis of a new space? It’s
fascinating. You will undoubtedly see them walking around the room while making noises –
clapping their hands, snapping their fingers, whistling, even talking loudly, shouting, and singing.

It’s as if they are bats using different sounds to figure out the characteristics of the room they are
in. They are, in fact, analyzing the room’s acoustic system. Where does sound reflect? Are there
echoes or flutter? What is the character of the reverb? They look at the structure, materials,
corners, architectural elements, floors, carpets, walls, windows, doors, ceilings and more.

Note: They begin this analysis WITHOUT using the speakers.

Why? If the room is bad, your speakers will not fix it.

What are they doing? They are listening. That’s it. Nothing fancy here – just listening.
I will say that many acousticians have done this so many times, in so many different spaces, that
they have an idea of what the room is going to sound like, without even making a peep – just by
looking at it. What are they looking for? What are they listening to? What can you learn from this?

Time to Listen

Everyone has a room where they dislike the acoustics. Go in there. Clap your hands. What
happened? Clap again. Snap your fingers. Make some noise – but make sure to listen. Where is
the sound coming from? Turn around, clap again. Walk to another area…clap.

As you walk around, you will hear the sound change. Turn your head. Is the sound coming from
the corner, the ceiling, both? Angle your ears in between two corners. Maybe that’s where it’s
coming from. Is there a large open balcony or a curved wall? Ask yourself these questions as you
walk around and listen.

Are any of the surfaces hard? What about the floor? Is the sound lingering over your head up in
the ceiling? Is there a defined slap off the back wall when you clap your hands? Is there a ringing
noise? Does the echo wash over you and linger?
Sharpen your listening skills. Map the room with your ears.

What Are You Doing in the Room?

This is an important question. For most uses involving speaking and understanding speech, there
are some good general targets. For example, for most rooms over 100m3 (15’ cube), a 0.8 to 1.7
second reverb time is ideal for many different functions.

However, keep in mind, some spaces may have special reverb requirements. If you’re doing
Gregorian Chants, a three to five second reverb time is still great!

Now, How Do You Fix It?

Most rooms are going to benefit from reducing the acoustic energy in the space. Absorption is
the most direct and easy to understand method – add soft stuff.

This sounds overly simple, but the initial experiments on calculating absorption were done by
moving around seat cushions – simple, but effective.

Fabric-wrapped absorber panels are today’s high-tech equivalent to the seat cushions. Curtains,
blankets, carpets, and other soft materials will also help to reduce the acoustic energy of a space.

Treatments like diffusers help to reduce focused acoustic reflections by spreading the energy
around. When sound hits a surface that is not flat, it will cover the entire surface, bending
around the corners and curves, and then bounces off in different directions.

This reduces what we refer to as ‘specular’ reflections – or direct, mirror reflections – which are
responsible for slap echoes, ringing, and flutter.

However, some hard, reflective surfaces in the front of the room can be beneficial to help
reinforce acoustic sound sources, like speaking, singing, or acoustic instruments.

Treating corners with bass traps can help to reduce bass buildup, as well as corner reflections,
which can cause other clarity issues within the listening environment.

Don’t forget…look to the ceiling for rafters and other elements that cause sound to bounce
around and put some absorption up there.

 

 

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Acoustics First® at ASA Victoria 2018

Fall is always a busy time of year here at Acoustics First®. Besides the AES, our folks have also been making the rounds with the ASTM and the ASA.  The ASA in Canada was particularly interesting, with much discussion about the use of computer modeling to predict the acoustic performance of sound diffusers. Our own Jim DeGrandis co-authored a paper with Dr. Hassan Azad and Ronald Sauro of NWAA Labs on using laboratory measurements to improve acoustic simulations.

The ASA also just released a promotional video for their meetings.

If you look closely, you can spot Jim 0:43 seconds into this short video from the ASA. Of course he’s instantly recognizable by his trademark hat!

Jim & Trademark Acoustics First® hat!

(Bonus: Dr. Azad shows up @ 2:09!)

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