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There are many situations in which it is valuable to use ceiling treatments to control sound in a space, and after ceiling tiles, two other popular options are either Sonora® ceiling clouds or Sonora® ceiling baffles. What is the difference between these two, and when is it desirable to use one over the other?
It may help if we first define the physical characteristics of the two treatments. The similarities are in materials, and the differences are in implementation. Both are fiberglass core substrates covered in an acoustically transparent fabric; however, a baffle is completely wrapped in the fabric, while the ceiling cloud is often left uncovered on the back – to assist with mounting.
The main difference between the Sonora® baffle and the Sonora® ceiling cloud is the hanging orientation. A baffle is hung from its edge in a vertical orientation, while the cloud is hung horizontally, often parallel to the ceiling. The major benefit of both of these products is that neither is directly mounted to the surface, allowing all of the surfaces of the absorptive material to be exposed to sound – this makes them extremely effective at mediating airborne sound.
If they are both so similar, why do some situations benefit from one over the other?
Due to the horizontal orientation of the cloud, they are great at removing hard reflections off of the ceiling – say over a mixing position, in a listening room, or between the ceiling and a large conference table. They can be used to make a false ceiling by hanging them below a high ceiling – creating some intimacy in the space, both aesthetically and acoustically. By leaving space between the clouds, sound can travel up and around them, losing energy as it travels up to the hard ceiling, bounces off, and passes back through the absorbent substrate. This makes them very effective at deadening the hard first reflections and helping to reduce reverb times by removing the energy early. They require some skill in hanging, as they have multiple mounting points on the rear, and can be difficult to level – but the aesthetics are worth the extra effort.
The ceiling baffles hang vertically, which generally changes their implementation. First, they require higher ceilings, but this also means that they are very effective in larger spaces, because they hang down lower. Also, hanging a large array of baffles is a quick and easy process, with many only having 2 mounting points. They are great for controlling reverb in large spaces where sound could be coming from many different locations in the room – like a gymnasium, multi-purpose space, or cafeteria. Due to their vertical orientation, it is not likely that objects (volleyballs, basketballs, kickballs, etc.) will get stuck on top of them, which is more plausible with the clouds. Sonora® Baffles lower the reverb time by addressing the sound pressures up in the ceiling area, and create labyrinth for sound to run through. A large grid of baffles will increase speech intelligibility substantially in larger spaces by trapping the sound that usually bounces around in the rafters – an ideal use for the humble baffle.
So, those are some of the similarities and differences between the Sonora® ceiling baffle and the Sonora® ceiling cloud, and while they are very similar in their construction, they do have different scenarios where their strengths shine.
If you have questions about which treatments would work best in your space, contact us today for a free assessment and consultation.
“A panel mounted to the wall is a panel mounted to the wall… right?”
This isn’t entirely accurate, and we are going to focus this installment on the often misunderstood Stand off clip.
What makes the Stand off clip different is that it doesn’t hold the panel flush to the wall, but it leaves a gap between the wall and the panel.
Why would you want this?
There are a few very important reasons, both acoustic and aesthetic.
Sound travels around all exposed surfaces, and by raising the panel off the wall, you expose the back surface to sound, more like a baffle, which is a great absorber. Also, sound will pass through a panel into the space behind, bounce off the wall, and then have to pass through the panel again. This transition from panel to air and back changes the medium sound must travel through – this effectively changes impedance, which strips energy from sound. These are just a couple of the acoustic benefits of using a standoff clip – there are others.
Wall mounted Sonora® panels take on a whole new dimension when using Stand off clips – they appear to float in mid air a couple of inches off the wall. This alone adds visual interest to a standard panel, but it can then be further accented by back-lighting the panel – changing the simple panel into a focal point in the lighting scheme.
Students at the Frost School of Music had an “ear-opening” experience when their Computational Psycho-acoustics class was lectured by Jim DeGrandis of Acoustics First last month. The topics ranged from engineering to human perception of ultrasonic frequencies. The students were exposed to concepts and demonstrations of ultrasonic frequencies which have been modified in ways to make them audible, and ultrasonic anomalies affecting the audible range in ways that are very blatant and obvious.
One of the most stark examples of “audible ultrasound” being the demonstration of a Parametric Speaker, which modulates the ultrasonic carrier to produce very directional audible frequencies.
Jim also spoke at the student forum about misconceptions of what it really means to be “in the industry” …and did an encore demo of the Parametric Speaker – which had apparently been such a novel experience for the Psycho-Acoustics class that they ‘demanded’ it be experienced again by a wider audience. (and it was just plain fun!)
Acoustics First® is pleased to announce the super-customizable Legato® sound diffuser!
Configuring the Legato® Sound Diffuser for your specific listening environment is so easy… anyone can become a “Legato® Master!” With over 41 different acoustic configurations for the Legato®, you can block out the frequencies you need, within seconds!
Create countless different sound diffusers and devices from one modular kit – quadratic, binary array, phase graters, Helmholtz resonators and MORE!
Buy your Legato® Sound Diffuser Kit today – and become the “Legato® Master” of your sound!
Only available on April Fool’s Day for those with a sense of humor. Not affiliated or endorsed by Lego®.
With all the Diffusers on offer from Acoustics First® these days, this gem is sometimes overlooked: the QuadraPyramid™. Here’s an install pic of a few in the ceiling of a control room at the University of the Pacific!
There’s a reason why various pyramidal diffusers have been used for decades. They work, and they work well! The QuadraPyramid™ is our own take on this classic design, using four offset pyramids to create 16 angles of reflection on a single unit. Also, when mounted directly to a wall, these diffusers can double as a ‘mid-bass’ absorber, like in the project studio below.