Posts Tagged acoustical materials

NWAA Labs goes nuclear in Stereophile

Ron Sauro of NWAA Labs talks about his massive test facility, speaker measurement, sound diffusion, and more in this article in the August 2022 edition of Stereophile Magazine.

Ron Sauro shows off the current configuration of NWAA Labs’ massive Free-Field Chamber – complete with giant anechoic wedges and a 4+ meter arc of microphones, this room could also comfortably nest 4 football fields.

In the article, there is mention of the advances that Jim DeGrandis and Acoustics First® have made in the understanding of diffusion, the developing standards for testing in the ASTM, and their published research into modelling/simulations for refining new acoustic materials.

Read the Article Now!

For more information about this edition, and other editions of Stereophile, visit them at https://www.stereophile.com/

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FireFlex™ Wave – Cloud or Baffle

It’s good to have options in ceiling treatments. Some environments have high ceilings that benefit from vertically-hanging baffles, while other environments have lower ceilings in which clouds are more appropriate. In some cases the aesthetic will dictate which product would be best – but what if there was one product that could do both?

Fireflex™ Waves hung horizontally as clouds

The Fireflex™ Wave has a unique, undulating shape that adds visual interest along with acoustic absorption – but it has another feature which few materials can boast. Due to the Class 1(A) melamine foam construction, the corkscrew mounting hardware can be installed wherever it is needed – including on the edges.

FireFlex™ Waves hung vertically as baffles.

By installing the hardware on the edges instead of the face, you are given the option to also hang the Waves in a vertical orientation as baffles. The wave shape works well aesthetically in either orientation – horizontal or vertical.

In rooms with a lower ceiling, the horizontal orientation of clouds provides more headroom while the undulating shape optimizes the Wave’s surface area for absorption. In larger spaces with high ceilings, you can add more absorptive surface area by hanging the Waves as baffles, and provide a more organic look than you get with flat baffles.

When overhead acoustic absorption is required, turn to Acoustics First®.

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Case Study – St. Francis of Assisi Church

Lofty, vaulted ceilings and tile floors often conflict with the desire to modernize a music program.

Historically, churches relied on an abundance of hard surfaces to propagate sound to the rear of the sanctuary, so they benefited from very long reverb time (upwards of 5s). However, Modern sound systems allow for a much more focused sound and equitable listening environment, so these extreme reverb tails are no longer necessary and can actually degrade the “modern” worship experience. St. Francis of Assisi Church is a prime example of how incorporating sound absorptive treatment in phases can “transition” a purely-traditional worship space into one that can accommodate a wider range of worship services.

Over the years, St. Francis of Assisi has expanded their music program to include more modern instrumentation. Drums and amplified instruments have been added to liturgical piano and choral worship music. St. Francis of Assisi’s sanctuary has a lofty ceiling, tile floors, hard wall and ceiling surfaces. These factors contribute to a exceedingly reverberant worship environment in which contemporary music is hard to perform and enjoy and speech is difficult to understand.

Back in 2013, the church had an acoustic study performed to detail the acoustic characteristics of the space and identify corrective measures. Using this study and on-site reverb tests, Acoustics First provided a treatment plan that focuses on improving speech intelligibility and music clarity. We settled on a “two-phase” approach, starting with treatment of the rear and side wall areas with 2” Sonora wall panels. A second round of treatment focusing on the ceiling would be added, If needed, to further reduce reverberation down closer to ideal levels.

To help facilitate an informed decision, Acoustics First provided reverb prediction charts that showed the expected improvement from each round of treatment. Aesthetics were a top concern, so 3-D renderings were also provided to help visualize exactly what the recommended treatment would look like. Acoustics can be subjective, so there was a chance that the church might be satisfied with just the wall treatment alone and would not need to proceed with the second phase of treatment. However, after hearing the improvement that the wall panels made the church immediately gave the go-ahead for the ceiling treatment. Safe to say, they were happy with the end results.

From Mike Staffan at Lighthouse sound who took reverb measurements before and after “I am very pleased with the final reverb times and how it turned out. I think our measured approach worked well”

From the Deacon – “This is fantastic, exactly what we were looking to accomplish! – Deacon Chris

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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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Sonora® Wall Panels on the Ceiling?

Sometimes you just don’t have the wall space for acoustic treatment. When this is the case, you will often see treatments move to the ceiling… but what do you do if you have lower ceilings, or many ceiling fans and fixtures?

This narrow eating space had tons of windows, low ceilings, and many fixtures. This made hanging baffles or banners impractical.

This ceiling was sloped toward the massive windows on the outside wall, and it had lights and fans running right up the center. Complicating things further, the opposite wall had sconce lighting, doorways, HVAC, and even more windows. Finally, the floor was not carpeted to facilitate cleaning – as is the norm in many dining spaces.

With no good wall space to mount panels and no height for “hanging” ceiling treatments – direct mount Sonora® panels were the ideal solution.

Direct-mount acoustic panels are a great solution in these scenarios. Here we see an array of 4’x4’x2″ Sonora® panels attached to the ceiling in rows running down the length of the space. While our Tone Tiles® are often selected for their ability to blend in aesthetically, this particular installation proves that Sonora® panels wrapped in fabric are also a solid choice.

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