Posts Tagged Double Duty

Similar, Yet Different. Double Duty Diffuser™ Vs. Pyramidal

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.

Note that the Double Duty™ (barrel) scatters across the curve of the face while the Pyramid throws energy in different directions.


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!



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Acoustics First® makes sound Visible!

AcousticsFirstAs many of you know, Acoustics First® invests a great deal of energy in the development of the science of acoustics.  Here are three ways that we are making advances that help people learn and actually Visualize acoustics!

Those interested in sound diffusers  have certainly noticed that Acoustics First® has produced a Diffuser Data book, containing all kinds of test data about how our diffusers contribute to the sound in your space.  This information is a great advancement and we have worked closely with the ASTM committee developing this test method. Some people wonder exactly how the test produces the data that we report, and we have developed a simulation to show exactly how the sound energy is sampled during this test.

If you download the Diffuser Data booklet, you can see a picture of the gigantic test arc at NWAA Labs which is used for the real world tests.

Acoustics First – Diffuser Data Test Demo from Acoustics First®.

We have also made leaps and bounds in using simulations to show the different ways that diffusion develops in a space.  Depending on the type and placement of the diffusers you install, the diffuse field will develop at different speeds, at different frequencies.  We can now show a couple of simulations of the development of a diffuse field to help you visualize how sound moves in room without treatment and with two different sets of diffuser treatments.

Acoustics First – Room Simulations from Acoustics First®.

Bonus video! Imagine being able to see the Untreated room and the Model D room from a different angle – To be able to move around the outside of the room and see how the sound field develops from a different perspective.  Imagine no more!  Here it is!

Acoustics First – Sound Field Development Simulation – 3D Panning from Acoustics First®.

If you prefer to use YouTube – you will find the videos uploaded at our YouTube channel here.

We hope these helped you to “look” at acoustics in a whole new way, and stay tuned – more advancements are coming soon!

Contact Acoustics First® for a high bitrate, presentation quality version of the videos – as well as permission and terms of use.

Bonus! Simulations!  Now in stereo – and with absorption! Click Here!

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