Traditional Wall-Mounted Acoustics or Mobile Free-Standing?
For many, wall-mounted sound absorbers are the default style and the only thing that makes sense. Such a restricted mindset imposes limitations and adds cost to your room treatment. If one could achieve comparable sonic accuracy, with holographic imaging and immersive sound stage at one fifth the cost, would it be worth exploring? We say: yes.
This week we look at a simple, yet underutilized concept: Acoustic Shadow Casting.
Traditional Wall-Mounted Acoustics
In this example, a 5-unit wide sound absorbing panel casts an expanding shadow zone off the wall into the room.
In this example, a non-traditional near-field sound absorbing panel is only one unit wide and still casts the same acoustic shadow into the room.
Far-field Panel: Room Acoustics
The wall-mounted panel delivers 5 units of absorption to the room.
Near-field Panel: Room Acoustics
The free-standing absorber delivers 1 unit of absorption to the room.
…and the Overall Room Effect?
Both versions of absorber remove the same % of direct sound reaching the shadow zone, thus allowing the same degree of articulation and tonal accuracy. But, since the near-field panel is smaller than the far-field, it absorbs less energy and maintains a longer reverberation time.
The result is a more reverberant room in the case of free-standing acoustics. Tame the reflections you intend to without over-deadening your room!
Which one is right for you?
As with so many things in life: it depends. Heavily furnished rooms can easily become “lifeless” in the treble range with excessive use of sound absorbers as all the natural “sparkle” is lost. Bare rooms with hard walls can benefit from carefully placed absorbers to reduce energy storage and scatter sound through diffraction. And it depends on your personal sonic preference.