What Role Does Diffusion Perform in Acoustical Treatment?
The acoustic treatment of a space is impacted by numerous factors and as such, specific, targeted methods are required to handle each situation. One of the most basic sound treatment methods commonly applied is diffusion.
Diffusion occurs when a patterned acoustical product scatters bouncing sound waves in numerous directions when they come into contact, rather than allowing a hard reflection. This is vital for enjoying clear sound, because spaces that lack sound absorbing foam are muddied by secondary sound reflections reaching the listener after the original sound. Because the sound waves bouncing around are the same sound already heard going in other directions, when they do arrive at your ear, they are interpreted as distortion and noise that detracts from the sound experience. If you’re sitting in the center of a room with speakers in front of you, sound isn’t being sent to you in a single, direct line. Sound radiates out three dimensionally; up and down, side to side, and even rearward as well as frontward toward you. You want to hear the original sound, but you don’t want to hear the other waves traveling around the room that reach you on a delay. Insulation for noise can help prevent this distortion from occurring.
Materials that function as diffusors are often angular and created using mathematical formulas. They are frequently made of polystyrene foam or wood to break up the sound’s path and scatter it in every direction, reducing the standing waves and echoes that detract from sound enjoyment. Some diffusors also help by absorbing some of the offending sound waves, eliminating a portion of noise. No matter what diffusion products are used to treat a room, always be sure that they are fire resistant foam and rated properly for your safe use.