Sound diffusion reduces the problems with first reflections and because the diffusive materials have an irregular surface, flutter echo is eliminated. However, reverberation will not be eliminated, but the scattering or breaking up of the reflections tends to result in a smoother reverberation at a lower level.Sound diffusion materials can be pricey, and the devices are difficult to build, however, a regular bookcase loaded with books of different sizes will break up the sound wave reflections and redirect the waves in various ways. Sound Diffusion controls reflections by breaking up an audio wave into smaller waves that are scattered in many different directions. This method also controls echo and reverb at lower frequencies.
Another method for sound diffusion is the use of quadratic diffusers. The idea is to arrange wells, or blocks and strips of wood, or other materials in an array, each at a different depth. The more wells, blocks and strips of wood installed in a given area, the better the high-frequency sound diffusion; the deeper the wells or variations in blocks or strips, the better the low-frequency performance. Auralex SpaceArray diffusers (retailing at about $798.00) combine hemispherical acoustical diffusion with a top quality wood finish. Besides the beauty of this paulownia wood, the craftsmanship is exceptional and the musical qualities provided by this diffuser can give a room sound quality that isn’t quantifiable. Strong yet lightweight, the beautiful 24″x24″ solid wood panels are easy to install and can be used in a variety of placement options.
For audio professionals who seek to provide a small room acoustical environment supportive of a wide range of performance and recording styles, the Aurelex pArtScience™ SpaceCoupler (retails at about $500.00 ea) is an acoustical treatment that creates a natural “large sound” within a small room area. Unlike current alternatives, which involve custom design and remodeling, the SpaceCoupler works within the current room footprint for a fraction of the cost.
New applications for the SpaceCoupler are being discovered daily. Coupled together, like the Aurelex SCREEN6 Kit (retails at about $1200), this configuration of Space Couplers increase absorber efficiency and its high-end appearance all make the Aurelex Screen6 Kit an exciting product for sound diffusion.
Other solutions for sound diffusion are engineered into the design during the construction phase of a studio; nonrectangular rooms, wall splaying, and curved or angled ceilings. The term nonrectangular rooms refers to the process of making sure you do not have parallel walls. Wall splaying refers to the process of bumping out a parallel wall in one direction, either from the top or bottom, or left to right. Ceiling treatments, such as curving or angling, need to be considered during the design and engineering process as they require special framing and finishes.
And then there are other practical commercial elements available for the audio, recording and architectural industries. These diffusers are designed using mathematical equations to solve the reflection problems. These types of sound reflection solutions can be purchased from companies that specialize in diffusion products.