What is Acoustical Diffusion?

When it comes to sound treatment, there are plenty of phrases and buzzwords that get tossed around; some correctly, and others not. The most common example is the notion of sound treatment products being the same as soundproofing. Genuine soundproofing requires construction methods and is not something that can simply be achieved by adding products to a room. Sound treatment improves the quality and clearness of sound in a space, with the potential benefit of reducing transmission in and out of a space due to added mass.

Acoustic Foam
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But as you recognize the differences between treatment and proofing in sound and acoustics, you begin to encounter some of the methods used to treat rooms, which introduces a whole other set of phrases and terms which may or may not mean, in acoustics, what they mean in common parlance.

One of these methods and terms is called diffusion. While it closely represents acoustically what the word means literally, it’s still important to understand exactly what diffusion is.

Acoustically, diffusion’s definition is similar to the conventional one, as it receives a sound wave and scatters (diffuses) the sound around the space into smaller, less problematic issues. Diffusion is often used in place of absorption, depending on a room’s needs.

Diffusion is accomplished through a mathematically-formulated system of high and low points in a grid, constructed from a hard, acoustically-reflective surface. When waves hit diffusers, they encounter different heights and reflect off at different angles, as opposed to keeping their shape and consistency, which, when bouncing around a room, causes echoes.

In combination with other treatment methods, diffusion products can help you achieve a cleaner, clearer sound, without needing to upgrade your current audio equipment.

Article submitted by The Foam Factory, an online source for acoustical treatment products, such as foam panels, bass traps, and even sound-absorbing drop ceiling tiles.

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