Wind by Jin Kuramoto

Q & A Air & sound

Q: I’m furnishing a new space using Soundwave panels. How many do I need?
A: To determine how many panels you need, you first need to decide what the room will be used for. There’s a big difference between a space that’s primarily used as a meeting room, for team activities or other types of conference facilities, and a room where people quietly are concentrated on their work. Once you have decided the purpose of the room, you can work towards ensuring a certain reverberation time, for example, and take factors such as diffusion into account. Acoustic Facts is a useful tool to select how many panels you’ll need.

Q: What exactly is absorption and diffusion?
A: Absorption is when sound energy is reduced. Diffusion is when sound energy is spread evenly in different directions.

Q: What is acoustic balance?
A: Acoustic balance means that the acoustics of a room is suitable for its intended use. This means that the acoustic balance can vary for different types of room. In a restaurant, for example, acoustic balance can include a degree of background noise that envelopes the diners, while they can also hold a conversation across the table without the noise becoming too disruptive.

Q: Why isn’t it enough to choose a class A absorber?
A: Class A absorbers were developed for false ceilings in spaces of 10 m2 and larger. The classification is helpful for comparing false-ceiling solutions, but doesn’t indicate the absorber’s impact on reverberation time, and thus the interior acoustics. To calculate this, it’s necessary to determine the absorber’s area. We think that the degree of sound absorption (in m2) is a better measure, which is what Acoustic Facts calculates.

Q: Why isn’t absorption enough? Why is diffusion necessary?
A: Diffusion, which scatters and disseminates sound, is necessary for the absorbers to work properly. The results measured by Acoustic Facts will be most accurate if all sound is distributed equally around the room. In practice, we could say that the sound needs to reach the absorber in order to be absorbed. Additionally, in some cases it might be desirable to retain a degree of sound energy, like in an auditorium or a cinema.

Q: Why are different frequencies important?
A: Almost all sound is distributed over different frequencies, and our hearing has evolved to register and hear this difference. For example, it’s precisely such differences that carry the information and meaning contained in human speech. If only high frequencies are absorbed, for example, it can make it harder to hear what people are saying, which could be catastrophic in a school or an auditorium. In an office landscape, however, not being able to hear every word of your colleagues’ phone conversation may be viewed as a positive feature.

Q: When do you need to use Bassfill in the Soundwave panels?
A: Bassfill should be introduced when the user wants to absorb more of the lower frequencies. This makes for a more comfortable speaking environment and makes it easier for an audience to hear what’s being said. It also reduces the number of panels required in many rooms, while achieving the same results in Acoustic Facts measurements.

Q: Why do you test the acoustic characteristics of your furniture?
A: Upholstered furniture acts as excellent absorbers and diffusors, comparable to (and sometimes better than) typical acoustics products. Offecct’s product development aims to ensure that such characteristics are an integral feature of all our products. By testing our furniture, we can determine what influence it has on the acoustics of a room.