Diffusing. Cant anything and everything be a diffuser?

Honesty is something that is not often utilized in the diffusing community. Nobody would like to say it, but anything and everything can be a diffuser, the floor you stand on, the wall you look at, the device you read this on. If it has mass and occupies space, chances are very high it is diffusing at some level.

Anything can be a diffuser: egg cartons, ruffled drapes, window shutters. And all of these things do a tremendous job at diffusing sound. But they are not without their drawbacks. 

One thing that has tried to be answered in the diffusing community is the problem of aesthetic appeal. Sure egg cartons may do a fine job at diffusing sound, but they are not much to look at, much less professional. To have musicians walk into a room with egg cartons pinned to the wall and ruffled drapes hung from the ceiling does not do much to contribute to an environment of musical experimentation, or as much of a catalyst for creativity. 

Hence why acoustic engineers have devised ways for acoustic treatment to be more effective, in both their looks and their audio characteristics. 

Take the Mosaic Diffuser™ for example, while it is certainly one of the prettier diffusers, it does have drawbacks, namely being weight and cost. If those two things were decreased, the Mosaic Diffuser™ might easily be one of the most popular of diffusers.  

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Quadratic Diffusers are similarly effective; they utilize different “compartments” per se, that then diffuse sound. For example: 

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While this style of quadratic diffuser is certainly not an eye-sore, it most definitely is not the trinity of beauty. Regardless, as in most of acoustic treatment, it is your opinion that matters… not anybody else’s. If you like the effects of egg cartons then by all means… use egg cartons. If drapes float your boat then put up drapes.

Many questioning minds may pose the question: well how much diffusion do I need? How much absorption do I need? I would recommend that you take your time. 

Order some absorption panels. Does it make the sound too flat and bland, then return some. Like the decibel level in your room but want to reduce echo? Order some diffusers. Again, is the sound too flat? Then return some. No harm done! My point is that there is not one “solution” to your acoustic needs. Maybe at the moment you enjoy very ornate music that does not require a lot natural reverberation to sound good. But then you may start to enjoy acoustic sounds that do very well with the natural ambiance of a room. 

The beautiful thing about acoustics is that the choice is yours. Nobody can tell you that you need “X” number of panels, or foam, or diffusers. The number that you need may vary from zero, all the way to more than zero. 

Unlike a guitar which requires strings to play, acoustics only requires an ear to hear. 

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