Acoustics / Electroacoustics
The comparative distribution of SOUND PRESSURE variations throughout a given space, or the process by which a SOUND WAVE is distributed in the space. If sound pressure is uniformly distributed throughout the space, the sound is said to be well diffused. See: DIFFUSE SOUND FIELD.
Diffusion of sound is important in concert halls, classrooms, studios and the like in order to avoid dead spots, places where the sound is weak or cannot be heard clearly. Good diffusion can be achieved by several methods of architectural design:
- The presence of numerous surface irregularities and reflecting elements such as pilasters, piers, exposed beams, coffered ceilings and serrated enclosures, based on the principle that convex surfaces scatter sound waves.
- The alternation of sound-reflecting and sound-absorbing surfaces.
- The random distribution of surfaces with differing ABSORPTION COEFFICIENTs.
These methods are designed to ensure that sound is reflected in every direction and that destructive INTERFERENCE is unlikely to occur in any one location or area.
See: ACOUSTICS, SOUND, SOUND PROPAGATION. Compare: ABSORPTION, DIFFRACTION, REFLECTION, REFRACTION, STANDING WAVES, TRANSMISSION.
ELECTROACOUSTIC diffusion refers to the practice of distributing sound throughout a space using multiple LOUDSPEAKERs, usually with real-time control over the sound levels, EQUALIZATION, and placement of the sound. The source material may be live performers, SYNTHESIZERs, and/or stereo or multi-channel tape recordings. See: QUADRAPHONIC, STEREOPHONIC, TAPE MUSIC.