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In a recent hangout I was asked “Could you do a video with diffusers and panels speakers?” Well sure, we can do a series on that. Let me explain why. Well let’s talk about panel speakers. What are they? Well a panel speaker, a normal speaker, a dynamic speaker has a cone and a magnet. We all see that voice coil, you put power to it, it moves the paper cone.

Well a panel speaker has a vibrating screen so they have bigger surface area, it’s like a window screen. I used to tell Jason, the president of Apogee when Apogee was around, the Apogee the ribbon speaker company. I used to say he uses window screen wire on his speakers. It used to make him really upset because the speakers cost $90,000. So it’s a different sound source, it’s a more uniform field, doesn’t move as much energy, it’s a wide disbursed more sound field.

So I find that a lot of panel speakers really don’t need diffusion because they radiate energy out in the room and maybe absorption might be a better option. Since there is a little bit of a back-wave to a panel speaker, putting a diffuser behind the speaker is a good thing to do and we’re experimenting with that and we’ll do a video on that in a couple of months. But yeah I think, you’d probably be better with a panel speaker because you’re going to get a nice wide sound field anyway. You’d probably be better to stick with absorption but sure you can put diffusion in any situation using any source of sound or energy.

The diffuser doesn’t care where the sound comes from. So it won’t discriminate, it’ll take whatever you give it and give it back to you. That’s why it’s so important to give it quality. You give it bad sound and it’ll spit bad sound back at you.

Dennis Foley

I am an acoustic engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the business. My technology has been used in Electric Lady Land Studios, Sony Music of New York, Cello Music and Films founded by Mark Levinson, and Saltmines Studios in Mesa, Arizona, along with hundreds of others.

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