Though they are invisible, sound waves are incredibly active forms of energy. The best example of this is hearing an echo in a valley or wooded area – sound waves you made are traveling and bouncing off acoustically reflective surfaces – nature in this case – and returning back to your ear.
This event happens in our homes as well, and while it’s fun to hear echoes outside, bouncing sound waves when we’re trying to watch TV or listen to music can muddy the audio experience, making it hard to understand dialogue, or giving you an inaccurate reproduction of what a musician originally intended their piece to sound like.
For audiophiles, this means reflection point acoustical treatment. First reflection points are the first places a sound wave hits a reflective surface in a room, then reflecting back to the listener, fractions of a second from the original sound being heard. This is called a flutter echo – just close enough together to each other to cause distortion.
Once these reflection points are identified, typically on either side of a listening point as well as the ceiling in front of them, acoustical treatment can be applied. These waves are often high frequency, meaning foam panels are a great solution that won’t break your bank. The acoustical foam becomes an absorptive surface that prevents the sound from reflecting back to the listener, giving them a clearer sense of the sound being produced. With foam panels treating first reflection points, you can enjoy much more enjoyable sound in movies and music!