The Saturna acoustic baffle works like all Broadway panels: Sound energy penetrates the panel where the minute glass wool fibers are set into vibration. This causes a thermo-dynamic transfer whereby sound is essentially converted to heat. The acoustic baffle has become the ‘favorite’ form of treatment in large room installations. This is due to the ‘flag-like’ design, the relative ease of installation and the general availability of ceiling space high, up in the rafters, out of the way where they can quietly get the task of absorbing sound energy done. Saturna baffles are often used by themselves or in combination with other Broadway panels. To understand the science, it serves us well to understand some basics. The ‘direct’ sound we want to hear is generated from one person as they speak with another. The ‘initial’ sound reaches the listener first. Then, a series of ‘first order’ reflections echo off nearby walls and ceiling. Depending on the size of the room and the reflective surfaces within, these reflections will interfere with the initial sound making communication difficult. The long trail of reflections is called the reverberant field. saturna-science-img1  

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Sound travels in waves. High frequencies tend to beam like a flashlight and reflect off hard surfaces like a mirror causing a dense reverberant field. When the reverberation in the room is excessive, it makes communication difficult. To be understood, we raise our voice and the problem gets worse. Hotel lobbies and restaurants with lots of glass are examples.

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Wall mounted panels are effective at absorbing noise in a room. When these are placed up in the corners, not only do they absorb direct sound but also capture the reflected sound off the ceiling before it has a chance to expand into the room. This effectively doubles the panel’s performance without any additional cost.

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In rooms where mounting acoustic panels to wall surfaces may not be suitable, suspending the acoustic panels from the ceiling provides an effective alternative. Baffles are particularly effective as they absorb direct energy from the sound source and the reflection off the ceiling before sound has a chance to expand.

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Because both sides of the baffle are exposed, acoustic energy is absorbed on both sides. This is further advantaged by placing the panel high, near the ceiling where sound reflecting off the roof is captured before it expands. This is why baffles tend to be the preferred choice in large industrial installations.

Targeting the solution on the problem

As with all acoustic panels, the thickness and density of the absorptive material will determine how well the panel performs within a given range. It serves us well to first identify the target frequency and relative loudness so that we can apply the proper corrective treatment.

industrial-noiseThis shows typical industrial noise and relative loudness across the audio bandwidth. Notice that this is fairly evenly spread with lots of low frequency content.
raised-voiceHere we see the frequency response and relative intensity of a loud male voice. Notice that much of the energy in centered between 200Hz and 1500Hz with a peak at 500Hz.

frequency-range-chartThis shows the noise generated by various industrial devices as compared to a loud human voice. Because we are trying to improve intelligibility, the focus begins with absorbing energy in the voice range.
saturna-raised-voiceThis graph superimposes the frequency range of a loud male human voice with the absorption coefficient of a Saturna baffle. This shows that the Saturna is particularly well suited for the task!

Determining Coverage

To make it as easy as possible, we have included an easy to use room calculation grid. Keep in mind that each Saturna ceiling baffle will yield double the performance of a standard wall mounted panel as both absorptive surfaces are exposed. You can mix and match Saturna baffles with Broadway panels to achieve the desired absorption.

Room calculation table in feet

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Room calculation table in meters

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