Internet advice to ignore...

Maybe you've heard of "Fake News"? The same happens in the world of acoustics! Here's a place for discussing acoustic myths, legends, mysteries, "questionable" treatment, scams, hoaxes, and just plain old bad information about acoustics, sound, and audio.
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Internet advice to ignore...


Postby Soundman2020 » Thu, 2020-Feb-13, 19:11

The internet is full of websites with bad advice about acoustics. In some cases it is just ignorance by well-meaning but poorly informed people. In other cases it is deliberate attempts to sell you snake-oil. And in yet other cases, you just have to wonder what the author was smoking when he wrote his comments!

So, here's a brief list of places I have come across on the Internet, with "curious" advice about acoustics: In all cases, the advice given should be ignored, because it is simply wrong.

I'm not just giving my own subjective personal opinion here (sort of "he said vs. she said"), but rather I am describing matters of basic acoustic science and established fact. Sometimes I do hear from people who say "Well, that's your opinion", since the think that acousticians, studio designers, and acoustic engineers can have different opinions about acoustics, but in general that simply is not correct. There is only one "true" for the vast majority of acoustic aspects. Of course, there can be some opinion as to persona preferences about music (maybe I like drums more than Andre does, or Bert likes acoustic guitar while Andre and I prefer concert grand piano, etc.), but there are many things that are just plain true, always, and not opinion at all. When it comes to physical constructions that can be built and tested and compared, developing theories and producing equations that describe how they work, then there is no more "opinion" about it. It simply is always true that in order to isolate a room, you need mass. Period. It is always true that doubling the power of a sound will cause its intensity to increase by 6 decibels. These are objective truths, not open to interpretation. There are certainly different ways of designing a control room, with very different looks, and some designers prefer one style while others prefer a different one, but the goal is the same in all cases. We are all attempting to achieve the same fundamental acoustic outcome, of flat frequency response, flat time domain response, etc.

It's important to understand the difference between solid objective "written in stone" acoustic facts, and subjective opinions about personal preference. My intention in this section of the forum is to highlight incorrect advice that flies in the face of those acoustic facts. I'm not commenting on the opinions expressed about acoustics in these websites: just their incorrect understanding of acoustic facts that they express.

I'm trying to arrange the list by subject matter, to make it easier to find the things that you should NOT do, but in some cases the entire site should be ignored.

I'll be adding to this list as I come across new ones.

About flutter echo:
I'm starting with flutter echo, since I happened to be looking for examples of that recently, for the article I wrote on the myth that studio walls must be angled. Here's some strange stuff I found during that search:
(Thinks that F. Alton Everest is wrong about acoustics, and that LEDE is a good plan for an audiophile listening room. "Conventional advice on the subject of speaker placement, "loudspeakers should be located as far away from reflecting surfaces as practicable", (F. Alton Everest - The Master Handbook of Acoustics, 3rd Edition, page 341) is guaranteed to increase the problems of reflected sound (amongst others!)". [For those who don't know, Everest is a very highly regarded acoustician, and the book mentioned is very often recommended as one of the best for gaining a good understanding of basic acoustics. It is even used in some technical training courses on acoustics.] )
(Thinks that flutter echo is: "an energy that’s trapped between two surfaces and the angle that the sound enters between the two surfaces. In our rooms this occurs between an energy-producing device (speaker) and a wall.". Really. Fascinating... But also: "energy movement excites the air between those two surfaces and with that air excitation you get audible distortion.". Wow! Flutter echo is distortion! Who knew? And also that: "This distortion can occur between walls, cabinets and bookshelves" :roll: So I guess that to solve flutter echo, you just have to take out the cabinets and bookshelves from your room? :) )
(A little less terrible than the other two, but still a way off the mark).

- Stuart -


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