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Author Topic: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?  (Read 7797 times)

Ethan Winer

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Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« on: February 01, 2009, 12:59:57 pm »

The conventional wisdom is that wood surfaces impart a "warm" sound to a room, compared to cement, linoleum, or drywall. But is this really true? I'd appreciate the opinions of resident experts here about this article:

Surface Reflectivity

Note I'm addressing surface reflectivity only, not potential resonances from wood structures etc.

Thanks guys!

--Ethan

rankus

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2009, 02:07:08 pm »



I've always thought of wood as more midsy/punchy ...

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compasspnt

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2009, 03:50:20 pm »

My rooms have almost all wood surfaces.

I find that, whilst they are not necessarily "warm," they do seem to reflect a certain sweetness back on the high end that is somehow more pleasing than what (I recall from other, different rooms) comes back from cement or drywall.

Not scientific though, and not direct comparison...just empirical observation...

And it is probably the design of the rooms more than the surfaces which dictate the sound.

Looks nice though...

Imparts an image of warmth...
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Bruno Gouveia

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2009, 07:42:12 pm »

Wood normally couples with sound waves so they will amplify the sound coincident with it's modes, augmenting the reverberation time at that frequencies, reflecting others, transmitting others, and absorbing others depending on the damping of the wood / system.

There can be the case where a lower frequency excites upper modes, gaining the sound some kind of harmonics that we enjoy. It's not by accident that musical instruments are empirically made of wood, because in many cases the way it vibrates pleases the ear a lot.  

But the bottom line is that what happens with sound in wood is really complicated because it depends a lot of variables so is hard to predict, but not impossible with the help of appropriate software, study, prototypes and testing.

Thomas Jouanjean

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2009, 08:26:06 am »

Ethan Winer wrote on Sun, 01 February 2009 11:59


Note I'm addressing surface reflectivity only, not potential resonances from wood structures etc.



In this case, it's not the reflectivity that matters, it's the resonances and therefore the various possible re-emissions.

In the table, it says "wood parquet on concrete" which can obviously not show those phenomenons as it implies the wood is structurally stiffened by its coupling to the concrete.

So this info cannot be used to support one or the other answer.

You'd need measurements of a non-dampened or stiffened wood surface... and you'd probably need to test various woods of various densities as well, as they behave differently.

Hope this helped.

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Thomas Jouanjean
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009, 05:13:03 pm »

Thomas Jouanjean wrote on Mon, 02 February 2009 08:26

You'd need measurements of a non-dampened or stiffened wood surface.


I found more complete data and updated my article this morning to include both parquet floor bonded to cement, plus a wood floor on joists. I also replaced the data for glass, changing from a large surface that can absorb bass to a smaller piece that has less self-resonance. Here's the link again if anyone cares and would like to comment further:

Surface Reflectivity

Thank guys!

--Ethan

PookyNMR

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 07:00:59 pm »

Ethan Winer wrote on Sun, 01 February 2009 10:59

Note I'm addressing surface reflectivity only, not potential resonances from wood structures etc.


Question:  Wouldn't the different resonance properties of the wood and it's attachment be a factor in the overall sound?  

I'm just wondering how useful it is to separate the reflectivity and resonance issues of different materials.  Is there a reason why a more holistic approach is not useful?

Thanks.
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Nathan Rousu

Ethan Winer

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2009, 03:18:00 pm »

PookyNMR wrote on Tue, 03 February 2009 19:00

Wouldn't the different resonance properties of the wood and it's attachment be a factor in the overall sound?


It depends what the wood is attached to. Wood flooring on top of a cement foundation changes the surface only because there's nothing to resonate. Thin paneling over drywall probably won't change the resonance of the drywall too much, especially if it's several layers thick.

Quote:

Is there a reason why a more holistic approach is not useful?


The more data we have, the better. Always. In this case, it was easy to derive reflectivity from available data. To do a more comprehensive test would cost a lot of money! So I didn't even try to compare a wall made of wood only versus other materials. As explained in the article, it's common for people to ask if adding wood on top of their basement or garage cement floor is useful, so that's all I tried to address.

--Ethan

andrebrito

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2009, 05:54:13 am »

I will say the same thing I told on GS

Using just Surface Ref. for this matter is a very simplistic approach

and

Sound absorption increases a lot in wood when sound is at higher angles of incidence
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Ethan Winer

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2009, 01:58:44 pm »

andrebrito wrote on Thu, 05 February 2009 05:54

Using just Surface Ref. for this matter is a very simplistic approach


It's the best I could do for no cash outlay. Laughing

Quote:

Sound absorption increases a lot in wood when sound is at higher angles of incidence


Can you post those numbers here? I'd love to learn how that varies with angle.

--Ethan

andrebrito

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2009, 07:07:49 pm »

Am I allowed to attach a picture on this forum from a book from a public library ? About copyright issues...
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garret

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2009, 10:25:42 pm »

andrebrito wrote on Thu, 05 February 2009 18:07

Am I allowed to attach a picture on this forum from a book from a public library ? About copyright issues...


Yes.  First off, whether you own the book or borrowed it from a library is beside the point.   Buying the book doesn't give you any more rights to reproduce material than borrowing it from a friend or a library.

If it's your scan, and if you credit the source, it is "fair use" under US copyright law.  I don't know if the copyright laws are different in Portugal, but most countries are less strict than the US.

This is an educational forum, and you are not posting to make a direct commercial gain.  You are allowed to post small portions of copyrighted works, for scholarly purposes, if you properly cite the source.  

The "small portion" criteria (also called "substantiality") is key.   If you were to post a scan of a chart that is available as an individual product... then no, it's not allowed.   But if you are just posting a scan that is one chart from a long book, sure that's fine.

That's why you'll often see people recommend you not repost entire articles you find on another website.   You can post a portion, or some excerpts, then link to the full article.

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andrebrito

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2009, 06:54:49 am »

http://i39.tinypic.com/2n66o85.jpg

From Acoustics of Wood book - pg. 22 - Voichita Bucur - Springer Editions

Thanks for the explanation !
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Thomas Jouanjean

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2009, 10:40:10 am »

andrebrito wrote on Fri, 06 February 2009 05:54

http://i39.tinypic.com/2n66o85.jpg

From Acoustics of Wood book - pg. 22 - Voichita Bucur - Springer Editions

Thanks for the explanation !


This is great, I love those...

I shows so very well the subrmerged part of the "acoustics" iceberg...  Thanks for posting!
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Thomas Jouanjean
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franman

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Re: Does Wood Really Sound Warm?
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2009, 12:41:25 pm »

I knew that wood sounded warmer!!!   Cool
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