You may have heard a striking ringing sound if you’ve been inside a huge public room or spacious apartment with blank walls and hard floors. Yes, you’re right! That’s a flutter echo!
What is Flutter Echo?
Flutter echo can be defined as the confined energy between the two parallel surfaces and the angle at which sound passes between them.
As the echoes occur in rapid order, the audible result is often a type of “fluttering” sound. Since the vibrations are closer together and in smaller rooms, it can produce a tube-like distinctive sound. This happens in our rooms when a piece of energy-producing equipment (speaker) collides with a wall.
The sound energy is stuck between two surfaces, based on its wavelength. You get a sequence of short-term signature reflections, which corresponds to energy traveling across the region between the two surfaces.
The airflow between the two surfaces is excited by this energy flow, and the result is auditory distortion. This can happen between the walls, cabinets, and bookshelves.
So Why Isn’t Flutter Echo Good for Audio Recording?
Unlike the human ear (or, more precisely, the brain), which can discern between what has to be heard and background noise, the microphone picks up everything. So it detects the direct sound nearest to it, then the echoes from early reflections spots, then reflections from secondary, tertiary, and so on.
Every one of those reflections comes one by one, with a short delay, and generates a murky sound, similar to a smudged print. The echo is worsened by the presence of hard, big, reflective surfaces in the room.
How to Get Rid of A Flutter Echo
If your room has been replastered with strong, contemporary plaster, the best approach is to carefully choose wallpaper to complement the replastering. The goal is to cover the plaster with a thick layer of absorbent material.
To achieve a nice depth, start with a good lining paper and, in extreme circumstances, many layers. Then select a high-quality, thick, costly paper with a ‘flock’ pattern. This is a bit outdated and may not even be your first pick, but in the music/Hi-Fi room, looks should come second to sound quality!
Another option is ‘Anaglypta’ paper, which is heavy and bulky but has an embossed pattern that creates a sequence of air bubbles that is particularly successful in controlling reflections and high-frequency absorption.
After that, emulsion paint can be used to paint the Anaglypta paper. It’s important to remember that the goal is to create a genuine, natural sound, not pseudo-scientific perfect acoustic values.
On Parallel Walls, Hang Textiles and Wall Art
Oriental rugs, mats, and tapestries make excellent ‘unobtrusive’ acoustic absorbers in listening rooms if redecorating is not an option. They can be suspended from rods or specialized supports with ease. To fight an echo, a huge canvas artwork or a cotton textile will add a little sound absorption.
Disrupting the tendency of sound to come back and forth between neighboring walls is made easier by placing soft surface items on parallel surfaces. Before you choose wall art, keep in mind that when the heavy oil paint dries, it can mirror a hard surface, causing reflection and diffusion.
As a result, the lighter and smoother the surfaces of your wall art, the better. For this reason, you might want to try hanging a colorful area rug or a beautiful blanket instead of paintings or portraits.
If the chosen hanging is too thin for a decent acoustic impact, a thick backing could be sewed on. Shopkeepers are used to this and will frequently inquire if the hanging is desired for its visual or sonic effect. If a connected backing is not available, a sheet of insulation board cut to the proper size and affixed to the wall behind the hanging might be used instead. The insulation board will be virtually undetectable, but it will be quite effective.
Insulation board is a flexible, soft board commonly used in construction. It usually has a ‘painted’ or thick side and a fuzzy fibrous side, allowing for some fine tweaking of the effect. However, the hard side is usually placed against the wall.
The huge panels of shop/office hanging ceilings employ a thick version of industrial acoustic tiles composed of the insulating board. It is also easy to cut using a knife.
Put Objects to The Room and Use A Tall Bookcase
The main idea here is to cover the walls with coverings that absorb rather than bounce or reflect echoes.
By causing sound waves to bend around, a huge bookcase decorated with various sized things can soften and damper echoes, diffusing and distributing sound across the space.
Stacking books on a bookcase at varying depths increases the dispersion effect, which helps to break up the flutter of echoes.
If You Have Bare Floors, Place A Area Rug on Them
Hardwood flooring, concrete floors, and tile floors can all have a reflecting influence on echoes. The softer surface of an area rug not only adds warmth and visual punch but also helps to reduce echoes in spaces with high ceilings.
Do yourself a favor and fill your home with as many area rugs as you can.
Rugs will help to define each of your places, offer warmth underfoot, and absorb sound— a reason why property owners often require tenants to carpet the bulk of their floors.
Install Acoustic Panels to Improve Sound Absorption
Traditional acoustic foam panels can be extremely successful at reducing sound reverberation. Acoustic foam panels are good in the absorption of echo and noise when they reach the room’s surfaces.
Such panels are commonly found in drum rooms, recording studios, and nightclubs. They are made to absorb echoes/sounds, which improves the room’s acoustics. They assist in improving the clarity of recordings in the music studio.
Cover the Windows and the Walls
The thicker and more expansive your window coverings are, the better for sound absorption, especially if you have huge windows. Sound is reflected off of walls and window coverings to a substantial degree.
Thick window curtains and blinds that go to the floor assist muffle sound from both inside and outside the house, reducing echo and background noise. Instead of airy, gauzy sheers, try textiles like velvets and durable canvas cotton for drapery.
If all you have are shades or blinds, putting a layer of curtains can make a big difference.
You can alternatively use two curtains panels too. Curtain panels can also be added to a wall or a huge space that leads to another room. The more noise-absorbing soft fabric there is, the better.
So, now you know what’s going on acoustically in your listening environment and how to improve it!
Set up your system and speakers, then tackle the sitting-room chorus in your room, and you will be astounded at the difference. We hope the above instructions helped you get rid of the flutter echo in your room. Happy Reading!