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Sound Shower – highly directional audio

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Finnish company Panphonics have come up with the Sound Shower, a directional audio delivery system. Instead of using a cone or point audio source, which radiates in all directions, the Sound Shower is a flat panel that produces highly directional sound. The sound element itself is a thin plastic sheet surrounded on both sides by porous panels and is very light, easily disguised and can be used as a projection surface or even painted if you wish.

The Sound Shower panel vibrates via electrostatics and requires no magnets or magnetic fields. It is much lighter than a speaker cone and can reproduce mid and high frequency sounds with more clarity and reduced vibration. It can also be run fully cranked continuously without any risk of the unit burning out. The audio volume within the sound field also behaves very differently to a speaker, it’s more consistent and the sound level doesn’t decrease as quickly as you move away from the source.

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You can expect to start seeing these in active noise cancelling systems or anti-noise generators, in front of billboards, in museums and information kiosks or even as shown above, as personal sound booths for offices. I probably won’t be happy to have one of these screaming at me in a supermarket but I can’t wait for these at home.

The Panphonics Sound Shower® is the best solution for directional audio solutions. Based on Panphonics Plane Wave technology, the sound shower creates a highly focused and directional audio footprint that delivers the message to the intended spot without disturbing the people in the surrounding environment.

Tags: gadget, sound+shower, directional+audio

8 Comments

  • "The audio volume within the sound field also behaves very differently to a speaker, it’s more consistent and the sound level doesn’t decrease as quickly as you move away from the source" so the inverse square law has been broken? Sorry, I don't think so. The laws of physics are pretty hard to break.

  • This is no more directional than any other speaker of the same size. It's just a big electrostatic speaker.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directional_Sound

  • Gentlemen,

    You can read the same information I read here:
    http://www.panphonics.com/audio_element.html

  • So it is an electrostatic speaker, per their own website. Their claims of high directivity are puzzling, though, as it should be identical to any other speaker of equal size, per the wiki article. Sounds like a bit of hype to me.

    • Craig have a read of the Wikipedia article you cited, under Speaker Arrays. They behave very differently to speakers, especially large arrays.

      When you're close to the array the sound is very directional and the volume doesn't decrease as quickly as you move away. When you're a large distance away from it, the sound directionality decreases and behaves like a normal speaker. Their claims all sound legitimate to me.

      The only thing the Sound Shower can't do very well is low frequencies but that's what subwoofers are for :)

  • Chi cazzi avete usato come traduttore italiano topo gigio? Studiatevi le lingue prima di fare cazzate, e no non ho intenzione di scrivertelo in inglese, se vuoi leggere ti prendi il dizionario, ignorante -_-

  • As a longtime user of Magnepan planar speakers, it is very clear that a planar radiator does not violate the Inverse Square Law. It is not subject to the ISL, because it is not a point source. Most cone speakers operate as a quasi-point source, so they get louder as you approach them. A planar speaker produces a flat wavefront that disperses much more gradually than a cone. As a result, the lateral dispersion of a planar speaker is dramatically low, which is a blessing or a curse, depending on your needs. In the case of the Magneplanar speakers, they are of necessity 6' tall because they have incredibly low vertical dispersion. If you play a pair very loud, as you walk up to one speaker panel you hear LESS direct sound, because the large diaphragm area above and below your ears has virtually no dispersion. If you put your ear right up against the grill cloth, you hear the other speaker much more loudly than the one you're right next to. This is not violating any laws of physics — it's a demonstration of very narrow dispersion from a planar wave, which the ISL does not address.

    There are inevitable diffraction effects at the edges of the planar wave, so some dispersion is inevitable, but it's a very small fraction of the (intended) dispersion of cone or horn speaker design.

  • As for subwoofers, planar speakers are still capable, but they need to recreate a very large wavefront if they are to compete with the big piston-cones of conventional subs. Most Magenaplanar users add very low subs (at very low levels) for the bottom 10-20 Hz. But low frequency sound is problematic in many ways — it's very non-directional, and it tends to fold over on itself due to the large physical wavelengths. So "decent" bass in a museum display speaker isn't likely to happen, since all the subs in the gallery would be clearly audible at once.

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