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  • Felix Linéau

    Hey! this is such a nice guide! Thank you for writing this!

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Felix, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and please let me know if you have any questions :).

  • Geoff Duncan

    brilliant site and resource – this is going to change my world haha. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and I will post some images and my experiences once we’ve had a chance to digest this and make some of these diffusers. Kind regards!

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hey Geoff,
      My pleasure. I’m glad you find this useful. Good luck with the build and I look forward to seeing your photos!

  • Dr B

    Tim, how does this design compare with simple plain curved surfaces such as curved plywood or plastic

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Good question Dr. B.

      To understand the difference it’s helpful to understand what ideal diffusion is. Ideal diffusion means acoustic energy is spread out evenly in both space (called spatial dispersion) and time (called temporal dispersion).

      A simple curved half-cylinder is brilliant for redirecting sound energy by scattering it in space, but it does not directly disperse sound with respect to time. These stepped diffusers, on the other hand, disperse sound in both space and time directly.

      Both types of diffusers are great but I consider optimized stepped diffusers to be a more precise tool. If you need to return diffuse sound directly to the listener, stepped diffusers are probably the more appropriate choice. However, if you simply want to scatter sound in your room to create a more diffuse reverberant sound field, you can get away with simpler geometries such as polycylinders.

      Does this make sense?

      • Dr B

        Yes. Excellent explanation. Thank you

  • DjMetal Blackbeat

    Tim, i have a 3×3,5m mix room, and my backwall (3m) has 2,5m (or less) of distance to my sweet spot. Im thinking about to build a Profiled Mod1 5 A1-LF or A1 Frac (i cant find the a1-frac blueprint yet). I think it’s the better option, right?

    The module of a A1-LF has 0-4-5-3-4-5-0 depths, ok! But i cant understand exactaly the depths of the Profile Mod 1. Do you have images with detailed dimensions(prof mod 1 A1-LF)
    Thanks for this great site!!

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hey DjMetal,

      Let me try to explain it more clearly. To start, Profiled Modulation 1 uses 5 modules (diffuser panels). On page 7 of the fabrication drawings for A1LF (in the download vault) I give you the sequence of depths for mounting these 5 modules: [0 cm, 5 cm, 6 cm, 5 cm, 0 cm].

      This means you mount the center module (or 3rd module) so it sticks out 6 cm from the wall. You mount modules 2 and 4 so they stick out 5 cm from the wall. And you mount modules 1 and 5 so they sit directly on the wall.

      These pictures should give you an idea of how they look when mounted like that (click “See More”):

      A1-Frac is a better option if you want to diffuse high frequencies. If you are receiving my emails you should get an email in a couple weeks that tells you the basic steps for building it. The process is explored in more detail here: http://arqen.com/sound-diffusers/faq/#fractal-diffusers

      I have not produced detailed blueprints for A1-Frac, and there are two main reasons for that.

      First, the depth of the fractal cells is not set in stone. I want to encourage people to experiment with it right now instead of locking them into a single blueprint. People are more creative and bold that way. :-)

      Second, I’ve been notified that some scalawags are attempting to patent my open source diffuser designs under their own name, with the intention of gaining exclusive commercial rights to them (essentially, trying to steal the rights from me and the public).

      A1-Frac is my favorite design so I’m taking extra precautions to protect it right now from patent fraud. I hope you understand.

      I hope this answers your questions! Let me know if you still don’t understand the profiled modulation, or if you’re curious about anything else. :-)


      • DjMetal Blackbeat

        Great explanation!! Thanks Tim!

        • DjMetal Blackbeat

          Sorry Tim, but reading everything about the fractal cells, I keep dont understanding exactaly their dimensions (depths) to work with the milling machine, following the 10mm proportion.

  • Pablo Roldan

    Hello Tim

    I am interested on building the A1 Frac for my back Wall.I have read the thread DIY Sound Diffusers—Free Blueprints—Slim, Optimized DIY Diffuser Designs (+Fractals) but cant find info on how to hang the diffuser to a Wall or sloped roof.¿Where do u put the screws?

    For example, on your webpage there is a picture of a diffuser built by Pablo Crespo where he used the profiled modulation 1 for 5 modules.

    How are they mounted on the Wall? (specially the middles modules which are deeper), i need to put them in a slopped roof, so they need to be screwed.

    And thanks for the blueprints and all the info!

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi Pablo,

      Good question! I’m not sure how Pablo did it, but one way to do it is build a frame like I’ve crudely shown below where
      · || represents a vertical brace
      · pppp represents a piece of wood, plywood or mdf cut to the shape of the profiled modulation.
      · You can ignore the “…..” horizontal parts in the drawing. That simply represents white space so just pretend those parts are invisible.

      The frame would need vertical braces at the wall surface, aligned with the wall studs. These braces would be used as anchor points to mount the frame to the wall (in the frame, these braces would also hold the bottom of the pppp cuts together).

      The frame would also need a separate set of vertical braces at the surface where you will mount the diffuser panels (these braces would be connected to the top of the pppp cuts).

      Here is a rough top view of the concept, where only the braces on the surface of the structure (top braces) are shown. As mentioned, there would be a separate set of braces at the base of the structure for attaching it to the wall studs.


      It may also be necessary to add some cross bracing for structural integrity.

      The pppp profiled modulation pieces would define the shape of the modulation, while the | braces would be responsible for 4 things:

      1) Holding the frame together.
      2) Providing structural support for the mass of diffuser panels which will be mounted on the frame.
      3) Providing anchor points to attach the frame to the wall.
      4) Providing anchor points to attach the diffuser panels to the frame.

      I would attach the frame to the wall, then attach the diffuser panels to the frame.

      This is not easy to describe in a comment :-). Does it make sense to you?

      Some time in the future I plan to draft this up. In the meantime, I hope this helps.


  • https://soundcloud.com/jezbaileymusic Jez Bailey

    Hi Tim.

    I am intending to make my own diffusers for my room but I don’t know how I work out what sort of design I need. How do I work out which frequencies need diffusing?



    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Good question, Jez.

      How large is your room and how far away from the diffusers will you be sitting?

      If you are close to the diffusers you should not try to diffuse low frequencies because there is simply not enough space to properly diffuse them.

      Here is a formula to help you calculate the recommended low frequency cutoff for your diffusers:

      Suggested low cutoff (Hz) = 3 x 344 / (distance to diffusers in meters)

      For example, if you are sitting 2 meters from the diffusers:
      Suggested low cutoff = 3 x 344 / 2 = 516 Hz

      As for high frequency cutoff, generally the higher the better (within the audio band). For example, a good mid frequency diffuser would focus on the range 400 Hz to 5000 Hz, which is where human hearing is most sensitive. But in practice, the performance of most diffusers starts falling before 5000 Hz.

      You will most likely focus on the range 400 – 5000 Hz, but use the formula I gave above to determine your low frequency cutoff.

      If you’re sitting very close to the diffusers, it’s best to absorb low-mid frequencies and use diffusers that focus on high frequencies (for example, the RPG Flutterfree starts kicking in between 1-2 kHz, and provides high frequency diffusion all the way up to ~20 kHz).

      Finally, for the ultimate in broadband diffusion, fractal diffusers that diffuse over the full audio band are popular in high fidelity listening environments where some liveliness is desired (such as RFZ style control rooms). They let you control reflections throughout the audible spectrum without sucking precious high frequency energy out of your room.

      I hope this helps!


      • https://soundcloud.com/jezbaileymusic Jez Bailey

        Best reply EVER. Thanks man!

        I shall copy/paste to my notes so I don’t lose it! :)


        • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

          Glad I could help, Jez.
          I wish you the best with your build!

  • Zane Keller

    Hi Tim,
    Real newbie question here …
    I enjoy hi-fi but have not done much by way of treating my lounge except to have curtains behind the speakers. How would the sound change if I did a complete wall behind the listening position with one of your diffusers?

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi Zane,

      How far is your listening position from the rear wall? That will impact how the diffusers effect your sound.


      • Zane Keller

        Unfortunately I have a small room – 14.8′ x 11.4′ x 9′ and have been using the 1/3s rule so listening position is 5′ from rear wall.
        I believe that diffusers ‘absorb’ the sound energy but was not sure whether you could actually hear the diffused sound. Does it sound like being in a hall or similar?
        Thanks for your help.

        • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

          They absorb a bit of sound but the primary function of a diffuser is to scatter the sound evenly in your room. Instead of absorbing all reflections, which can render your room dead, this way you can control reflections while retaining some natural liveliness in your room.

          It’s hard to put how diffusion sounds into words, but “airy” and “spacious” are how many people describe it. There is also a musical quality to it that’s hard to describe. Your room won’t sound like a hall, but it should sound more open behind you. Like your rear wall is further away.

          Widespread diffusion can actually make a room sound bigger than it is. It will also reduce comb filtering from your rear wall, which you may notice as an increase in clarity.

          • Zane Keller

            Good explanation, thanks.

            I am not sure the wife will be happy with very deep diffusers, do you think an array of the 5cm deep diffusers will be effective?


          • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

            They should be mounted with the profiled modulations (see link below), so the finished array will be deeper than 5 cm: http://arqen.com/sound-diffusers/faq/#modulations

            If that’s too deep for you I recommend thick broadband absorption underneath shallow high frequency diffusers (like the RPG Flutterfree or a custom designed QRD / PRD diffuser using one of the free calculators online). Or, just thick broadband absorption without diffusers.

            Perhaps the ideal low profile option for your room is hybrid surfaces like RPG BAD panels, which provide a combination of absorption and high frequency diffusion.

          • Zane Keller

            Hi Tim,
            I like your diffuser designs and so will work towards a 5 panel profiled diffuser. You say that the Leanfractal (A1-frac) is your best design, do you have a fabrication drawing for that diffuser (I searched but couldn’t find anywhere).

          • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

            Hi Zane,
            I’ve not made fabrication drawings for the Leanfractal but you should get an email from me with information on how to build it. Let me know if you didn’t receive it.

          • Zane Keller

            Nothing yet Tim.

          • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

            Thanks for letting me know. I’ve reactivated the DIY diffuser email sequence for you, starting on the Leanfractal email. If you get repeat emails let me know and I can pause it for you.

            Also, since you’re an older subscriber, here’s a link to the FAQ (in case you haven’t seen it yet): http://arqen.com/sound-diffusers/faq/?emhide=true

  • Bobb Harris

    Hey Tim!
    First, I’d like to thank you for making all of this information available to the general public. You’re a hero for that.

    Now here comes the question that might cause both of us to scratch our heads a bit. What if I were to take different diameter pieces of PVC pipe and rip them in half lengthwise, then build a diffuser from them? I.e. instead of squared steps, each step would be a semicircle. Each step would also, as a result, have a different width and depth.

    Off the top of your head, without Reflex, do you think that would work for both time and space diffusion?

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi Bobb,

      That’s a neat idea. Surfaces made from larger poly-cylindrical diffusers (of variable size) are a good option for large rooms. One issue with using smaller semi-cylinders is the diffusion bandwidth. If you want to scatter mid frequencies, not just high frequencies, you will need large diameter pipe to make the diffuser deep enough. E.g., for a 7″ deep diffuser you could build a quazi-random surface by blending cuts of 14″, 12″, 10″, 8″, 6″, 5″ and 4″ pipe.

      Quazi-random surfaces tend to diffuse well if they are large. E.g., a 50 foot wide random surface may diffuse as well as a 50 foot wide diffuser. But a 2 foot wide optimized diffuser will generally perform much better than a 2 foot wide random surface.

      I don’t expect this type of diffuser built from semi-cylinders to diffuse as well as a phase grating diffuser (like a stepped / PRD / QRD diffuser) of equal depth. One reason is because with a phase grating diffuser you can have a deep surface with narrow wells / steps, but with poly-cylindrical diffusers a narrower poly means a shallower depth.

      You could of course add semi-cylinders to the top of a stepped diffuser, in the same way that the Leanfractal is made my mounting fractal cells to each step of the Leanfuser.

  • Felix Hopkins

    Hello Tim,

    Fantastic stuff! Not sure I have my head around all this at the moment but you very eloquently explained everything. Your diffuser designs look brilliant.

    I have a room I wanted to treat. My question is, in a 8ft by 11ft room, would any of these diffusers make significant difference to the energy of sound in the room?


    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi Felix,

      Glad you like the designs. To noticeably change the liveliness / reverberation characteristic you generally need to change about 20% of the room’s surfaces from reflective to absorptive, or vice versa. Diffusers are not designed for use at close distance so in a small room like yours I don’t usually recommend them. But it depends on many factors.

      It depends on what the room is used for, what is currently on the walls and what problems are being faced. In a very dead room, adding 20% reflective or diffusive surfaces can bring it to life. In a larger room with modal problems, covering 20% of the surface area with diffusers can help make the room sound more neutral.

      If you’re simply looking to reduce the energy in a small room, use broadband absorption, with bass trapping and first reflection points being the highest priority.

      If diffusers are used at all in a small room, they should be the final element of room treatment.

      For examples of how to treat critical listening / mixing rooms, check out my room setup guides here:

      Bass trap placement guide: http://arqen.com/bass-traps-101/placement-guide/
      Room setup guide: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/room-setup-speaker-placement/ (acoustic treatment is covered on page 4 here: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/room-setup-acoustic-treatment/)

  • Dannevirke Zajo L’Hiboux

    Hey Tim,

    Thanks so much for this knowledge, Ive just signed up and am going to build some diffusors this weekend. A question about my room though, its a large 23 feet x 14 feet room. whats your recommendations for diffusion and absorption for a room this big?

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi Dannevirke,

      What is the room used for? If it’s a listening or mixing room see my room setup tutorial here: http://arqen.com/acoustics-101/room-setup-speaker-placement/

      The fourth page has acoustic treatment setup advice for this type of room. There are many factors that determine how you should treat a room, and size is just one of them.

  • James Hill

    Hi Tim,
    I built the basic 7 panel ‘Leanfuser’ (approx. 3 metre wide) and placed it behind the speakers against the front wall – big improvement but nearly a mono sound – so now it’s onto 2 smaller ones (5 or 3 panels) for the first reflection points and moving the single big one to rear wall of listening position, about 2 metres behind the seating position
    A question: if I use a 50mm wide panel instead of the design 60mm panels, do the step measurements stay the same (0,40, 50,30, 50, 40, 0mm) and the offsets for each completed panel (o, 80, 100, 60, 100, 80, 0mm) and will this also stay the same for a 5 or 3 panel arrangement (ie 50 x 5 = 350mm and 350 x 5, or 350 x 3)?
    I’m going to try cutting the 350mm profile (if okay) out of sheets of styrene foam (75mm thick house siding foam) and want to line/face the flats with 50mm wide slats from venetian blinds – can’t find any 60mm wide ones.

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi James,

      Changing the proportions alters the fundamental geometry, so I can only give an educated guess without seeing test results.

      Intuitively I would think the extra depth will help diffusion performance (i.e., changing the width to 50 mm but keeping the depths the same). But, before committing to the build I suggest you simulate both versions using the demo of AFMG reflex, and my tutorial here: http://arqen.com/sound-diffusers/faq/#reflex-tutorial

      If you send me the results I’ll tell you what one is best.

  • Hans Albertsson

    I need to solve the problem of the wall behind the listening position being too hard and too close to the listener’s ears. This affects the stereophonic illusion very badly.

    I’m thinking maybe a diffuser might at least make the reflected sound affect the stereophonic illusion a little less.

    Distance from ears to wall is about a foot (30cm or so), and can possibly be pushed to 40cm. The wall is hard paper glued to a heavy concrete/grout wall.

    I’d prefer if the diffuser could be kept to less than 30 cm above the ears.

    The distance from the sofa to the wall is about 20 cm with nothing but air…

    Is it at all possible to do this using a diffuser, and what version would be the minimum-complexity choice with some chance of providing a positive change??

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi Hans,

      I wouldn’t use a diffuser that close to your ears on the rear wall. They’re not designed to be used that close and while a diffuser may help, it’s not the right tool for the job.

      Behind your head I suggest broadband absorption / broadband bass traps .

      If you really want to use diffusion you could use RPG BAD panels, which are hybrid absorber-diffusers. But, these would be put to better use elsewhere (like ceiling or sidewall reflection points), giving the scattered sound more space to disperse before it reaches your ears.

      • Hans Albertsson

        My listening room is designed strictly as Dead End Sound Stage/Live End Listening Area, so a diffusor SHOULD be the proper tool, albeit preferably some form that also delays the reflected wave. Maybe using a slitted design with long internal paths.

        Barring that, the more energy that gets directed off to the sides, the better it should work.

        I THINK I know that the problem is the first reflection off the rear wall; using “elephant ears” behind my ears sharpens the stereo illusion, but makes the room sound a bit tinny.

        • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

          Hans, see the notes on the minimum recommended listening distance for diffusers here: http://arqen.com/sound-diffusers/faq/#listening-distance. The top researchers in this field, Trevor Cox and Peter D’Antonio recommend 3 meters as the minimum listening distance for most diffusers. In practical application many people use them closer without issues, but the closer you are, the greater the risk of audible artifacts.

          To delay a wave long enough for a Live End / Dead End room with a sufficiently long initial signal delay gap (ISD-gap), you need several feet.

          The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) recommends you treat reflections earlier than 15 ms relative to the direct sound so they’re at least 10 dB below the direct sound for all frequencies in the range 1 kHz to 8 kHz.

          Sound travels about 17 feet in 15 ms, so to meet this goal you need first reflections to travel at least 17 feet further than the direct sound. Otherwise, they should be treated to be at least 10 dB below the direct sound.

          If you don’t achieve this goal you can expect reflections to interfere with your sound stage and compromise imaging, per the Haas effect.

          A core goal of Live End / Dead End (or more generally, Reflection Free Zone) room design is to provide this travel distance to create a long enough ISD-gap.

          The conventional Live End / Dead End setup only works properly when there is space behind you to create the delay. Otherwise you need to get creative with reflection control.

          Since you don’t have enough space behind you, you need to work with other reflections to create your live end, or risk compromising your sound stage. Possible candidates are the rear ceiling, rear sidewall and the left and right portions of your rear wall. But directly behind your head, since it’s so close to the wall, I recommend absorption (or an efficient hybrid device like the RPG BAD panel).

          I hope this helps. :-)

  • Hans Albertsson

    Another Q: I’ve put in requests for two emails of blueprints, but nothing has arrived yet, and this is a delay of about an hour. Is there a problem, or has something prevented the emails getting to me??

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      There should have been a conformation email sent to you, with a link that leads to the download vault.

      According to my system it was sent to you. Did you receive it?

      • Hans Albertsson

        No, and I’ve tried from two different clients.

        • Hans Albertsson

          What could be the problem???

          Can you check what address they were sent to, and test send a Hi to the same address???

          • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

            It says it worked yesterday with a new email address you tried. Did you get a followup email? I’ll email you a quick test email to both address you tried with.

  • Gigi D’Amico


    today I saw a studio having RPG in the front wall in middle of the speakers, isn’t a mistake?
    I always had the idea that should be absorbed in that area in order to get just clean sound from the speakers and noting else.

    I would love to hear some opinions

    • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

      Hi Gigi,
      It’s quite common to use diffusers on the front wall these days. In many cases the front wall does not need to be absorptive as most speakers are directional at higher frequencies.

      Live-End, Dead-End rooms call for an absorptive front wall, but that’s an old school of thought that has been replaced by the more general RFZ (reflection free zone) criteria.

      For examples see my room setup tutorial here:
      And bass trap placement guide here:

      • Gigi D’Amico

        Diffusers on the front wall are not essential — but they make the room sound more spacious and enveloping, making it an inviting space for spontaneous musical activities like practicing or recording.

        So I definitely agree with this sentence, which I think doesn’t apply to stereo mixing rooms, acoustic treatment working for early reflections which are not in the front wall, I would place there probably just if I have the central speaker for surround

        • http://Arqen.com/ Tim Perry

          Yes, and in a surround setup front wall diffusion diffusion may also be useful to diffuse first reflections from the rear surround speakers.

          Another benefit of diffusion is it tends to help even out the frequency response and decay times in the room.

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