Parametric Speakers | Focusonics™
Focusonics™ are an established manufacturer of parametric speakers, operating to emit directional audio so sound can be localized to a targeted area whilst quiet is maintained elsewhere.
At Focusonics™, we manufacture two models of speaker which function to emit directional sound with the following capabilities:
- Perfect for larger operating distances
- Optimal range of 3-15 metres
- Powerful, loud volume capability
- Smaller model for shorter distances
- Optimal range of 1-5 metres
- Ideal for overhead operation
What is a parametric speaker?
Parametric speakers, also commonly referred to as directional speakers, are a unique variety of speakers which use ultrasonic waves to reproduce sound. The ultrasonic waves have a shorter wavelength, hence this variety of speaker produces more directional sound than conventional speaker systems.
The graphic below illustrates how people standing within the target range are subjected to the narrow beam of directional sound, but those in the nearby surroundings experience no increase in ambient noise.
The result of using a parametric speaker is that people placed just a few feet apart can either be subjected to audio emanating from the speaker, or hear nothing depending on who is standing within the directional radius of the device.
How do parametric speakers work?
These unique speakers function by incorporating a parametric array, a nonlinear transduction mechanism. A parametric array does not generate sound directly, but reproduces sound from ultrasonic waves.
The speaker generates ultrasound waves (high-frequency sound) modulated with audio signals and as these waves pass through the air they demodulate and sound can be heard. They differ from conventional loudspeakers which spread audible sound further than parametric systems due to larger wavelengths, and the spread of this sound is defined by the wavelength amplitude.
Focusonics™ have a variety of applications across many different industries due to their unique ability to direct sound to a targeted area. The main focus for our products is within the public sector and visitor attractions, namely:
- Museums and Galleries
- Exhibitions and Showrooms
- Digital Signage
- Public Address and Warning Systems
- Virtual Source Effects
- Command and Control Centers
For greater detail on how directional audio technology enhances each of these industries take a read of our applications page.
Are parametric speakers safe?
Scientific research has shown there to be no adverse effects on users subjected to parametric speakers due to humans being intrinsically less sensitive to ultrasonic waves. The mentioned study had speakers producing sound of an audio frequency of up to 40 kHz with no consequential side effects, and could well have increased this frequency with the same outcome. Note that this is far higher than the human hearing range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Focusonics™ directional speakers are built with the purpose in mind to help improve the everyday running of various industries and improve the quality of life within the home, such as by aiding sleep through emitting white noise.
However, this technology is utilized for a different purpose by the military and police, commonly in the form of a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), as a deterrent to disperse crowds and cause distress to unwanted approaching vessels out at sea for example. The power and amplitude of these directional audio devices used by military forces and police are far higher compared to those commercially available through manufacturers such as Focusonics™.
For any enquiries into joining the parametric speaker revolution or general questions please do not hesitate to contact us.