Q: How much acoustic treatment does my organization / office / home need?
A: This is a common question. and one that has many variables.
Acoustic Engineers at Next Industries work with clients to understand the dynamics of a project and ultimately determine the amount of correction needed to achieve the results the customer needs.
Places and spaces requiring acoustical treatment are widely varied. Some are quite reverberous, some have asymmetrical surfaces that cause delay or “ping pong” sounds. Building materials also contribute to the way sound waves interact within a space. Hard surfaces such as stucco, polished stone, hard wood, and plaster reflect broader ranges of sound frequencies than softer materials. The shape, size and complicity also dictates the acoustic challenges of a room. Sound waves can be focused, projected and even amplified by the nature of the design and materials utilized in construction. This creates unique challenges to Acoustic engineers.
To understand how much treatment you may need for your space, we start by determining your needs. Here are a few examples of spaces and their acoustic requirements:
- A church setting requires acoustic treatments that focus the audience to the stage and minimize ambient background noise from the audience perspective.
- Home Theaters and Listening rooms require proper acoustics to enhance soundstage and clarity for the sound system as well as potentially helping isolate the listening area from the rest of the home.
- Office spaces require localized isolation to reduce background ambient noise from phone calls and to increase productivity and focus.
- Hospitals and Clinics are challenged by overcoming non-intended conversations from room to room or from personnel to patient to minimize potential for HIPAA violations and lawsuits as well as providing environments in which the doctors and staff can easily communicate with elderly or other hearing challenged patients.
- Schools and Learning centers require focus on the teacher in the classroom and reduced ambient background noise levels in common areas.
- Gymnasiums have large time domains as the size of the space creates large reverberous spaces that are best treated with balanced absorption as activities occur throughout the space.
The above examples are just a small example list of varied requirements. But as you can see, determining the needs of the space becomes clear and that no one solution fits all.
After the needs have been determined by activity and application, the next question is, “How much treatment then factors into the design process?”
Without going into lengthy explanations of all types of measurements that can be used to determine reduction coefficients and analysis for other acoustic treatment options. What is best is to give you a general idea of reduction or other corrective applications. A little understanding of human hearing helps this process. The human ear perceives loudness and background radiated sound energy based on binaural perception of timing, loudness both perceived and measured, as well as frequencies and harmonic content. All of this adds up to a sensory system that perceives a small amount of acoustic correction creates a slightly noticeable improvement where as increasing corrective measures will increase exponentially the perceived reduction of background noise.
Example for using absorption type room correction: A room treated with 20% acoustic absorption could be perceived by persons as being somewhat “better” at reducing echos, “boominess”, and overall loudness of the room while cutting reverberation levels. 30 – 40 % treatment can be perceived as being a large improvement giving sound a feeling of “warmth” and lending to a softness of the room, also reducing background noise to the point where many conversations can be had simultaneously without severe distraction. 50 – 70% reduction can boarder on levels from the feeling of a quiet space to the room almost sounding dull or silent to the persons. Depending on the overall room use, function, and loudness of activities in the space determine these factors.
Next Industries acoustical engineers help clients determine their exact requirements. Next Industries not only employs some of the best acoustical engineers in the industry, but also produces its own product lines of acoustical correction products to specifically meet the needs of even the most demanding spaces. Call or email today to discuss your needs with Next Industries.