Most large spaces we all deal with, including houses of worship and conference rooms, have problems with reverberation, early reflections, and echoes which interfere with the listener’s ability to understand the presenter’s content. This interference is especially pronounced with higher frequency sounds in music and when speakers use words including certain consonant sounds.
To solve these problems, some rooms are designed with walls that are not parallel or that have Helmholtz resonators—cavities scooped out of the wall to suppress reverberation. Ideally, the presenter’s voice or the music you’re hearing will arrive at your ear without interruption from a previous note or previously spoken word. When these sounds arrive at the same time your brain must decide which sound is the one it’s supposed to be hearing—similar to how noise cancelling headphones work.
Unless you are dealing with new construction, altering the architecture of your space is likely unpractical. This is where proper speaker placement and aiming, as well as sound treatment come in.
There are several forms of acoustic treatment. Possibly the most important of which is the bass trap. Bass frequencies are especially long and powerful. Think of how far away from a concert or loud car you can hear the bass. Bass traps are mounted in the corners of rooms and typically made from porous materials including fiberglass and dense foam. These materials effectively “soak“ up the bass frequencies allowing the new bass sounds to properly hit the listener’s ears without interference from previous sounds.
Acoustic panels are another important piece in the world of sound treatment. Like bass traps, acoustic panels absorb sound waves, though they are thinner, making your space less echoey. This means they are not as effective at catching bass waves. Conversely, where bass traps are quite conspicuous in the corners of your room, acoustic panels lining the walls can be matched to the decor of the room or even be made to look like art, completely blending into the space.
Rooms with high ceilings are attractive, but also contribute to extreme sound reverberation. Ceiling clouds help alleviate this. These acoustic treatments are quite similar to acoustic panels. They are lightweight and can be mounted directly to the ceiling or suspended. In some situations, they can even be stylized and modern looking. It is likely that you have been in a space with ceiling clouds before and thought they were just decorations.
Diffuser panels serve a different purpose. Bass traps, acoustic panels, and ceiling clouds are designed to absorb sound from a room. Too much of this can be detrimental to the overall sound profile of a space making it seem too quiet between words or notes. Diffuser panels are three dimensional and can look like bookshelves. The hard surfaces and deep pockets allow sounds to bounce back into the space in random directions. This helps keep some sound in the room making the space seem more alive.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Together we can determine the best equipment to maximize the sound in your space.