Here at Acoustics First, we often receive inquiries from business owners who have moved into a commercial building shared with other tenants. Unsurprisingly, the most common acoustic issue is excessive sound transmission between neighboring businesses.
In commercial buildings with multiple tenants; such as outlet malls, office buildings and shopping centers, it is important to understand the nature of the neighboring businesses, especially ones directly next to, above or below an occupant. The following are categories of adjacent tenants with distinct acoustic environments which can disrupt or be disrupted by neighboring businesses.
Standard Adjacencies: These neighbors tend to be have soft to moderate ambient noise levels that range from about 40-75 dBA, which generally remain constant throughout their operating hours. This often includes low-moderate levels of background music or chatter that has no significant amounts of low bass frequencies. Some examples of these spaces would be standard retail, electronics, clothing, or shoe stores, coffee shops, grocery stores, department stores, call centers, or an office with an open layout. The requirements for sound isolation associated with these types of adjacencies are less stringent, so standard construction practices are generally acceptable.
Dynamic Adjacencies: These neighbors come in two categories “loud” and “soft”. The neighbor that would be categorized as “loud” would have an average of ambient noise levels above 75 dBA for long periods of time throughout operating hours. This level of noise sustained over long time periods will conceivably disrupt other neighbors that share adjoining walls. Some examples of these spaces are pre-schools or daycares, kennels (doggy day cares), high-sound-intensity fitness studios (cycling, aerobics, Zumba, CrossFit, etc.), bars/restaurants with loud or live music, recording studios and live music venues.
The dynamic neighbor that would be categorized as “soft” would have average ambient noise levels below 40dBA during operating hours. With this type of noise level, there is less tolerance for excessive noise coming from adjacent spaces/tenants. It’s important to minimize the overspill of noise to these spaces to avoid disturbing them. Some examples of these types of spaces would be doctor or law offices, spas/massage therapy, yoga studios, upscale retail, fine dining restaurants, libraries and book stores.
Dynamic adjacencies will usually need specialized acoustic treatment and/or construction in order to control excess noise transmission. If you are surrounded by dynamic neighbors (both loud and soft) or would classify your business as dynamic, you may have to apply fundamental construction and extensive acoustic treatment to control noise transmission. That said, even after taking these precautions, the noise transmission may not be reduced to tolerable levels. Some examples of these situations would be a high intensity fitness studio next to a yoga studio, a live music venue sharing a wall with an upscale restaurant, a Law Office above a Daycare or a recording studio under a book store. Avoid the hassle and expense of extensive construction by choosing your neighbors wisely!
So remember: when you are considering commercial locations for your business it is quite possible that you may encounter a number of these issues. It’s always best to design your space with the acoustic requirements of your neighbors in mind.
Nick Lane, an independent audio engineer whose credits include Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire, contacted Acoustics First® seeking help with his project studio. This process would convert the bonus room in his house (a second floor space above his garage) into a Project Studio.
After receiving some measurements and photos, we went to work designing a layout for the space.
Placement of panels and ceiling clouds were optimized to reduce early reflections and trap bass, and a combination of Model D’s and C’S were used to widen the “sweet spot” of his room.
“Sounds really good!….. High end is sooo much less harsh…… walking around the room, the low-end doesn’t disappear in places anymore” – Nick Lane
For our first post of 2017, we thought we’d share this video produced by our friends at Graveyard Carz! When the reality show had noise issues with their compressors while filming, they solved the problem by using Stratiquilt™ Acoustic Blankets from Acoustics First®. This video shows a before and after comparison and is a great example of the practical application of these industrial sound control blankets.
You heard right – with both ears! (or Eyes?)
The Acoustics First® simulations took a huge leap forward toward more accurately modeling real world acoustic environments in two important areas.
- Ability to simulate Two sources (Now in Stereo!)
- Modeling Absorption to strategically remove energy from a space!
These two additions to the Acoustics First® simulations allow a vast improvement to the modeling of acoustic field development – and, while still in the early development stages, has already been instrumental in advancing the development of systems and products to improve acoustics in numerous ways.
See for yourself: In this most recent simulation, we compare the development of the acoustic field in two spaces with identical stereo sources – one room is basically a concrete box, while the other is a concrete box treated with absorbers and diffusers.
Untreated vs. Full Treatment Room Sim (Two Channel – With Absorption and Diffusion!) from Acoustics First®.
- Absorbers at early reflection points (Note Early reflection in First room)
- Diffusers breaking up specular reflections
- Absorbers constantly removing energy from the space – greatly reducing the overall intensity over the span of the simulation.
- This simulation is only modeling .046 of a second!
We hope you find this informative and stimulating and we will continue future developments of these simulations and try to add more functionality and realism to help all those out there to better be able to visualize the different ways you can affect the acoustics of a space.
For some of our previous Simulations – Click Here!
As many of you know, Acoustics First® invests a great deal of energy in the development of the science of acoustics. Here are three ways that we are making advances that help people learn and actually Visualize acoustics!
Those interested in sound diffusers have certainly noticed that Acoustics First® has produced a Diffuser Data book, containing all kinds of test data about how our diffusers contribute to the sound in your space. This information is a great advancement and we have worked closely with the ASTM committee developing this test method. Some people wonder exactly how the test produces the data that we report, and we have developed a simulation to show exactly how the sound energy is sampled during this test.
Acoustics First – Diffuser Data Test Demo from Acoustics First®.
We have also made leaps and bounds in using simulations to show the different ways that diffusion develops in a space. Depending on the type and placement of the diffusers you install, the diffuse field will develop at different speeds, at different frequencies. We can now show a couple of simulations of the development of a diffuse field to help you visualize how sound moves in room without treatment and with two different sets of diffuser treatments.
Acoustics First – Room Simulations from Acoustics First®.
Bonus video! Imagine being able to see the Untreated room and the Model D room from a different angle – To be able to move around the outside of the room and see how the sound field develops from a different perspective. Imagine no more! Here it is!
Acoustics First – Sound Field Development Simulation – 3D Panning from Acoustics First®.
If you prefer to use YouTube – you will find the videos uploaded at our YouTube channel here.
We hope these helped you to “look” at acoustics in a whole new way, and stay tuned – more advancements are coming soon!