Archive for category Multipurpose Rooms
Reclaiming historic spaces and updating them for modern functions is a bit of a balancing act. Often, the aesthetics of the space are tantamount, and should be minimally impacted by the materials and methods used to bring them up to modern standards. Acoustic treatments are no exception, and it is usually best if the materials blend into the space – or at least don’t detract from the overall “vibe.”
When this old factory was converted into a multi-function space with a restaurant and brewery, there were concerns about the build-up of sound. As is often the case, the rustic patina of the concrete and brick surfaces were a focal point in this space, leaving the ceiling as the primary treatment location.
The solution was to install 2″ Tone Tiles® directly to the ceiling. This solution allowed for the sound build-up to be absorbed, while blending into the whitewashed ceiling structure. The rustic charm of the room was maintained, while having a modern, intimate acoustic profile, which is more conducive to gatherings and functions.
Posted by Acoustics First in Absorption, Art Galleries, Articles, Auditorium, Broadcast Facilities, Diffusion, Home Entertainment, Home Theater, HOW TO, Industrial Facilities, Media Room, Multipurpose Rooms, Music Rehearsal Spaces, Offices, Product Applications, Recording Facilities, Studio Control Room, Teleconferencing, Theater on April 29, 2022
For the May 2022 edition of “The Construction Specifier,” Acoustics First was asked to illustrate the use of absorption and diffusion in creating optimal acoustic spaces. The article is a great reference for understanding the types of acoustic absorbers and diffusers, as well as some use scenarios like offices, critical listening spaces, and larger communal spaces.
Note: This version has been edited and the advertisements are removed. The full published version of the May 2022 digital edition can be found on The Construction Specifier’s website here.
Glass is a universal building material that is attractive to architects and clients, while posing a variety of challenges to acousticians.
Due to its transparent nature, glass creates an open and pleasing atmosphere. Curtain walls, skylights and windows allow for a view both outward and inward; connecting occupants to the building’s natural or urban setting. The use of natural light can lower electricity bills, brighten the rooms of a building, boosting the mood of the occupants. Glass is also a renewable building material, with 30% of new glass comprised of recycled materials. For all these reasons and more, glass will continue to play a major role in architecture in the future.
However, glass has a number of acoustical properties that can contribute to a poor occupant experience. To illustrate this, let’s take a closer look at what happens when sound interacts with glass.
When sound encounters a window, the glass converts some energy into thermal and kinetic energy (resonate vibrations), allows some sound to pass through, and reflects the rest back.
Glass only “absorbs” sound near its resonant frequency (and subsequent harmonics). The resonant frequency of glass is dependent on many factors, including density, thickness and panel size. As is the case with many “hard” building materials, the absorbed sound accounts for only a small fraction of sound energy’s interaction; most sound is either reflected or transmitted through the glass. Sound reflection and sound transmission are two separate acoustic issues with separate solutions.
Sound Reflection – Reflected acoustic energy from an internal sound source can cause a number of issues for occupants. Large, uninterrupted spans of hard materials like glass and gypsum cause specular reflections (echoes) and contribute to excessive reverberation and noise levels. These conditions can contribute to a poor acoustic environment in which speech is difficult to understand and music clarity suffers.
Specular reflections are compounded when there are other hard surfaces in the room. Flutter echo, heard as “ringing”, happens when sound bounces back-and-forth between parallel reflective surfaces (between walls or floor-to-ceiling). Flutter echoes greatly degrade speech intelligibility and music definition. This is a big problem in studios, offices, conference rooms and theater/media rooms. If there is an abundance of reflective surfaces, background “noise” from latent energy will cover up or distort the direct sound.
Typically, these issues are corrected with sound absorbing materials. However, we cannot simply “resurface” the glass with sound absorption, like we would with concrete or gypsum, without impacting transparency. Until someone invents invisible acoustic foam or fiberglass, sound reflections off glass will continue to be a challenge that needs accounted for.
Sound absorptive materials like thick curtains or acoustic shades provide adequate sound absorption and coverage flexibility. Other creative solutions include “stand alone” furnishings like tall, leafy plants or translucent perforated plastic sheets mounted over top the window. Essentially, any irregular surface you can introduce in front of the glass will help diffuse sound and break up harmful wall-to-wall reflections.
Sound Transmission – More than 90% of all exterior noise comes in through doors and windows. This can be partially attributed to poor weather stripping. “Leaky” windows will not only cause uncomfortable drafts, but allow sound to more easily work its way into our homes and businesses. Sound is a little like water; it will “pour out” through any gaps in the building assembly. Improving sound-loss across glass often starts with replacing the weather stripping and properly sealing any joints with non-hardening acoustic caulk.
Air-tight, limp, massive materials are the best at blocking sound. Glass is rigid, and its heft is limited by transparency requirements that keep it thin. Glass transmits a lot of sound energy, particularly at low frequencies. Laminated glass and insulated glazing assemblies both reduce sound transmission through glass by reducing resonance and adding air-space.
Including an acoustic consultant early in the design process will allow architects and owners to make well-informed decisions. An acoustical consultant will best identify potential pitfalls of using glass and recommend glazing systems and construction techniques to minimize future headaches. This measured approach will result in more beautiful looking (and sounding) spaces!
With more parents returning to the office, we’ve recently received a handful of treatment requests from day-care facilities dealing with an influx of boisterous children.
Little Safari Day care reached out to us in July 2021 for help with their space. Little Safari’s multi-purpose room is used for play, music, reading, arts/crafts, meals, games etc….. lots of moving and laughing = lots of noise! According to the owner “The noise level is deafening at times to the point you can’t hear anything, just noise”
Technical consultant Cameron Girard settled on a remediation package that included FireFlex Acoustic Pyramid Foam panels distributed throughout the ceiling of the multi-purpose room. Safe to say, they were very happy with the results!!
From the owner…..“Cameron, Thank you for all of your help and expertise in sound suppression!!! I have had people tell me upon entering the front door “wow, it’s much quieter in here” Such a noticeable difference. You may have saved my hearing and sanity!!!”
Sometimes you don’t have a large budget for an installation crew, but are in desperate need of acoustic treatment. Also, in complex spaces it helps to have a guide. So, when Acoustics First® was contacted to design a layout for Vine & Branches, our team gave them some extra help.
Having a projector area was also required, and there was concern about having a large section of wall that was untreated. The solution was in install two Ultra-White Sonora® panels at the projection location, and use the panels themselves as a screen – a method that has been used in many environments in the past.
Note: These installers were not professionals, and most of the installation was done by one person – who commented…
Looks pretty much like the CAD drawing you guys did for us. I did 90% of the installation by myself… So, if any of your customers ask about installation, it *can* be done by an untrained person.
With some sound advice and a good guide, any environment can benefit from some acoustic treatment.