Archive for category Offices
The current crisis has forced a large portion of the workforce to operate out of their homes. Daily Zoom and Skype meetings have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. For many of us, this shift is only temporary. However, some companies are seeing the benefits of working at home, and are making plans to move employees to permanent remote positions.
I’m sure all of you have been on a conference call in which a team member’s audio is difficult to understand. This could be caused by a microphone or connection issue, but a large number of intelligibility problems are rooted in a room’s acoustics. Let’s take a look at some common acoustic issues in home offices and how they relate to conference call clarity.
Background Noise – Obviously, it’s difficult to understand speech when there is a lot of background noise. It is vital that you isolate yourself from extraneous sound sources as best you can. Some sources (TV, HVAC) are easier to control than others (traffic noise, pets, children etc.). Make sure your office is “closed off” from intruding noise. Remember, sound is a little like water; it will “pour in” through any openings, such as gaps around doors. If possible, install full perimeter seals and door sweeps to improve sound isolation in your office. If you have sound transmitting through a wall, ceiling or floor, you can consider adding a layer of mass loaded vinyl to the assembly in order to help block unwanted air-borne noise. You can then cover the mass loaded vinyl with SoundChannels® like in this blog.
Reverberation – In simple terms, reverberation is the sound energy that remains in a listening environment as a result of lingering reflections. The reverberation time (RT or RT60) quantifies how quickly an impulse sound decays in a space. Reverberation time is dependent upon the volume and surface materials of a given room. Large spaces with hard materials (tile, drywall etc.) have longer reverberation times, while small rooms furnished with “softer” materials (carpet, drapes etc.) sound more much more “dead”. Speaker phone conversations require a very short reverb time, for optimal clarity, somewhere in the .5s range (half of a second). You can reduce reverberation in your home office with the addition of “fluffy” or irregular furnishings, acoustic panels, rugs, curtains and plants.
Flutter Echoes – Flutter echo, which can be heard as an annoying “ringing sound”, is caused by parallel reflective surfaces. In certain critical listing environments, sound diffusers are used to alleviate flutter echo. Flutter echoes can greatly degrade conference call clarity. This phenomenon can occur between two walls or floor-to-ceiling. To control flutter echoes in your office, you should break up any parallel surfaces with furnishings and/or sound absorptive treatment.
Reach out to Acoustics First® for a treatment recommendation for your home office!
Here are a few new pics, courtesy of one of our longtime associates in New York. For this facility, they installed several arrays of our Sonora Ceiling Clouds, some of them in custom trapezoidal shapes! Sonora Ceiling clouds are often a great option in facilities with high ceilings, but limited wall space.
From time to time, we have folks who require a good dose of sound absorption for their space, but desire a less intrusive look than that of ‘standard’ acoustical panels. For situations like this our Tone Tiles® are often the perfect solution. Although these panels are paintable and printable, when left in their ‘unfinished’ state they have a soft white color which is very subtle and tends to blend in well with many different environments. Here are a couple of pics from a recent ceiling installation.
As you can see, the panels almost disappear into the ceiling!
Back in the summer of 2015 we had a good time stuffing a bunch of our Model D Art Diffusors® into an empty storage closet and making a bunch of racket. The results were recorded, with the help of our friend Binaural Bob and the resulting data provided some interesting insights.
Well, Binaural Bob is back! This time we had a larger room than before (10’x9’x8’), and experimented with wider variety of sounds and treatment options. While this is obviously not the same as a controlled laboratory test, it does have a certain ‘real world’ flavor that’s relatable.
For best results, turn off any compression/effects and listen on headphones.
Reference Sounds played through speaker
Ye Olde Balloon Pop Test! (Calibrated 12″ Shiny Red Latex Party Balloons!)
WARNING! BALLOONS ARE LOUD – TURN IT DOWN!
Season’s Greetings from Acoustics First!
Acoustics First would like to offer this Do-It-Yourself gift idea to all of our readers this year.
If you’ve got a creative painting habit, give a customized gift that not only shows your creative talents, but also helps to improve the sound of the room!
Above is a festive holiday painting on one of our 1’x2′ Tone Tiles™.
Want to go a little bigger? We also have 2’x3′ Tone Tiles™ in Stock.
A Second Idea is to get a photo printed on a Tone Tile™.
How about “posting” that photo to the “wall” of your living room, and have a great conversation piece as well as improved acoustics – at the same time !
Season’s Greetings and Happy Gift Giving!
– Acoustics First
* Don’t forget to ask your local printer if they have flatbed printing capabilities.