Archive for category Teleconferencing
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!
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!
Posted by Acoustics First in Absorption, Articles, Broadcast Facilities, Customer Feedback, Diffusion, DIY, Home Entertainment, Home Theater, HOW TO, Media Room, Music Rehearsal Spaces, Music Tracking Room, Product Applications, Recording Facilities, Recording Studio, Studio Control Room, Teleconferencing, Theater, Vocal Booth, Voice Over on July 14, 2016
This month we thought we’d share a few Real-Life pictures of an idea we first introduced back in summer of 2013: The “Back Wall Diffuser Array/Bass Trap”.
This is the DIY project which incorporates our Art Diffusors®, Cutting Wedge® foam and a couple of isolation hangers into one large free-floating unit, which is acoustically decoupled from the wall.
This particular array was put together by a music producer/bass player for his home. As you can tell from the pics, the construction of this unit was executed beautifully and it’s very close to the original concept drawings.
It’s never too late to get started on your own DIY project.
Posted by Acoustics First in Absorption, Animal Shelters, Auditorium, Broadcast Facilities, Classrooms, DIY, Fitness, Government, Gymnasium, Home Entertainment, Home Theater, HOW TO, Media Room, Multipurpose Rooms, Music Rehearsal Spaces, Music Tracking Room, Product Applications, Recording Facilities, Recording Studio, School & Educational Facilities, Sound proofing, Studio Control Room, Teaching Rooms, Teleconferencing, Theater, Uncategorized, Vocal Booth, Voice Over on July 16, 2015
On many occasions, we get asked about common ways to treat a wall (or walls) either for broadcast, podcast, or other voice recording scenario – where they not only want to tame the reflections within the room, but also block a certain amount of sound coming into – or leaving the room.
Budget is frequently an issue, major construction is usually unwanted, but effective results are always required.
We’re going to show you how to handle a room upgrade – cut down on the sound transmission and cut the room reflections – all with the same skills required to hang high quality wall coverings! Let’s see how you can cover a wall with BlockAid® vinyl sound barrier to block unwanted sound, then go back and cover that with an absorptive layer of Sound Channels® wall covering to finish it off!
This treatment is not recommended for renters, as this is not an easy upgrade to undo. However, if you have an extra bedroom you are using as Podcast studio, this is a great way to treat it… Let’s get started!
Good job! Now, take a breather while that dries, and notice how much less sound is passing through the walls. This is when you will notice that the sounds are now coming from under the door, and through the leaky old window. These can be taken care of in different ways…. but the easiest way is the same way you deal with keeping the cold out! Get some weather strip, a door skirt, seal the gaps around the frame of the door, and windows, maybe go out and buy some heavy curtains for the windows… if you have some leftover BlockAid®, you can always get some Industrial Velcro and temporarily stick a piece over the window!
Installing Sound Channels®
This treatment is a common first step in treating many professional broadcast studios – it gives you extra isolation with the barrier and takes the edge of the sound reflections. Many professional environments then go back and add some additional treatments such as bass traps, diffusers, and broadband absorber panels – especially if these studios are planning on bringing in any musical guests.
This isn’t just for home studios. It works great for kids play rooms, bedrooms, home theaters, home gyms, and any place you want to block sound and tame the sound inside the room.
Customize your space as you will, but this treatment is a consistent winner for cost and performance, and is a great way to get started without breaking the bank!
Posted by Acoustics First in Auditorium, Broadcast Facilities, Classrooms, Diffusion, Home Entertainment, Home Theater, Media Room, Multipurpose Rooms, Music Rehearsal Spaces, Music Tracking Room, Recording Facilities, Recording Studio, Studio Control Room, Teaching Rooms, Teleconferencing, Uncategorized, Vocal Booth, Voice Over on July 4, 2013
Four score and seven years ago (1926), movies had just begun integrating sound along with the visuals, as Warner Brothers released Don Juan – syncing a 33 1/2 rpm audio disc to the video as part of the new Vitaphone system. The era of talkies had arrived, as did a new era of fake accents.
While we still have those fake accents from the days of yore (and Johnny Depp as Don Juan), we have new technologies to bring us our entertainment – high-definition video on big screens with 10.2 digital surround sound, playing in home theaters that rival the best public theatrical venues.
While we have seen (and heard) the technological evolution of movies to what they are today, we have also seen (and heard) the evolution of acoustics – and the one area I’m going to discuss today is one of the fastest evolving acoustic disciplines – Diffusion.
Diffuser design has come far from the early days of scattering sound by changing the angle of your wall, or the shape of the room to negate, dilute, or diffuse unwanted or undesirable acoustic waves. Today, acoustic diffusers are mathematical and scientific wonders, designed to be elements that are inserted into your listening environment to create an acoustic space that is open and airy.
During this evolution of diffusion we have seen the rise of many shapes; The Pyramid, the Barrel, the Binary Arrays, Flat Panel, 1D and 2D QRDs, and more… a veritable cornucopia of geometric shapes and mathematically produced profiles, which are scientifically sound, but fundamentally, inorganic.
The notes on the instruments we play, are based on math and physics, but the music we play ebbs and flows from the pounding of drums to the smooth bass lines, from the intimate vocals to screaming, and from the heavy metal acts to classical symphonies (with or without a heavy metal act). Diffusers have followed suit, changing their shape along with the changing industry – making advances as new discoveries are made.
Diffusers have become important acoustic treatments in listening rooms, recording rooms, sound stages, and theaters – embrace the diffusers! Embrace the future Don Juan’s and their terrible accents… ok… just diffusers… fine.