Acoustical engineering refers to the features of a building that affect the overall sound quality of the interior. Since sound is conducted by waves through the air, the materials of a building will affect sound quality, volume and how far sound travels before those waves are absorbed into the walls and other surfaces. Acoustical engineering is very important for any structure, but especially for a building that is used to host concerts and other such shows, and where instruments are played such as in a church. Note a few important considerations about acoustical engineering so you can discuss these with a contractor for your new or existing building.
1. What is the purpose of sound absorbing materials?
Sound absorbing materials are meant to not just control the amount of noise that you may hear in a room, but they can also cut down on things like echoes, delayed echoes that may actually reduce speech clarity and understanding, and the volume of noise created by large crowds. When you use sound absorbing materials in a room, you may notice that the space seems quieter, but that it's also easier to understand people who are speaking around you. It's even easier to concentrate, as there is less distraction from people's footfalls, doors closing, and the like.
2. Don't all soft materials work to absorb sound?
Because sound travels in waves through the air, sound absorbing materials need to be able to actually absorb those waves to cut down on sound and echoes. Not all soft surfaces do this; true sound absorbing material will be more than just soft but will be created with air pockets or other openings to actually absorb sound. As an example, many fabrics will absorb sound because of the air pockets in their weave, but true sound absorbing fabric will have a looser weave to absorb more sound waves and may be made of thicker fabric that won't allow the sound waves to pass through. When you need to reduce sound in a facility, you need to choose actual sound absorbing materials and not just any fabric or soft surface.
3. Will sound absorbing materials reduce the echo of loudspeakers?
For the best sound quality in a building, you need to use the right materials and surfaces but also consider where loudspeakers are placed. Speakers that are too close together may create an echo effect simply because a person can hear both at nearly the same time. For the best sound in an auditorium, work with an acoustical engineer to choose surface materials and to place speakers effectively.
For more information, contact acoustical consultants in your area.