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16 Acoustic / Home Theatre Consultants

Architectural acoustics (also known as building acoustics) is the science and engineering of achieving a good sound within a building and is a branch of Acoustical engineering. It analyzes noise transmission from building exterior envelope to interior and vice versa. The main noise paths are roofs, eaves, walls, windows, door and penetrations. Sufficient control ensures space functionality and is often required based on building use and local municipal codes. An example would be providing a suitable design for a home which is to be constructed close to a high volume roadway, or under the flight path of a major airport, or of the airport itself.

Within a building acoustical treatment helps to limit and/or control noise transmission from one building space to another; to ensure space functionality and speech privacy. The typical sound paths are ceilings, room partitions, acoustic ceiling panels (such as wood dropped ceiling panels), doors, windows, flanking, ducting and other penetrations. Technical solutions depend on the source of the noise and the path of acoustic transmission, for example noise by steps or noise by (air, water) flow vibrations. Within a room, all surfaces should be treated based on their sound absorbing and reflecting properties. Alternatively surfaces should be covered using acoustical panels.

Ideal acoustical panels are those without a face or finish material that interferes with the acoustical infill or substrate. Fabric covered panels are one way to heighten acoustical absorption. Perforated metal shows also sound absorbing qualities. Finish material is used to cover over the acoustical substrate. Mineral fiber board is a commonly used acoustical substrate. Finish materials often consist of fabric, wood or acoustical tile.

There are three ways to improve workplace acoustics and solve workplace sound problems – A = Absorb (via drapes, carpets, ceiling tiles, etc.); B = Block (via panels, walls, floors, ceilings and layout) and C = Cover-up (via sound masking). While all three of these are recommended to achieve optimal results, C = Cover-up by increasing background sound produces the most dramatic improvement in speech privacy – with the least disruption and typically the lowest cost.