Room Acoustic Measurements

Room Acoustics

This page provides an overview on the subject of Room Acoustics. We cover the terminology and list the key measurements required to determine the acoustic properties of a room. We also provide links to how each actual measurement is done.

Room Acoustics is distinguishable from Building Acoustics, which essentially deals with the insulation of noise from other rooms or the outside world.

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What do Room Acoustic experts measure?

Room Acoustics is a broad term that describes the acoustic properties of closed spaces. Measuring and controlling this behavior of waves is particularly useful in rooms where the quality of announcement messages and/or music is important, such as in conference halls, classrooms, concert halls, recording studios, airports, and train stations.

There are three main measurements that assist Room Acoustic experts in characterizing the acoustic properties of a room.
Reverberation Time   Speech Intelligibility   Background Noise (Noise Curve)

 

Why is it necessary to measure?

Rooms with too many or too few reflective surfaces, or too much or too little background noise can affect people’s moods and psyche.

Think of how cold and loud a conversation sounds in a hospital with tiled, reflective surfaces compared to how warm and soft a conversation sounds in a cinema with cushioned seats and walls (of course the purpose of the location has a significant effect on your mood too).

Think of how your mood changes in your office when a heavy construction machine starts up nearby. It is difficult to relax in such a space. Such unnatural-sounding rooms may also make speech difficult to understand, thereby affecting our ability and desire to communicate.

Every room needs to have the background noise under control to make the room fit-for-purpose.

The room should also respond acoustically with an appropriate amount of reverberation. For example, for good speech intelligibility in a classroom, the reverberation time should be around 1 second or less. A classical music concert hall, on the other hand, needs reverberation times of 2-3 seconds to ensure a rich and warm listening experience.

 

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