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Architectural Acoustics: How a Room Affects Reverberation Time

Published March 5th, 2021 by Audio-Ultra

Whether you're constructing a studio for all local artists to use, working on a grand concert hall, or converting your home into a recording booth, architectural acoustics is a key element that you need to consider. In recording, production, and performance, understanding the acoustic challenges each space can provide will help you improve sound quality. Here's what you need to know about the way room design can affect your overall sound.

This Space Is Too Live

Anyone who's performed in a high school gym or cafeteria will be familiar with this acoustical design nightmare. Every sound reflects, reverberates, and seems to get louder as it echoes. Clap your hands together. If you can hear a distinct, ringing echo with a twangy quality long after your original clap, then your recording space is too live.

The best way that you can fix this is by incorporating acoustics and isolation products to deaden the sound. If investing in full room isolation gear is too much, you can help deaden the room's acoustic energy by throwing in some soft surfaces to reduce echo. (If all else fails, you can resort to the old voice actor trick of throwing a sock around your microphone, which works wonders!)

The Sound of Dead Silence

Some spaces are so damped down that there's no sound movement whatsoever. Everything feels muffled like you're trying to record in a closet surrounded by a bunch of thick coats. You clap your hands together, and all you hear is your initial clap.

In a space like this, you need to find reflective surfaces to let the sound bounce like it's supposed to.

The Problem With Open Concept Spaces

Open floor plans are a nice idea for a studio, home, or apartment in theory. However, in practice, you soon realize that without walls to bounce the sound off of and soft surfaces to reduce echo and other noise, every single sound you make carries across the room. This goes double if you have hardwood floors.

While it is possible to improve the acoustics of an open floor plan, we personally recommend steering clear of them if you're constructing your studio from scratch.

How Can I Figure Out What Improvements I Need?

Aside from the aforementioned clap (or slap) test, you can also play a pink noise and listen for echoes. Alternatively, you can walk around the room and pay close attention to the noise your footsteps make. However, if you've tried testing it on your own, and you're still not sure how to fix the acoustics of your space, there's no substitute for a professional evaluation.

Let's Recap

Architectural acoustics can determine whether your recording space is an echoing nightmare or a deafening silence. By figuring out the type of acoustic challenges you have in your space, you can make the right investments to fix it in the future.

Let Audio Ultra help you make your recording space everything it's meant to be. Whether you need to fix your acoustics or improve your power supply and cabling, give us a call today! We'll be happy to help you.


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