Five Principles of Acoustics

Each room requires its own unique sound characteristics. How a room sounds and feels depends a lot on the acoustic properties of the materials in the room – for example, the acoustics of a concert hall are adapted to amplify the orchestra’s music. If you were to listen to the same orchestra in a gym. The audience will probably not appreciate the music as much. Concert halls are designed for their acoustic qualities, sound absorbtion is required in some places and reflection in others.

Reflection

The correct reflection of sound is critical to the experience of a space, particularly when avoiding electrical amplification. Stable and non-vibrating surfaces are ideal to carry the
sound waves to the audience.

Absorption

By capturing sound waves, absorbing surfaces will shorten the reverberation time, and also reduce disturbing noises. Absorption and reflection work together; optimal combinations create harmonious sound experiences.

Transmission

An important aspect of building acoustics, sound transmission is the transfer of sound through materials. Sound insulation in wall and ceiling cladding can help isolate sound waves, and therefore reduce transmission, minimising noises in adjacent rooms.

Diffraction

Diffraction happens when sound waves bend around obstacles and travel beyond small openings. As it is more pronounced with long wavelengths, low frequency sounds are heard clearer past barriers than high frequencies, improving the experienced sound quality.

Diffusion

Reflecting and dispersing the sound waves, diffusion can create depth and improve the overall sound experience of a room, if used correctly. It reduces echoes and makes rooms
feel larger.

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