There is always a legend. One says that in Italian coliseum the Emperor would hear a whisper in the most distant corner of the arena from his balcony. All achievements of the past paved the road to what we have today and we, on our term, are building the future of a perfect acoustic ambience in enclosed space. NYCeiling, Inc. shares a few interesting facts and tendencies of the modern day in acoustic treatment in this article.
Every word pronounced must be heard
The majority of modern architects are deeply convinced, that projecting concert halls, theaters, music halls, sound recording studios must be a concern for a proper acoustical treatment. The rest types of facilities can be left with no attention to their acoustic qualities. NYCeiling has been involved in acoustic treatment for quite a period of time and we are sure, that facilities where human speech is heard must be acoustically treated as well.
Places where it is indeed important to hear every word and escape unnecessary noise:
- Classrooms, lecture rooms, conference halls.
- Home theaters and movie theaters.
- Offices, business centers, laboratories.
- Medical and educational institutions.
The first step is to sound insulate the room. Not a simple task, especially in a place with a high outdoor activity.
1. Incapsulate a room - a modern trend
Easy but costly. In order to avoid influence on the room from the outside, contemporary concert halls are projected as stand-alone capsules that have connection with other elements of the building through a system of suspension components ( hung on hawsers or placed on top of supporting rubber pillows).
As in Rome Congress Palace "Nuvola", Moscow International House of Music (see below).
Rome Congress Palace "Nuvola"
2. Sound insulating architecture.
Тhis variant is less expensive, but puts limitations on types of buildings, choice of materials or construction spots.
It is not recommended to place elevators, HVAC systems with high noise level and other noise producing systems and devices. The difficulties are caused by subway lines, trams, high ways, take off lanes and many other outside air born sounds. Taking into consideration all these facts, the building materials have to be picked accordingly.
Forms and shapes for natural acoustics
To better understand what shapes a room can take in order to to improve it's acoustic ambience, we need to know the way sounds behave in enclosed space.
Geometric theory of acoustical processes is based on the laws of geometric optics.
Movement of sound waves is observed as the movement of light waves. That is why the character of reflection depends on the type of the surface.
Reflecting from a flat surface, appearance of a new source occurs, which is observed as a new element, as a reflection in the mirror.
Reflection from a bent surface, focuses the source in one focal point. Convex surfaces (columns, wall piers, large molding elements) disperse the sound.
Reverberation is another important sound effect, especially in enclosed areas. It is created when a sound is produced in an enclosed space causing a large number of echoes to build up and then slowly decay as the sound is absorbed by the walls and air.
This is most noticeable when the sound source stops but the reflections continue, decreasing in amplitude, until they can no longer be heard. In reality reverb comes to a listener when bounced of the walls and ceiling.
A human possesses an ability to integrate sounds in one hearing picture only if sound waves reach his ear in 48 ms. Whatever is heard after that length is heard as an echo. The original sound reflection from barriers, walls, ceilings, which fits in 50 ms is considered as a supporting sound. It improves the original sound that reached an ear within 48 ms, makes it deeper, more round, complete, increases it's loudness by 5-6 Db, makes it what we call a good acoustics.
The more barriers we have - the better the acoustics. Two major tendencies root from this simple rule:
1. Complete refusal from a rectangular shape of a room
A ceiling with dispersing elements is recommended for a better acoustic ambience (b and c on the picture).
Capacity of a hall must be a concern in choosing a form. Small rooms must have a shape of rectangular parallelepiped. Being narrow, amount of sound reflections, that fall on the audience, grows so fast in the beginning and end of a reverberation process, that has a large impact on sounds spreading in the enclosed space.
Chamber Hall. Architect Santiago Calatrava. Tenerife, Spain.
Sound dispersing elements must be put in place in wide halls, which can also be decorative. Dividing walls and ceilings by large elements, helps to disperse sounds in the room. These can be elements of different shape, either bent or convex.
Concert Hall. Architect Santiago Calatrava. Tenerife, Spain.
A complex construction of walls and ceilings, made in accordance with acoustical requirements makes a space multi-functional with a comfortable ambience. It can be utilized as a concert hall, theater room, a perfect place for speech seminars and dancing shows.
2. Getting a performer closer to the audience.
The stage is build in such a manner, that audience surrounds it almost from all sides, which gives an opportunity for a larger number of listeners to be closer to the sound source.
Concert Hall plan. Moscow International House of Music. Moscow, Russia.
Тhis kind of staging is more preferable for philharmonic, chamber and literary performances.
The intensity of a sound decreases fast along with the growing distance. It is necessary to place as much audience as closer close to the stage as possible.
Not recommended to place audience further than 100 feet from stage for literary performance, 112 feet for chamber, 160 large philharmonic performances.
Materials for acoustical treatment.
The vital part in acoustical treatment of an enclosed space plays the covering material used for walls and ceilings.
It is insane to use ferroconcrete, especially thin elements of it or plaster. Wood is one of the best choices, the sound in wood treated rooms gains a distinct timbral coloring.
Concert Hall. Moscow International House of Music. Moscow, Russia.
Well, while concrete helps you to make any shape you like, working with wood is expensive and not easy craftsmanship.
Latest technology offers us acoustic stretch wall and ceiling covering. Besides one of the best acoustical qualities in the construction field, it helps you to create any geometrical forms you like along with saving your time and costs. It is a simple two element product that will make a revolution in acoustic treatment of places, which never considered to be acoustically treated before.
Results of laboratory tests: Sound insulation grade according to DIN ISO 354: 2003-12. Test material: acoustic ceiling black/white
Results of laboratory tests:Sound insulation grade according to DIN ISO 354: 2003-12. Test material: acoustic ceiling printed
It easily integrates with all types of lighting and hides all wires and communications.
Absolute victory of acoustical stretch covering on many factors is obvious in front of conventional, expensive, time consuming in installation materials. Speed of installation, creative designs with high definition digital printing, translucent fabric with high acoustical qualities is a new era of acoustical materials
NYCeiling, Inc. team is proud to offer you this phenomenal material that gains popularity here in New York.