Acoustics 101 - What You Need To Know

Acoustics 101 - What You Need To Know

We’ve all been there. You’re in a foyer, bar, restaurant or office space and it’s uncomfortable; something’s just not right. You can’t properly hear the person next to you and it’s interfering with your personal comfort and ability to communicate... Chances are, it’s bad acoustics.

If the acoustics of a space is poor, the customers, staff and visitors won’t have an enjoyable experience. Productivity is reduced, learning is inhibited and the ambience of the space is severely compromised.

Luckily, there are things you can do to improve the situation...

Here we explain some important details you need to know about acoustics.

What’s the difference between soundproofing and reverberation control?

  • Acoustics is better sound, it’s about optimising the quality of sound within a space. The Encyclopaedia Britannica defines acoustics as “the science concerned with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sound”.
  • Soundproofing is all about sound transfer. Think dense mediums like concrete or mass loaded vinyl sheeting; it’s keeping external noise out and internal noise in.
  • Reverberation Control is reducing the amount of echo in a space. Reflective mediums such as concrete and glass bounce sound around whereas absorbent materials such as Autex Quietspace Panels help to control sound and reduce echo by transferring sound energy to heat energy.

What affects the acoustics of a space?

Every room is different, making it difficult to predict the way sound waves will react within it and therefore the quality of sound.

The acoustics of a room will depend upon the:

  • Shape and volumetric size of the space
  • Materials used in the walls, floors and ceiling. i.e. reflective or absorbent substrate mediums

Flat surfaces, like ceilings and walls, can create a highly reflective surface that causes sound waves to bounce around in every direction. This can create echo, reverberation and distortion and sometimes an unpleasant listening experience for humans.

How to create better acoustics in a space?

By controlling the way sound is reflected, diffused and absorbed by surfaces, acoustic solutions such as wall and ceiling products can be used to improve sound quality within a space.

The idea is to find the right balance, softening, dispersing and diffusing the sound to reduce the unpleasant echo and distortion.

This can be done by installing acoustic panels that work to soften surfaces like ceilings and walls. Essentially turning them into sound sponges; absorbing some of the sound energy, reducing echo and producing better sound quality.

There are many different strategies available to deal with acoustical challenges. The key is to find the perfect balance between diffusion and absorption. Not enough absorption will result in too much reverberation and echo, whilst overdoing it will create dead sounding space. 

This is why we use science (Acoustic Appraisals) to ascertain the existing RT (reverberation time) of a space. Once this is established, we can cross reference it to Australian and New Zealand standards and come up with a solution that fits within these guidelines while taking budget, aesthetics and functionality into consideration. 

Where can I get acoustic advice?

If you think your space requires an acoustic solution, contact our dedicated team at Acoustic Solutions Store. We can help you choose the best solution for your space. Our online store specialises in materials that improve the acoustic performance of internal spaces. Get in touch.

Back to blog