Overview of Sound Control
Having a minimum knowledge about the different materials and methods available for improving sound quality in an enclosed space is an essential input for correct design and planning of an enclosed space like a room or public space. For those involved with sound quality control for providing a better experience for guests and residents or occupants who enjoy the facilities in their project, the following guidelines will be helpful.
Sound Control Treatments
Poor sound quality is usually the result of uncontrolled reverberation or echo. The reason is that in most cases the rooms are built with materials that have very high reflective properties. Examples are concrete, drywall, wood, metal, glass etc. Therefore we have to use sound control materials of high quality.
The sound control treatments for improving the quality of sound in any room can be grouped into four categories.
Absorptive: The way to eliminate excess echo is by absorbing frequencies of the middle and higher order.
Reflective: if you find that a room is too dull, then installing some reflective materials will help to brighten it.
Diffusive: Adding diffuse materials we can remove direct reflections and get a balanced sound.
Bass Traps: Bass traps help to absorb or remove undesirable frequencies of the lower order bass resonance. You get better overall quality.
Excessive Reverberation control
Sound energy coming out of the speakers or other sources collides with walls, ceilings, and floor inside a room. If the surfaces are untreated, the sound waves falling on them will get reflected. If you do not control them, the room will sound as though it is a cave. The room will not be ideal for a music concert or for intelligible speech.
Excessive Padding for sound control
Over treating a room by completely covering the walls with acoustic materials will not help. It is like untreated wall. Such over-protected rooms will have less brightness. Sound becomes dull and lifeless. Both are not desirable.
Rating of Sound Control
The effectiveness of sound control materials is most commonly rated by NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) measurement. Like in the case of STC (Sound Transmission Class) ratings the focus of the NRC ratings is on frequencies in the range 125Hz and 4000Hz. While the STC ratings refer to the controlling of sound, NRC ratings deal with the ability of the acoustic material to absorb sound. Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) varies from zero (fully reflective) to 1.0 (fully absorptive)
The absorption coefficient indicates the efficiency of sound absorption of a material. If a material absorbs 75 percent of the sound energy then the absorption coefficient is 0.75. That means 0.75 absorption units per square foot. If a material has 1.0 rating, no sound is reflected back and it is very good for sound control.
There are so many soundproofing materials in the market claiming varying levels of sound absorption properties like open cell foam products. Glass Fiber Boards are reported to be giving the best value for the money and effort needed to install.
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