As you may remember learning in science class as a child, sound waves continue to bounce around a room (reverberating) until they lose all of their energy. Smooth, hard surfaces reflect sound waves well; duller, rougher, and softer surfaces absorb more sound. This explains why you tend to hear more echoes in rooms with hard surfaces as opposed to those with soft carpeting, drapes, ceiling tiles, etc. If you want to minimize, diffuse, or eliminate sound reflections, consider installing acoustic panels. These sound-absorbing products can greatly improve your room’s acoustics. To learn about their benefits and where to put acoustic panels, please scroll down.
THE BENEFITS OF ACOUSTIC PANELS
Acoustic panels are available in a variety of styles and materials, and they vary in their type of sound treatment and their level of effectiveness. To select the right acoustic panels for your room and ensure that you make a smart investment, work with experienced and knowledgeable audio-visual professionals. If you use acoustic panels correctly, you can enjoy all of the following benefits:
- Prevention of ringing, repeating, and hollow sounds
- Prevention of echoes and other reverberation issues
- Assistance with noise control
- Elimination of excess sound (sound proofing)
Some people avoid acoustic panels, fearing they will destroy the aesthetics of a space or appear clunky and unappealing to the eye. Luckily, these days you can find acoustic panels in a range of styles to suit your decor and design preferences. For example, Southwest Audio-Visual blended a variety of audio-visual technology, including acoustical panels, into the Silver Dollar Room’s rustic decor to create a harmonious blend of rural simplicity and modern technology.
Acoustic panels most benefit rooms with multiple hard surfaces and spaces where sound is of critical importance. For example, you might find them in convention centers, gymnasiums, places of worship, boardrooms, cafeterias, and meeting halls. They are also very important in concert venues and recording studios, where musicians want to amplify direct sound (coming from their voices or instruments) and mitigate extraneous noises.
Luckily, deciding where to place acoustic panels is not crucial to their success. So if you base your decision largely on aesthetic preferences, you should still benefit from the panels’ presence. However, you can increase acoustic panels’ effectiveness by installing them in strategic places. For example, keep the following tips in mind:
By placing a panel in or near a corner of the room, you can increase its absorption per square foot. Therefore, you won’t need as many panels to achieve the same result.
Locate primary sound sources in the room (such as speakers) and place acoustic panels at their “first reflection points.” The first reflection point creates the most discernible echo in the room, and it can confuse the listener by adding sound clutter. This occurs because the sound reflected off this point arrives at the listener’s ear just after the sound that reaches the ear directly.
There are two main types of acoustic panels: absorbers and diffusers. Absorbers, as you might expect, absorb sound energy, reducing reverberation and muffling noises. Diffusers, on the other hand, scatter sound energy, controlling it and improving the room’s overall sound quality.
Don’t “deaden” the room by absorbing all the sound with panels. This can be disconcerting and uncomfortable as well. Instead, use some diffusers to bounce the sound to different areas
If you would like to improve the auditory experience of a room by adding acoustic panels, please contact Southwest Audio-Visual. We provide a variety of A-V products and services, including acoustic treatments like sound panels, absorbers, diffusers, and barriers. Plus, we have worked in a variety of venues, including convention centers, gymnasiums, cafeterias, boardrooms, and meeting halls, and we can help you decide where to put acoustic panels. To get started, please contact us online or give us a call at 877-887-4900 (Springfield) or 636-225-4327 (St. Louis). We would be happy to help you with all of your A-V needs.