When designing a conference hall or a cinema one of the most important considerations is the quality of the sound. Even the most modern and beautiful halls cannot make a good impression on their audience if the quality of the sound is not desirable.
The acoustic goals of a multi-purpose auditorium vary by the type of event being performed. Speech during lectures, meetings and drama performances needs to be loud, intelligible and intimate. Music needs to be full, reverberant, clear and enveloping. There needs to be uniformity across the seating areas, tonal balance and freedom from anomalies such as echoes and flutter. Loud acoustic events such as band concerts and amplified events need to be well controlled, especially in the low pitches.
Background noise is all the sounds one hears when the lecturer is not saying something. There are three types of background noise. Just sit and listen in most any meeting space and you can distinguish operational system noise, intruding outside noise and self-generated audience noise. In order to achieve a strong signal to background noise, the background noise has to be reduced to as quiet as possible.
Let’s start with the basics. The architect designs a great looking and comfortable auditorium. The sound contractor installs a great looking sound system. The people attend the grand opening and are impressed with what they see, but they have gathered for more than a dazzling display of architecture, lighting, electronics, carpets, glass, surface textures and paint.
There are some common words and abbreviations you may encounter when reading about the sound quality of a conference hall, auditorium, etc., and soundproofing products which you may have no idea what they exactly convey.