Room Acoustics

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by RichardJB, Jun 17, 2005.

  1. RichardJB

    RichardJB Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 16, 2005
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    My new home has a Great Room that is 24X19 ft. I am having
    laminate wood flooring in, the room is slightly rectangular
    with double french doors leading to the patio on one end
    and the foyer on the other with the kitchen on one side and
    a wall with a 14ft niche built in on the other. I am putting the wall unit into the niche and my question is
    is it a good idea to add acoustic treatments to the walls before the drywall also will it improve the sound quality?
  2. Tony Loewen

    Tony Loewen Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 21, 2003
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    With wood laminate on the floor and big (I would imagine) glass doors on one end, I would imagine you will have LOTS of reflections. Any kind of acoustic treatment that goes behind the drywall will be more for isolation than for acoustics. Not that that isn't important either. Even if you don't have neighbors, or other people in the house that you don't want to annoy, it also helps to keep unwanted noise out of the room, so you will be competing with less noise. For a good writeup on acoustics, check out Ethan Winer's site. He has some really good info.

    It will explain things a lot better than I can. With so much reflections already in the room, I would suggest alot of absoprtion and diffusion.

    Hope that helps!
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt


    Aug 5, 1999
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    Katy, TX
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    Welcome to the Forum!
    Acoustical treatments absorb or diffuse soundwaves, to minimize or control unwanted echoes and reverb. As such they can’t work if they’re installed behind sheetrock.

    The basics of acoustics are pretty simple:

    • Hard surfaces, which reflect sound.
    • Vast expanses of smooth, uninterrupted surface.
    • Every boundary in the room perfectly parallel to another one.
    • Soft surfaces, which absorb sound.
    • Irregular surfaces, which diffuse sound.
    • Irregular room dimensions and openings, which break up soundwaves and minimize standing waves, thus improving bass response.
    About the worst situation you can imagine, acoustics-wise, is a room that’s perfectly square or rectangular, where all six surfaces are hard. The further you move from that scenario the better acoustics will be.

    In most situations such as yours where a family room is used, the usual irregularities such as built-ins, angled or cathedral ceilings, and openings to other rooms or areas, all improve acoustics. Acoustics will improve further as furnishings and window coverings are added. The hard floor could potentially be a problem, but adding an area rug will help absorb sound. However, wall-to-wall carpet would be better.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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