Tech Showcase: Acoustics and Sound Masking

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The science and practice of crafting acoustical environments have certainly entered the spotlight in recent years with lighter, more effective materials, superior measurement devices and more sophisticated treatment techniques. Users and venue owners have also evolved into more knowledgeable and demanding clients more aware of the value of a solid acoustical foundation. At the same time, the trend toward thinner staffing and open office spaces has put renewed focus on speech privacy and less distractive work areas. The devices here represent the recent advances in shaping and fashioning the sound of a room.

Acoustical Solutions AlphaSorb Panel Kits

Designed for echo and reverberation control in variety of critical sound applications, the Acoustical Solutions AlphaSorb acoustic panel kits have all of the mounting hardware required for wall installation including 2-prong angled impaling clips, drywall anchors and screws. The AlphaSorb QS acoustic panel kit provides a choice between three sizes, two thicknesses and ten colors. On the surface is Guilford of Maine FR701 Style 2100 acoustically transparent fabric and underneath it is a high density fiberglass acoustical core. The AlphaSorb Acoustic Panel Room Kit can be used for rooms up to 20x20ft. The AlphaSorb Pro Acoustic Panel Room Kit adds absorption with an acoustical substrate two inches thick. All panels have a Class A fire rating.

Acoustical Surfaces Sound Silencer

Sound Silencer wall panels from Acoustical Surfaces can be applied directly on walls and ceilings for effective noise control. Composed of Rigid Porous ARPRO Acoustical (P.E.P.P.) Planks, the panels have a lightweight, impact, moisture, bacteria and fungi resistant, tackable surface. They are available in pre-cut 24×24in. and 24×48in. sizes and custom cuts up to 25x49in. The fire rating for these is ASTM E84 Class A and they are available in white and charcoal colors. The surface of each panel is water resistant and non-abrasive. Also from Acoustical Surfaces are Sound Silencer ceiling tiles, dBA (Diffuser Blocking Absorber) wall panels and ceiling tiles along with Sound Silencer acoustic baffles.

Acoustics First Tone Tiles

Acoustics First made their Tone Tile acoustical panels to be paintable so they can be perfectly matched to the room décor in their environment. As decorative as they are functional, each panel has an acoustical core of 1in. Fiberglass 6 PCF added to molded fiberboard with resin hardened square edges. They are rated Class A per ASTM E 84 and are mounted with impaling clips or other mounting options. The panels can also be mounted with 2in. stand-off clips to increase the low frequency absorption by providing an air gap behind the panel. Back lighting can be placed in the air gap to further enhance the decorative effect.

Acoustical Fulfillment Perf Panel

The FulFill PERF Panel by Acoustical Fulfillment is a fabric-wrapped panel that utilizes a perforated sheet on the face of an absorptive fiberglass core. The perforated sheet is designed using a random binary sequence determined by Gaussian random number theory. Low and mid frequencies are absorbed while the high frequencies are reflected and diffused. This product allows consultants and designers to effectively treat a space while also sculpting the high frequency response, maintaining speech intelligibility and musicality of a space as needed.

Atlas IED ASP-MG2240

Atlas IED has a completely self-contained two-zone sound masking controller in the ASP-MG2240 with its two 20-watt 70.7V amplifiers including control software, separate analog masking generators with EQ, 24/7 scheduler, balanced mic/line input, auxiliary input for background and audio line output. All of the settings for these can be stored in the unit or in a separate PC as a configuration file. Equipped with internal DSP, it can cover an area of up to 7000 square feet or two zones each up to 3500 square feet. Customizable speech privacy enhancement can be turned on when needed along with paging and background audio. The sound inputs have selectable 5-band EQ and high/low pass filters to work with a hi Q feedback filter and audio output limiters.

Auralex ProPanel

Auralex Acoustics offers their 2in. thick ProPanel acoustical panels in stock sizes of 2x2ft. and 2x4ft. for smaller rooms but the size can be extended up to 4x8ft. to cover larger spaces. A wide variety of fabric colors can be used to cover the hard edge fiberglass core and all of these panels have an ASTM E-84 Class A fire rating. ProPanel mounting options include impaling clips, cloud anchors and snap-on anchors. ProPanels are designed to reduce unwanted acoustical reflections, reverberation and improve speech intelligibility. In addition to the standard panels there are ProPanel bass traps for 90-degree corners. For entire rooms Auralex has the ProKit-1 and ProKit-2 acoustical treatment packages. Both kits include two-inch thick 2ft.x4ft. beveled wall panels and reverse mitered corner bass trap panels.

Cambridge Sound Management DynasoundPro

The DynasoundPro Networked system from Cambridge Sound Management is the only sound masking system that allows each speaker to be individually controlled remotely via software, which dramatically improves the uniformity of sound masking coverage. Power is delivered through standard Ethernet cable to a small signal processing box, the DS8000, installed in the ceiling. Each DS8000 has 8 speaker outputs. A music and paging interface can also be added to the system, allowing masking, paging, and music all to be controlled at the individual speaker level.

d&b audiotehnik DS100

Combining d&b loudspeaker systems with state of the art processing power, object-based mixing and sophisticated room emulation, d&b Soundscape is a toolkit to enable the creation of an unparalleled listening experience. The core of the d&b Soundscape is the DS100 signal engine, a high performance audio processor with Audinate Dante networking and a powerful 64x64 level and delay matrix with extensive input and output processing. The full potential of d&b Soundscape is accessed via two optional software modules that together form a powerful toolkit for sound designers. d&b En-Scene is a positioning tool allowing the individual placement and movement of up to 64 sound objects. d&b En-Space is a room emulation tool which can add and modify reverberation signatures for any given space, giving an enriched, natural-sounding reproduction. These reverberation signatures are emulations derived from acoustic measurements of six internationally renowned performance venues and convolved within the audio processor. This results in a natural modification to the acoustic characteristics of a space, whether indoors or outdoors. Noise reduction in acoustically live environments can make a serious impact and Draper’s EchoControl interior acoustic shading fabric reduces reverberation and overall sound level while it filters and diffuses light to reduce glare and control solar heat gain. One of the primary sources of room sound reflection is the glass in windows and skylights. Permeated with Microban antimicrobial product protection and Greenguard Gold certified to prevent off-gassing, The acoustic shading material is available in a variety of colors. It has a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.60 with zero being completely reflective and 1 completely absorptive. For Draper’s motorized screens, the the headbox or fascia hiding the motor and roller mechanism can be wrapped in EchoControl Fabric to quiet the screen operation. This material can also be decoratively hung in other areas with custom printed graphics on the surface.

GeerFab Acoustics ProZorber

The GeerFab Acoustics ProZorber acoustic panel offers a stylish, elegant look for any studio, rehearsal, broadcasting, or listening environment. Available in 24x48in. and 24x24in. sizes, each one is a fabric-wrapped 7# density rigid fiberglass panel with a scrim backer and square edges. Guilford FR701 Black, Coin and Bone are the standard retail colors, but custom sizes, colors and edge details are available. GeerFab does extensive custom work for restaurants, offices, hospitals, breweries, recording studios and other public and private spaces. The ProZorber comes with angled impaling clips for wall mounting and offset impaling clips for added bass absorption are optional. They are currently sold at select online and brick/mortar MI outlets with a wider release planned.

GIK Acoustics Alpha and Impression Series

The Alpha Series acoustic panels and bass traps from GIK Acoustics feature a core of rigid fiberglass absorption material made from 100% recycled components containing no formaldehyde. They are enclosed in 6in. deep carefully selected plywood with crossbanded layers and feature balanced construction to avoid swelling and warping. The units can be wrapped in either the standard 9 fabric options a choice from the full line of Guilford of Maine acoustic fabrics. The Alpha Series panels are finished with an attractive plate which has a mathematical sequence of slots for one-dimensional or two-dimensional scattering and diffusion. Similar rigid plates are used in the Impression Series with a selection of square, narrow or rectangular shapes. These can be customized with any of six surface patterns and five finishes.

Lencore i.Net Headend G8225

Lencore developed the Spectra i.Net to be one of the most sophisticated sound masking and paging systems available. Its extensive network capabilities allow it to successfully mask intrusive speech, create privacy and deliver intelligible paging. The system can work in very large environments with its unlimited zoning creation and management, plug and play speaker options, graphical user interface and local, remote and infrared control capabilities. This is an open-platform design that offers a wide variety of interfacing ability with Crestron, AMX, BACnet, Cisco and other control systems. In addition, the Spectra i.Net system has the option to include a local and global MPI to create multiple building paging with programmable prioritization of input and paging devices. The Spectra i.Net Engineered System Solution is fully assembled in a branded enclosure that creates a professional, organized and accessible space for the headend equipment.

LogiSon Sound Masking System

The Logison Acoustic Network offers a high level of controllability in a sound masked environment with small adjustment zones of one to three loudspeakers and fine control over both volume and frequency. The TARGET tuning process automatically tunes each zone to the desired sound masking curve. The LogiSon loudspeakers have a 4in. diameter to remain unobtrusive while producing a frequency spectrum sufficient to mask a wider range of noises. Operation can be performed either from the compact panel or from a PC equipped with the Logison Acoustic Network Manager software. The user can manage the settings and zoning for a loudspeaker, a group of loudspeakers, or an entire campus and the Page Director Software can create custom paging zones. A programmable keypad and accompanying remote control allow easy adjustment of sound masking and paging settings.

Meyer Constellation

Flexible acoustics have become possible with the Meyer Sound Constellation system with which reverberation time, early reflections and other key parameters can be adjusted using carefully crafted presets. This offers a custom designed sound environment perfect for audience and performers of any type of event. The system combines a whole room of carefully arranged speakers and microphones with advanced digital processing in the Meyer D-Mitri platform and VRAS processors so that the user can go from a lecture to an orchestral concert with the push of a button. This eliminates the need for physical rearrangement of sound reflecting surfaces thus saving substantial staff and time resources. Many installations have a fully integrated Meyer Sound audio system incorporating Constellation, sound reinforcement, and cinema playback.

Primacoustic London 16 Room Kit

The London 16 Room Kit from Primacoustic is a set of their Broadway panels and it is designed to cover rooms up to 200 square feet in area. The Broadway panels are constructed of high-density 6lb glass wool with resin hardened edges. They are available in three architecturally neutral colors with choice of square or beveled edges. 42 panels are included in the London 16 Room Kit and they are suitable for home theater, commercial venues and studios. Tile covering fabric can be specified in gray, beige or black. The kit consists of 24 12x12in. scatter blocks, 12 12x48in. control columns and 6 24x48in. broadband panels. The kit also has 48 surface impalers and 16 corner impalers included for mounting along with drywall anchors and screws. 

Prosocoustic Evolution

Composed as a mixture of basalt rock and slag steel microfilaments pressed into sheets, the Evolution Series acoustic panels from Prosocoustic are covered in a polyester blend acoustic grade fabric (acoustic suede is available) and they have an aluminum exoskeleton frame attachment system. Each panel can be configured as a dipole or single sided absorber and they are configurable into gobo arrays, ceiling clouds, hanging baffles, microphone booths and isolation cabinets. The Evolution panels can be purchased in a wide range of colors.

Snowsound PLI Acoustic Space Dividers

Snowsound’s PLI Acoustic Space Dividers form a versatile partition system. Designed by Marc Sadler, the panels can be arranged in custom self-supporting configurations or set up in linear positions using chrome steel panel bases. Each panel is constructed of variable density polyester internal padding with Snowsound technology and they feature Polyester covering in Trevira CS fabric for a durable, tackable double-sided surface. The panels provide Class A sound absorption and with a thickness of only 1/4in. each absorbs 94% of human speech frequencies. The sections are joined with a pair of elastic hi-tech polymer straps available in black, silver and brown. With an ASTM E-84 Class A fire and smoke safety rating, the PLI Acoustic Space Primacoustic London 16 Room Kit Snowsound PLI Acoustic Space Dividers are sold in seven standard colors and there is also a choice of five special order colors.

Soft dB SmartSMS-NET

SmartSMS-NET from Soft dB is a sound masking system featuring an automatic 240 narrow band equalization process along with a continuously adjusted masking sound level based on ambient noise measurement. It is a networked system that can control large and small masking zones. An adaptive sensor measures the acoustic response and background noise of each work space. Then a specific masking noise that is most effective for this area is generated and transmitted. The masking level is automatically adjusted in response to noise levels. The system is able to adapt its response to suit either open plan or private office spaces, delivering more speech privacy and with the smartphone application, end users can adjust the volume of the masking sound and music for their zone.

Yamaha Active Field Controller

AFC3 is the third generation of active field control systems from Yamaha Commercial Audio made to dynamically enhance room acoustics. Reverberation times can be changed with the selection of advanced presets that operate an acoustical feedback system. Reverberation time and sound energy density can be controlled with transparency while preserving the original acoustical characteristics of a room. AFC implements a special patented technique called Electronic Microphone Rotator (EMR) and it employs FIR filters, a LAN switch, an array of microphones, the AFC processor, power amps and speakers to adjust the entire acoustic character of a performance venue. The enhanced AFC3 version of this processor includes matrix mixers, delay lines, parametric EQ’s, and routing functions as well as specialized DSP components developed specifically for AFC applications.




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