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Tech Showcase: Acoustics and Sound Masking

The latest advances in plastics, molding and active acoustical environment creation have propelled the field of acoustics and sound masking into very competitive territory. There is now a wide range of solutions to suit specific installations and that introduces a new challenge to carefully profile the space and sort out the options for the best budget and result.

The Pro Room Packs from Acoustic Geometry deliver a combination of phase-coherent diffusion, proven low-frequency mode mitigation, and broadband sound absorption. Available in any of the company’s Basic fabrics and including mounting hardware, the Pro Room Pack 10 provides eight 2in. by 4in. fabric wrapped wall panels, six ceiling clouds, ten medium curve diffusers and four black CornerSorbers. It’s a perfect solution for recording studios, audio post production suites and high-end home theaters.

Acoustical Fulfillment offers their Flex-48 Adaptive Treatment System. Each panel is made of a brushed stainless steel Flex-Tray which is attached directly to a wall, a laser radiused polycarbonate Flex-Shield and a fabric wrapped FulFill Acoustical Panel. The Fulfill panel core is high density fiberglass with chemically hardened edges and it has a Class A rating per ASTM E84. When fully exposed with no shield in place, the FulFill panel behaves as a passive absorber, removing energy from the room. When the Flex-Shield is installed, a barrel type diffusor is created.

The AlphaSorb acoustic panels were designed by Acoustical Solutions for sound reduction and reverberation control. Available in standard or custom sizes, up to 4ft. by 10ft. in 1in. or 2in. thicknesses, the panels can be outfitted in Standard color options which are the entire Guilford fabric FR701 Style 2100 series line, but designer selected fabric wrapping can be purchased on request. Edge options include square, bevel, radius, or mitered. Back mounting accessories are impaling clips, Z-clips, and Rotofast snapon anchors.

The fix for turning very loud environments into quieter places is the Acoustical Surfaces Sound Silencer acoustical sound panel. Constructed of Rigid Porous ARPRO Acoustical (P.E.P.P.) Planks, the panels are Class A fire rated. Mounted directly onto walls or ceiling surfaces, the slightly textured panels are water resistant for indoor use. Moisture, impact, bacteria, and fungi-resistant, the panels are non-abrasive. They can can be bought in one or two-inch thickness and areas of 2ft. by 2ft. and 2ft. by 4ft. or custom sizes.

Acoustics First uses implied symmetry in the design of their latest creation, the Aeolian Sound Diffuser. The edge height variation of the two dimensional, organic quadratic diffuser is less than the flange width, creating an “implied edge” while maintaining a complete asymmetry which reduces acoustic lobing associated with some symmetrical designs. The diffuser can be wall mounted or installed into a 15/16in. face lay-in ceiling grid systems. The material is Class A thermoplastic with a fire rating of Class 1 (A) Per ASTM E84.

StrandTec wood fiber ceiling and wall panels from ASI Architectural absorb sound and dampen reverberation while providing thermal insulation. They can be purchased in any of three fire resistant thicknesses and there are a number of options on mounting. Composed of wood fibers, Portland cement and water, the panels have several edge styles including beveled, tegular and square. Class A fire rated, the panels are suited for schools, churches, band rooms, gymnasiums, and corporate facilities among others.

An AtlasIED solution for speech privacy, background music and paging is the Z4-B 4-Zone High Definition Acoustical System. Capable of operating in multiple configuration modes, the Z4-B can provide four-zone indirect field sound masking, two zones of direct field sound masking, or a combination of indirect sound masking and BGM zones. The included PC project design software has custom presets already configured. Speech Privacy Enhancement mode applies additional acoustical energy to the surrounding environment and can be set to notify meeting attendees.

The Auralex Acoustics ProMAX V2 is a portable sound absorption unit that is lightweight and adjustable in height using the supplied mounting stands. Each set includes two 2ft. by 4ft. panels and the two round base stands. Each panel has a Studiofoam front and a semi-reflective angled rear surface. Tonal variability is achieved by altering the quantity, orientation and spacing of multiple ProMAX v2 panels. Color options are charcoal, burgundy, and purple

The Qt Conference Room Edition from Biamp’s Cambridge Sound Management product line leverages the power of patented, direct-field sound masking emitters that are placed outside the conference room to keep conversations private. Participants activate the system with a single button on the in-room control module, and the LCD displays provide clear indication of the privacy status. The system includes two lighted privacy signs, one of which acts as a confirmation of privacy to conference attendees in the room; the other notifies those outside the room that the system is active. Using only seven watts of power, the Qt Conference Room Edition can be turned on as needed for meetings or left on continuously

Soundscape from d&b audiotechnik combines d&b loudspeaker systems with processing power, object-based mixing and sophisticated room emulation. At the center of the system is the DS100 signal engine with Dante networking and a 64 by 64 level and delay matrix. This can operate with two optional software modules used by sound designers. Up to 64 sound objects can be placed and moved with d&b En-Scene. d&b En-Space is a room emulation tool which can add and modify reverberation signatures. These reverberation signatures are emulations derived from acoustic measurements of six internationally renowned performance venues and convolved within the audio processor.

The new GeerFab Acoustics MultiZorber II panels are easily hung on walls, mounted on microphone stands or attached in corners to provide customizable sound absorption. Each consists of a CertainTeed 2in. fiberglass substrate wrapped with Guilford FR701 fabric on the front and nylon sailcloth on the back. The panels can be quickly removed and transported to use in another environment. Available in bone, coin, and black colors, they can be purchased in 24in. by 24in. or 24in. by 48in. sizes.

GIK Acoustics applies their 242 Acoustic Panel to deal with early reflection points, flutter echo, or general decay in any sound environment. Made in three basic shapes and custom sizes, the panels are equipped with a rigid frame for free standing integration with metal stands or boom stand brackets and an air gap for added absorption. The fiberglass core provides good low end absorption and there is an optional built-in Scatter Plate for an even balance of absorption, diffusion, and scattering. A black wire is included on the back for hanging like a picture frame.

The i.Net engineered system solution from Lencore combines sound masking, paging, audio and UL2572 Standard mass notification. Versatile overlapped zoning capability, plug and play speaker configurations and a graphical user interface for control, viewing and reporting are all part of the system. Along with provisions for operation by Crestron, AMX, BACnet, Cisco and other third party control systems, i.Net can also be run from a PC, touchpad or tablet. Other features include adaptive equalization and the Free Topography Terminator which enables the network to run in any loop or star configuration.

The LogiSon Acoustic Network uses a PC or a small control panel that can be hung on a wall or installed in an equipment closet to provide zoning and entire network control. Granular security permissions allow users on-demand control within offices using programmable keypads and remotes. Each zone can be as small as one, two or three speakers with 100 volume steps in 0.5 dBA increments. The Target tuning process automatically tunes each zone to the desired sound masking spectrum while there is also music and paging control.

Lowell Manufacturing has the Model SMGA-5A sound masking generator/amplifier with analog pink noise signal generator and both Pre-EQ and Post-EQ high impedance line level outputs. Capable of a 5W sound output to drive separately purchased noise masking speakers, the amplifier has an independently controlled auxiliary hi-Z line level input to mix paging, music, or signaling with the masking system. The speaker output has bass, mid, and treble controls and the tough steel case comes with mounting brackets and a 24VDC power supply.

Using the revolutionary concept of electronically adjustable room acoustics, Meyer Sound developed the Constellation system that blends high quality speakers, microphones, digital processing, and advanced algorithms. It controls early reflection time, reverberation and other parameters to custom tailor specific acoustical performance for a specific venue and enable the room to offer perfect response for a wide range of musical performances. Visual blending is also a priority with component availability in custom colors. Multipurpose venues can save a great deal of time and labor by using preconfigured pushbutton acoustical environment settings.

For rooms up to 150 square feet, Primacoustic can provide their Broadway London 12 Room Kit in high-density 6lb. per cubic foot rigid glass wool with resin hardened edges and they come in black, beige or grey fabric or in Absolute White paintable finish. Each room kit includes the corresponding mounting hardware and installation instructions. The edge treatment and the micromesh contain and encapsulate the inorganic glass fibers. Tested to meet stringent Class-A/1 fire ratings, the room kits have an acoustically transparent polyester tweed fabric face. Each kit comes complete with 22 panels, mounting impalers, wall anchors and screws.

Prosocoustic WAVE panels use echoshield rock wool absorption material and they have a diffusor on the inside of the rear panel to scatter the reflected energy of the acoustic wave after it passes through the material. The 2in. panels use varying densities of material for better broadband absorption. In custom configurations, the density of the material made from steel production by-products and basalt rock material can be adjusted to affect specific sound frequencies. To prevent off-gassing and to be more environmentally friendly, Wave panels use only mechanical fasteners. Rather than using glue, the fabric is held in place by a rubber spline.

The SSP6 Multiducer from Revolution Acoustics delivers ultra-broad sound masking coverage with uniform SPL throughout the work area, and may be simultaneously used for background music and paging as well as sound masking. Far fewer units are required for comprehensive coverage than are needed in systems with conventional emitters, greatly reducing system costs and integration time. Completely invisible in-ceiling installation maintains work space aesthetics. A patent-pending ceiling tile adaptor panel is also available which seamlessly adds sound masking to rooms with drop ceilings.

For recording studios and other locations where acoustic surfaces may need to be frequently moved around, Snowsound has its PLI Oversize panels as double-sided free-standing 1.0 NRC partitions. Consisting of polyester internal padding, they have a polyester covering in Trevira CS fabric which is completely recyclable. Each unit absorbs 94 percent of human speech frequencies and the 1/4in. thick panels can be fitted with straps that allow several of them to be attached to form a wide surface. The powder coated steel stand holds the panels, available in 48in. by 48in. and 48in. by 63in. sizes, perfectly upright and straight.

Soft dB’s SmartSMS-NET sound masking system automatically adjusts itself to increase its masking function during active conversation and reduce the operation in quieter periods the sound level of which is picked up by sound level sensors installed in the room ceiling. A masking zone can be completely calibrated in less than one minute, thanks to Soft dB automatic calibration process and the Project Manager software features a graphical user interface that makes the system very simple to configure and operate. The system is able to adapt its response to suit either open plan or private office spaces, providing more speech privacy. With the smartphone application, end users can adjust the volume of the masking sound and music for their zone.

The AFC-3 (Active Field Control) system from Yamaha is the third generation of AFC systems from the company. This acoustic management system can improve the architectural acoustic characteristics of a venue while preserving the room’s natural acoustic signature. The heart of the platform is the AVC3 Core Unit based on Yamaha’s DME64N digital mixing engine. The unit includes matrix mixers, delay lines, parametric EQs, and routing functions as well as specialized DSP components. Installations such as the one in McClatchy High School in Sacramento, California can be configured so the facility can use the AFC speakers for surround sound when showing movies.



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