TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE: Acoustics and Sound Masking

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Acoustic treatment and sound-masking can provide a comfortable and naturally ambient environment. Whether for office cubicles, construction zones, public meeting places, houses of worship, or in the recording studio, all of these environments have a need to acoustically treat the sound energy in a location to make it more functional and pleasant. From masking sensitive conversations in an office suite to containing loud noises on the streets, a wide variety of materials and systems address all of these acoustical demands.

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Acoustical Fulfillment Flex-48

The first product from Acoustical Fulfillment’s Flex System series of adaptive acoustical treatment is the Flex-48. This acoustical panel is designed to adapt to various applications in a recording studio and can change the ambience of the room quickly and easily. The panels are made of two components—an absorption panel and a reflective shield. While the absorption panel removes acoustical energy, the reflective shield creates a barrel diffusor across the absorption panel scattering acoustical energy and increasing the low-frequency absorption of the panel. The panel measures 16in. wide by 48in. high and is 2in. thick, while the shield, made out of polycarbonate with laser-radiused corners, measures 23.8in. wide by 48in. high. This product is available in four colors and includes a metal tray as the mounting device for the panel and shield.

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Acoustical Solutions Acoustiwall Fabric Stretch System

AcoustiWall Fabric Stretch by Acoustical Solutions is a stretched fabric acoustical wall system constructed with rigid polymer stretching system to install fabric over wall surfaces. Providing an almost seamless installation across walls and ceilings, the fabric can also be designed with printed graphics and installed around existing doors, windows, and outlets. The wall should have a core of semi-rigid fiberglass acoustical board or similar specified material and should be installed by an approved installer. The fabric has a NRC of ½in. at 0.55, 1in. at 0.8, and 2in. at 0.95, and a Class A fire rating. The fabric can hide speakers, organ pipes, or can be filled with insulation for more absorption. The acoustical wall system can be applied in houses of worship, conference rooms, theatres and auditoriums, broadcast and recording studios, schools and universities, or corporate offices.

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Acoustical Surfaces Echo Barrier

The Echo Barrier by Acoustical Surfaces provides a reusable indoor/outdoor solution for noise absorption. Built with industrial durability and constructed to be lightweight (13lbs. and 54”x78”) for easy setup and removal, the Echo Barrier is a great product for construction sites or entertainment venues where loud noise is needed to be contained. The panel has a 10dB-20dB noise reduction and can be installed using Acoustical Surfaces’ quick hook system. The panel can be rolled up for compact storage, is weatherproof (IPx6 tested), and fire retardant (BS 5438 tested).

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Acoustics First FabTec

Acoustics First presents FabTec, a sound absorption panel combining FireFlex Class 1 melamine acoustical foam covered in a non-woven fabric. Each panel, weighing about 2lbs., can be easily installed with construction adhesive. The panels can easily be trimmed to fit into unusual spaces. The face of the fabric is compatible with Velcro and is durable to withstand heavy use and is mold-, rot-, and mildew-resistant. Available in 1in., 2in., or 3in. thickness in 2’x4’ sheets. The panel has a 0.65-1.20 NRC and a Class A fire rating.

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Atlas Sound GPN1200K

From Atlas Sound comes the GPN1200K sound-masking kit which includes the TSD-GPN1200 sound-masking generator, the TSD-PS24V250MA power supply, and the TSD-RMK 1RU rack-mount kit. Its variable balanced output matches the input requirements of the Atlas Sound equalizers and amplifiers, and also features a 4W, 70V output for a speaker system with a variable hi-cut filter ranging from 1kHz-8kHz. The PS24VA250MA power supply runs to a DC input generator. The sound-masking generator outputs pink or white noise. Operated by the brushed aluminum front panel with level control and power LED indicator, it includes a security cover. It also contains EQ and gain bypass for line output, and supports up to four TSD Series modules.

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ATS Acoustics Acoustic Diffuser

The Acoustic Diffuser by ATS Acoustics is a 7-well quadratic residue diffuser that is designed to evenly scatter sound energy and assist in eliminating flutter echo and comb filtering. Scattering begins at 325Hz and effectively diffused up to 3kHz. An effective solution in recording studios, auditoriums, and large listening rooms, diffusers give a sense of spaciousness and maintain a room’s natural ambiance. The product is available in sizes 23”x23” or 23”x48” with a 6in. depth, weighs 20lbs. or 40lbs., and comes shipped in a natural-wood finish that can be stained, painted, or clear coated. Custom sizes also available upon request.

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Auralex Acoustics GeoFusor

New from Auralex Acoustics is the Geo-Fusor, designed to address standing waves and flutter echo without removing acoustic energy. Highly recommended for live spaces where sonic accuracy and openness are necessary, the geodesic dome shape creates a highly dispersive pattern diffusing the waves evenly. The GeoFusors are wall and ceiling mountable and available in 1’x1’ or 2’x2’ sizes and are Class A fire rated.

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Barrisol A30 Microacoustic

A stretch ceiling system designed by Barrisol, the A30 Microacoustic has 300,000/m2 micro perforations, making it almost visually invisible. The degree of absorption can be regulated by the distance between the sheet and the wall as well as the material chosen to go behind the fabric. Putting insulation behind the fabric increases the sound absorption average from 0.54 to 0.86 and the noise reduction coefficient from 0.50 to 0.90. The stretch fabric system comes in various combinations of properties including diameter of holes, distance between the holes, thickness of the panel, and thickness of air space between panel and backing, which allow one to select the proper sheeting for the application. The micro-perforation converts sound energy into thermal energy and the friction of air is increased in the hole by resonance of the air between the micro-perforated panel and the backing. This product is made of 100-percent recyclable products, received an A+ on emissions, a Class A fire rating, and comes with a 10-year warranty.

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Cambridge Sound Management Qt Active Emitter

The Qt Active Emitter from Cambridge Sound Management uses patented direct-field technology for an all-in-one sound masking, office paging, and background music system for commercial facilities. The single-source powered speaker (the size of a coffee mug) is capable of both masking and simultaneous reproduction of clear audio sources such as paging signals. Power is via external power supply and power injectors. Cambridge claims the unit is nearly 20dB louder than previous direct-field emitter offerings. Rear DIP switches reduce volume by 4.5dB in 1.5dB increments. It features an extended sound masking spectrum down to 125Hz octave band. A standard slip-ring mount for acoustical tile mounting is included and for ease of install/calibration, the product uses the same control modules and cabling infrastructure as other Cambridge QtPro systems.

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Dynasound Networked System

A pioneer in sound-masking since 1975, Dynasound’s Networked System for sound-masking protects sensitive and confidential conversation, and reduces noise distractions. Featuring independent audio signal selection, volume control, and frequency response to each individual speaker, it operates on industry standard PoE eliminating power drops. Paging and music signals can be connected to the network using the DS3008 processor while each DS8000 8-channel receiver and amplifier contains four sound-masking generators and full DSP processing ability. The Privacy Manager software allows each speaker to be individually controlled in volume, channel, and tone.

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GeerFab Acoustics MultiZorbers

The MultiZorbers by GeerFab Acoustics have a NRC of 0.90 against a wall or ceiling, NRC of 1.35 as a free-standing baffle, and are a low-cost alternative to foam. With a sleek look and rugged durability, the MultiZorbers are lightweight at 2.25lbs. and are 24”x48” in size. The panels can be hung from a ceiling or mounted to a wall using impaling clips or with wire from the corner grommets. It can also be mounted in the corner for low-frequency trapping. The lightweight foam is enclosed in acoustically transparent nylon sailcloth offered in black or silver and is Class A fire rated. This product is available in 24”x24” and 24”x48” sizes.

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GIK Acoustics Alpha Wood Series

The Alpha Wood Series by GIK Acoustics offers three ranges of panels—the 2A Alpha Panel at 2in. thick, the 4A Alpha Panel at 4in. thick, and the 6A Alpha Panel at 6in. thick. The panels are all available in two standard sizes—23.75”x23.75” and 23.75”x47.75”. Panels can be oriented vertically or horizontally or any combination or patterns. With the addition of optional supports, any of the 23.75”x47.75” panels can be used as a freestanding gobo with both an absorption and diffusion side allowing for a movable, reversible panel. Each panel is filled with rigid fiberglass absorption material with a core derived from 100-percent recycled materials and is produced without any formaldehyde or urea formaldehyde. Panels are wrapped in fabric and faced with a blonde veneer wood for one-dimensional scattering. The wood face allows low-frequency waves to pass through to the fiberglass panel for increased low-end absorption. A Corner CT Alpha Bass Trap is also available for absorbing corner low-frequency build up while diffusing the upper frequencies. The bass trap absorbs at 50Hz, sits 47.75in. tall, and is designed to be stacked for floor-to-ceiling coverage. All panels are easy to mount with included saw-tooth hangers except the Bass Trap, which is freestanding.

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K.R. Moeller Associates LogiSon Acoustic Network

In the LogiSon Acoustic Network by K.R. Moeller Associates, the system provides settings and zoning for a single loudspeaker, a group of speakers, or a campus-wide installation using computer software. At the center of the system is the Network Control Panel (NCP-2), which can be wall mounted within a room or a closet. The system can utilize a combination of auxiliary, telephone, and microphone inputs, and paging can be set up to 58 keypad zones through the Page Direct Software. Two external devices can be connected to the Relay Output for sirens, warning lights, or a security system. The Acoustic Network Manager software links to the NCP-2 via Ethernet or wireless link and sends commands to one or a group of hubs.

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Lencore Spectra i.Net

Lencore provides a solution for large office suites and campus-wide installation with the Spectra i.Net system, providing sound masking, paging, audio, and mass notification capability on a network infrastructure. At the core of the system is the Operating Platform (OP) containing independent equalizers and diagnostics, accessible through an integrated LCD screen. Remote web access on a PC, remote control, or touchpad can be used through the Spectra i.Net Configurator to use system settings, information, and reporting. An integrated IR eye offers the ability to access to a port or wall switch to control masking, paging, and audio. The Spectra i.Net is open platform allowing third-party controls such as Crestron, AMX, Cisco, and others to interface with it. There are many hardware options available including microphones and telephones to customize each installation.

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Primacoustic Acoustic Lantern

Featured by Primacoustic is the Acoustic Lantern—a hanging absorber combining the benefits of a suspended baffle with an incorporated design element to represent the look of popular lanterns from around the world. This product is most effective in large open spaces with hard surfaces where acoustic panels are unable to provide enough absorption. The lanterns are offered in four styles—Dragon, Fiesta, Shoji, and Tiki, as well as three fabric colors—black, beige, and grey. Weighing in at 3lbs. to 4lbs. each and standing 24in. tall and 8-10in. wide, the lanterns are made from a high-density, 6lb. per cubic foot glass wool made of up to 40 percent recycled content, and contained in an acoustically transparent polyester tweed. The 8in. depth provides an absorption coefficient of about 1.0 from 125Hz-4kHz. The lanterns are installed using a standard T-bar ceiling tie wire, cable, or chain via an eyehook mounted to the top of the lantern and are Class A rated.

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ProSoCoustic Wave Panel

The Wave Panel from ProSoCoustic uses echoshield rock wool absorption material available in 1in. or 2in. thickness and can be custom configured to have the material density to target specific frequency bands. The echoshield rock wool is moisture resistant, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and made from 80 percent recycled material and 100 percent recyclable after production. Behind the fabric face is a wave diffusor shape pressed directly into the wood of the panel, also made of primarily recycled materials, providing high resistance to warping.

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Soft dB Smart SMS-NET

From Soft dB is the Smart SMS-NET sound masking system featuring an automatic equalization process with realtime adaptive adjustment to the masking sound level. Configurable through network connectivity to customize the system’s performance to match its environment, the control of the masking level is based on the level of noise in the room. A sound measurement of the room is taken using sound level sensors installed in the ceiling. Each zone can be customized with adjustment rate, and high and low limits. The system is comprised of the SMS-NET Master, speakers, adaptive sensors, and the SMS-NET rack mount unit. A graphic control interface, handheld control, paging, music, a monitoring system, calendar adjustment, and LEED design are also featured in the SMS-NET Master.

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Yamaha MRX7-D Processor

The Yamaha MRX7-D Processor offers a unique alternative information masking approach utilizes a masking sound created from human voices, and works by camouflaging conversational content rather than drowning it out. The masker doesn’t sound like noise and is effective at a lower volume than typical masking noise. The masking sound is created from a mix of recorded human voices that mixes with and obscures the content of actual conversations in the environment—effectively painting over them. Because the masking sounds like human voices it is more comfortable to hear. The system can be dialed for privacy protection levels.

More Online

Acoustical Fulfillment

Acoustical Solutions

Acoustical Surfaces

Acoustics First

Atlas Sound

ATS Acoustics

Auralex Acoustics


Cambridge Sound Management


GeerFab Acoustics

GIK Acoustics

K.R. Moeller Associates

Lencore Spectra i.Net



Soft dB




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