Tips on Good Acoustics for Live Production Managers

Crystal-clear sound in a room with good acoustics is something every concert hall and theater manager wants. Yet good acoustics are not just a general feature that somehow appear on their own. The acoustics in a room affect both how well people hear the sound throughout the room and how much of a good impression listeners have of the facility.

Nice-sounding speeches and audio tracks mean nothing if no one in the room can hear them clearly. While projection and clear diction are both vital for allowing everyone in the audience to hear something, clean acoustics are also necessary.

Background noise, echoes, and excessive sound reflection that amplifies sounds from the surrounding area all interfere with the ability to hear something. To make it easier for people to hear during your live events, you must design your facility to reduce unwanted sounds.

What Happens in a Room When Sound Is Released

Sound is the result of moving air molecules, traveling in waves and funneling into people’s ears. However, not all sound waves reach those intended targets. Many sound waves reach walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture instead.

If those surfaces are hard, the sound can reflect off the surfaces and create echoes. Imagine an apartment you’ve just rented that isn’t furnished yet – you know that echo effect that seems to be so apparent in those places until you add rugs, books, and other soft items? That echo effect is due to reflected sound.

In addition to all this reflection, sound waves that are very low-frequency, like those from a subwoofer, can barrel through surfaces and create vibrations. These vibrations can distract listeners, especially in adjacent rooms. If you run a reception hall that has a couple of adjacent meeting rooms, vibrations from one can make it difficult for people in the other to concentrate on what’s happening where they are.

The object when adjusting the acoustics in a theater or other facility is to reduce those errant sounds and vibrations while amplifying the sounds that people are meant to hear.

Why Reducing Echoes and Errant Reflections Is Necessary

If echoes and amplified background sounds are not controlled, it will be harder to hear the sound that you want audiences to hear. That can give an establishment a reputation for having bad acoustics that make it not worth attending events there. Actors and other speakers in live events may get bad reputations for not speaking clearly, even though the poor sound might not be their fault.

Most damaging is the fact that poor acoustics can cause people in the audience to ask for the sound to be turned up so they can hear what someone is saying. This can lead to them being exposed to dangerously loud sound, which can damage their hearing.

How You Can Reduce Reflection and Echoes

Improving acoustics isn’t that difficult. You need surfaces that absorb sound like thick curtains, acoustic wall panels, carpeting, and softer furniture. But you also need to understand fully how the various corners and curves of the room channel sound, too. Even furniture location plays a role; a hard bench in one area might create an echo because it’s in the direct path of sound from a speaker, but moving the bench to another area out of the sound’s path could eliminate the echo.

A professional acoustic evaluation provides you with an acoustic map of the room. It gives you a framework for damping echoes and enhancing clarity. If you want help evaluating and setting up an acoustically clean facility, contact Koncept Systems for an audio analysis. You can then get better sound with a better audio set-up.

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