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Understanding Terminology In Acoustic Design

Whether it’s an office space or university, event space or restaurant, acoustics play a very crucial role in the experience of a space. The success and failure of the setting sometimes hinges on the acoustic performance of the architecture. Before you plan the acoustic strategy for your commercial space, you first need to understand the terminology of acoustic design. Below are a few important terms that you will often hear when you plan the acoustics of your space.

What is Sound Absorption? 

Sound absorption is a process of absorbing sound waves within a space and is also known as acoustic treatment. Sound absorbing products are known to reduce or eliminate echo and reverberation within a room. Sound absorbing products are created using soft materials that can soak up sound waves on impact and are used to improve the sound quality and clarity. Sound absorption is an important factor in schools and colleges, recording studios, lecture rooms, sports arenas, concert venues, cinemas, theaters, etc. 

A product’s ability to absorb sound is known as its Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC). NRC ratings range from 0 to 1, with zero implying no sound absorption while 1 means that the product absorbs all sound waves that come in contact with it. 

What is Sound Dampening?

Sound dampening is a process to reduce or lessen the sound wave’s amplitude. Using sound dampening products does not eliminate the noise in a space completely, but it helps in reducing the noise dramatically. Sound dampening reduces acoustic vibration within the structure, wall, or system and helps in mitigating unwanted noise. Both sound absorption and sound dampening achieve the same goal of unwanted noise mitigation, but they do it in a different way. 

What is Noise Reduction?

Noise reduction, as the name suggests, is the process of reducing noise in a space. Noise reduction techniques consist of passive and active methods. Passive noise reduction technique involves reduction of radiated noise through energy absorption whereas active noise reduction involves reducing source strength or modification of acoustic fields to achieve noise reduction. However, active noise reduction is mainly used only at low frequencies. 

What is Acoustic Performance?

Acoustic performance is an important consideration in the design and operation of a space. It involves how the space performs acoustically and includes minimization of noise transmission from one space to another and controlling characteristics of sound within spaces themselves.