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How to Acoustically Treat an Auditorium Space....

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Acoustically treating an auditorium is a key component to a properly functioning event space for entertainment, community gatherings, presentations and performing arts. Constructed to house large numbers of people, proper acoustics are critical to an auditorium’s function. Without acoustical treatment, the audiences with have a poor experience. Prior to the advent of amplified equipment, auditorium design was based on the concept of pushing sound from the stage out into the audience. Most modern facilities today require a precision to sound quality that was  not previously possible.  Most rooms are have a flat, reflective drywall finish. Sound from these surfaces simply reflects into the space, causing reverberation and flutter echo. This is distracting to both the listener and the presenter. In this scenario, improving the speech intelligibility is imperative. HOW TO DO THE ACOUSTIC TREATMENT AN AUDITORIUM To reduce the echo between walls, the most common approach is to add sound absorbing acoustical panels. Most acoustic panels consist of fluffy, porous material that trap sound. Any area with large amounts of flat reflective space should receive treatment. Apply acoustic material to stage areas, side walls, back walls and balcony faces. This prevents sound from reflecting back into the room by absorbing the sound’s energy. If there is no absorptive material on the back wall, music and sound will simply reflect back into the room. This distracts from audience experience.

Acoustic Wall Panels are often the go-to choice for acoustical treatment. They are available in a wide variety of core materials and finishes. The most popular are fabric wrapped acoustic panels with so many color choices available, you are sure to find something to complement the existing decor. With a range of sizes, they offer the most versatility when designing the auditorium’s acoustic treatment. There are even options for panels with artwork. If a seamless look is desired, a fabric stretch panel system may be professionally installed. A fabric track system provides the flexibility to use different materials behind the fabric, to either increase or decrease absorption.

If the auditorium does not have carpet and padded chairs, there will most likely be issues with floor to ceiling reflections. Address these concerns by suspending ceiling clouds. These are more effective than wall panels since the back side of the cloud will absorb sound as well. As an alternative to ceiling clouds, acoustical foam may be glued direct to the ceiling surface. For spaces looking that only require music clarity, they may use a combination of absorptive panels in conjunction with sound diffusersDiffusers disperse and scatter the sound to reduce standing waves while maintaining sound clarity.

DESIRED RESULTS: Speech intelligibility is a necessary part of a functional auditorium space. To hear properly, the reverberation time (RT60) should be approximately 1.0 to 1.5 seconds. The goal for ideal acoustics in an auditorium is to have the reverberation time equal throughout the venue. So, if the stage is higher or larger than the rest of the room, more material may be necessary to create a uniform reverberation time. Spreading acoustical materials throughout the space reduces echo and prevents reflections that interfere with the sound reinforcement, performances and presentations.


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