Reverberation in Rooms and Sound Absorption

Question

We have just finished extension below and I can’t stand the noise! Can hardly hear each other speak and tv sound is terrible. What can I do to improve this cost effectively.  And where is best place to position panels?

Room is 9.5 m long by 4.2 m wide and ceiling height ranges from 2.4 to 5.2 mono pitch. Tiled floors, lots of glass etc.

I don’t want to put curtains up if possible but I am going to get blinds? Any type better than others without resorting to thick material roman blinds. I was thinking about duette honeycomb blinds?

We are going to get thick shaggy rug to take about approx 1/3of floor in front of tv. Also velvet 2 seater couch and cushions etc.

I was thinking of a couple of Artsorption panels for walls . And then maybe material and making our own boards covering with sound absorbing fabric. The walls are dry lined and thick insulation on them so the idea of self adhesive spray as a fixing option is great.

Is that going to make any difference and how may m2 would we need to put up? We are not looking for a perfect recording sound atmosphere, just comfortable useable living space.

Answer

Thank you for your enquiry and attached photographs.  From these I can see that the room has no sound absorption within it whatsoever which will account for the excessive reverberation you are experiencing.  This is one of the problems with the modern look that does not include carpets or fabric covered furnishings.  Changing the couch as you suggest along with cushions will help as will installing a thick rug.  However, the main reason for the reverberation being probably worse than expected is because of the shape of the ceiling.  The angle of the ceiling will effectively reflect noise more efficiently exacerbating the noise problem you are experiencing.  If it is possible to install sound absorbing tiles on the ceiling I think you will find this will make the biggest difference but certainly, installing sound absorbing panels that can be our Photosorption or coloured fabric covered panels on the walls will also help.

As it is, I would expect your room to have an echo decay rate (the time taken for noise to stop echoing) in excess of 3 seconds.  To get this down to 1 second would normally require the installation of sound absorption equal to the floor area of the room and can be installed on any of the hard surfaces within the room.  I should think you would be happy if the decay rate could be reduced to 2 seconds so suggest you keep adding sound absorption until you reach the desired level of acoustics you will be happy with.  Anything that is added to the walls or ceiling should be at least 25mm thick.  This thickness is the minimum that is effective at absorbing normal noise levels such as talking.  Thicker sound absorption is more efficient at absorbing lower frequencies such as bass drums.  There is a wide choice of products that you could consider using including our Coresorption, a basic sound absorbing panel that you can cover yourself with any woven or knitted fabric and these can be seen on our web site via the following links

Walls               –           http://www.soundservice.co.uk/soundabsorber_walls.html

Ceilings          –           http://www.soundservice.co.uk/soundabsorber_ceilings.html

Current prices are also on our web site or get back to me if you require more specific information.

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About Sound Service (Oxford) Ltd

UK Stockists and suppliers of a wide range of soundproofing and acoustic insulation materials for blocking and absorbing noise. We have been specialists in soundproofing and sound absorption since 1969 so one of the longest established businesses in the noise control industry.
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