Sound Absorption

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09 May 2016
Sound Absorption

When thinking of the acoustical design of structures, sound absorption is often thought about less and less understood than soundproofing. However sound absorption is incredibly important, just as much as soundproofing. Without the use of sound absorption methods, structures and buildings can become much more uncomfortable places.

To first understand how sound absorption products work, we must first look at the problem they prevent, reverberation.

Reverberation is when sound persists within a room, due to soundwaves bouncing off objects and not being absorbed, essentially an echo. Reverberation times are used to measure the level of reverberation by measuring how long it takes the sound to die away; it is specifically defined as the time it takes for the sound to go under 60db of its original level.

Reverberation has a number of negative effects, it can decrease the audibility in a room, making conversations and other noises hard to hear, it decreases comfort and it is also picked up by recording equipment, lessening quality.

The layout and surfaces in a room determine how quickly the waves can be absorbed. For instance, sport halls are usually large rectangular rooms, featuring plenty of space for activities and hard walls. This means that reverberation can be an extremely common occurrence within these types of rooms, as they give the waves lots of room to bounce around and the hard surfaces do not absorb well. The opposite of this would be a living room with carpets, curtains and upholstery.

Sound absorption products, such as the ones we at UK Acoustic Systems provide, are specifically tailored to improving the sound absorption within a room, providing excellent acoustical quality and comfort, and without meaning that the designer has to clutter up the room with sound absorbent furniture.

These products can come in a number of different types. Wall and ceiling sound absorption solutions can be placed both in or on the wall/ceiling. For example option would be foam panels, such as our Absorba Fabric Wall & Ceiling Panels, used to provide a quick and easy fix for rooms, being placed on walls and ceilings. Another could be acoustical plaster, or even installing high end panels completely over the existing wall, such as our Absorba Timber range.

Sound absorption products can also come as accessories without the need for installation within a room. For example in an office, sound absorbing dividers could be used.

Sound absorption solutions have a wide variety of usages. As an example they can be used in homes and apartments to provide a comfortable environment without resulting in clutter, they can also be used in office and educational environments to improve concentration and audibility of conversation, and they are used (and probably are most well known for) in many recording studios, to ensure that audio recorded is of the highest quality.

Overall the importance of taking into account sound absorption when designing structures is clear. When it is ignored this can have a negative effect on the people within, resulting in unsatisfied residents or customers. Sound absorption products offer an easy and effective solution to dealing with reverberation problems.

Stay tuned to this blog, as we will be posting another post next week as we will be talking more in detail about Soundproofing and the effects it has.

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