Sound absorption may not be the sexiest of topics. It’s not Hollywood. It’s not fashion. Heck, it’s not even Coronation Street. But sound absorption plays a bigger role in your life than you might think. It’s everywhere, all the time.
This edition of the Acoustic Influencer is dedicated to opening your ears to how sound absorption surrounds us.
This is the most obvious. It’s designing and optimizing the acoustic properties of physical spaces — buildings, concert halls, auditoriums, theaters, offices, etc. — to ensure proper sound distribution, clarity and reverberation control.
Also obvious. This involves shaping the sound characteristics within a specific space, including homes, recording studios, conference rooms, classrooms, etc. It’s the strategic placement of acoustic panels, diffusers and absorbers to achieve desired sound quality and minimize echoes or unwanted reflections.
Audio engineering acoustics
This is a category you’d expect to see. We’re talking sound recording, reproduction and mixing. This includes the design and placement of speakers, studio acoustics and soundproofing techniques.
Personal audio acoustics
Sorry, I couldn’t hear you. I have noise-cancelling ear buds in/headphones on. In the era of Zoom, hybrid work and podcasts, this is the one that sticks out the most for many people. Acoustic science plays a crucial role in the design and performance of personal audio devices, also including speakers. It ensures optimal sound quality and noise insulation.
Now we get into the weeds a little more. This is all about reducing unwanted noise and vibrations inside vehicles. That includes sound insulation, noise barriers, design of engine enclosures, mufflers, and exhaust systems to enhance passenger comfort and reduce external noise. The more expensive your vehicle, the quieter it is.
LOUD! That’s what you find in these environments and reducing noise is all about protecting workers. This is where builds like sound enclosures for machinery, noise barriers and adding sound absorbing properties to factories and industrial sites to simply deaden the overall noise is paramount.
This is cool. Ever notice the big, seemingly padded walls dividing highways from housing tracts? That’s this category at work. It focuses on the study and management of sound in outdoor environments. That includes monitoring and mitigating noise pollution in urban areas, airports construction sites, around transportation systems, etc. It’s what keeps your town or city as quiet as possible, even with a lot going on.
Even cooler! This is the study of sound propagation and communication in water. It’s used in marine research, sonar systems, underwater communication and research into how things like salt concertation and sediment impacts the way sound travels, reverberates and is heard.
The Acoustic Influencer is 100% NOT soundproof. We crave hearing from readers. If you’ve got something to say, please comment and share.