The problem with boardrooms

Most boardrooms today are multi-function spaces that incorporate video conferencing, microphones, projectors and loudspeakers. More often than not, the room is filled with hard reflective surfaces such as gypsum walls, glass windows, a hardwood table and a white board. Sound from the voices and loudspeakers reflect off these hard surfaces creating a dense series of reflections known as reverb. The larger the space; the longer the reverb trail will be and the greater the disruption to communication. To make matters worse, when the boardroom is used as a video or tele-conferencing space, the microphone has no way of discerning between the good sound and the problem noise. This makes it practically impossible to understand what is being said at the receive end of the transmission. The board members tune out and the chairman becomes frustrated.

The problem with noisy classrooms

Most classrooms are rectangular boxes that employ solid concrete block wall construction interspersed hard surfaces such as blackboards and windows with a tiled floor. This provides the ideal ‘spawning pond’ for echo and excessive reverberation. As the reflected sound increases inside the room, the lecture being transmitted is lost in the ambient noise. Intelligibility decreases to the point where hearing becomes strained and learning difficult. As this is happening, noise from the air ventilation system kicks in and nearby traffic augments. In an attempt to overcome the noise, the teacher speaks louder, the students talk louder and the problem self-perpetuates. For students with hearing impediments or newly arrived immigrants, comprehension goes from difficult to impossible. The student becomes despondent. This adds a greater level of workload and stress for the teacher and ultimately impacts the effectiveness of the teaching.

How can AV Solutions help you?

Reduce the reverberant field by applying between 15% and 30% wall coverage using facoustic treatment such as the 1” thick Primacoustic Broadway panels. These are as easy to mount as a picture. Using Impalers™, distribute wherever space is available. Broadway panels are made from high-density glass wool and are extremely effective at absorbing sound energy in the voice range. This tames the reverberation in the room, immediately rectifying the problem caused by flutter echo and the powerful first order reflections that make it difficult to understand what is being said. Paintable panels offer an extra architectural twist by enabling them to be painted or have an image transferred onto the surface. It should be noted that broadcasters have been acoustically treating their radio stations for nearly 100 years. There is good reason for this – and the same logic applies to video-conferencing.  Improving intelligibility is the best way to retain your listening audience!

For Classrooms further information can be found at  SNAG (School Noise Action Group)

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