Acoustics & Sound Control

Many people mistakenly think that the science of acoustics is strictly musical or architectural in nature. Acoustics is defined as the science that deals with the production, control, transmission, reception, and effects of sound. This includes noise control, SONAR for underwater exploration and navigation, ultrasound for medical imaging, electroacoustic communication, architecture, seismology, bioacoustics, and more. A bioacoustician might research bird populations to determine whether or not man made noise disrupts their behavior. An audiologist can diagnose hearing impairments. A hearing scientist can conduct research about hearing loss prevention. An architectural acoustician could design an opera house so that people in the audience can enjoy the music to the fullest. A noise specialist could do work to reduce noise caused by airplanes, cars and trains. An underwater acoustician might design sophisticated sonar hardware to explore the ocean floor while an acoustician interested in ultrasound could develop medical equipment to destroy kidney stones.

Many large companies often employ acousticians to study the acoustics and vibrations of the systems/products that the company develops, maintains, or studies. According to Sound Resolution Specialist, Inc. Owner Todd Siekierski, there are 2 different aspects to pro AV acoustics.

  1. Sound & Vibration Control - How important is it to contact sound from leaving the room
  2. In Room Acoustics - If the room is highly reverberate, how to tone it down or even it out

He denies being an acoustician and rather focuses on implementing the solution. He takes the recommendations from the acoustical engineer and then works with the client to fix, move, manage or otherwise change the layout of the room to implement those recommendations. Mr. Siekierski says "Acoustics should go hand in hand with designing the AV system. If you neglect it, you will be sorely disappointed for the room. Some like to say it's not the equipment, it's the room."

Acoustics is not a new science but with the continued invention of new audio & video equipment, it is becoming more prevalent. There are numerous acoustic education & professional programs including The Institute of Acoustics (UK) , Explore Sound (US), Kinetics Noise Control (US), Discovery of Sound In the Sea.

The AV Cheat Sheet has an amazing pod cast Basic Conference Room, hosted by Tom Noble (BS, Acoustics - Columbia College) which talks about how to improve the acoustics of almost any conference room and how to improve communication.

Explore Sound introduces members of the Acoustical Society of America who talk about their careers more in depth. ASA also puts out an online magazine, Acoustics Today, to generate and promote the knowledge and practical applications of acoustics.

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