Acoustical Treatments: When Selecting Panels, Look to Absorption

When comparing 20 Hz and 20 kHz (the top and bottom limit of human hearing), the waveform for 20 Hz is near 56 feet long, while a 20 kHz wave is only 0.6 inches long.

Acoustical Treatments: When Selecting Panels, Look to Absorption
A depiction of an anechoic chamber. Anechoic chambers are rooms in which there are ideally no reflections.
Credit: Trevor Cox

Photos & Slideshow

Acoustical Treatments: When Selecting Panels, Look to Absorption

Technology News

Kinetic Lighting: Offering Numerous Options For Design
Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
Acoustical Treatments: When Selecting Panels, Look to Absorption
Audio Production: The Boy, The Bed and The Band

Technology Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.
·

When I tell people that I do acoustics for a living, they nearly always tell me how much they love the guitar. This was always funny to me, but it pointed out that the study of acoustics is a broad topic that very few people ever consider.

The first thing we must understand is that sound is a waveform.

The study of acoustics can be vast and deep. It can be difficult to talk in brevity on the subject, because there are so many nuances that make up the field. Having said that, I am going to give an overview of some types of acoustic treatments, what they are, and how they work.

Before that, though, I want to impart a rule that I was taught that has really stuck with me from the beginning of my career. I do not know who coined the phrase originally, but a mentor of mine always told us a fundamental truth: nothing is large, and nothing is small… it’s all relative to waveform.

The first thing we must understand is that sound is a waveform. This waveform can be complex, but in its purest form, a sound wave is a perfect sine wave.

The second thing that we need to understand is that all waveforms are different.

When comparing 20 Hz and 20 kHz (the top and bottom limit of human hearing), the waveform for 20 Hz is near 56 feet long, while a 20 kHz wave is only 0.6 inches long.

Bringing it back around to the idea that nothing is large and nothing is small, if you have a seat cushion, that is going to be huge for a 20 kHz waveform, but not even noticed by a 20 Hz wave. To look at it another way, let’s say you have a standard wood and gypsum wall in your room. That ½-inch thick drywall is huge to 9 kHz and up, but to anything lower, it is much less of an obstacle. When implementing this idea in your room, it might make you think a little more about the necessary thickness of material that one needs, to actually absorb frequencies you target.

But how do we achieve this thickness?

What types of treatments are there?

The first and most common is absorption. There are really three main types of absorbers, and the first is the most common of the most common. These Porous Absorbers are typically applied with a rigid fiberglass board. These are the easiest to find online, and some of the most common are 1-inch and 2-inch panels found in a 2-foot wide by 4-foot section.


More About Tom Noble
Tom Noble received his Bachelor of Science in Acoustics from Columbia College in Chicago. During college, he served as a researcher for the Army Corps of Engineers with a specific focus on Low-Frequency Propagation. After college, he owned his own company working with churches and other AV clients. One of his favorite jobs during that time was being able to design and build a recording studio in downtown Nashville. Shortly after, he worked for an integrator, doing work all over the country, specializing in DSP programming and tuning of rooms for many churches and large corporate clients. He is now the head AV design engineer for Lifeway Christian Resources in Nashville. He is married to his beautiful wife with an amazing son and beautiful little daughter.
Get in Touch: tom.noble@lifeway.com    More by Tom Noble

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

Technology · Audio · Team Management · Budgeting · All Topics

Support and Enhance the Worship Message

The latest strategies for sound, lighting and facilities can help you better attract and engage with your congregation. With Worship Facilities’ insights on leadership, communication and administrative tools, each issue shows you how to design and maintain your facility and how to adapt it to meet the changing needs of today’s members.
Explore the success stories of others, and find ways to enhance your weekly services. Get a free subscription to Worship Facilities magazine.

Comments


Editor's Picks
©2018 WFX Network · A division of Informa · 1166 Avenue of the Americas, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10036 · All Rights Reserved.