Parents have gathered and taken their seats in the mid-sized auditorium at the local elementary school. They anxiously wait as their little bundles of enjoy take the stage for the oratorical contest. The first speaker takes the stage and, unless you are standing directly in front of her, you can barely make out a word she’s saying.
This is an all too familiar scenario for many of us. Unless you are at a concert venue, chances are you are going to have some level of difficulty understanding what’s being said at an event. The sound in most auditoriums is so bad that we’ve become accustomed to it. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way.
Understanding Why Auditorium Acoustics Is Bad
Poor sound quality in auditoriums is typically the result of two factors: the dimensions of the auditorium or how it was built and the capabilities of the speakers being used. If auditoriums are older, oddly-shaped or built from concrete, the sound quality will suffer. These factors potentially lead to the pick up extraneous “noise” in an auditorium, such as people walking or talking. They are also conducive to sound reverberation, which makes it difficult to produce good sound.
Tips For Improving Auditorium Acoustics
It is possible to hear speakers clearly in an auditorium. There are a number of ways that acoustical experts are solving common sound issues. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Balance Sound Absorption and Sound Diffusion: In auditoriums, a combination of sound absorption and diffusion is needed to create clear sound. If sound is absorbed completely, it can be lost. If sound is diffused thoroughly, it will reverberate. The use of wall panels to absorb most noise and diffusers to spread sound around can create a balanced sound. Ceiling tiles, including dune ceiling tile alternatives like the Mustang Micro-Perforated Sand panels, can also reduce noise reduction and blocking.
Flat Panel Speakers: Some auditoriums, including churches, are turning to flat panel speakers to achieve better sound. These speakers provide a wider sound dispersion pattern than standard speakers. This provides a clearer, more consistent sound no matter where you are in the auditorium.