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How Acoustics Are Utilized in Modern Courtroom Design

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Considering acoustics in the design of a courtroom can maximize speech intelligibility.

Acoustical design in courtrooms focuses primarily on two things: maximizing speech intelligibility within the room and minimizing disruptive noise from interfering with the court proceedings.  In some situations, such as with individuals with compromised hearing or in rooms with poor acoustical performance, although we may hear a person speaking it is difficult to decipher what they are saying. Speech intelligibility refers to the ability to clearly understand each word being spoken. Individuals who suffer from common noise-induced hearing loss may have decreased sensitivity in the 4,000Hz area. this can play a significant role in the ability to understand speech in, as the consonants crucial to understanding spoken word reside in the 2,000 to 6,000Hz range. Fortunately, appropriate acoustical design will support and enhance speech intelligibility within courtrooms and supply the required clarity for such a space.


Research Report: Shape Optimization

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The Shape Optimizer is capable of creating modern, effective sound diffusing shapes.

If you take a look at renowned concert halls, many of them are known for their beautiful ornamentation and coffered ceilings. While these features may have originally been included as an elaborate design element, this intricate detailing provided acoustical benefits as well. These design details have fallen out of style in much of modern architecture, and as a result sound diffusive surfaces inherent to the construction of many rooms is no longer prevalent. This necessitates an appropriate way to create modern sound diffusing shapes, which resulted in the development of the Shape Optimizer software.


A Uniquely Organic Shape With the Waveform Bicubic Diffuser

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The Waveform Bicubic is a unique diffuser that is customizable and suitable for many applications.

Your first mental image of an auditorium, whether intended for musical performance or speech, likely includes the image of high ceilings. There are a number of reasons pertaining to logistics, performance, and sound quality that necessitate high ceilings (large room volume)—but that brings along with it issues that must be addressed. Untreated high ceilings lead to high reverberation times and audible echoes that degrade the acoustical performance of the space, whereas simple treatments utilizing absorption remove too much of the sound energy and which leads to a space that does not support the intended use. That’s where the Waveform Bicubic comes in: a diffuser capable of being arrayed to increase speech intelligibility and enhance musical clarity.


Project Profile: A Modern Twist on Traditional Dining With Les Sablons – See, Taste and Hear the Difference

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Les Sablons offers a unique dining experience that offers thrilling auditory and visual experiences as well.

Located in the historic Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Les Sablons offers a dining experience crafted by some of the most experienced restaurateurs in the Boston metropolitan area. Describing itself as “somewhere between London and Paris,” the establishment offers modernized twists on French classics that have long been favorites of those who love fine dining. With a menu that includes everything from monkfish to rye spaghetti, Les Sablons is ideal for those already familiar with classic French cuisine but are seeking a unique experience. Les Sablons is amongst a growing new class of restaurants opening around the country who are leveraging currentacoustical technologies available to designers for controlling sound levels beautifully. So not only do they deliver excellent cuisine and service, but they do so in an environment that is much less noisy and distracting as most other restaurants. We say—people are noisy, let them be—there are solutions for that!


Designing Classrooms With Passive Acoustical Technology

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Classrooms can hugely benefit from the use of passive acoustical technology.

Many contemporary classroom designs are not yet benefitting from the growing wealth of technology available to improve educational environments. When creating a learning space, there are several new approaches that can be utilized to increase the effectiveness of the space and improve its impact on the students. One such tool is the use of adjustable intensity and color lighting, which has been shown to increase reading speeds, cut down on testing errors, and even have some impact on hyperactivity. Similarly, new, more balanced approaches in passive acoustical design of education spaces can provide improvements in the projection, audibility and intelligibility of the lessons and conversations that take place throughout the learning day. Current approaches towards acoustical design in classrooms primarily involve adding sound absorption, such as an acoustical tile ceiling.  While this can generally solve the problem of excess reverberation in a small space, it also removes valuable early reflections that reduce critical speech energy unnecessarily. To improve upon this approach, a proper blend of absorptive, diffusive and reflective surfaces throughout the learning space can yield improved speech levels and content without having to rely on electronic enhancement systems. This means more information is conveyed to every student at all times, not just the ones sitting closest to the teacher, and not only when the microphone is turned on. An absorption only approach cannot address all of the nuances of acoustical needs which now can be addressed. A balanced design that successfully combines all passive acoustical surface technologies available – absorptive, diffusive, reflective – comprises a hybrid approach that is the future of acoustics in educational environments.


Research Report: Multi-Layer Absorber Panels vs. Fiberglass Panels

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Relying on traditional fiberglass panels doesn’t always result in the best sounding spaces. This idea is backed by rigorous research.

This week, we’re taking a look at a research report coming from the Chesapeake Acoustic Research Institute regarding multi-layer absorption products. Traditional fiberglass panels, made of 1” or 2” fiberglass wrapped in fabric, suffer from an undesirable amount of high-frequency absorption, leaving a room sounding “dead”. As a result, RPG Acoustical has developed two products with this in mind: the Broadsorbor and Modsorbor. Working with a multi-layer absorber offers the ability to specify the absorption coefficient for whatever specific need there may be. To read the full research report, take a look here.


Maximizing Low Frequency Control With Modex Products

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Utilizing the Modex line means proper treatment of low frequency acoustics. Photo Credit: Pelonis Sound and Acoustics

Most small rooms will have undesirable low frequency characteristics. When working with smaller room dimensions, , bass frequencies in the 20 Hz to 300 Hz range can be very problematic even rendering the room unusable for critical applications in studio production work and simply underwhelming  in listening rooms, home theaters and screening rooms. THis necessitated the need for extra attention to be paid in treating the acoustics of the room to maintain clear, quality bass frequencies. For premium treatment of low frequency acoustics, many look to RPG Acoustical’s line of Modex products to even out the room’s resonant modes and provide full, even bass response.


Conference Room Design With Acoustical Excellence in Mind

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Nailing the acoustics in a conference room’s design can make a huge difference for employees and guests.

When designing a conference room, it may seem easy to skip out on the details—after all, the space only gets utilized during meetings and it isn’t your everyday working space. In the modern work environment employees spend more time than ever in conference spaces, exchanging ideas or working with clients. The design of a functional conference room requires detailed consideration of lighting, technology, and acoustical needs. Cultivating an ideal experience for guests and employees alike is a necessity when considering conference room design.


Project Profile: Exquisite Taste With Nobu

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Featuring RPG’s Perfecto Micro Planks, Washington D.C.’s Nobu offers an exquisite dining atmosphere. Credit: Studio PCH.

Located in the heart of Washington D.C. and the West End, the area’s new Nobu restaurant aims to offer a completely unique experience for diners. The origins of Nobu go back to a passion for food between the acclaimed restaurant’s titular chef and actor Robert De Niro, now resulting in locations being opened worldwide, with over a dozen located in the United States. The upscale establishment is known for its Japanese fusion while setting a new standard for fine dining experiences, including its enjoyable acoustical design backed by excellent products from RPG Acoustical.


How Can the Clearsorber Foil System Enhance Both Lighting and Sound?

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No system accounts for both lighting and acoustical needs like the Clearsorber Foil does.

When we talk about expertly designed acoustical products, we tend not to consider the impact those products may have on the lighting of a space. After all, any design decision is a give-and-take, so sacrificing some elements of design, like an abundance of natural lighting, in order to achieve a rich acoustic environment. In a world of compromise, creating innovative new tools that serve a variety of purposes is highly valued over settling for traditional approaches. For architects, acoustical engineers, and end-users alike, the Clearsorber Foil system is designed to offer a unique solution to a problem that has plagued acoustical design for decades.