The purpose of Sound Masking in the work environment is to reduce speech intelligibility in an environment where this would be otherwise difficult to achieve. Our Workplace Acoustic Solutions use Sound Masking as a way to improve privacy and lessen the impact of noise on productivity.
The A’s – Absorption: Furnishings, absorptive partitions and acoustical ceiling tiles are all designed to reduce reverberative sound so that the space is more comfortable for the occupants.
The B’s – Blocking: Walls, doors, and windows are barriers that stop noise from travelling from one space to another.
The C’s – Covering: HVAC systems or Sound Masking which raise the ambient sound level in the space to interfere with speech sounds and distracting noises.
It is imperative that the design of today’s higher density office spaces includes appropriate amounts of each of these elements. This is critical to achieve a good acoustical environment. The associated costs of a flexible, well designed Sound Masking System should be in the original budgets.
How Sound Masking Works
Sound Masking involves the introduction of an electronically generated broadband sound into the area of concern. This unobtrusively increases the ambient sound level, thus decreasing the intelligibility of speech sounds originating from neighbouring areas. Sound Masking was originally used in corridors outside interrogation rooms and ‘highly confidential’ areas. Its greatest use now is in commercial and professional buildings, particularly where open-plan offices are involved.
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The following are features that are standard in top performing sound masking systems. They are all standard with Vibra-Sonic Control Sound Masking Systems. These features allow the system to achieve the specified frequency spectrum in order to effectively cover speech sounds and noise distractions. At the same time they will produce a soft homogeneously distributed sound.
Allowing for adjustment of the sound spectrum within the given space, is a necessity. Building elements such as the ceiling tile can attenuate some frequencies while leaving other generated frequencies unaffected. The space itself will also affect how the sound behaves, depending on its size, configuration and finishes.
A system that includes a 1/3 octave equalizer offers the ability to fine-tune the system in response to the effects of a specific environment on the original sound spectrum generated, so that the specified or national standard sound masking spectrum can be achieved.
Allows for independent spectrum development in each zone. Centralized Digital Systems are normally requested on large projects where one central control is required for the floors. Typically, there are various volume schedule requirements, or other parameters, that need to be addressed.
Upward Emitting Speakers
Speakers are installed above the ceiling tiles in the plenum space, facing the structural ceiling above. The sound generated by the speakers is dispersed and reflected downward through the acoustic tiles, into the space below, by the structural ceiling. This sound energy path results in a homogeneous distribution of the masking sound spectrum throughout the open or closed office environment.
Speakers are adaptable and offered in various models. This is to accommodate open ceiling applications or unique spaces in which facing the speaker down is required. Additionally, the speakers have individual volume controls so that fine adjustments can be made in localized areas.
Expert Speaker Layout
Speakers are installed in a grid pattern to ensure a consistent distribution of the masking sound throughout the area. It’s important that the speaker layout is designed by a Sound Masking Professional. This will ensure that all characteristics of the environment are taken into consideration when establishing the layout. Sound Masking technology should be used in conjunction with other products. These include high quality acoustic tiles, other absorptive elements and barrier components to maximize overall effectiveness.
Value Added Options:
Saves the cost of installing a second speaker system with its associated components.
Can be in specified zones or throughout the space.
Adjust the system’s volume at specific times each day when office activity is higher or lower.
Speech Privacy Enhancement
For those highly confidential conversations. With the push of a button the masking volume increases in an area adjacent to an office or meeting. This means the conversation has a higher level of privacy.
Critical Issues & Considerations with Respect to Sound Making