When an event or activity is taking place near a built-up area it may be necessary to reduce the amount of impact on nearby residents. This can often be enforced with strict sound limits by local councils. In this instance, you are looking to reduce the transmission of sound outside of an event space.
Some venues such as large warehouses or buildings with hard, reflective internal walls can produce high levels of echo or ‘reverberation’. This can cause all sorts of problems, from being unpleasant to listen to amplified sound in, to making any sound completely unintelligible. In this case you would be looking to reduce the amount of audio reflections within the space using soundproofing materials and other methods.
Is ‘sound proofing’ possible?
Most examples of ‘sound proofing’ do not completely get rid of sound but simply attenuate the transmitted or reflected sound to a more suitable level. If the sound source is loud enough it will always be able to transmit through a wall, floor, or material. Therefore it is important to understand that any acoustic treatment will only reduce sound, never remove it altogether. With sound proofing, the aim is that the unwanted noise is reduced to near ambient levels, thereby removing the problem.
How can it be achieved on a temporary basis?
Temporary sound treatment can be installed into a range of venues and for a range of different applications. Usually this is achieved through hanging soft materials such as drapery and SXS’ proprietary BLOKKA panels in front of venue walling. These materials will be selected based on the frequencies of sound which are most likely to cause issues.
For example, frequencies below 100Hz are much more difficult in nature to reduce with physical materials alone. This is why sound system design and management also plays a key role in reducing the amount of unwanted noise within or outside a space. Many sound system installers will not consider this when designing their system, so it is important to use a supplier with a deep understanding of these methods such as SXS.
Some unusual situations where noise reduction is often needed are:
- Festival sound attenuation
- Construction site noise problems
- Live event sound proofing
- Venue sound attenuation
- Concert noise management
- Noise reduction for conferences
- Acoustic treatment for outdoor events and marquees
What are the wider considerations?
There are many factors that may need to be considered during the design process of a noise reduction solution. An experienced contractor will consider:
- Cause of initial noise source
- Ways to reduce the negative impact of the noise without reducing the audience experience
- What the specific problem frequencies are
- Discussion with relevant local authorities or site owners as to defined sound level limits
- What materials and techniques are best suited to reducing the problem frequencies
- The most effective and efficient way to install and rig the chosen materials
Sound reduction glossary
So as to help people understand the theory of noise reduction we have drafted a simple glossary of terms which we hope are helpful:
- Acoustic Envelope - The space which is occupied by a sound or set of sounds.
- Attenuation - the reduction in acoustic energy.
- Echo - sound reflections that are often individually indistinguishable and have minimal interference with each other.
- Frequency response - how a given material or sound reproduction equipment ‘shapes’ the sound.
- Sound absorption - how much acoustic energy is taken into a material; in terms of both internal reflection and external transmission.
- Sound Proofing - a misleading phrase often used to describe acoustic treatment solutions.
- Resonance - a quality, often relating to materials which describes its ability to react to or amplify certain qualities of sound. This is what acoustic treatments aim to remove.
- Reverberence - sound reflections that interfere with each other within the acoustic envelope.
For more information about sound reduction solutions, have a look at the YouTube video below, or get in touch with us