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Auditorium Acoustics

Chapter 23
Sound Propagation
Free field
sound pressure proportional to 1/r
SPL drops 6 dB with every doubling of
distance.
Indoors
Reflections


Reflections (Review)
Flat surface
Mirror
Concave
Concentrates/focuses
Convex
(Scatters)/spreads
Rough/Irregular
diffuses

Direct, Early, Reverberant
Sound
Direct: Sound travels straight from
source to listener (not reflected)
Early: initial reflections, reaching
listener within 50 to 80 ms of direct
sound.
Reverberant: reflections build up
and become merged into
continuous sound

Precedence Effect (1)
Localization mechanisms
Early reflections complicate time-based
localization
Early reflections are usually not heard as
separate sounds (within 50 - 80 ms,
same envelope)


Precedence Effect (2)
Precedence effect: first sound is heard
as the direct sound
Successive sounds arrive within 35 ms.
Successive sounds share similar spectra and
env.
Successive sounds are not too much louder
than the first sound


Early Sound and Concert
Hall Acoustics
Intimate: 20 ms delay between
direct and first reflected sound
Rectangular shape: first reflections
usually come from the side walls.
Listener preference for first
reflections coming from side rather
than ceiling.
Spatial responsiveness or impression


Reverberant Sound
Simplification Alert:
Reverberation time at mid-frequency
(500 - 2000 Hz) good indicator of
liveness.
For steady sounds, reverberant
sound builds to a steady energy
level, then decays upon release.
Too much reverberant sound leads
to a loss of clarity.

Determining
Reverberation Time
Factors
Power of the source
Volume of the room
Area of all surfaces in room
Absorption coefficients for all surfaces
Simple (Bare Room, all surfaces
same) volume
RT = K
area

More on Reverb time
RT or T60
Equal to time it takes to for sound
level to decrease by 60 dB
Different decay curves for initial
decays and final decays can cause
problems.
Decay curves can exhibit peaks due
to standing waves.

Absorption (1)
Consider volume and area
relationship.
Since surface area reduces reverb
time, it acts as an absorptive element.
Absorption is like an open window.
It completely absorbs sound.
Ratio of room volume to area of
absorbing window.


Absorption (2)
Window absorbs all sound
Absorption coefficient of a = 1
Total absorption for the room:
Add up absorption for each surface
exposed to sound.
A equals absorption, instead of Area.
Absorption if frequency dependent.


Absorption (3)
Calculate Absorption:
A = S1a1 + S2a2 + S3a3 . . .
Table 23.1 on p. 531


Air Absorption
Large auditoriumair absorbs
sound, especially at high
frequencies
People and seats also absorb
sound.
Table RT
23.2, p. V
533.
= 0.161
A + mV


Criteria for Good Acoustics
(p.534)
Adequate loudness.
Issues: size and absorption (not too much of either)
Uniformity
Issues: blending of stage sound, diffusion of hall
sound (no dead spots)
Clarity
Issue: needs sufficient absorption
Liveness (Reverb)
Issue: feel that sound comes from all around
Freedom from Echoes
Issue: too much separation in time of reflected sound