Christmas Acoustics: Holiday Hosting in Comfort

Exposure to noise levels in social settings during the holidays can range from welcome celebration for the young, to deafening unwelcome noise to older generations.   Somewhere in between lies the need to be able to better control the acoustics within a social setting, a sanctuary, a restaurant, or any kind of multipurpose room capable of hosting holiday events.

Noise levels spike thanks to the hard reflective surfaces that will typically define the type of gathering spaces common to groups of people.   Hard surfaces are nice to look at, and easy to clean.   But they also reflect up to 95% of the sound waves that bounce off of them.   As the background noise levels elevate, so do the people’s voices.   The result is a dysfunctional room, uncomfortable people, and an overall strain to communicate and enjoy the festivities.

Solving this noise issue is an art form.   Compiling a set of acoustical panels that can wall or ceiling mount inside a room can be a contest between the acoustic needs of the space matched against the cosmetics of the room.   The goal is to place sound panels into the room that will either disguise, or compliment, the design and décor to the space.

A generation ago, much of these sound panel options targeted the use of acoustic foam.   And yes, while foam works great to capture and convert echoes from room, and therefore produce the functional and user friendly environment, the reality is there are better options in today’s marketplace.   Foams for the most part are not class A fire rated, they are a chemically created product that will degrade over time, and emit dust particles out into the ventilation system inside the room.   With an average shelf life of about seven years, foams also at one point or another, stop performing acoustically and need to be replaced.

The popular alternative to soundproofing a multipurpose room for hosting a seasonal celebration, are cloth wrapped sound boards.   Often called Fabric Panels, these acoustic panels are indeed class A fire rated, decorative, durable and easy for DIY clients to self install into their spaces for a lower price.   Cloth wrapped sound panels combine to capture and convert the echoes from the space, collapsing background noise, and generating greater clarity to original sound.   And once that transformation has occurred, the room produces premium sound quality, and all the guests are happy. Old or young.

Sound panels are often ceiling mounted to blend and disguise the treatment into the space.   Of late, there are also upgrades to treating a social hall, with decorative designer sound panels that can receive digital images, photography, artwork, graphics, logos and a host of other imagery that can help brand the space and produce visual focal points to the room.   These designer panels, often called PicturePanels, act to enhance both the cosmetics and the acoustics within a space. Care must be given in any case to ensuring that the proper amount of sound panel be introduced into the room.   Any under treatment of the space will cause a rapid decay in sound values back.   Be sure to work closely with an experienced sound consultant to help define the coverage amounts for your holiday festivities, which are all based around the size, shape and surface textures in the room.   A simple Room Analysis is available at no cost to you, to help you calculate those quantities and price your project out.

As for cost, the most effective means by which to get your noise under control is to self install your sound panel treatment.   Mounting clips are shipped with your panel order, the skill sets require no more than the ability to hang a picture on a wall.   Foregoing the costly acoustical contracting team that will otherwise come in and elevate your price points.   Save the money, spend it elsewhere.

Another good cost saving tip is to trust your own instincts.   The panels can be evenly spaced in site lines appropriate for the room based on what is on your wall or ceiling surfaces prior to the application.   The location of the panels really takes a back seat to the coverage amounts.   The key to the success of your project lies not in where you place the panels, but in how many panels you introduce into the room. Trust your instincts, forego the expensive design or architectural firm that will run up the fee, and work with your sound panel supplier to formulate your plans.

A final note on producing a cost effective noise reduction sound panel system for your holiday events, is to partner with a sound panel company that has some legs under it.   There are bright flashy websites on the market inside the acoustic industry, some backed by dozens of years, some back by weeks only in the business. The goal is to replicate for your project, the same sound values back that your chosen supplier has done tens of thousands of times over many years.

As the holidays approach, take great care into the space you will be hosting your event.   Premium sound quality is not to be ignored, not if you want your guests to feel welcomed.   For more information on how you can better control your acoustics with an effective soundproofing treatment, contact NetWell Noise Control at 1-800-638-9355 or visit us online at www.controlnoise.com.

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