NSCA Conference

TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
AVI-SPL Creates Cityscape on Theater Stage
Integration pro AVI-SPL transforms the Grand Pavillion Theater at a Florida resort with projection mapping and innovative lighting effects.
 2 of 5
Increased Security Costs Boston Marathon its Innocence
Boston Strong sentiment will be out in full force this year, but so will police, surveillance cameras, and other new security measures.
 3 of 5
Luxury Apartment Lobby Features 15-Screen Digital Signage System
Integrator TVTi works with custom animation firm to create mind-blowing digital signage solution using 4K video for high-rise Chicago apartment complex lobby.
 4 of 5
Jaguars Lure Fans with Massive Scoreboard Renovations
The lowly Jacksonville Jaguars will become the latest team to hold a 'world's largest display' moniker when two 21,700-square-feet Daktronics boards, as well as other LED displays, cover EverBank Field next season.
 5 of 5
Advanced Helps SportsCentre Modernize
Installation at the Canadian SportsCentre studio creates three presentation areas with nearly seamless video walls.
6 Great Tools for Acoustical Analysis
Acousticians might have trained ears, but they’re backed up with software tools to predict and track reflected sound in a variety of environments. We look at some of the best available tools.

Article


November 20, 2012 | by Dan Daley

Acousticians will always list their ears as their primary tools, but as good as those highly developed organs are for them, they’re backed up with a very sophisticated array of software-based systems that let them predict and track reflected sound in almost any kind of environment.

Some programs are specifically intended for use by acousticians, such as the CATT-Acoustic’s v.9 program, that Damian Doria, a principal in Artec Consultants, an acoustical consulting firm based in New York City, used to handle prediction and auralization requirements for projects such as the new symphony halls in Carmel, Indiana and at the Miami Arts Center.

Another, more recent addition to the architect’s arsenal, is Autodesk’s Revit Architecture, a Building Information Modeling (BIM) software that allows the user to design with both parametric 3D modeling and 2D drafting elements. BIM is a Computer Aided Design (CAD) paradigm that employs intelligent 3D objects to represent real physical building components such as walls and doors, and allows the impact of parametric objects on acoustical reflections to be predicted in a 3D environment.

There are other software-based tools that pick up the job when it comes time to design a systems for a space. Bob McCarthy is president of Alignment & Design, a Missouri firm that creates sound system designs using various software programs, including SIM audio analysis and optimization software, which McCarthy developed develop while working at Meyer Sound, as well as Rational Acoustics SMAART, whose acronym - Sound Measurement Acoustical Analysis Real Time - underscores its Fast-Fourier Transform (FFT)-based algorithmic operation that can be applied to three operational modes: transfer function, real-time analyzer (RTA) and impulse response. In fact, the number of choices that acousticians and audio systems designers have to choose from in terms of software - other products include Renkus-Heinz’s SysTune, AFMG’s EASE, and SATLive.

These software-based analytical and measurement tools are used by both acousticians in measuring and modeling spaces, then used by systems designers to build those audio system, first on paper or in CAD and then in reality, and they are used again to validate the design of finished systems and then to fine tune them in place. They’re used in various configurations, depending upon the point in the process, and are abetted by even more specialized programs, such as Bruel & Kjaer’s Dirac software, which measures speech intelligibility.

“The entire process is like one big circle and [the software] is used at every step,” says McCarthy. In fact, he surmises, the measurement and analysis technology that’s now available to the industry exceeds what it needs to accomplish in most scenarios. “At this point, the tools are better than the knowledge base of the users,” he comments. “The consistency of the technology is at the point where if you run two of them in parallel processing with a Y cord, you’d get the same results. The math goes back to the 18th century - the technology just lets us get it faster.”

But, if sound in a reflective space is able to be so precisely predicted, mapped and analyzed, why does sound seem to be the most subjective of all the crafts that make up the universe of systems? Probably because we are trying to precisely define that which we can only perceive subjectively. “It’s not like light; it’s invisible,” McCarthy says of sound. “As a result, it’s a tough medium to understand the physics of.”

Mark Graham, a principal at Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams (WJHW) in Denver, goes deeper in his response. “The objective versus the subjective when it comes to analyzing sound and its reflectiveness is more a matter of psychoacoustics,” he says. The math can be incredibly precise on the slide rule but its application inevitably compels rules of thumb rather than unblinking algorithms. For instance, at the New Meadowlands NFL stadium in New Jersey, the deeply segmented levels that make up the bowl are fertile grounds for sonic reflections as sound from any point source penetrate deeper into them.

That’s why a distributed system, using thousands of speakers dispersed relatively closely to the audience, is the best strategic solution. But short of placing a speaker over each seat, which would be prohibitively expensive, the practical math suggests that as long as any audience member is within no less than 10 dB of the level of the direct sound ad within 30 milliseconds of its arrival, any adverse acoustical effects are effectively nullified.

View the 6 photos attached to this entry
           
View photos
About the author
Veteran reporter Dan Daley is based in New York City and Nashville, Tenn.
View all posts by Dan Daley
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
NBC’s Chuck Todd to Keynote the SIA Government Summit

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has chosen Chuck Todd, NBC News political director and chief White House correspondent, as Government Summit keynote speaker in June 2014.

Effective Communication for Sales and Success
TOA Mic Tracks & Captures Dialogue from Varying Angles
Barco, X2O Primed for Big Future
NSCA Announces Additions to Integration Business Survival Conference
View more news
Webcast:
4K: There’s More Than Meets The Eye!

Join Kramer Electronics on April 16, 2014 for this free informative webinar which will discuss all of the reasons why UHDTV is a substantial upgrade from 2K. Register now!

White Paper: Introducing: New Rules of Customer Engagement
Webcast: Top Digital Signage Trends of 2014
White Paper: How to Find, Leverage and Manage Contract Workers
White Paper: Integrator’s Opportunity to Redefine Retail Market
White Paper: 2014 CI State of the Industry Report
Webcast: 4th Annual Integration Business Outlook Presented by CI & NSCA
White Paper: 12 Tactics of Highly Effective Audio Coaches
View more papers or webcasts



Recent comments

A good read, Robert. I would like to point out that, like doctors, lawyers almost always either are covered…

Posted by J. Peter Rich, Esq. on 2014 04 16 · commented on
'Avoid Getting Your Mother or Your Business Sued'.

Arlen, the Jaguars haven’t had a blackout since 2009.

Posted by Marty on 2014 04 16 · commented on
'Jaguars Lure Fans with Massive Scoreboard Renovations'.

Welcome to the police state! We should not accept living like this. This increased security only means the…

Posted by Tim Stoffel on 2014 04 15 · commented on
'Increased Security Costs Boston Marathon its Innocence'.

Nice article Robert. As fate would have it my day job (AV integrator) and my night job (formula1blog.com)…

Posted by Todd McCandless on 2014 03 25 · commented on
'Ferrari and IC Realtime Test 720-Degree Surveillance Camera on the Racetrack'.