TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
Red Thread: Furniture Company or Change Agent?
Born out of an office furniture manufacturer, Red Thread is having different audio-video conversations than any other integrator — and clients like what it’s saying.
 2 of 5
AV, Sports and Beer… with a Chance of Meatballs
Integrator Real Sound uses JBL speakers, Crown amplifiers, Crimson AV and Key Digital cables to send audio and video throughout this unique three-level building.
 3 of 5
Top 40 CI Influencers Under 40
There was no shortage of candidates for our look at some of the young people who are making a difference for their companies and this industry. See who made the cut for 2014.
 4 of 5
The Rise and Reign of Verticalization
Have we reached the age of requiring integrators to become even more vertically focused?
 5 of 5
Medical Simulation Lab Makes All the Difference in Education
CompView Audio Visual helps California community college district build high-tech nursing education facilities.
Inside an Integrator’s Sound Masking Learning Curve
A high ceiling for education and a trend toward open offices create huge sound masking opportunities.

Article


November 15, 2012 | by Mark Coxon

We were watching Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over Orange County on its way to its final home at the California Science Center, and a strange question arose. An engineer in our office asked if we knew why they sprayed down the Space Shuttle with water the entire time before and during its initial launch.

We all thought it had to be because of the heat of the ignition of the rocket boosters on the launch pad.

We were all wrong.

The water was used to create a barrier between the shuttle and the noise. The water droplets acted as an insulator to keep the 215dB of pressure generated by the launch (sound waves become classified as shock waves over 194dB) from breaking the shuttle to pieces. It was used to isolate sound, and in commercial A/V, white or pink noise is often used to do the same thing in many environments.

To be honest, I had been in A/V for over six years before I ever heard the term “sound masking.” I was familiar with sound isolation techniques practiced to contain sound in one area through the means of decoupling wall materials from the framed structure, or by placing dense insulating material in wall cavities. I was also familiar with acoustic treatments that were used to “tune” rooms and control the reflections of certain frequencies in the space by diffusing or trapping those frequencies with various acoustic treatment products.

Photos: 8 Great Acoustical Treatment Products

Sound masking, however, was a new term for me, one I first heard when doing a large commercial job for CBRE commercial real estate.

Click image to subscribe

I admit it; I turned to Wikipedia, which actually had a great analogy on sound masking:

Sound masking can be explained by analogy with light. Imagine a dark room where someone is turning a flashlight on and off. The light is very obvious and distracting. Now imagine that the room lights are turned on. The flashlight is still being turned on and off, but is no longer noticeable because it has been “masked.” Sound masking is a similar process of covering a distracting sound with a more soothing or less-intrusive sound.

I thought this was quite fitting and easy for most of us to understand based on what we know about contrast ratios for projection in bright rooms. Sound masking decreases the signal-to-noise ratio, making lower level sounds fade away.

Sound masking represents a great opportunity for integrators in a few ways:

1. In most cases, sound masking systems do not require changes to the building materials. We know how hard it would be to convince a corporate client to install acoustic treatments on the walls and to break open walls to install isolation blankets, etc.

2. It allows the integrator to bring up a unique set of knowledge that their residential and Geek Squad competition will most likely not be speaking to, giving you the “expert” status in the client’s mind.

View the 8 photos attached to this entry
             
View photos
About the author

Mark Coxon - Sales, Mark
Mark started his technology career at IBM in 2000 before migrating into AV integration in early 2002. He currently works at Horizon Display, an interactive multitouch hardware and software provider. Mark lives in Orange County with Lesley, his wife of 11 years and his 3 children.
View all posts by Mark Coxon
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



Recent comments

Thanks for your comment, Derek! While this article was just a brief background about Audinate and Dante, we…

Posted by Chelsea Cafiero on 2014 08 08 · commented on
'What is Dante and Why is it So Popular?'.

Nice Overview Jason!

Integrators should be taking note of these changes and positioning themselves…

Posted by Mark Coxon on 2014 08 04 · commented on
'Stricter California Lighting Standards Take Effect'.

Robert,

It is curious that you just threw in the sentence “Audinate is a member of the AVnu Alliance,…

Posted by Derek R. Flickiinger on 2014 07 29 · commented on
'What is Dante and Why is it So Popular?'.

Casey - another great project! 


Your design and implementation came out a amazing!

Posted by Chanan Averbuch on 2014 07 10 · commented on
'Getting 'Serious' About Boa Lounge Upgrade'.