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Band Room Acoustics

Band Room Acoustics

Michael Green (Roomtune)

For years, band directors have struggled with their room acoustics. The needs are simple:

1. To be able to hear each student.

2. To be able to keep the band in tune.

Sometimes band directors can feel like they are in the middle of a musical sea without a paddle. Acoustical waves are floating around the room making it almost impossible to hear a balanced sound. The way to solve this, of course, is to make the room acoustically linear.

Room acoustics basically come down to one source being overpowered by another source that is being created by what we call pressure zones. Pressure Zones are the rooms natural loading spots where the sound experiences a sympathetic rise in acoustical energy. Pressure zones are not a bad thing once they are made linear and in tune in a room. But, if not controlled, they can make a band room sound very confusing.

In the past, companies tried to treat these areas by killing the sound around the room. But, this made the music sound dull and the pressure zones were still there. You see, the way to treat a pressure zone is not by killing the walls but by letting the walls be a part of the performance space. This is done not through direct absorption but by a system known as acoustical barricading. Acoustical barricading works by allowing the sound wave to travel in its natural pattern until it hits the wall. Then, as the laminar energy travels along the wall, it then is caught by a barricade that asks like an acoustical stop sign. When placing these barricade products in the appropriate place, the wall is able to reproduce the sound of the instruments in a linear fashion.