Do I Need Acoustic Panels?
Acoustic treatments create comfortable, safe, enjoyable spaces for working, playing, and living.
Have you ever been in a restaurant and noticed it was too noisy to have a pleasant conversation? The cause of that noise is bouncing sound waves in a space where many people are talking simultaneously.
Acoustic panels or baffles can easily remedy the problem.
So how do you know if a space needs acoustic treatment? We caught up with Chuck Splain, veteran sound expert and MBI’s vice president of sales, who helps us understand the basics of improving acoustics in almost any space.
Q: How do you determine the need for acoustic panels?
Chuck Splain: It’s not a sophisticated answer, but if you hear a problem, you’ve got the need. If it’s too loud to have a normal conversation or hear sound clearly and comfortably, you need some kind of acoustic treatment, and we can help with that in all types of spaces.
Q: How do you determine the acoustic conditions of a given space?
CS: It depends on a few factors, including the purpose of the space, its square footage, and surface materials used in construction — no two rooms are the same. Sometimes we enlist the help of an acoustic consultant who can inspect a location and conduct sound and vibration tests, assessing how sound ‘performs’ to help us choose the right acoustic panels.
Patrons’ or audiences’ experience — enjoyment, learning, worship — can be ruined if the acoustics are lousy. And in many cases, determining the cause and the remedy is simple.
Q: How do you choose the most effective acoustic treatment type?
CS: The priorities of the customer are what determine the best solution. If cost-effectiveness is critical, we can meet that need and still produce a great result. We have standard-sized, budget-friendly solutions like Ceiling Tiles, or if a higher-end, design-inspired solution is desired, we can do that with products like Cloud-Lite Acoustic Baffles, Spectrum Acoustic Panels, Colorsonix Wall Panels. If a customer wants to attain a particular aesthetic or graphic design using acoustic panels, we can use a product like the Masquerade DESCOR® system, which offers incredible visual impact.
Depending on the space, different sizes and shapes of panels are available, or custom-built panels might meet unique needs. Take performance spaces, for example, where crystal clear sound without echoes or reverberation is the goal. These spaces vary in shape and size, and most importantly, finishes. You can go to a show in Las Vegas and see our Lapendary Panels in the theater’s ceiling. Lapendary Panels are an ideal solution because the venue has a large capacity, and the lighting really focuses the crowd on the stage versus the ceiling. Smaller, more intimate facilities might use the Colorsonix Floater Panels in the ceiling, and Colorsonix Wall Panels are effective on the walls.
One of my favorite aspects about MBI is that we can offer a wide variety of acoustic solutions with a wide range of finishes and pricing.
Q: How many baffles or panels are typically needed to achieve a good result?
CS: That depends on the size and shape of the room. Every room is different, but there are some general guidelines we like to follow. You always need most of your absorption on the ceiling since it is the largest reflective surface. Once the ceiling is done, the wall treatment controls the slap or the echo you hear in the room.
Acoustic design principles are only useful if you have the right amount of sound-absorbing material in the space, ideally determined by an acoustic engineer.
Q: Where and how should the panels be installed?
CS: Usually, acoustic panels are affixed to a wall or ceiling, and baffles are suspended from the ceiling. The hardware varies, but for the most part, installation is simple and typically quite clean and quick.
Do you have further questions for Chuck about your property’s acoustic status? Contact us today. We’re here to help!
About Chuck Splain:
One of the original three members of the MBI team, Vice President of Sales Chuck Splain, has thirty years’ tenure. Chuck handles a medley of business-related duties involving the sales team, new client development, acoustic design, and new product development. He has derived great pleasure from watching the operation grow and never tires of the stories about how MBI products have changed customers’ lives.
MBI has been at the forefront of acoustics innovation for over 50 years. MBI acoustical products provide a practical, decorative solution to noise control for all types of buildings, from large facilities such as arenas and convention centers to smaller facilities such as schools, churches, audio/visual studios, and restaurants. As innovators and problem solvers, we work closely with our clients to ensure cost-effective solutions that perform beyond their expectations.