Why are Auditoriums Lined with Sound-absorbing Materials?

Auditoriums are important gathering locations for many types of events such as musical performances, plays, community forums, religious services, and political events.

One of the most important facets of an auditorium is its acoustical performance, which will have a direct bearing on whether individuals will be able to effectively process sound waves from speakers, instruments, or other mediums.

Although the technological improvements in microphones over the last century have greatly enhanced the sound quality for all types of auditoriums, other types of factors must be taken into account to ensure high-quality audio performance.

One of the biggest problems hampering the sound quality of auditoriums is the reverberation of sound waves, resulting in an echo effect where a sound is repeated multiple times.

While some noise reverberation is not always a problem in certain settings, specifically musical performances, it is generally a major detriment in events where a single speaker is addressing a crowd of people.

As a result, auditoriums are lined with sound-absorbing materials in their ceilings and walls to cut down on noise reverberation and echoes that distort sound waves.

Acoustic wall panels, usually a combination of wood, foam, and fabric, effectively reduce noise reverberation by absorbing and diffusing sound waves.

There are two different types of acoustic wall panels, curved diffusers, and absorber diffusers.

Curved Diffusers vs Absorber Diffusers

Curved diffusers specifically act to reduce noise echoes by scattering sound waves in different directions.

Whereas absorber diffusers soak up sound waves altogether.

Other objects throughout the auditorium can also be used in conjunction with acoustic wall panels to enhance overall sound quality.

Upholstered chairs, heavy fabric curtains, and carpeted aisles have all proven to be effective at reducing sound reverberation in auditoriums.

Some auditoriums also opt to implement stretched fabric wall systems that are custom-designed to meet the needs of a specific setting.

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