Community Hall Acoustic Solution

Case Study

We were contacted by a community hall, which had recently been remodeled; they were having sound issues in the main hall.  After holding a few events it became obvious that the sound quality was poor as it was difficult to hear properly and to communicate easily.  They wanted to use the hall for various activities like weddings, fitness classes, card tournaments, dances, and various performances.

Upon seeing the site we noticed the ceiling had roll insulation ceiling blankets which have good R-value and acoustically it better than a hard gypsum board ceiling but this ceiling was not providing enough acoustic treatment for all the various activities in the hall. The room has hard sound reflective cinder block walls with a linoleum floor.  There was a long reverberation time in this rectangular shape space with a high gym height ceiling which caused the sound to echo and be increased resulting in an acoustically uncomfortable environment.

After analyzing the space it became apparent that the walls would need acoustic treatment in order to control the sound reverberating from the hard wall surfaces.  The owners had concerns that if the acoustic treatment was installed too low, people would use it to tack decoration to the acoustics and this would become a maintenance issue.

Generally, in this type of hall, the wall opposite the stage gets the direct sound waves and need to be treated acoustically in order to control the sound from bouncing back into the room.  Then with one or two side walls needs acoustic treatment.  The wall behind the stage is not treated so the sound can travel away from the stage towards the listener.

In this case, the back wall had a recessed balcony area with all the service entrances below allowing for little space for acoustic treatment.  Thus, we installed acoustic wall panels on the upper back balcony walls.   Then as we could not install much treatment on the back wall, we installed a 6’ high continuous band of 2” thick acoustic treatment on the upper center part of both side walls in the main part of the hall.  We wanted to keep the smooth cleans lines of the hall design thus our Griptex tension fabric system was used to stretch a horizontal band of fabric over the sound absorptive core.

After completion of the acoustic treatment, the hall members were very pleased with the results.  Now people could communicate with each other and be understood.  The renters of the hall also have commented on how pleasant space is now to hold their events.  The acoustic treatment had reduced the reverberation time thus allowing for better speech intelligibility.

With the success of this acoustic treatment in the main hall, we were asked to improve the sound quality in the high ceiling lobby area as they used it for a pre-gathering space which became very noisy as the room had all hard surface finishes.  To avoid interfering with the lighting and sprinkler system, we installed acoustic ceiling prism to control the over sound level of the room. To reduce the reverberation time further, pre-manufactured wall panels were installed on the upper part of three walls.  This acoustic treatment provided quieter area allowing for good conversations.

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