A Home theatre room can be designed as a basic television room or a full dedicated home theatre with surround sound and theatre seating or anything in between. Before starting to plan your home entertainment area, you need to determine exactly what you want to achieve. Is it a relaxing area for casual watching of television and gaming? Is it an area for listening to music along with watching movies? Or do you want the full movie experience? Then, what is the budget available for the home theatre?
Designed properly, the sound quality will be well balanced throughout the room. Echo, reverberation and standing sound waves will need to be taken care of in the home theatre room. There is a multitude of acoustic concerns and careful consideration needs to be given to the correct amount of sound absorption with some reflection and diffusion. Then, the area needs to be aesthetically pleasing and a with a visual beauty which does not interfere with watching movies.
Before planning the acoustic room treatment for your home theatre, you will need to provide good sound control isolation so the sound does not transfer throughout the home. Careful attention needs to be given to stopping the sound from passing through the walls and the ceiling by providing solid hard surfaces with no air leaks. Also, sound vibration needs to be addressed with appropriate structural construction design.
Audio systems to perform at their best, the room needs to have acoustic treatment which effectively controls the sound.
To start, it is best to make a basic sketch of the space you are working with and determine a layout for the area. In your home theater design take into consideration the room use, importance, and performance of the home theatre system, type of audio/video equipment, lighting, and some storage needs. Many things in a home theatre are interdependent. The choice and kind of equipment affect the layout of the room; the type, amount, and location of the acoustic treatment; the type of seating, and carpeting. All elements need to be considered in the planning stage. Obtaining a general idea of how sound innately will respond in your circumstance will be of great help in the planning of the home theatre.
All materials affect the sound quality in the room. Some absorb a high percentage while others reflect more sound. Softer materials, like fiberglass insulation, upholstery, are less dense and will absorb more sound waves while materials like gypsum board and hardwood floor are denser and will reflect more sound while glass is the most reflective as it is very dense.
After the structural considerations are taken care of, then the room interior can be designed. The amount of acoustic treatment to be installed in the room is affected by the room’s size and shape and the location of the speakers. A combination of ceiling and wall sound absorbing treatment, some reflection points and areas to scatter sound will need to be located in order to achieve the proper quality of sound and value for your speakers.
Acoustical products are designed to absorb sound emanating from the source and depending upon their design, they will control different types of sound frequencies. When sound waves come into contact with a surface it will be absorbed or reflected and the amount of each and at what frequencies will depend on the type of material.
In a home theatre with a carpeted floor, approximately 25-30% of the wall and ceiling surfaces need to be covered with sound absorbing material; the balance to be for reflection and diffusion of sound. The ceiling, side walls, and the back wall need to be treated in order to achieve clarity of sound.
Acoustic panels are the most common products used to address echo and reverberation problems in home theaters. Panels are effective at mitigating sound reflection issues and they contribute nicely to a cost-effective strategy. The acoustic wall panels in a home theatre are designed in a variety of types from standard rigid fiberglass covered with fabric, fiberglass panels with a scattering board under the fabric and bass traps which absorb low-frequency sound. Acoustic wall and ceiling panels come in a standard 2’ x 4’ or 4’ x 4’ sizes or a variety of designer styles and shapes.
The acoustics of a recording studio and control room needs to consider both the soundproofing aspects of the room and the interior sound quality of the room.
Acoustic treatment needs to be installed in the appropriate amount so it is not too dead or too lively and at the correct locations to control the sound level. The size, shape, and finishes of the room, along with the placement of equipment all affect the sound quality. Mixing music and recording in an enclosed space provides many challenges because of the way sound reacts within the room.
In this recording studio radio control room, the area has carpeted floors and acoustic fiberglass ceiling tile to absorb part of the interior sound. To balance and control sound for broadcasting, a 4’ wide horizontal band of 2” thick acoustic panels, with an NRC of 1.00, was installed around the room just above the desk level. These acoustic panels will control the sound from reflecting from the gypsum, board walls. The owner supplied digital images to be installed on the acoustic panels giving the room a unique interior design that reflects the essence of the radio station.
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