We’ve come a long way with acoustic design integration into the world of home technology. So many integrators are aware of this aspect of design now, say compared to 10 years ago and they’re implementing it well.
The challenge cannot be underestimated though, acoustics design for home cinema is harder than for a typical recording studio! Control rooms have the luxury of only needing to achieve a great sound for one seating position, plus they can err on the side of a highly absorptive ‘dry’ sound for the engineer.
When designing for home cinema, multiple seat positions require more calculations and planning for an evenly spread low-frequency response. Low speaker counts may require a ‘live’ sound ‘feel’ for the room and with high speaker counts a ‘drier’ approach like in a studio. Finally, the smaller the room the harder it is to tame the acoustics, especially at the bass-end of the sound spectrum.
TREATMENT VS DSP
It’s common knowledge now that fixing an acoustic problem in a room through design and placing panels is much better than attempting to fix the issues with audio EQ and/or DSP, especially in the mid and high frequencies. A panel can of course have a physical influence on the sound that hits it by either refection or absorption.
Using auto-EQ systems such as those in AVRs can sometimes be misleading and convince you that they have solved acoustic problems in a room when really, they’ve only done an amazing job of setting great bass management and time aligning the system. They can certainly change the sound of a speaker system, but has it solved the acoustic issues?
My tip on the subject of EQ would be to always listen closely to whether it’s helping or not, the quality of DSP varies and can ruin the movie or music in the signal path, even if it gives you the measured result you were seeking.
In-room treatment should always take precedence over corrections with digital sound processing.
MULTIROOM ACOUSTICS FOR WELLNESS
Of course, the benefits of improved acoustics in the modern home shouldn’t be confined to only the home cinema. At CAVD we supply treatments for dining rooms, bedrooms, media rooms and even kitchens. Improved acoustics reduces the need to have to raise your voice during a dinner conversation, it makes spaces more relaxing for families and sleep can be improved.
WHAT DOES GOOD SOUND LOOK LIKE?
Acoustic panelling doesn’t have to look like a science experiment from the ’60s! CAVD’s offering from Mikodam is centred around highly acceptable interior-design friendly solutions. The effective acoustic properties have been expertly hidden from view, integrated into modern geometric patterns and waves.
Other progress in the acoustic space means being able to predict the results of an acoustic design. You need to know the absorption coefficients for each panel and what to do with them! Again, borrowing experience from the world of recording studios, all the planning in the world can be done with top acousticians and big budgets, but many studios do not become ‘great rooms’ that attract the best engineers and producers. There’s a heavy dose of experience and art that has to be combined with science to achieve great rooms.
At CAVD we not only provide the beautiful visual renders but also the technical specs and expected results for each project. Reavh us via the link.
See and save the Mikodam catalogue here