Why you should care about room acoustics or at least your wallet should.

I recently went to this great restaurant for breakfast. The food was amazing,  unfortunately the sound wasn’t.  The integrator did not use basic concepts in room acoustics when placing the speakers.

Walking to our seats the music was loud, but as we arrived at our seats the music almost disappeared.  That’s when I looked up and couldn’t believe what I saw.  They had installed ten pendant speakers in the middle of this small room.  Even with all those speakers, I couldn’t hear the audio from my seat.  How could this happen?

Speaker Placement

Looking over the layout the integrator lowered the pedant speakers to make them even with the beams in the room. This was a mistake,  by doing this they created a bunch of hot spots throughout the room.  The speakers were too close together and too close to the listener.  They should have raised the speakers so they were against the ceiling which would have given them much better coverage.  This would have also saved the restaurant owners thousands of dollars by allowing them to use only two speakers instead of ten.

Speaker Spacing

If their goal was to sell them more speakers they should have spaced them correctly.  The space between two speakers should always be twice as far apart as the space between the speaker and the wall.  These are simple room acoustic concepts that everyone should understand when you are a professional integrator. Here is a link to JBL Pro’s system design software which will give you a good guideline for speaker placement.

 

Room Acoustics Basics

Room acoustics 101

Conclusion

With very little time and effort the integrator could have saved the restaurant owner thousands of dollars in speakers and given them a far better result.  Customers dining at this fine establishment will have music blaring in their face or won’t hear anything which is a shame since the owners of the restaurant paid top dollar for the equipment.  Once again, I want to make a plea to our industry professionals please spend some time on room acoustics and give your clients what they are paying for.