Acoustical Engineers

Acoustical engineering 101

Room acoustics can be specifically tuned to for the use of the space, making its design a true success the first time around. A room intended for music is not acoustically treated similarly to a room intended for speech or a space intended for large gatherings. 

How might an owner or architect create the ideal acoustical environment?

In many situations, there is an ideal look or design for a space. Understanding how sound might act within that space is intangible and there are thousands of acoustical products available, with many of them potentially not yet known to the owner or designer. With the increased awareness of acoustical design has come products to align with any aesthetic. Designing a space that looks great and sounds great can be a hard harmony to find.

What is Acoustical Engineering? 

There are several disciplines within acoustical engineering, giving focus to a range of acoustical environments, anywhere from mechanical system vibration, to industrial power generation, to appliance or electronics sound and vibration. A Master’s degree in a related engineering field like audio, mechanical, electronic, or architectural acoustics is typically held by these specialists.

It is the technical expertise in sound and vibration of Architectural Acoustics that focuses on creating an optimum acoustic environment through design consideration of room shape, sizing, or finishes. These experts are called Acoustical Consultants.

What does an Acoustical Consultant do?

Acoustical engineers are typically hired by owners, developers, or architects to assess and evaluate sound environments within an existing built or to-be-built environment. Sound within a space can be caused by impact vibration between floors, sound transmission between spaces, and echoes within a space.

The main goal of their services is recommendations for architectural design that considers:

  • Reducing or absorbing unwanted sound
  • Reducing unwanted reverberation
  • Maintaining clear wanted sound
  • Maintaining speech privacy
  • Directing sound throughout a space
  • Amplifying wanted sound

Acousticians are often tasked with:

  • Measuring room sound levels with highly-precise equipment
  • Using digital room modeling to visualize or auralize sound in a space
  • Testing modeled spaces with and without acoustical treatments
  • Recommending design adjustments to mitigate sound
  • Recommending acoustical treatments to mitigate sound
  • Identifying sound sources
  • Educating on the connection between sound, acoustics, and human or environmental wellbeing

Sound control measures might include:

  • Sound isolation
  • Sound absorption
  • Sound masking

Noise control is becoming more and more considered across many industries to ensure appropriately reverberant or quiet spaces. As awareness increases, many construction standards and documents have come to direct what levels of acoustical performance must be achieved for each condition.

Designing a space that looks great and sounds great can be a hard harmony to find.

Finding an Acoustical Consultant

BASWA acoustic works closely with hundreds of Acoustical Engineering and Consulting firms all over the world to solve sound concerns of owners and designers. Utilizing the knowledge of an Acoustical Consultant Firm allows for the acoustical mapping of a space before it is built. Architectural plans are utilized in unique programs which can let an owner or designer know of any trouble areas and allow for proper specification of acoustical products. 

BASWA is a proud, long-time supporter of the National Council of Acoustical Consultants (NCAC). The NCAC is a great source for those trying to find the right firm for their project. Search the NCAC directory to find highly regarded professionals in the acoustical engineering industry.

Identifying ideal acoustical products for each design

Acoustical Consultants rely on the integrity of manufacturers to provide the most accurate documentation of their product's performance. BASWA acoustic offers third party independent lab acoustical test data that depicts actual installed environment conditions.

BASWA acoustic works with acoustical engineers to support a variety of corporate, government, and institutional clients, including:

  • Airports
  • Auditoriums
  • Ballrooms
  • Boardrooms
  • Broadcast Studios
  • Churches
  • Classrooms
  • Concert Halls
  • Conference Rooms
  • Courtrooms
  • Historical Restorations
  • Home Theaters
  • Hospitals
  • Learning Centers & Libraries
  • Living Spaces
  • Lobbies
  • Museums
  • Music Rehearsal Rooms
  • Recording Studios
  • Restaurants
  • Spas and Natatoriums

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