Back when I was in grade school, I loved the animated Charlie Brown shows. I have particular memories of the scenes in class where the kids’ teacher would address them: “Wa Wa Wa, Wa, Wa Wa Wa, Wa.” Thinking about it still makes me smile. What a simple scene that helps visualize the point of my topic today.

Convention centers are big places and the convention floor for a trade show is a fun place; all the people milling about, many conversations, the new products being pitched. It’s a place full of life and full of lots of acoustical energy. In some respects, many convention centers are so big that there is not a lot that can be done to greatly impact the acoustical environment, and on the surface there isn’t a strong determinate to why consideration of the acoustical environment is necessary.

Most convention centers are acoustically just fine to the average attendee walking the floor; however, when we take a look at the center as a whole, we see many booths and vendors all competing for the attention of the attendee. Vendors use audio, video, lighting, games, and giveaways to bring the attendees to their booth. This creates an environment with many distractions and raised background noise levels.

This brings us back to Charlie Brown’s teacher: “Wa Wa, Wa Wa.” Locally, each vender can be easily heard and understood, but what about communication to everyone on the convention floor? Have you ever heard someone being paged across a convention center PA system? Yep, Charlie Brown’s teacher. Now consider something more urgent, like instructions to the occupants during an emergency from the same PA system. That “Wa Wa” could spell disaster!

I know what you’re thinking, “this is an acoustics blog entry, not a PA system entry”. It’s actually both; PA systems and room acoustics go hand in hand in to ensure effective communication in large spaces, such as convention centers. In some small spaces you can get away with poor room acoustics if you have a well-designed PA system and vice-versa, but large spaces really require that both sides of the equation are considered and balanced.

At Acoustics By Design, we offer professional design services in these two key areas: Audio System Design and Room Acoustics. The perfect combination of expertise to ensure that everyone milling around on the convention floor can effectively hear any paging or large scale announcements, especially emergency instructions.

ABD Engineering and Design

ABD Engineering and Design is one of North America’s leading independent acoustical consulting and AV design firms, serving clients across the United States and Canada, as well as other international markets from offices in Grand Rapids, MI and Portland, OR. Our specialized acoustical engineering and AV design practices help architects, building owners, engineers, facility directors, and municipalities design spaces, environments, and systems for optimal acoustical and audiovisual performance. Our consulting practice areas specialize in all aspects of architectural acoustics, environmental and industrial noise and vibration control, and audiovisual systems design.

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