Several weeks ago, a client invited me to a rehearsal in their highly reverberant space that ABD was hired to test and correct. I declined, as I already had plans to attend a play that evening at a different facility, and joked that during the performance I’d also be listening to sirens from the main street outside the theater. Nearly every time we attend a performance in this space, we hear sirens going by the building. Sure enough, on cue in Act II, “errrrrreeeeeerrrrrhhh” slices into the hall. My husband and I shake our heads. This is why sound isolation of performance spaces from outside noise intrusion is so important.

It’s easy to understand how a siren disrupts a dramatic pause or an airplane flyover covers a quiet musical passage. Is that the experience that the owners and performers want the audience to have? EVERY sound path through the building envelope must be evaluated to avoid sound leaks and weak spots. This includes doors leading directly outside, sound transmission through the roof, smoke evacuation outlets, fresh air and exhaust ducts, to name a few. It is true that some deluxe sound isolation treatments might be outside the budget, but the owner must be informed of what to expect as a result of not incorporating them so that there are no surprises. However, most treatments are quite affordable; they simply must not be overlooked.

Regarding my local theater, I have a theory of where the sound leak is occurring. All I need to do is convince my friends on staff to let me have a look-see around the facility, for the benefit of all. At Acoustics By Design, this is exactly what we do. Whether it’s new construction, renovation, or simple troubleshooting, we can help ensure that your performing space is free from unwanted noise and optimized for great performances.

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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