Through a combination of passive and active acoustics, architects and acousticians can control the sounds of spaces to fit any kind of need. With sound-proofing and selective-amplification, we can add reverb or take it away. We can make churches sound … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars. And I'm sitting in a tiny little room with his microphone right up to my mouth so that the sound My voice is transmitted directly from me to you. There is no sense of the room that a man when I stopped speaking the sound stops. There is no reverberation, no reverb Roman and I are both talking in rooms outfitted, specially for recording rooms that sound good, that's producer, Avery Truffle meant because step outside this tiny, completely padded studio, okay, it's so quiet because amends but I'm gonna walk around a little bit. So you can hear the architecture around me. You can tell now that I'm in a bathroom or you can tell well if I enter the stairwell at our office and if you listening and headphones. My voices bouncing around your car or whatever room you're in whatever
Your hearing sound is affected by the architecture, there are two main ways to control the sound in a building active, acoustics and passive acoustics hassle. Acoustics other materials in a space like the padding the studio, room, carpeting and drapes are also absorptive materials that soak up sound glass and porcelain. On the other hand, more river if its shining, it's going to be reflective, is an easy way to interpret that this is Ashley Hansen, many Ashley Hansen, I'm the design services manager admire Sound Meyer, sound is a company that mostly makes active acoustics, which is to say speakers, ample fires and other electric sound equipment. People probably have run into our products. They just don't know that it's Meyer sounds Myerson It makes a lot of the big speakers. Hanging off of the ceilings that concentrates on Broadway shows that their products are
also in a lot of unexpected places. Cruise ships restaurants, we are in some corporate headquarters: educational facilities, airports, for six hundred myerson speakers were used when the Pope spoke in Mexico. One of the things I tell people in general is. If we do, your job right- you might never notice that we're even there. That's part of Ashley's job at Meyer. Sound make sure the sound equipment is effortlessly integrated into a building using both passive and active acoustics materials and Electronic but often in architecture. What looks the best is at odds with what sounds the best. Of course she necessarily want to always see the big black speaker somewhere, and so we have to get creative. We like yours, speakers out of sight- and we also
like high ceilings and long glass windows, which makes spaces sound, really reverberant, so Orkut picture is a puzzle for Ashley and her team dissolve whenever we see rooms that have curved walls. We kind of cringe spent if they're out of glass- oh that's pretty! When we approach space, since there are things that, although their beautiful we know, our goin to definitely put pressure on us to come up with creative and unique ways to appease the visual and sonic means of the room. So, it depends on what you're trying to do in that space. If it's a venue The symphony or the opera, you want the sound to be big and resident, and going cafe or place with acoustic performances, A little reverb is nice, but if you I hear a lecture or reading or say have a meeting, you probably don't, not much reverb at all, but we haven't
always been able to precisely control the acoustics of a building sound until fairly recently was a somewhat mysterious element in architecture in there lay eighteen sent Jerry, there are all sorts of different theories about how to get good sound, but half of them contradict the other half and no one really knew what to do. This is Emily Thomson she's a history professor Einstein and a scholar of sound technology, and she says at the turn of twentieth century architectural acoustics are pretty much role of the dice architects begin to fret that they don't really know what they're doing with this aspect of their designs, and it was all kind of left to chance, and if you are lucky, your theatre would sound good and if you were unlucky it wouldn't and in eighteen. Ninety five Harvard University was, very unlucky. The university had just completed building the fog. Aren't you and it had a lecture hall where there was so much
reverberation that they simply could not hold classes in that room couldn't understand. Harvard had just wasted a lot of money on a completely useless room. Sound had ruined it, in an attempt to save the space. They listed them of a rookie physics, professor, who had some time on his hands so the President of Harvard ask this young physics, professor, to figure out how to fix that auditorium and make it usable. King Space, this professors name, Wallace Sublime and through this task They would eventually become the father of architectural acoustics. This set Wallace, say buying on two and investigative path that actually took several years, collecting data, basically
making sounds in rooms and tie me the river he would take measurements of the different reverberation times, indifferent rooms all over campus. And in order to do this under the quietest possible circumstances, he tended to run his experiments in the middle of the night. And he would change the reverberation time within a given room by bringing into at various sound absorbing materials, Say buying was a perfectionist he threw out over three thousand measurements after determining that his own clothes had a small effect upon the sound of the room. Here, started all over again making measurements in the dead of night, but now wearing the exact same outfit. Every time mean while the President of Harvard is, is waiting and waiting for this lecture hall to be made useful again at one point, he finally says to the young professor: it's it's time for you to tell us what to do here. Enough is enough.
That night feeling nervous under pressure, say bye, pours over his no books and has a breakthrough. Looking at all his measurements, he starts to notice a trend, a mathematical relationship between the size and materials of a room in its reverberation time from later If so, steady that you can make a formal out of it. He discoveries mathematical formula that connects the architectural materials of the room and the behaviour of sound within it. And this is a formula known say, binds formula now that really enables people to be able to predict the reverberation time of a room based on its design say binds equation allowed for planning. Suddenly you can manipulate the river, but a space by changing the materials the room was made of so that, then you can t
any sort of architectural plan. You know the dimensions, you know how many square feet of plaster or wood or glass or upholstered seats, fill this room and you can just kind of plugin chug in it. The formula will turn out predicted number for the reverberation time of the room, sir. This formula helped architects design for as little or as much reverb as they wanted. Architects could now control the sound of a space They could make big rooms with very little reverb and so on. They begin to do just that and the most remote Google early example of this was Saint Thomas Church, Saint Thomas Church, which is in need Burke City, not far from the Museum of Modern ART, the architects of it. Church wanted to build it in a neo gothic style, basically to make, Look like a european cathedral made of stone with high ceilings and stained glass windows, but why
they wanted this building to look gothic. They realised that a gothic sound would not work for a modern Protestant Serve They wanted to hold a much more sermon, focused service, not just a medieval mass. It needed less river herb, so parishioners could understand the words so the architects turned to Wallace Sabin to make a sacred space. That would be clear. Calming and River free sure, while a save on could add, felt and patting to the building, but he thought that didn't fit the feeling of a church. He worked with a tile maker to come, with special, sound, absorptive ceramic tiles. With poorer surfaces, he called them. Rumford tiles,
four types of aid named it after physicist to had kind of been interested in solving practical problems, and it's a substantial architectural material. It's not a matter of just hanging, drapes attacking felt onto a surface, it's much more integral so with Saint Thomas church. By using these and absorbing tiles way up in all the ceiling vaults, they had the gothic look without the gothic. Sound Saint Thomas Church was completed in nineteen thirteen- it's definitely not modern looking, but it will as a landmark modern sounding building plainly engineers and formulated for environmental control. Thanks to the Rumford tile C Mon worked in public private spaces all along the EAST coast and came out with more products to accompany the Rumford tile and he passed
the way in nineteen nineteen right really at a moment when a much more pervasive interest in controlling environmental sound would come to the fore, the roar in twenties. It got there fever reason. It may very well be the case that it was louder in the twenties. Then now this was an era when cars and trucks did not uniformly come with mufflers. There were these new, unfamiliar, unprecedentedly loud, sound, of cars, of trains, of industrial machinery, of construction of skyscrapers, rising everywhere in the crowded city, an escape was hard to find sound, crispness and clarity could provide com and control. It meant a complete mess. Story of the environment, and so that the desire to control sound
within interior spaces is in part, a kind of a drive to create refuge from the noise tumult of the world outside third tile launched an industry by the Nineteenth Thirty's dozens of different court. Operations were manufacturing and selling vast quantities of acoustic building materials, but names like acoustic live acoustic, Zella tax and seven eight four. Those who could afford it. You know whether you could buy a sound proof, department or just enjoy quiet offices, or or theatres quiet became a luxury commodity occurs, materials were so advanced that savings formula apply anymore. Buy one thousand thirty you're really able, To create spaces that simply didn't exist in nineteenth century say: bye,
The doesn't work particularly well. It was a product of the world in which he did his investigation, which was still that nineteenth century world filled with class and wood. And plaster all this new acoustic technology was able to create a level of silence unprecedented in savings time. Finally, it was quiet to quiet. What is the twentieth century went on? People became disenchant, with the idea of completely closed off spaces with dampened acoustics they wanted to lead an air light and sound interesting by the nineteen seventies, some of the cultural factor there is in the aesthetic preferences of people with respect to sound design had changed since the early twentieth century.
And in some of these spaces, including Saint Thomas Church, they actually decided they wanted more reverberation than this material engendered. So in some cases the poorest surface of the Rumford tile has been painted over to kind of seal off those pours an end to make it more reflective of sound and these days we want our architecture to have a range of reverb. Now what single room or venue can accommodate a lot of different kinds of sounds and that's possible. Using not just passive You sick materials, like the one say, bind pioneered, but also active, acoustics, using microphones and loudspeakers and digital signal processing That's melody, Parker and acoustic engineer admire sound and they this product called constellation and So what constellation allows you to do is to create multiple environments in one speech,
is. It basically allows you to manipulate the sound of the room, completely digitally dresses a mini tiny speakers and microphones where the microphones trap the ceiling there really spotlights. Slept melody, showed every the test. Room for consolation inside Mire sounds headquarters in Berkeley, it looks like very small theatre, its with a low reverb time, thanks to much acoustic patty, but its outcome with a variable. Active acoustic system were tiny microphone, capture the sound and the speakers play back. Those sounds to mimic the reverberation, indifferent sized rooms Adam. Where are they saw, grab melody, took out an Ipad and activated different settings which completely changed the sonic shape of the room and argue dramatic demonstration. Ah, this is where It sounds like with a very long reverberation time melody played the closet, to demonstrate the reverb time. This said
was called sacred space. I give this tiny room, the sound of a cathedral, and it's one thing to you you're a reverb effect in a song or a podcast. It's another thing entirely to experience a reverb effect in a room in real life. In real time. The echo completely changed my perception of the space. Then melody took the reverb completely out of the room just entirely and suddenly it felt stifling, like I've, been muzzle, there's something whose hard to breathe and those are some of the most dramatic settings on consolation. There are lots of subtle changes that a client could make to a room. They Have the ability to change the length of the reverberation changed the strength of the loudness of the reverberation and to even changed the purse seethed height of the room the perceived the width of the room
constellation in its competitors. Sound systems are expensive. So they're not come exactly, but there's a lot more places. Then you'd think like a number of big venues all over the world and classrooms and offices restaurant you so called variable active acoustics, so they can adjust the noise level to keep it a pleasant hum, regarded This is how many people are in the space. And the architectural implications of this are fascinating. Of course, architects and competition still have to pay attention to the passive acoustics in the building materials, but there's more design flexibility. Now, yeah we act I have an interesting one that we're working on for attack business where they took over an old factory actually Hansen admire, sound again and so the chair Andrews and that space it's the factories, I'll break and exposed and beautiful, and how these high ceilings- and she says
A combination of active and passive acoustic systems help architects, re purpose. Old buildings were able to Take spaces that would never be used for certain applications and make them great fur all sorts of different events, and that wouldn't happen before this office space. In this factory would just be a reverberant nightmare, no one could focus and they probably wouldn't have purchased it for building. It's like Saint Thomas Church, marked the beginning of our request to control sound in the built environment through passive acoustics. Now, a hundred years later, with advanced active acoustics, weakens separate sound from space. Warehouses can be made to sound like opera houses and opera houses can sound like small clubs. It's just a matter of how much reverb we want.
This absurd. We featured some actual sounds from New York City from the nineteen twenties and nineteen thirties. You can find them on this. Incredible interactive website that Professor Thomson made in collaboration with the University of Southern California: it's got a map of New York and you can click rounded to see what it looked like and wet sounded like in the twenties. And the easiest way to find it is to go to shut out the Norway's dot com certainly took him out. Supercool shut out the noise dotcom special thanks to been strange, Alex Tool and everyone admire sound. Ninety nine percent, invisible was produces sweet by every Travelin wish review, said Katy, mingle, crook course tat same Greenspan, Emmett Fitzgerald turn Massa Delaney Hall and me roman Mars.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-14.