By Luis Cortes, Echo Workshop
Have you ever sat in that restaurant where the volume is ever increasing as the patrons all talk over each other? At the beginning of the evening that restaurant was a quiet place where one could hear the subtle music coming from the speakers, but as the room started to fill with people, the volume got louder and louder until it seemed like they had to yell to be heard. Why does this happen? The short answer is acoustics, and it can be accounted for in the design stage of any room, not just restaurants.
Sound is vibration. Some of that vibration is traveling through air and some of it is injected into the solid surfaces it can otherwise bounce from. When you hear muffled speech from someone in the room next to you, enough of the wall is vibrating to bring that sound across into your room. There are two methods and several tools for the proper treatment of unwanted sound, isolation and absorption.