Bose Live Music Team
Many years ago I helped install home theaters in large (for a home) rooms. We employed paintings mounted on four to six inch deep frames with insulation inside. These helped control high frequency reflections.
Perhaps 4' x 8' decorative frames like this (mounted on 4' x 8' plywood sheets) hanging horizontally in various places beneath the ceiling might diffuse the mid/lower frequencies. Maybe add insulation to the panel tops to further absorb reflections.
Don't you ever sleep?
You still astonish me in finding all these references all over the place... The article is very interesting. I had not heard of anybody trying this idea out before. It just occurred to me last night after a fun gig where cousins came from Ottawa to see me perform. I'm an engineer and like to solve physical problems.
I have been following this discussion for a while and letting my imagination work in the background.
The parameters I identified were:
- We can't redesign the space for one concert;
- I assume budget is a driving factor;
- The solution needs to be quickly installed and removed so not to impede the normal operations of the museum;
- It also can't be an eyesore.
Since this event seems to be a celebration of local history, I associated celebration with balloons.
- Even if it's a very formal event, the balloon's colours can be suited for the occasion: if it's a black tie affair, black and white balloons. Or all white, or again all black.
- If there is a patriotic / state / city theme to the concert, the colours of the appropriate flag / state / city can be used. They can also be coordinated with the murals.
... But then again what do I know; I am only good with shapes and textures, not colours.
As for your comment on sound going through the balloons, it's partially true.
- Sound "waves" are variations in air pressure.
- When the air pressure change hits a surface, any surface, it will be reflected, although at varying degrees depending on the texture of the surface.
- In the case of balloons, the object that is subjected by the pressure variation is smooth, can change shape because it is flexible and contains air itself.
- So the air inside the balloon will react to the pressure variation and push it through the flexible membrane on the other side.
- But the main factor in play here is the curved shape that reflects the sound (and also partially transmits it) in a "scatter", much more open pattern that will lower the pressure variations in a given spot.
- Other objects made from other materials will absorb more than reflect, for example thick carpeting or velvet drapes.
So in addition to the balloons, I suggest placing the musicians and the L1's on nice thick carpets and extend the carpet at least 10 feet in front of the L1's. This again is not calculated, just my guess at what could be a starting point for the test.
I wish I could be there with Tom to try these things out. I love this kind of a challenge!
Good luck Tom.
"Keep on strumming"
Actually, the museum would like this room to be sonically better permanently, so think in that direction.
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Just catching up here, and haven't carefully read the whole thread, so I apologize if I'm repeating advice already given.
I'm a big fan of hanging acoustic baffles. When you hang the absorption IN the room, instead of ON the wall or ceiling you get much more effective absorption for your money because sounds strikes both sides of the baffle instead of just one. We just did a yukky room here in the R&D center with hanging baffles and they worked really well.
Of course they need to be made well, and of material suitable for installation (fire rated material, etc) and have a mechanical hanging system that's safe. But there are a number of companies that make these baffles (Google "hanging acoustic baffles"). Because they're hung over folks heads they tend to be rather unobtrusive.
Thanks, Ken! I Googled a few of hanging baffles, and they look great and not too pricey.
I talked to Chris last week, and he talked about your treatment of that room at R&D too. He also said that performing on the long wall with some absorptive material on the opposing wall like you did at a reflective mosque would be smart. We had been thinking that at the museum as well.
We have a rehearsal to try the long wall and some absorptive material next week. We'll also meet with the money people and see what their budget will be for the hanging acoustic baffles.
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