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Basic Acoustic Design Principle


Basic Principle of Room Acoustics


Basic Acoustic Rules

The main acoustic challenge for the design of any performance space is to avoid pronounced room resonances. These are particular frequencies that “ring.” The effect can best be imagined by a scale played on the low frequency notes of a church organ- in a badly designed sanctuary, certain notes will sound much louder than others. The best way to avoid these effects is to avoid repetition of a single dimension. For example, a sphere is a very bad shape, having a single dimension repeating. A cube is a bad shape, with the same length, width, and height dimension. A square room with a height half the length would also be bad, as again, a certain note would be emphasized.

Now, acousticians analyzing the best sounding concert halls find that there are some standard ratios that minimize the number of standing waves or resonances. The best ratio of length and width is 1.55 to 1, and a height-to-width ratio of about 0.67 to 1. It is interesting to note that both of these numbers (1.55 and 1/0.67) are close to (1.55/2 and 1.62) which is known as the Golden Ratio and has been a fundamental principle of architecture for thousands of years. As a room deviates further and further from these ratios, certain room resonances will begin to dominate.




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