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Sounding Off

sounding off

blog of acoustics, noise, vibration & audio-visual systems

by Brian Atkinson on November 2, 2017

Acoustics By Design is a nationally certified Women’s Business Enterprise as well as a Woman Owned Small Business. ABD is an independent acoustical engineering and audiovisual design firm with three women in our leadership team, one of which is the sole owner. We are honored to be among other women owned businesses, and proud to serve our clients with this certification.

Leadership Team

Open office spaces with movable partitions and reconfigurable workstations have become more than a trend in office facility design. They are the new normal. As acoustical consultants, we work on open office spaces frequently, and we like to begin the conversation with something we call “The ABCs of Open Office Acoustics.”

The ABCs of Open Office Acoustics


Have you ever increased the volume of your music or television program to “drown out” your noisy neighbors? Or have you noticed how difficult it is to hear a conversation while eating in a busy restaurant? In both situations, sound from the “masker” (your music/television, people talking in the restaurant) is changing the threshold at which the “signal” (noisy neighbors, conversation) is perceptible. In other words, some sounds are masking – or covering over – the other sounds.
How Does Sound Masking Work

by Brian Atkinson on April 3, 2017

For the eleventh year in a row, Acoustics By Design has been named to the West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®. We take pride in this award because it’s based on the information our staff provides in their annual survey, and reflects the exceptional work we all do together.
West Michigan’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®.

Acoustics by Design has won the award nationally 6 years in a row, two Elite awards, and The 101 Best and Brightest Most Sustainable Companies®, every year it was awarded.

Acoustics By Design is delighted to announce the naming of Melinda Miller, PE, LEED AP BD+C, EDAC, INCE. Bd.Cert., as ABD’s Principal Acoustical Engineer.

Melinda Miller (more)

Acoustics By Design received the National and Michigan awards for the 101 Best and Brightest Most Sustainable Companies in 2016. ABD has won the awards every year they have been offered.

101 Best and Brightest Most Sustainable 2016


Erik J Geiger, CTS-D has joined Acoustics By Design in their Portland, OR office as Senior Audiovisual Consultant.
Erik Geiger Senior AV Consultant at Acoustics By Design Portland

When a construction project is underway, who is the best entity to hold the AV contract? Architects design buildings, and construction companies build them. That seems simple enough. While those are the cornerstones of a project, there can be dozens of other companies involved.


by Erik Geiger on August 23, 2016

Why aren’t more AV projects using fiber communications? Are we just afraid of getting cut by the leading edge of technology, or are there legitimate reasons? Maybe there are just some myths out there that keep us from shifting from copper wire to fiber.



Acoustics By Design, Inc. and Daly-Standlee & Associates, Inc., two leading independent acoustical consulting firms, announced the merger of their businesses, effective April 1, 2016. Acoustics By Design, headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Daly-Standlee & Associates in Portland, Oregon, provide a full range of acoustical engineering and consulting, and AV design services to architects, engineers, facilities directors, municipalities, industrial clients and building owners.

abd-dsa-mergerCelebrating the signed agreement on 4/1/2016

We regularly hear from corporate clients regarding closed office privacy concerns. Acoustical challenges of an open office environment are manifold, but crosstalk between closed office spaces, or conference rooms, can be just as distracting. Typically, when these calls come in, we have a standard list of questions that we ask potential clients about their current environment to try to get an understanding of why they feel they have no privacy between closed offices.

Closed Office Speech Privacy


by Erik Geiger on March 22, 2016

Sometimes when we work with an organization like a church, a school, university, or corporate client, we hear that they already have a tech guy (or girl of course). They’ve had, or recently acquired someone who is responsible for the technical systems. Now that a larger project has come up, the question is inevitably asked, “why should we hire a technical systems designer, when we already have a tech guy?” It’s not that your guy isn’t awesome at what he or she does. It’s actually a completely different discipline.

tech guy

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s the walls, the floor, or the ceiling. It seems like every hospital I’ve visited lately is under construction, renovating their current space or planning for large additions. With all the changes, it’s easy to forget about the “unseen” aspects of the design, such as Mechanical Noise and Vibration Control.


When most people hear about the Acoustic Standards in the LEED for Schools Rating System (LEED v4), their eyes start to glaze over like a pair of day-old Krispy Kremes. With over thirty pages of detailed acoustical design criteria, the ANSI Standards are a force to be reckoned with. What are the basic principles of acoustical design that will “LEED” to enhanced learning environments, happy school board officials, and of course… impressive LEED scores?

Acoustics and LEED for Schools

Finding a quiet place to live can be tricky business and can take a bit of time. Research, multiple visits, and looking for red flags are all necessary steps if you want to live in peace and quiet.

Look for Red Flags


When the noise from the condo or apartment unit above sounds like your neighbor’s favorite shoes are a pair of bricks, it can be a struggle. It’s not just multi-family and mixed-use units, single family homes can fall prey to unwanted noises that move from room to room. If you’re looking for some DIY option to help with the echo in your home – please see The Resonance in Your Residence Part 1. Here, we’re talking about those annoying noises from upstairs or next door.

Your upstairs neighbor's favorite pair of shoes


You’ve just moved into your new home, or maybe you recently did some renovations and there it is – noise. Unwanted sound right where you live. There’s an echo, a hum, or you can hear everything going on next door, every footstep above, and the traffic outside is louder than you thought. You love your home, but the sound is making you crazy.

Residential Acoustics


Zagat’s 2015 State of Dining in America survey of more than 10,000 diners across the country showed that noise was second only to service as a top dining-out irritant. Comments included, “Great food and service, but the place was so loud we had to shout over dinner. Not cool.” Working with an independent acoustical consultant in your restaurant design and construction, or renovation process can help “Take The Din Out of Dinner.” (Dana Tanyeri, Senior Contributing Editor for Restaurant Development + Design Magazine)

Din out of Dinner


As 2015 comes to a close, Acoustics By Design is delighted to be among this year’s National Best and Brightest Companies To Work For.



by Erik Geiger on December 2, 2015

The conference room is often the most-used and least-understood. It’s the one place where your staff and guests intersect with audio, video, screen-sharing, and presentation technology. The problem is, you might not have the right adapters to plug in your laptop. What if someone is using a different platform? What if they use a tablet, or have their presentation on their smart phone? BYOD has been the unattainable goal for years… until recently. BYOD in your conference room might be just what you need to get everyone collaborating, and all your devices working together.

Conference Room BYOD

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