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Electronic vs. HVAC Sound Masking

by Acoustics By Design on September 8, 2010

electronic sound masking versus HVAC sound maskingOccasionally clients ask about using HVAC system noise as a sound masking system. While dual use of the HVAC system would save money and be more sustainable, most ventilation systems cannot be relied upon to produce a constant level of background noise with a desirable spectrum of sound. With the widespread use of variable air volume systems, the inconsistent air flow volume produces varying levels of background sound. At best, it would provide a hit-or-miss situation: sometimes it would be an effective masking system, assuming the spectrum doesn’t annoy the occupants, but most of the time it would not. Furthermore, the sound spectrum cannot be changed; you get what it is, which may not be what the occupants need.

With an electronic sound masking system, the level of the background sound is constant and can be adjusted. With many systems, the spectrum can be tuned to optimum levels to maximize its effectiveness. A system that can be controlled will provide the maximum benefit of increased worker productivity due to the reduced number of office noise related distractions. That’s money well spent.

Acoustics By Design provides recommendations and performance specifications for sound masking systems for open and private offices, call centers, healthcare facilities and other spaces where speech privacy and reduced distractions are desired. After the installation is complete, we provide field services to adjust the system to an effective sound level and preferred spectral balance best suited to the project type.

Acoustics By Design

Acoustics By Design

Acoustics By Design consultants provide acoustical consulting services to architects, engineers, facility directors, municipalities, and building owners. Our team includes acoustical consultants, acoustical engineers, noise consultants, and vibration consultants. Our firm also includes an integrated team of audio-visual consultants who design audio, video, theatrical lighting, and technical systems and integrate them with the native acoustical environment.

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