Optimize Acoustics for Meeting and Conference Rooms

Modern meeting and conference rooms tend to feature a lot of high-tech equipment to facilitate presentations, teleconferences, and video conferences with participants from around the globe. But one thing that’s often overlooked when setting up such state-of-the-art workspaces is acoustics. It doesn’t do much good to invest thousands of dollars in HD video and premium audio systems when the meeting room itself isn’t protected against echoes, excessive background noise, and sound leaks. Here are some tips on how to achieve better sound clarity by optimizing acoustics for meeting and conference rooms.

  • Focus your efforts on the walls and ceiling first since these are the surfaces that are primarily responsible for sound reverberation in the room.
  • A good rule of thumb to follow is to cover approximately 25% of the walls with sound absorbing material such as 2” wedge foam or 2-1/2” eggcrate foam. Begin coverage three feet off the ground, which is considered “conversation level,” and extend the coverage to seven feet.
  • Integrate any acoustic foam you use with the general aesthetic of the room by covering the foam with acoustic cloth in a complementary color.
  • Treat the ceiling with sound absorbing material, too. Installing baffles or clouds or placing acoustic foam tiles over any hard ceiling surfaces are the most effective ways to prevent excessive reverberation.
  • Windows and other glass surfaces wreak havoc on meeting room acoustics as well, so be sure to add curtains, drapes, or other absorptive materials where needed.
  • Place an area rug on the floor or install carpeting throughout the room to further reduce unwanted echoes and reverberation.
  • Consider sound masking options, such as a white noise machine, within the meeting room or in the space surrounding the meeting room for greater privacy during in-person interactions.

An important caution to bear in mind as you evaluate the above soundproofing solutions is not to go overboard. Implementing too many of these tips in a single space may result in a “dead room,” which is just as bad acoustically as one that heavily reverberates sound. The best approach is to assess each conference room individually and try out the tips one by one (beginning with the walls and ceiling) until optimal sound quality is achieved in that particular workspace.

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Posted in Acoustic Foam

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