By now, you’ve no doubt heard the news that the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) detected gravitational waves, confirming yet another facet of Einstein’s general theory of relativity...one that he developed a hundred years ago, but was actually impossible to observe until now.
I’m excited about LIGO’s recording because it’s a brand new way of observing the universe – a way of hearing it! Rather than looking at cosmic events using various kinds of light, scientists are able to convert them into sound waves and listen to them via speakers.
Clients sometimes ask if they can install sound masking in a particular area within their facility. Usually, it’s due to a concern about an acoustical issue that’s more obvious – for example, an occupant who has a naturally loud voice or a meeting room in which confidential conversations take place.
I’ve commented on this issue before (see “Out, Damned Spot!” January, 2014), but it bears repeating because I continue to run across situations where vendors have advised their clients to spot treat and, surprisingly, there’s even a couple of sound masking manufacturers promoting products for this purpose.
Can you spot treat? Sure. Technically speaking, you can limit a sound masking installation to particular areas within your facility. But should you?
It’s with excitement (and, admittedly, a slight pang of nostalgia) that we announced the discontinuation of our AccuMask Sound Masking System today – and, with it, the end of our involvement with the traditional form of decentralized sound masking system that saw our company through its first two decades.
Moving forward, we intend to concentrate solely on our networked technology, the LogiSon Acoustic Network. Since we launched this line in 2003, the writing has really been on the wall. While the AccuMask System certainly provided advantages over the centralized style of masking and other decentralized systems, the LogiSon Acoustic Network far outpaced it straight out of the gate...and increasingly did so as we added new features and functions.
Within its first year on the market, 95% of our business switched to the LogiSon line. But the AccuMask System’s fate was finally sealed when we launched TARGET, an application that – when combined with the LogiSon Acoustic Network's networked architecture – tunes the masking sound to within ±0.5 dBA of the specified levels, providing a consistently effective masking effect throughout a facility while reducing tuning time by 90% or more. Older sound masking architectures simply can’t do that.
What do those older sound masking architectures look like?
Last week, Healthcare Design and Contract magazines – in Partnership with the Center for Health Design – announced the winners of The Nightingale Awards from the 2015 Healthcare Design Conference (HCD) in National Harbor, Maryland.
I’m proud to say that LogiSon TARGET earned the Silver Award in ‘Architectural Products: Non-Clinical,’ recognizing its contribution to creating a healing environment. This win seems particularly noteworthy because of the broad range of product types entered in this category. My congratulations to our exceedingly talented design team!
This awards program is, of course, named after Florence Nightingale – a tireless advocate for the improvement of care and conditions in military and civilian hospitals in the 1800s. Given my own interest in acoustics, I find it fascinating that she already observed the impact – not simply of noise, but of dynamic range – on her patients as early as 1860! (If you need to refresh your memory about this subject, see my earlier post ‘Calming the Sea of Dynamic Range.’)
I recently attended a tradeshow and was surprised to meet a number of building professionals who didn’t realize that a sound masking system must be properly adjusted for each facility.
Unfortunately, there are vendors who contribute to this misperception by suggesting that their sound masking systems are basically plug n’ play. Or that by installing loudspeakers differently, such as facing directly downwards, systems can somehow defy the laws of physics and the sound won’t be affected by the qualities of the space into which it’s distributed.
So, it seems that tuning is a good subject to address in a post...