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What is Good Sound?

MikeSorensen February 18, 2012 No Comments
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What is Good Sound?

I walk through trade show rooms and listen to the exhibitors tell me what they consider good sound. They tell me their room is kind of their idea of good sound. Some tell me that their room sounds pretty good but does not fall into “good sound”. A hotel room is a compromise and one must work around many variables to achieve a sound that demonstrates what their product could sound like in a good room some say.

Some rooms have too much bass energy. Some rooms are bright and have so much specular reflections that it is difficult to hear all the vocals in a three part harmony or hear two bass instruments each producing their own sound.These rooms are characterized by low definition and a small image. Some rooms have the listening chair up against the back wall. Some say,”Our room will have the best sound of show”. Really?

I guess everyone has a different idea of what “good sound” is. Is good sound the type of sound where their is an emotional attachment immediately to the music? Is good sound the type of sonic presentation where one can hear every instrument and vocal in a balanced presentation? Is good sound the type of sound where the speakers and amplifiers disappear and one can only hear and “see” only the music? Is good sound a combination of some of these variables and not others?

For us, it is removing the room from the sound and having the ability to hear all the instruments and vocals in a balanced presentation.To achieve this objective, all low frequencies are heard without any bass bloat. There are layers to the bass and the bass attack and decay is as tight and clean as the attack and decay of middle and high frequencies. Middle and high frequencies are layered like our bass presentation and their is a distinct separation between the instruments and vocals.Comb filtering of middle and high frequencies is under control. Their is air present and instruments and vocals float in the room all across our sound stage. No speakers are seen or heard.

How does one achieve good sound? I am sure their are many approaches as there are opinions on what constitutes “good sound”. We choose to reduce low frequency pressure in the room from all low frequency producing devices. One must first deal with low frequency pressure in order for the middle and high frequencies to come through without being smothered by excessive low frequency energy. Excessive low frequency energy can be controlled at the source or at room boundary surfaces. Middle and high frequency reflections off of room walls can be controlled through the use and application of absorption or diffusion technologies.All of this control must be applied in a way that produces a balanced sound stage with a height, width, and depth.

MikeSorensen

I am a structural engineer as well as a master furniture maker. I design cabinets for low frequency, activated carbon absorbers. Connect with me on Google+

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