WSDG Plus - August 2014 - Residential Acoustics


Acoustics generally take a back seat to aesthetic considerations for homes.
And yet, when sound reverberations distort conversation, or when noise leaks in from external sources (or out from blasting home theater speakers) acoustics suddenly becomes a serious concern. WSDG is primarily known for having created thousands of carefully tuned (and acoustically isolated) rooms for professional entertainment, and/or audio/video production purposes.  However, an increasing number of residential architects (and individual home owners) have engaged our services to prevent or ameliorate acoustic intrusion.  Some recent examples illustrate the point.

Morro do Chapeu Residence

How do you keep your pool house from reverberating like a gymnasium without draping the walls and windows with heavy curtains?  For the owners of a luxurious villa set on one of Brazil’s most breathtaking landscapes, the views and pastoral silence were priceless. A long expanse of windows surrounding the infinite lap pool draw attention to the spectacular mountain views. However, the enclosed pool and spa area includes a gym, Jacuzzi and wet bar, surrounded by three walls of double height windows and a movable glass sealing system to maintain interior warmth in the cool evenings. All these elements presented serious sound reverberation issues. Clearsorber Foil, an innovative professional recording studio acoustic treatment, was engaged to eliminate these ‘echo’s’. The pioneering translucent plastic sheets absorb medium and high frequency reverberation to resolve sonic reflections. Each window, (including a skylight grid of 20 individual panels) was custom fitted with the acoustical treatment. Full transparency insures unimpeded views and, conversations free from typical pool house reverberation.  And, as an added value, Clearsorber also serves as a full room UV ray filtering system! 

Hi-Rise Condo Home Theater

When an ardent classical music fan, decided to build a world-class listening room in his Dallas hi-rise condominium, he embarked on an extensive research program. Because money and time were not considerations, he took 15 months to collaborate with WSDG on the design, and 15 months more for the build out.  He quickly agreed that recording studio-style, room-within-room construction would provide the optimal sound isolation. Prior to construction, architect/acoustician John Storyk brought a guitar amplifier to a site visit and blasted sound from the area where the room was to be built. He then checked the neighbors to measure the sound leakage. With this data, he designed the room to keep the neighbors oblivious no whatever dB level was breached. Ultimately, boundary sound transfer ratings in excess of STC 70 were obtained from the isolated room construction. Technology was another key issue. Because completion time took a back seat to complete satisfaction, the client was in no rush to commit to his system gear. E.g., at the outset of the project he ordered Wilson X-1 Grand Slamm (sic) Series I speakers. By the time the room was completed he took shipment on a Series III

Penna Home Theater

Can you isolate a home theater within a luxurious open format apartment without compromising its expansive environment?  WSDG’s solution was to engage retractable, floor-to-ceiling walls. The resulting installation maintains the home’s loft-like, kitchen/ dining/living room atmosphere and delivers a fully enclosed, 377 sq. home theater. Recessed lighting is set into a custom-recording studio-style, acoustic ‘ceiling cloud,’ designed to absorb sound reflections and aid in tuning the room for optimal acoustic integrity. Two sets of customized, 3-section, telescoping acoustic walls ride out from their ‘nesting units’ on tracks embedded in the ceiling and floor to isolate the theater from the rest of the apartment. Acoustical fabric absorption treatments were added to the interior of the sliding panels; handsome wooden diffusion treatments were fixed to their exterior sides, and a QRD diffusor was applied to the rear door. A single unit accordion-style room divider may be drawn behind the rear, telescoping wall if necessary.  Fully expanded, these recessed walls completely cordon off the theater, enabling viewers to enjoy screenings without disturbing (or being disturbed by) other guests.

Ribeiro Home Theater

Preparing to move to a palatial new penthouse, this client was fully aware of the need for high-level technology and meticulous acoustic treatments to achieve exceptional sound AND eliminate noise leaking into (or out of) his home. Beyond concerns for sound intruding to the bedrooms beneath his home theater, he wanted to shield his neighbors from noise infiltrating the two elevator shafts.  To eliminate sound leakage to the lower level WSDG built a ‘floating’ floor over vibration isolators, which greatly minimize the transmission of noise from the subwoofers to the residential section of the apartment. High STC acoustical doors, providing over 40dB of isolation were installed to prohibit sound from reaching neighboring apartments via the two elevator shafts. Additionally, cuts were made in the floor in front of the Adam Sub24 subwoofers to compensate for their vibration. Ambient sound speakers were installed behind the screen to improve sound for a private dinning space. Acoustics were further enhanced by a perforated acoustic treatment, mounted at a precisely calibrated distance from the slab on a wooden-slat-dressed ceiling for superior sound absorption. 
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