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Acoustics by Design

Office Acoustics and Sound Masking

For anyone working in an open plan office the distraction and annoyance of colleagues’ conversations and phone calls is a familiar issue. It is well documented in research carried out over the last 20 years that noise in open plan offices causes reduced concentration, reduced productivity, increased stress and absenteeism.

Acoustics by Design have many years practical and scientific experience solving these problems.
Using the ABC principal the noise issues can be solved with a combination of Absorb, Block and Cover:
Absorb the noise close to the source
Block the direct path of sound
Cover the sound with sound masking

You can read more and view examples of our sound reduction / absorption products here on our products page.

Office Noise Issues (White Noise) and Sound Masking

Noise is defined as unwanted or annoying sound and is more about the type of sound than the level measured in decibels. If sound is allowed to reflect off hard surfaces it can amplify and travel further. In meeting rooms this can reduce speech intelligibility making conversations unpleasant. In the open plan office noise (speech) can reflect off walls, furniture, floors, glass and ceiling; propagating intelligible speech over 15 m.
With no sound barriers of significant height such as desk screens or boards the situation is exacerbated. If the natural state of the office is quiet with low background sounds from air -conditioning or traffic noise then speech and conversations are made clearer still as they would be for instance in a library.


Acoustics by Design Sound Solutions

By looking at the ABC a solution is often easy to implement or design in. The choice of ceiling tile can make the difference between 90% sound reflection and 100% sound absorption.
The height of the desk or office screens can reduce speech propagation from 15m to 8m.
By using a sound masking system such as the Lencore Spectra iNet, sometimes referred to as white, noise, pink noise or sound conditioning the background sound level can be raised to a comfortable level reducing the speech intelligibility of all but the nearest conversations.
Using a combination of calculation and experience Acoustics by Design will propose solutions that are practical, affordable and backed up by science.


Acoustics by Design Case studies and real solutions

Plantronics have a number of offices across Europe with their headquarters in Royal Wootton Bassett. Acoustics By Design have worked with Plantronics to ensure the offices work acoustically. In most cases this is a combination of ABC.
Each building and indeed each part of a building have unique acoustic characteristics, combined with different occupant function. In meeting rooms and some open plan areas such as breakout spaces, tea stations or canteens the reSorb wall product absorbs sound, reducing the reverberation and noise reflection. In most areas the Lencore sound masking system has been installed to either create speech privacy between rooms or create a peaceful atmosphere in the open plan office.


White or Pink Noise?

Neither, but these terms are regularly used to describe sound masking systems. Over the last 20 years sound masking has developed and most good systems such as Lencore emit a random sound that is neither pink or white noise.
Acoustics By Design have 12 years experience specifying and implementing sound masking systems in a variety of offices all over Europe.

Acoustics by Design QLIK Case study / Solution

QLIK, the business intelligence company founded in Sweden, opened a new sales office in Tower 42 central London. With 33,000 customers in 100 countries, the office needed to be of the highest standard both in finish and environment.
Having worked with Qlik previously at their UK headquarters in Winnersh,Acoustics By Design were asked to give advice on providing levels of privacy for the meeting rooms and comfort in the open plan.
The solution was a combination of sound masking from Lencore and reSorb walls....... more