Goal: To create an optimal acoustic environment
suitable for performance enhancement and audibility while protecting
the hearing health of the individuals using that space.
- The reverberation time will depend on what type of concert is performed. For classical or orchestral music, a higher reverberation time would be appropriate (approximately 2 sec), for a rock concert, a lower reverberation time would be appropriate (approximately 1 sec). Find a happy medium, perhaps 1.5 sec. This only applies to indoor venues.
- It is vital to control the reflections from the back wall. If you don't control them, the presentation could reflect off the back wall and "slap back" to the presenter(s). This won't necessarily impact the audience, but could be disastrous and distracting for the people on stage. Because of this, it's usually necessary to splay or tilt the back wall to avoid slap back. A concave back wall could compound this problem. If you can't avoid a concave back wall, it's imperative that it be treated with absorptive material.
- Control the reverberation time on the stage. Ideally, the reverberation time in the stage area should be the same as in the house. Since the stage area might have a higher ceiling than the rest of the auditorium, more absorptive materials might be required in this area. Frequently, the back wall of the stage, and possibly one or two of the side walls, is treated with an acoustically absorptive material, typically black in color.
- Beware of potential noise impact to your space from exterior sources and/or excessive HVAC noise. To help protect your design, the NC level should not exceed 25 to 35. When specifying NC, specify an actual rating, such as NC 30, rather than a range, such as NC 30-35. Although specifying a lower number will ensure minimal background noise, it might be cost prohibitive to achieve. Be realistic about the amount of acceptable noise and the project's budget when specifying an NC level.
- Some concert attendees have sued (and won) over experiencing hearing loss at a concert. Beware of potentially dangerous, excessive noise levels. Some venue operators regulate the noise levels to help alleviate the potential noise impact on surrounding areas and on the audience.
- For outdoor venues, be sure to check on local noise ordinances. Even if they don't exist, you should still take steps to control excessive noise impact to the surrounding community.
- Especially outdoors, be concerned about exterior noise impact on the venue. Often this will decide the location of the site. For instance, be aware of surrounding airports (flight paths), freeways, railroads and industrial sites.