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Acoustical Wall Panels and Ceiling Clouds for The Spirit of the Mountain

The Liberty University Band was upgrading and moving to a new rehearsal room when they called Acoustical Solutions.

Together, the two came up with a plan to install acoustic panels and hanging acoustic ceiling tiles to compliment the sound diffusion that had already been planned.

In the end, the noise control solutions that were put into place greatly improved the band room acoustics in the new facility.


Application Introduction

When the time came for Liberty University's marching band, The Spirit of the Mountain, to upgrade to a new band rehearsal room, Dr. Stephen Kerr, the band's director, wanted to make sure the new space was perfect.

The main objective was to create a true rehearsal space, which is acoustically very different than a performance hall. 

"Performance halls need to ring, the frequencies need to be live," Kerr explained.  "They're forgiving."

"In a rehearsal space, on the other hand, you need to hear everything so you can fix everything," he continued. "You still want pleasing frequencies, but you don't want the ring to be as long or as loud."

In addition to having superior acoustics, the new space had to also look the part.

Liberty University is the largest Christian university in the world, and all of its facilities should reflect that fact.

Accordingly, Kerr said students, faculty, visitors and especially prospective students need to see the new rehearsal space and think, "This is collegiate, I like being here."


Treatment Provided

Liberty's new band rehearsal room is almost a perfect rectangle, and before acoustical treatment, all of the surfaces were hard, flat, parallel and reflective.  This all contributed to a 3.5-second reverberation time and an overall bad sound.

Acoustical treatment was three fold.

Acoustical Ceiling Tiles1.  First, Acoustical Solutions installed 30 AlphaSorb™ wall panels on the room's walls.  These panels absorb sound before it is reflected onto the floor, ceiling or other walls, which reduces reverberation and slap-back echo.

The panels reduce the amount of indirect sound waves the band director and band members hear, which allows them to hear mostly direct sound waves.  This increases their ability to pick out potential problems.

2.  Next, Acoustical Solutions installed more than 75 AlphaPerf™ Aluminum Clouds.  These absorptive acoustic panels are hung from the ceiling and have many of the same advantages the AlphaSorb™ wall panels do.

In this particular application, the AlphaPerf™ Clouds were installed in parallel rows just as normal ceiling tiles would be, but with some slight angling for sound diffusion.

The main difference, however, is that since these hanging clouds don't require tracking, some sound is able to pass by and resonate in the space between them and the ceiling.  This gives the room the little bit of resonance Dr. Kerr sought without creating a full performance atmosphere.

3.  Acoustical Wall Panels and Ceiling TilesThe final 2 acoustical aspects of the room are slightly angled wooden lockers and large white cylindrical columns. These feature serve two very important purposes: aesthetics and sound diffusion.

Aesthetically, the lockers and columns are a big factor in helping to achieve Dr. Kerr's goal of the space looking collegiate and like a place where students feel comfortable.

Also, however, the lockers and columns diffuse sound.  Sound diffusion occurs when reflective objects scatter or break up sound waves.  This dispersing process ensures the sound not absorbed by acoustic panels and other absorptive treatment will be diluted by the time it reaches a person's ears.

The columns' round shape and hard reflective surfaces allow them to be very effective sound diffusers, while the lockers' 10-degree angles reduce the presence of parallel surfaces.



The spirit of the mountain now has the balance that it aimed for when planning the rehearsal space.

"Our first room was too loud, so we had to absorb all of the sound. It took away from the beauty of the sound " explained Dr. Kerr.  "A big part of the new room was not absorbing as much, but also diffusing to keep some of the sound alive - and Acoustical Solutions achieved that goal."

"All of the acoustical treatment works well," he added.  "All of the groups that have played in it will tell you that."



For more information on this application, contact Michael Binns.

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