…YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT BUT DON’T KNOW WHERE TO GET IT. And that’s exactly why you should call us. We build specialty acoustics for architects, acoustic engineers and designers, acousticians, studio and media room builders, interior designers and sound contractors. We provide a number of OEM products that are marketed by others and maintain a strict level of confidentiality. Our acoustic works began in the mid 80’s, when we were formed to manufacture the TubeTrap. Since then we’ve developed literally hundreds of acoustic specialty acoustic products. Some of these products actually became new marketed products because of their broad based appeal but many of them remain virtually unknown to all but the clients for whom they were initially developed.
Some people know exactly what they want. They send over confidential plans of what they want. We study them and ask a lot of questions, to make sure all the details have already been thought through and accounted for, from a number of viewpoints. We make a serious market research, to determine if the product or something like it already exists, and is readily available. But usually the client has already exhausted themselves on this task and the product they want does not exist. Fabrication techniques and costs, packaging, shipping and installation are some of the basic issues that are frequently not considered by the clients. We study the proposed project, ask lots of questions, make a few suggestions and eventually come up with a firm product and proposal.
Others aren’t sure about what they want, but they are sure about what it has to do. Projects usually begin with a need to quiet a noise down using something that looks nice and isn’t very expensive. However, whatever is done can’t ruin the desirable components of the sound that already exists. Although these projects begin focused on the end result, they usually have very strong visual and cost limitations. For this work we are not just designing and building a product, we are psychoacoustic principles involved in the perception of sound and information to help guide what the products need to be like….
With specialty acoustic projects, a lot of emphasis gets placed on the products, their appearance and cost. What seems all too often are discussions about the quality of sound that the acoustic project is producing. Acoustic products may have some audible acoustic properties but whatever they may sound like in the nearfield, what matters is what the room sounds like after these products are installed in the room. From the inception an acoustic product development project is firmly based on the kind of sound that needs to be heard.
Taken to the extremes, there will always be some part of the sound that is located in some space that is not going to be welcome and there will be another part of that whole sound that will be welcome. Acoustic detailing is the pruning, or trimming of sound paths in different directions. We will be wanting some sound to travel certain paths in a room while other sounds, traveling on other paths will need to be cut back. In general, we want more of what is good to hear and less of what interferes with hearing and understanding.
A few years ago two neighbors were having a hard time with the noise from a new heat pump building up between their two houses. The cedar fence between the houses provided visual relief but no sonic relief. They asked for help. We build a waterproof insert for their common cedar fence. The heat pump noise was quieted, and the buildup of noise between the houses was calmed down. They were happy and relieved, and we had developed the first version of what was to become our SoundFence product line.
Another time we got a call from an events contractor, an underground cooling cave of a famous beer manufacturer needed to be quieted down. They were adding a small kitchen in a side interconnecting tunnel and wanted to host expensive sit down dinners. Problem was that the sound buildup in the brick lined tunnel was too strong and guests could not visit without raising their voices. Every type of sound panel idea was rejected by the architect. Everyone discovered that only no-changes in the appearance of the cave would be allowed. We tried making sound absorbing bricks and decided to forget it for the time being. Finally we took a number of photographs of the interior surface of the cave, seamed them together in photoshop and printed long rolls of the perfect match fabric. Then we created a way to have matching surface irregularity so the resulting curved sound panel looked just like the walls of the tunnel. It installed easily and the opening ceremony occurred on time…and no one ever knew they weren’t really looking at tricked out sound panels.