Sound Masking and Acoustic Blog

White noise

What Is White Noise and How Is It Not Sound Masking?

You’ve probably heard of white noise before. You may even have already read about how it can help you sleep, think, and concentrate better, by hidding unwanted sounds around you. And if you got ever so slightly curious about white noise, then you’ve likely heard of pink noise too. You’re into workspace acoustics? You may even be familiar with sound masking. In fact, many people use the terms “white noise”, “pink noise”, and “sound masking” interchangeably. And while referring to how such “sounds” are great at drowning out undesirable sensory stimuli, it’s easy to assume that “white/pink/brown noise generators”, “sound machines”, and “sound masking systems” are one and the same. However, they are not the same at all.

Confidentiality of private offices

How Private Is Your Private Office?

Lack of privacy can be a problem, but the illusion of privacy is an even greater problem. This is perhaps even more true in the case of closed offices, where conversations happening behind a closed door are generally intended to be kept that way, isolated from the rest of the workplace. This article covers the factors having the most impact on the acoustical performance and confidentiality of private offices, while highlighting sound masking technology as a cost-effective method of making background noise levels work for us instead of against us.

Sound masking in open-plan offices

Why Choose Our Sound Masking System?

When the goal is to deliver a workspace atmosphere that optimizes focus and promotes productivity while ensuring employee privacy and comfort, there are key differentiators that you should look for before choosing which sound masking system is best suited for your needs. A sound masking system is an important interior design element which should perfectly blend in your existing infrastructures and perform its function unnoticed.

Soft dB - Vibration Consulting

How Vibrations Affect Both Structures and Humans

Vibrations are defined as continuous cyclic motions and they can be experienced by any system, living or not. Vibrations happen literally everywhere. Drilling, blasting, construction or demolition work, jackhammers, piledrivers, heavy loaders, turbines, blowers, generators, transformers, and transportation: they’re all great examples of activities and equipment that generate significant vibration levels for anyone or anything standing in their viscinity. On a regular basis, our vibration consultants are called in to tackle diverse vibration-related problems in the residential, industrial and environmental sectors.

Movable walls in open offices

Setting Realistic Expectations for the Acoustic Performance of Movable Walls in Office Spaces

With the ever-growing rise in popularity of open floor plans, it makes perfect sense to incorporate movable walls into the design of office spaces. Movable walls are yet another architectural innovation that designers can leverage to deliver the kind of workspace atmosphere that optimizes focus and promotes productivity while ensuring employee wellness. But just how effective are they in terms of providing true speech privacy? Over the years, our experts have measured the acoustical performance of many different brands and configurations of movable walls in real-world installations. This article consolidates key takeaways and helps you establish realistic acoustic performance expectations when incorporating movable walls into your interior design projects.

New Balance Headquarters in Boston

LEED Construction and Sound Masking Play Well Together

As the demand for more sustainable building options increases, green construction is becoming more popular within the international construction market. It comes as no surprise that Soft dB experts are increasingly involved in LEED certified projects. Such projects often aim at delivering modern, bright, airy workspaces that put employee wellness, health and productivity at the core. However, green building design brings new acoustical engineering, vibration and noise mitigation challenges that didn’t previously arise in conventional construction methods. Tackling this new set of challenges is what Soft dB does best.

CAE succeeds with sound masking

Successful Transition To Activity Based Working (ABW):
The Case of CAE

In 2015, CAE, a world leader in training for civil aviation, defence, and healthcare, took a big leap forward: revolutionizing the layout of its Montréal head office, transforming it into innovative spaces and saying goodbye to assigned office spaces! As it grew, CAE developed its head office in a number of pavilions (18 in total). Finally, it was no longer possible to acquire new parcels of land to expand the building, as the site is enclaved among several expressways. CAE was also experiencing – and still is today – accelerated growth in its market. This meant hiring new teams and finding new spaces for them to work in. Learn how and why the Soft dB Sound Masking System was the best solution to help CAE overcome the many constraints.

Calculate the cost of sound masking

Sound Masking: Calculate Your Return On Investment

The advantages of sound masking have been the subject of much scientific research. From these studies come the numbers that we use today to assess the real costs of these systems in your different office spaces and work environments. There’s a simple way to calculate return on investment (ROI) resulting from sound masking. You can use our simple ROI Calculator to help you evaluate concrete return on investment for the parameters of any office planning project.

Difference between dB and dB(A)

What Is the Difference Between dB and dB(A)?

Decibels (dB) are a measurement of sound intensity over the standard threshold of hearing. Although dB is commonly used when referring to measuring sound, humans do not hear all frequencies equally. Consequently, different weightings were created to give a loudness measurement that takes into account how the human ear actually perceives sound. This is why you’ll often see noise levels given in dBA (A-weighted sound levels) instead of dB.

Sound masking in office space

Your Open Office Plan Shouldn’t Come at the Cost of Lower Employee Productivity

It comes as no surprise that noise is most often singled out as the most disturbing factor of indoor environment in open offices. Several independent studies have shown that noise, especially speech, reduces task performance of cognitively demanding tasks. In fact, it has even been suggested that poor task performance significantly correlates with increasing speech intelligibility. With that in mind, the most effective room acoustic design of open offices should aim primarily at reducing speech intelligibility between workstations.


What is Reverberation in Acoustical Analysis?

Sound waves develop in a compressible medium, such as air, when there are very short variations in pressure. A sound is what the ear perceives from this fluctuation. If the wave created by a sound source crosses the medium and arrives straight at the listener, then we call this a direct sound or a dry sound. By contrast, sound waves generally don’t reach the listener directly. Instead, they are reflected by an obstacle. This phenomenon is what we call an echo. What’s more, if the sound wave is reflected several times before reaching the ear, we call this a reverberation.

Effects of wind and temperature on sound

The Effect of Wind and Temperature Gradients on Sound Waves

Sound is a mechanical wave, which means that it needs support to propagate (air), unlike electromagnetic waves that can propagate in a vacuum. It also means that sound is subject to changes in air condition. Several factors influence sound propagation, including wind and temperature gradients. The wind is the movement of air caused by the difference in atmospheric pressure between two zones. The wind can slow down or accelerate the speed of sound, depending on whether it is blowing in the same direction or in the opposite direction to the sound signal.

STC Acoustic Performance of Partitions

Assessing the Acoustic Performance of Space Partitions

In any study of architectural acoustics, an assessment of acoustic performance of room partitions is an important metric to capture in order to support any recommendation for additional soundproofing measures, or to check if existing room partitions meet government standards. Several performance rating systems acceptable to architects and acoustic engineers are available, such as the STC, FSTC and ASTC indexes.


What Is an FIIC Test?

An interesting test to characterize the soundproofing of a building is the FIIC test (Field Impact Insulation Class). Like the FSTC, it represents measurements taken directly in the building in question and not laboratory data. Otherwise, it would be the IIC (Impact Insulation class) test. Like the STC, the CII result will always be better than the FICC, because the conditions to which the floor is subjected are ideal and the reality can be much harder.

Environmental noise assessment

What Is an Environmental Noise Assessment?

There are multiple standards and regulations regarding noise, but taking one single reading of sound levels won’t determine whether the sector meets the requisite standards. And neither is it likely to result in the early identification of environmental noise reduction solutions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition, environmental noise is noise emitted by all sources within an environment, other than noise generated in the workplace. In other words, it could be the noise created by the movement of nearby cars or even noise coming from the neighbourhood itself.

Acoustical Engineer

What Is an Acoustic Engineer?

An acoustical engineer is an engineer who specializes in the science of sound and vibration (physics). Their primary function is the control of noise or vibration that can affect individuals, and the improvement of the sound environment for the population. The sectors that benefit from expertise in acoustical engineering are numerous and diverse: environmental, architectural, industrial, entertainment, manufacturing, and transportation.

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