Making Racetrack Noise Bearable with Acoustics

Making Racetrack Noise Bearable with Acoustics

Best strategy for neighborhood harmony is diplomatic with mathematical modeling

Media Contact:
Larry Frum
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

DENVER, May 23, 2022 – Although racetracks can be fun for communities, they usually come with very high levels of noise that can sour nearby neighborhoods to the experience.

During the 182nd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Bonnie Schnitta, from SoundSense LLC, will discuss her efforts to reduce the noise in a Michigan neighborhood from a nearby raceway. The session, “Actions and mathematical modeling that will bring noise levels from a racetrack or raceway to a level the community will accept,” will take place May 23 at 11:05 a.m. Eastern U.S. at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel.

Raceways can produce noise from many kinds of vehicles, such as race cars, street race cars, racing motorcycles, go-karts, monster trucks, and cheering spectators. Schnitta and her team examined several different types of barriers, including berms, acoustic barriers, or dense foliage, to block that noise from reaching surrounding houses and businesses.

“We have found that using a berm at a safe distance from the raceway track is the most economical method, although an acoustic collapsible barrier works well too,” said Schnitta. “It typically takes a 200-foot depth of foliage to equal one acoustic fence or berm.”

The team mathematically modeled a Michigan raceway, paying special attention to sections of the track where vehicles typically accelerate, producing the most noise. From there, the sound was mitigated with strategically placed berms. The goal was to reduce the sound heard in the surrounding neighborhood to at most 5 decibels above background levels.

Schnitta said the most effective solution to raceway noise might even be social in nature. The raceway made an agreement with a nearby church to suspend operations during the services in combination with acoustic treatment and said the best strategy is diplomatic with the mathematical-driven solution set used in the discussion.

“I have found that no matter what the noise problem is, if there is a civil conversation between the source of the noise and the receiver, an agreeable outcome comes more quickly,” said Schnitta. “Sometimes, a simple offer of free admission to see what all the ‘noise’ is about can make a difference.”

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
USEFUL LINKS
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/planner.php?id=ASASPRING22
Press Room: https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLDWIDE PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org. For urgent requests, staff at media@aip.org can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world’s leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See https://acousticalsociety.org/.

1pAA1 – Analysis and actions required to ensure raceway noise levels are acceptable to the surrounding community.

Dr. Bonnie Schnitta, bonnie@soundsense.com
SoundSense, LLC
Wainscott, NY

Popular version of 1pAA1 – Actions and mathematical modeling that will bring noise levels from a racetrack or raceway to a level the community will accept
Presented Monday afternoon May 23, 2022
182nd ASA Meeting
Click here to read the abstract

Historically, new and existing racetracks and raceways, encounter conflict between owners, racecar drivers and the surrounding community. Racecar drivers enjoy the thrill of a raceway, but neighboring residents often complain about the noise negatively impacting the quiet enjoyment of their homes. This is true even when the homes are near a major highway or road. Raceways and neighboring communities are attempting to find workable solutions without compromise to the safety and enjoyment of the raceway. The presentation discusses objective information used to assist communities or town boards, nearby neighbors and track owners engage in productive dialogue of the outcome of the possible solution sets. Multiple solution sets are discussed which are typically acceptable to all parties, including various barriers and other innovative noise mitigation plans. The mathematical modeling and analysis of the topography around the track is presented to show how the local terrain can be used to help to achieve the required level of track noise reduction. The information will be presented through the lenses of three case studies. Two studies demonstrate solutions for specific raceways. The other case study is used to further emphasize the importance of incorporating the local terrain into the solution set.

 

 

 

Sounding Off on Seattle Space Needle Renovation

Sounding Off on Seattle Space Needle Renovation

Acoustic designers consulted to prevent noisy viewing deck, mechanics

Media Contact:
Larry Frum
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

SEATTLE, December 2, 2021 – The Seattle Space Needle, a city landmark for nearly 60 years, recently underwent a renovation to enhance the visitor experience. Acoustic designers were tasked with ensuring that the new design is a quiet one.

During the 181st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, Daniel Bruck and Jaimie Penzell, from BRC Acoustics, will discuss how the Seattle Space Needle renovation incorporated acoustic designs targeted toward limiting unnecessary sound transmission. The talk, “The Seattle Space Needle renovation: Acoustical design considerations and challenges at 600 feet above ground level,” will take place Thursday, Dec. 2, at 12:55 p.m. Eastern U.S.

The Seattle Space Needle is one of the most recognizable landmarks in North America, having had 60 million visitors since it opened in 1962. In late 2017, a renovation project titled “The Century Project” began, developing the tower’s internal structure, while expanding and improving its views.

Bruck and his team developed the acoustical design criteria for the renovation project, enhancing future visitor experience.

The needle revamp has an improved observation deck with 360 degrees of uninterrupted views of Seattle and the surrounding area, as well as The Loupe – the world’s first and only rotating glass floor restaurant.

“Acoustical materials were selected to complement the architectural concept for the spaces and provide effective reverberant sound control,” said Bruck. “Particular areas for design were the observation levels, which was noisy during high visitor periods, and the restaurant. Sound isolation between the two was also an important component.”

Mechanical system noise control was an essential consideration, as the newly installed revolving floor mechanism requires 12 motors to operate 37 tons of weight.

“The original building from 1962 was not designed for modern equipment, and there was absolutely no room to expand the footprint of the mechanical rooms,” said Bruck. “The machinery and system were completely redesigned to provide an innovative approach to moving the rotating floor reliably into the future.”

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
USEFUL LINKS
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL21
Press Room: https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLDWIDE PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org. For urgent requests, staff at media@aip.org can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world’s leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See https://acousticalsociety.org/.

Build Your Own Office Podcast Studio

Build Your Own Office Podcast Studio

How to convert existing office spaces into professional-sounding recording studios

Media Contact:
Larry Frum
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

SEATTLE, November 30, 2021 — Converting newly emptied office spaces into podcast studios poses noise challenges not previously realized before hybrid offices began. Experts recommend considering location, nearby noise sources, and ways to absorb sound to make a studio effective.

During the 181st Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, which will be held Nov. 29-Dec. 3 at the Hyatt Regency Seattle, Indi Savitala, from the CSDA Design Group, will discuss how to optimize existing spaces for use as podcast recording studios. The talk, “Converting an Empty Office to a Podcast Studio,” will take place Tuesday, Nov. 30, at 1:25 p.m. Eastern U.S.

Thanks to hybrid working models, offices are less busy and less noisy, meaning recording spaces can be used more often, and newly empty private offices can become podcast studios.

But existing spaces present multiple acoustic challenges — single-glazed windows, nearby noise sources, and limited available surface area, to name a few. Offices with audio-visual components with frequent audio playback or speakerphone usage also impede recording.

To help, Savitala and his team offer criteria and recommendations for optimizing recording spaces.

“Since offices are being partially occupied, people have become more sensitive to noise,” said Savitala. “HVAC and sound masking noise that was previously deemed acceptable are now considered ‘noisy,’ and clients are requesting lower background noise levels.”

According to their criteria, the primary focus should be on potential noise sources. Converting an interior office may be beneficial if it is distanced from open-plan areas and the surrounding offices are not often used. Exterior offices may have less adjacent noise pollution but may be exposed to traffic noise.

“The addition of minimal absorptive treatments will make a huge difference for recording,” said Savitala. “Selecting podcast-friendly microphones and popfilters can make a huge difference and do not have to be expensive or high-end products.”

The team recommends considering the visual component of recording studios.

“It is popular for podcast shows to have accompanying video for social media posts,” said Savitala. “Therefore, providing aesthetically pleasing room finish treatment options is important.”

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
USEFUL LINKS
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eventpilotadmin.com/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL21
Press Room: https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLDWIDE PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at https://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org. For urgent requests, staff at media@aip.org can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips, or background information.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA
The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world’s leading journal on acoustics), JASA Express Letters, Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. See https://acousticalsociety.org/.

4aAA9 -The successful application of acoustic lighting in restaurants

Zackery Belanger, zb@arcgeometer.com
Arcgeometer LC, Detroit, MI

Popular version of 4aAA9 – The successful application of acoustic lighting in restaurants’
Presented Thursday morning, December 2, 2021
181st ASA Meeting, Seattle, WA
Click here to read the abstract

To understand the rise of acoustic lighting in restaurants, it is best to go back to the beginning of modern architectural acoustics. In 1895, Harvard University opened the new Fogg Art Museum with its centerpiece lecture hall, which failed immediately due to the room’s tendency to sustain sound. The reverberation was so long the voice of the lecturer would drown itself. Given that neither an acoustic product industry nor the acousticians who prescribed them yet existed, Harvard could do only one thing: appeal to their own physics department. A sympathetic ear was found in graduate student Wallace Clement Sabine who, through tedious work and borrowed seat cushions from a nearby theater, came to understand the sound of the hall and how to fix it. Seat cushions started all this, and the remarkable thing is that they were likely never intended to be acoustic at all.

As 20th century design marched on, the ornament went away, the surfaces flattened, and reverberation flourished. The acoustic product industry arose with dedicated, engineered acoustic surfaces to counter this change, and architecture largely forgot that everything else about architecture still had acoustic properties.

Lighting, like seat cushions, was always acoustic because it has form and a physical presence. It was only a matter of time before lighting designers began to ask how they could have more acoustic influence. This happened recently with informed shifts in the material and scale of their designs, and lighting stepped firmly into the realm of reverberation control.

Arcgeometer-Light-Fixture-Simulation

[Arcgeometer-Light-Fixture-Simulation.mp4, Simulation of the acoustic influence of traditional lighting]

The common problem in restaurant acoustics is excessive noise, which results when patrons feel they are not being heard. They subconsciously raise their voices to compensate for poor acoustics. The solution can be quite simple: get enough absorption in the room to change the behavior of the crowds. Give them acoustic comfort. Since restaurant owners and patrons tend to enjoy a sense of liveliness, the amount of absorption needed to fix a room is usually fairly low.

[LightArt-Echo-300-S-Wacker.jpg, A Chicago cafe with a prevalence of planar glass]
Credit: Courtesy of LightArt
300 S Wacker St.
Photo by Huntsman Architectural Group

Other barriers to good acoustics arise, including visual design, conflict with elements like sprinklers, post-opening timing, and a lack of confidence in proposed solutions. Restaurant owners with noisy crowds consider it a good problem to have, and are averse to big changes no matter how poor the acoustics of the space. This is where tapping into lighting makes sense. Lighting is usually meant to be seen, is accepted as something more centrally-located in spaces, can be integrated with other acoustically absorptive surfaces, is easy to install, and has the indispensable primary function of providing light.

[LightArt-Penn-State.jpg, Acoustic lighting integrated with other absorption]]
Credit: Courtesy of LightArt
Penn State Health, Hampden Medical Center
Photo by CannonDesign

The efficacy of this approach has been demonstrated with lab results that confirm the performance of these fixtures, and with numerous case studies in existing and new restaurants. Acoustic lighting brings reverberation control in a way that is palatable to restaurant owners, and in doing so may lead the way into a future for acoustics that re-integrates the forgotten influence of everything else. It is hard to imagine furniture, art, textiles, plants, and all manner of visual presences not following suit.

[LightArt-Echo-Portage-Bay.jpg, A restaurant that was acoustically improved with lighting.]
Credit: Courtesy of LightArt
Portage Bay Cafe
Photo by Chris Bowden

 

 

4aAA10 – Acoustic Effects of Face Masks on Speech: Impulse Response Measurements Between Two Head and Torso Simulators

Victoria Anderson – vranderson@unomaha.edu
Lily Wang – lilywang@unl.edu
Chris Stecker – cstecker@spatialhearing.org
University of Nebraska Lincoln at the Omaha Campus
1110 S 67th Street
Omaha, Nebraska

Popular version of 4aAA10 – Acoustic effects of face masks on speech: Impulse response measurements between two binaural mannikins
Presented Thursday morning, December 2nd, 2021
181st ASA Meeting
Click here to read the abstract

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, masks that cover both the mouth and nose have been used to reduce the spread of illness. While they are effective at preventing the transmission of COVID, they have also had a noticeable impact on communication. Many find it difficult to understand a speaker if they are wearing a mask. Masks effect the sound level and direction of speech, and if they are opaque, can block visual cues that help in understanding speech. There are many studies that explore the effect face masks have on understanding speech. The purpose of this project was to begin assembling a database of the effect that common face masks have on impulse responses from one head and torso simulator (HATS) to another. Impulse response is the measurement of sound radiating out from a source and how it bounces through a space. The resulting impulse response data can be used by researchers to simulate masked verbal communication scenarios.
To see how the masks specifically effect the impulse response, all measurements were taken in an anechoic chamber so no reverberant noise would be included in the impulse response measurement. The measurements were taken with one HATS in the middle of the chamber to be used as the source, and another HATS placed at varying distances to act as the receiver. The mouth of the source HATS was covered with various face masks: paper, cloth, N95, nano, and face shield. These were put on individually and in combination with a face shield to get a wider range of potential masked combinations that would reasonably occur in real life. The receiver HATS took measurements at 90° and 45° from the source, at distances of 6’ and 8’. A sine sweep, which is a signal that changes frequency over a set amount of time, was played to determine the impulse response of each masked condition at every location. The receiver HATS measured the impulse response in both right and left ears, and the software used to produce the sine sweep was used to analyze and store the measurement data. This data will be available for use in simulated communication scenarios to better portray how sound would behave in a space when coming from a masked speaker.