Improving Child Development by Monitoring Noisy Daycares #ASA183

Improving Child Development by Monitoring Noisy Daycares #ASA183

Noise levels can negatively impact children and staff but focusing on the sound environment can help.

Media Contact:
Ashley Piccone
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 8, 2022 – During some of their most formative years, many children go to daycare centers outside their homes. While there, they require a supportive, healthy environment that includes meaningful speech and conversation. This hinges on the soundscape of the childcare center.

Understanding the soundscape in a daycare center can improve childhood development. Credit: George G. Meade Public Affairs Office

In his presentation at the 183rd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Kenton Hummel of the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL) will describe how soundscape research in daycares can improve child and provider outcomes and experiences. The presentation, “Applying unsupervised machine learning clustering techniques to early childcare soundscapes,” will take place on Dec. 8 at 11:25 a.m. Eastern U.S. in the Summit A room, as part of the meeting running Dec. 5-9 at the Grand Hyatt Nashville Hotel.

“Few studies have rigorously examined the indoor sound quality of childcare centers,” said Hummel. “The scarcity of research may deprive providers and engineers from providing the highest quality of care possible. This study aims to better understand the sound environment of childcare centers to pave the way toward better childcare.”

The goal of the research is to understand the relationship between noise and people. High noise levels and long periods of loud fluctuating sound can negatively impact children and staff by increasing the effort it takes to communicate. In contrast, a low background noise level allows for meaningful speech, which is essential for language, brain, cognitive, and social/emotional development.

Hummel is a member of the UNL Soundscape Lab led by Dr. Erica Ryherd. Their team collaborated with experts in engineering, sensing, early childcare, and health to monitor three daycare centers for 48-hour periods. They also asked staff to evaluate the sound in their workplace. From there, they used machine learning to characterize the acoustic environment and determine what factors influence the child and provider experience.

“Recent work in offices, hospitals, and schools has utilized machine learning to understand their respective environments in a way that goes beyond typical acoustic analyses,” said Hummel. “This work utilizes similar machine learning techniques to build and expand on that work.”

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eppro02.ativ.me/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL22&proof=true

ASA PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Press Room will be updated with newsworthy stories and the press conference schedule at https://acoustics.org/asa-press-room/.

LAY LANGUAGE PAPERS
ASA will also share dozens of lay language papers about topics covered at the conference. Lay language papers are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience. They will be accompanied by photos, audio, and video. Learn more at https://acoustics.org/lay-language-papers/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
ASA will grant free registration to credentialed and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend the meeting or virtual press conferences, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org.  For urgent requests, AIP staff 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/.

How Behind-the-Scenes Sound Mixing Makes Movie Magic #ASA183

How Behind-the-Scenes Sound Mixing Makes Movie Magic #ASA183

Capturing consistent room tones and ambience enhances dialogue and draws the audience in.

Media Contact:
Ashley Piccone
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 7, 2022 – If you’ve ever watched a movie where the audio is out of sync, it quickly becomes obvious that smooth, consistent sound is critical for movie enjoyment, especially during dialogue. Even slight discrepancies in background noise can disrupt a moviegoer’s experience.

Jeffrey Reed demonstrates the behind-the-scenes audio engineering required to recreate the acoustics of a movie set. Credit: Jeffrey Reed

At the upcoming meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Jeffrey Reed of Taproot Audio Design will demonstrate the behind-the-scenes audio engineering required to recreate the acoustics of movie sets and locations. During the session, “Modern movie sound: reality and simulated reality,” Reed will share short clips of film to compare the original recording to the studio mixed product. The presentation will take place on Dec. 7 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern U.S. in the Summit A room at the Grand Hyatt Nashville Hotel, as part of ASA’s 183rd meeting running Dec. 5-9.

“Nearly everything you hear in a film has been added later or enhanced for effect. Consistency in background noise has a major impact, especially on dialogue in a movie,” said Reed. “Sometimes every single line of dialogue in a scene can have a different noise profile – the sound in the background varies and makes the sound choppy and disjointed. It’s up to us to smooth that out.”

Modern movie sound mixing uses techniques like impulse responses to reproduce dialogue and other sounds. These methods are crucial to align what moviegoers see and hear and keep them engaged in the story.

An impulse response is a short recording that allows audio engineers to recreate the acoustics of a room. Sonic qualities are recorded when a sound reverberates off the unique layout of a space. The impulse recording is then applied to the audio mix to digitally recreate the sound of that space and make the resulting scene of a film as believable as possible.

“There are a lot of moving parts to a film mix, from dialog, effects, and the ever-important musical score,” said Reed. “Each and every one is crucial to a film, and the joy of mixing is finding out what needs to be where at the right time. When it’s all said done though, dialog is king in a film mix and everything must carefully revolve around it.”

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eppro02.ativ.me/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL22&proof=true

ASA PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Press Room will be updated with newsworthy stories and the press conference schedule at https://acoustics.org/asa-press-room/.

LAY LANGUAGE PAPERS
ASA will also share dozens of lay language papers about topics covered at the conference. Lay language papers are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience. They will be accompanied by photos, audio, and video. Learn more at https://acoustics.org/lay-language-papers/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
ASA will grant free registration to credentialed and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend the meeting or virtual press conferences, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org.  For urgent requests, AIP staff 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/.

Cultivating a Music Studio to Sound Like an Indoor Forest #ASA183

Cultivating a Music Studio to Sound Like an Indoor Forest #ASA183

Nashville’s Blackbird Studio C diffuses sound to create an immersive critical listening environment

Media Contact:
Ashley Piccone
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 6, 2022 – Blackbird Studio in Nashville has an impressive client list that includes Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, and Johnny Cash, among many others. Part of its success may be because owners John and Martina McBride have focused on creating unique acoustic environments.

Blackbird Studio C uses diffusors on the walls and ceiling to create a unique sound environment. Credit: Marian Matthis/Blackbird Studio

At the 183rd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Dr. Peter D’Antonio of RPG Acoustical Systems and George Massenburg of McGill University will describe “The evolution of Blackbird Studio C,” a space designed to provide an accurate and immersive mixing and production environment. The presentation will take place on Dec. 6 at 5:20 p.m. Eastern U.S. in the Summit A room, following a presentation by D’Antonio on a new Non-cuboid Iterative Room Optimizer (NIRO) at 5:00 p.m. Both talks are part of the conference running Dec. 5- 9 at the Grand Hyatt Nashville Hotel.

Massenburg conceived the design and consulted with D’Antonio to collaborate and design the control room. After sound mixing in all known types of professional and experimental spaces, Massenburg wanted to create a unique, ambient anechoic space. Such a studio allows ambient sound to decay equally across different frequencies and is free from interfering reflections, making it sound like an indoor forest.

To achieve this and control all sound reflections in the room, the team covered the walls and ceiling with primitive root diffusers. Compared to a reflective surface, which bounces sound energy back in one direction, this technology causes sound energy to diffuse and radiate in many directions.

Musicians in the studio can hear and balance themselves without headphones or excessive amplification. Mixing engineers adapt quickly to the room and its ambience.

“In measuring the room, we noticed that the direct sound was followed immediately by reflections 30 decibels below the direct sound, which is what you find in an anechoic (echo-free) chamber,” said D’Antonio. “Yet the room did not exhibit the uncomfortable, ‘acoustically dead’ characteristics of an anechoic chamber. Quite the opposite! The room felt comfortably ambient, and hence we created the ambient-anechoic portmanteau: ambichoic.”

In the presentation, Massenburg and D’Antonio will also discuss user perceptions of the ambichoic studio and improvements to the room’s technology over time.

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eppro02.ativ.me/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL22&proof=true

ASA PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Press Room will be updated with newsworthy stories and the press conference schedule at https://acoustics.org/asa-press-room/.

LAY LANGUAGE PAPERS
ASA will also share dozens of lay language papers about topics covered at the conference. Lay language papers are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience. They will be accompanied by photos, audio, and video. Learn more at https://acoustics.org/lay-language-papers/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
ASA will grant free registration to credentialed and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend the meeting or virtual press conferences, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org.  For urgent requests, AIP staff 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/.

Why Those Sounds From Your Upstairs Neighbor Are So Annoying #ASA183

Why Those Sounds From Your Upstairs Neighbor Are So Annoying #ASA183

Laboratory experiments and online surveys seek to understand what characteristics make an impact noise irritating

Media Contact:
Ashley Piccone
AIP Media
301-209-3090
media@aip.org

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 6, 2022 – Most people have suffered through a noisy neighbor. Whether it’s the constant stomping of feet or the thump from dropping something, these sounds, known as “impact sounds”, are one of the main causes for complaints in multi-unit residential buildings and can negatively impact occupants’ health and work.

The team recorded impact sounds of objects dropping and people walking. Using different playback techniques and virtual reality, they presented the recordings to study participants to see what makes a sound annoying. Credit: Markus Müller-Trapet

In his presentation, “Noise from above: A summary of studies regarding the perceived annoyance due to impact sounds,” Markus Mueller-Trapet, of the National Research Council of Canada, will describe a series of experiments designed to simulate and measure the perceived annoyance experienced from a noisy neighbor. The presentation will take place on Dec. 6 at 11:05 a.m. Eastern U.S. in the Summit A room, as part of the 183rd Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America running from Dec. 5-9 at the Grand Hyatt Nashville Hotel.

According to Mueller-Trapet, long-term exposure to such unwanted sounds may potentially lead to cardiovascular problems and sleep disturbance. With the increased population density of urban areas over the last decades and the rise of working from home in early 2020, he believes the topic has become even more relevant.

Mueller-Trapet and an international team of researchers wanted to find the connection between standardized laboratory measurements and the perceived annoyance of a sound from impact sources.

They provided a living room-like situation and recorded impact sounds of objects dropping and people walking. Using different playback techniques and virtual reality, they presented the recordings to study participants. In addition to laboratory experiments, the group created an online survey to expand their sample. The survey will run from November 21, 2022 until March 31, 2023.

Impact sounds are impulsive, meaning that they consist of one or more almost distinct sounds of short duration. This likely makes impact sounds more annoying in general than continuous sounds, such as music or speech. Results suggest that the thudding sounds created by people walking barefoot are not captured by the current standardized performance metrics that are used in building codes. The challenge facing the research team is to integrate this new information with the existing metrics.

By continuing this work, the international research team hopes to provide guidance to architects and building code developers and make progress toward a more livable built environment.

———————– MORE MEETING INFORMATION ———————–
Main meeting website: https://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://eppro02.ativ.me/web/planner.php?id=ASAFALL22&proof=true

ASA PRESS ROOM
In the coming weeks, ASA’s Press Room will be updated with newsworthy stories and the press conference schedule at https://acoustics.org/asa-press-room/.

LAY LANGUAGE PAPERS
ASA will also share dozens of lay language papers about topics covered at the conference. Lay language papers are 300 to 500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience. They will be accompanied by photos, audio, and video. Learn more at https://acoustics.org/lay-language-papers/.

PRESS REGISTRATION
ASA will grant free registration to credentialed and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend the meeting or virtual press conferences, contact AIP Media Services at media@aip.org.  For urgent requests, AIP staff 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/.

Room Design Considerations for Optimal Podcasting

Madeline Didier – mdidier@jaffeholden.com

Jaffe Holden, 114-A Washington Street, Norwalk, CT, 06854, United States

Twitter: @JaffeHolden
Instagram: @jaffeholden

Popular version of 1aAA2-Podcast recording room design considerations and best practices, presented at the 183rd ASA Meeting.

Podcast popularity has been on the rise, with over two million active podcasts as of 2021. There are countless options when choosing a podcast to listen to, and unacceptable audio quality will cause a listener to quickly move on to another option. Poor acoustics in the space where a podcast was recorded are noticeable even by an untrained ear, and listeners may hear differences in room acoustics without even seeing a space. Podcasters use a variety of setups to record episodes, ranging from closets to professional recording spaces. One trend is recording spaces that feel comfortable and look aesthetically pleasing, more like living rooms rather than radio stations.

Figure 1: Podcast studio with a living room aesthetic. Image courtesy of The Qube.

A high-quality podcast recording is one that does not capture sounds other than the podcaster’s voice. Unwanted sounds include noise from mechanical systems, vocal reflections, or ambient noise such as exterior traffic or people in a neighboring room. Listen to the examples below.

More ideal recording conditions:
Media courtesy of Home Cooking Podcast, Episode: Kohlrabi – Turnip for What

Less ideal recording conditions:
Media courtesy of The Birding Life Podcast, Episode 15: Roberts Bird Guide Second Edition

The first example is a higher quality recording where the voices can be clearly heard. In the second example, the podcast guest is not recording in an acoustically suitable room. The voice reflects off the wall surfaces and detracts from the overall quality and listener experience.

Every room design project comes with its own challenges and considerations related to budget, adjacent spaces, and expected quality. Each room may have different design needs, but best practice recommendations for designing a podcasting room remain the same.

Background noise: Mechanical noise should be controlled so that you cannot hear HVAC systems in a recording. Computers and audio interfaces should ideally be located remotely so that noises, such as computer fans, are not picked up on the recording.
Room shape: Square room proportions should be avoided as this can cause room modes, or buildup of sound energy in spots of the room, creating an uneven acoustic environment.
Room finishes: Carpet is ideal for flooring, and an acoustically absorptive material should be attached to the wall(s) in the same plane as the podcaster’s voice. Wall materials should be 1-2” thick. Ceiling materials should be acoustically absorptive, and window glass should be angled upward to reduce resonance within the room.
Sound isolation: Strategies for improving sound separation may include sound rated doors or standard doors with full perimeter gaskets, sound isolation ceilings, and full height wall constructions with insulation and multiple layers of gypsum wallboard.

In the example below, the podcast studio (circled) is strategically located at the back of a dedicated corridor for radio and podcasting. It is physically isolated from the main corridor, creating more acoustical separation. Absorptive ceiling tile (not shown) and 2” thick wall panels help limit vocal reflections, and background noise is controlled.

Podcast recording room within a radio and podcasting suite. Image courtesy of BWBR and RAMSA.Figure 2: Podcast recording room within a radio and podcasting suite. Image courtesy of BWBR and RAMSA.

While the challenges for any podcast room may differ, the acoustical goals remain the same. With thoughtful consideration of background noise, room shape, finishes, and sound isolation, any room can support high-quality podcast recording.

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/.