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Good vs. Bad Sound Masking

In the design of an optimal sound masking system, there are two factors that are far more important than any others.

First: Exactly matching the sound masking spectrum to the acoustics of a space. 

Each space has its own unique acoustic characteristics that require a different masking spectrum to provide optimum privacy and productivity:

  • Large cubicles versus small cubicles
  • Open structure versus ceiling tile
  • Reflective surfaces
  • Reverberant rooms
  • Private offices
  • Exam rooms
  • Nurses stations
  • Conference rooms
  • Executive offices
  • Density of people
  • Type of activity

If a system is limited to a single masking spectrum, it can only address one acoustic characteristic. This results in spaces with different acoustics to be covered with a spectrum that does not provide the optimum in privacy and productivity.

This would be a bad sound masking system, or at the very least an ineffective system. That’s why Building Systems Solutions uses state-of-the-art technology that measures the acoustics of a space and configures a spectrum that matches each individual space’s acoustics to ensure optimal privacy and productivity.

Second: Ambient sound levels within the spaces.

A traditional sound masking system is equalized and the operating levels are set at the time of installation and one or two return visits.  It may have a programming feature to ramp up the masking sound or powering off and on a system at a certain time.

Unfortunately, ambient sound levels in spaces at most organizations change several times throughout the day. Every time the ambient sound level changes, the masking is either going to be too loud or two soft. This is going to make a system ineffective for a good part of the time. The three most frequent complaints in a facility are: “It’s too hot or too cold”, “it’s too dark or too light” and “it’s too loud or too soft”.

Unless the sound masking system can monitor and adjust system levels to current ambient noise levels in real time, the result is going to be a bad sound masking system most of the time. Soft dB Sound Masking Systems are able to adjust masking sound levels to adapt to the changes in ambient noise.

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