Good vs Bad Sound Masking

What is Sound Masking?

Sound masking is a process that involves adding background sound to a space to reduce noise distractions, cover private conversations, and create a more comfortable environment. Specialized electronics are used to transmit a spectrum of sound that matches the frequencies of human speech. This type of sound makes speech unintelligible from 15 or 20 feet away, reducing distractions and increasing productivity for workers in the space. You can read about the ROI of sound masking here.

Most people seek out sound masking because they are experiencing some or all of the issues below in their workspace:

  • The noise level from outside conversations and other sound distractions is making it difficult to concentrate.
  • The workspace is so quiet that people feel uncomfortable functioning normally because you can hear everything. Sounds like people talking, sneezing, or chewing seem amplified because there’s no background sound in the space.
  • It’s difficult to have conversations that need to be kept private. This is an especially important issue for organizations where oral privacy is a necessity, such as in the health care, financial, or legal fields.

Building Systems Solutions provides facility sound systems that address safety, communication and privacy concerns in offices of all types and sizes. Based in the Twin Cities, we have built our stellar reputation based on the quality of our products, the level of service we provide to our customers, and our knowledge and expertise in the industry. If you have any questions about sound masking or would like to schedule a demo, please contact us via phone or email.

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.

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. Examples of unique spaces include:

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

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 at Building Systems Solutions, we use 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.

Ambient sound levels within the spaces.

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

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 with a traditional system. This renders the system ineffective for a good portion of each day.

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.

Ready to create a more comfortable work environment in your space? Contact us today to get a quote.

Sound Masking vs Noise Cancellation

Sound masking does not “cancel out” other sounds. It is an inconspicuous sound that is engineered to match the frequencies of human speech. Read more Sound Masking FAQs here.

Schedule a Demo

At Building Systems Solutions, we are passionate about improving other people’s spaces. Our products provide solutions to companies that wish to address sound issues within their office spaces, reduce distractions and improve productivity, and lower risk by implementing a seamless emergency warning and paging system. For more information about our products and services, please give us a call at 763-502-1515, or fill out our contact form here.

Words From Satisified Customers

We have worked with BSS on several sound masking projects for our clients with successful results. The process begins with a well-designed layout and an accurate budget. That way the client knows exactly what they are getting and can adjust as needed. Their team is responsive and great to work with during the install process. After install BSS schedules a tutorial with the client on how to use their new sound masking system. Because BSS is a leader in product and design the client receives an intuitive system thus another satisfied client.

Heather Weerheim
Greiner Construction