Converting a Building Into an Auditorium: A Guide

If you are converting a space into an auditorium, it is likely you will need to make some modifications to improve the acoustics of the space. Below is a guide which will help you to consider the actions you need to take.

Take sound readings 

The first task will be to set up microphones in different locations around the auditorium. These microphones can be used to record music which is being played live on stage during a rehearsal. By analysing the recordings, you will be able to build an acoustical map of the space which will allow you to identify areas of the auditorium where the sound is reduced in clarity or volume.

Consider the impact of physical objects

Physical objects such as seating, balconies and pillars can all impact on the way sound waves move around a space. An acoustical consultant will be able to map how a particular structure degrades the acoustics before suggesting changes which can be made to solve the problem. For example, if a non-load bearing pillar is preventing sound waves from directly reaching the seats nearby, you could consider having that pillar removed during the conversion work.

Consider each surface

Because sound waves bounce off or are absorbed by different surfaces, every surface in the auditorium will play a role in the overall sound of the space. An easy way to think about this is to consider hard surfaces such as concrete or brick walls, ceilings and hard wood floors as 'mirrors' which will reflect sound waves back into the space. Soft surfaces, such as carpets, curtains and cushioned walls will act as 'traps' which will absorb sound waves and prevent them from bouncing back into the space.

Ideally, your auditorium will have a hard stage floor, and smooth wall surfaces which will help to channel the sound which is generated on stage to the audience, while also adding a small amount of reverberation to sustain the volume and tone. However, too much reflection can result in unpleasant sounding echo which can really spoil a musical performance. By carpeting the floor in the seating area and hanging heavy curtains at the back of the stage, you can help to prevent echoing. You may also wish to install diffusers on the roof space of the auditorium so prevent sound waves from bouncing off the ceiling.

For further information, you should contact a specialist in auditorium acoustics today.