The Book of Acoustics

Chapter 3.0 Types of acoustic treatment

3.2.3 Sound maskers

Sound masking systems do not eliminate noise, but instead make it more difficult to perceive the noise by introducing additional sounds to a space. The sound emitted from such systems is random and ambient, and professionally tuned to a specific frequency and level to cover unwanted sound and achieve acoustic comfort. When such systems are working properly, the sound is barely perceptible and evenly distributed. Most systems include a sound source, amplifier, equaliser and speaker. Speakers are placed either at or above ceiling height, or beneath the floor. The number of speakers used depends on the amount of coverage desired. The introduction of a water feature can also be considered to be a sound masking or covering solution, as the natural sound of dripping water distracts listeners from disturbing noises.

Types of sound masking solutions

  • Direct-field sound masking systems
  • Indirect-field sound masking systems
  • Water feature or fountain

Use to:

  • Cover distracting noises that are otherwise difficult to remove
  • Create greater speech privacy
  • Increase the feeling of comfort
  • Create restful or private zones in a multi-use space

The Book of Acoustics

This is a handbook for architects and interior designers who want to create acoustically beautiful spaces that make people feel happier, healthier and more productive.