Jeff Adams is the VP of Sales at MPS acoustics based in Dallas, Texas. When he started with MPS, he knew nothing about acoustics, commercial real estate, contract furniture, or architecture and design. Needless to say, he has learned a lot over the last six years, so we invited him to tell us all about why acoustics are essential in a commercial space and how they can add to a room’s overall design.
The Relationship Between Noise + Productivity
Acoustics is the science encompassing sound transmission, noise reduction, acoustical and speech privacy, and more. Managing room acoustics in an office, recording studio, auditorium, and around machinery differ significantly. While improving the acoustical quality in a work environment is complicated, MPS is striving to Make Privacy Simple by doing the heavy lifting for clients.
“People don’t often think about the effect noise, distractions, and the lack of privacy have on them. Studies show that these constant pressures take a toll on worker productivity and health.” MPS knows that people need quiet to focus and have private conversations. Without that, their jobs get so much harder.
The ABC’s Of Acoustic Design
While there is no one size fits all solution to achieving excellent acoustics, MPS advocates for following the ABCs of acoustic design.
A stands for Absorption. Every material has a noise reduction coefficient or NRC. Hard surfaces have a very low NRC, reflecting sound waves rather than absorbing them.
With a space full of hard surfaces like a traditional conference room, sound reverberates off those surfaces. The key to fixing this problem is introducing softer surfaces like soft seating, plants, ceiling baffles, or even artwork for sound absorption.
B stands for Blocking. If you put someone in a room with four walls, a ceiling, and a door, you will have better privacy.
“Sound is like water; anywhere there is a leak, you will lose sound, so we look at the sound transmission class or STC rating to know how much sound an item will block. While we would love everyone to have a private office, real estate can’t always support that. Instead, we recommend using products like modular walls to block sound.”
C stands for Covering over conversations with white noise sound masking to make them less intelligible. While sound masking doesn’t reduce noise, it sends out frequencies of human speech that mask the human voice. Humans are predisposed to eavesdropping, which is distracting, so covering those voices in open plan offices provides privacy and focus.
Bypassing Bad Acoustics
Businesses typically know when they need better acoustics, which can be highly frustrating when they have invested heavily in a new space. Ways to mitigate that common frustration are threefold. Start by adding acoustics to the project budget, bring in an acoustics expert to have those critical acoustical conversations, and focus heavily on the areas you already know will need more privacy.
Mitigating Sound With Style
While everyone is aware of acoustical panels thanks to their high school cafeterias and gyms, they are not a very stylish solution. That is why MPS uses technology that mitigates noise without sacrificing style.
“The technology out there is amazing, and we want the customer to express themselves through the product. Our panels are customizable and flexible. We can create unique designs, provide woodgrain prints, and even do custom matching and branding. In many ways, we have a blank canvas open to creativity.”Jeff Adams
In addition to a highly flexible product, MPS has a team of in-house designers that can take a napkin sketch to install.
Whether MPS is working with a designer, end user, or collaborating with an audio-visual integrator, their goal is to provide acoustic solutions so people can do their jobs better. Fortunately for their clients, MPS makes privacy simple with style.
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