Room Acoustics and Background Noise at EMPAC

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is among the highest calibre performing arts facilities in the world. All stages of its design and construction were executed with the intent of high performance in room acoustics, background noise, and sound isolation. Each of the four primary venues at EMPAC - the Concert Hall, Theater, Goodman Studio 1, and Studio 2 were designed with layout, volume, distribution of surfaces, and variable acoustic systems that allow them to comprise a large continuum of acoustic possibility.

This report contains room acoustic and background noise measurements performed in 2011. Its purpose is to inform artists and researchers who will use EMPAC for their work. For room acoustics the usual frequency range of testing was extended to higher and lower frequencies using a supplemental high-frequency omni source and low-frequency subwoofer, respectively. For background noise a special low-noise microphone was used. An equipment list is available at the end of this report.

The background noise of all spaces at EMPAC are very low, and exceptionally low in the four main venues. Additionally, the reverberation times in the Concert Hall and the two studios can be adjusted in many ways, as the detailed measurements in the report show.

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Authors: 
Zackery Belanger
Year: 
2017