Our Conference Room Gets an Acoustic Upgrade!
We’ve been working in our new headquarters for about six months now. In that time, I have witnessed the transformation of my workplace from one that was somewhat ready; just missing minor things like a finished breakroom and office doors to an impeccably renovated former root beer bottling plant complete with repurposed flooring from a bourbon distillery, custom fabricated steel staircase, and a rooftop terrace. We have come so far! And as we enjoy our day-to-day work life, we discover some areas that could be upgraded.
One prime candidate for some noise canceling is our conference room. The table is the centerpiece of this room. It is an amazing, bespoke creation fabricated from upcycled materials, complete with convenient power and av connections for all. At its core, the purpose of a room like this is a space to gather with teammates to communicate. To someone with an ear for acoustics like our General Contractor Byron Funk, the room falls short, making video conferencing a distracting, if not confusing, experience for those video and conference calls.
Fortunately for FireBoard, Byron’s vast Jack-of-all-trades life journey has included professional audio recording. For eight years he worked as a sound engineer in a corporate studio that permitted him to produce personal projects in his spare time. He has since built multiple professional-quality home studios, including one in his own house. Given this background, he was able to make short work of upgrading our conference room with some custom-made acoustic panels. The issue at hand is that the room has acoustics that are as Byron puts it: “low-midrange boomy, which muffles voices and makes speech less intelligible.”
To control the sound that bounces around our conference room (which to describe it sounds like an echo that lasts slightly more than a second) Byron constructed 13 acoustic panels to be placed at key positions around the room, curtailing the acoustic bounce, creating a cleaner sound. These panels are constructed of a plywood frame stuffed with special acoustical insulation wrapped with a fabric that is acoustically “transparent”. This allows the noise to pass through the fabric and into the insulation. Using the wrong fabric can have the opposite effect.
The results are easily noticed. Byron explains that a room with good acoustics “will help with face-to-face communications, let alone video conferencing.”