The problem with gymnasiums

Walk into a gymnasium and you can hear the echo from your footsteps as the sound ricochets off the hardwood floor, concrete walls and gypsum ceiling.

In some gyms, the echo can last as long as 10 seconds! More often than not, these spaces must not only perform as a sports venue, they are often imposed upon to be used as an assembly hall, theater, music venue or auditorium. In a typical gymnasium, sound from the public address system is aimed at the audience. The voice is amplified as a means to be loud enough to overpower the crowd. Sound reflecting off hard surfaces generates first order and secondary reflections causing a cacophony of echo. The brain must at once attempt to understand what is being said over the PA, while trying to ignore crowd noise and the reverberant field. As the sound system level is increased, the room becomes over-excited, the problem gets worse and more often than not, squealing feedback is introduced. The problem is evident:

The hard reflective surfaces do not provide any means for the acoustic energy to escape. You end up with a dense reverberant field as secondary and tertiary reflections combine. This seriously deteriorates intelligibility and the poor acoustics limit the room’s ability to be used for other functions, essentially lessening the return on investment.

How can Primacoustic help you?

Apply Broadway™ panels to the walls by covering 14% to 22% of the surface area to reduce the reverb time to below 1 second. Broadway 2″ (5cm) panels absorb excessive energy in the critical voice and music range, reducing the reverberant field (RT) to improve intelligibility or our ability to comprehend what is being said over the PA system. The greater the amount of surface coverage – the less prevalent the reverberant field will be.

Broadway panels are made from high density 6lb glass wool for maximum absorption across the audio range. Edges are resin treated and incorporate a micromesh coat that fully encapsulates the panel to eliminate dusting. The panels are then covered in acoustically transparent polyester tweed that is both rugged and visually appealing. Panels are mounted to the wall surface using Impalers™, and are as easy to put up  as a picture frame. For high-impact sport venues, protective EndZone™ steel cages may be added to protect the panels behind goals or other strategic areas. For greater efficiency, Saturna™ baffles may be suspended from the ceiling to create acoustic banners. These are suspended from the ceiling using SlipNot™ hanging hardware. They benefit by absorbing sound on both sides of the panel and by capturing early reflections off the ceiling – thus resulting in greater overall efficiency. Primacoustic panels are class-A fire and smoke tested to meet local construction regulations for safe installation in public areas.

Executive Summary

  • Reduces reverb time which vastly improves intelligibility
  • Allows audience to hear what is being said over the PA
  • Eliminates distracting echo for a more pleasant experience
  • Enables the gymnasium to be used for other functions
  • Creates opportunity to generate additional income from rentals
  • Easy, cost-effective and safe to install using regular tools