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Theatre acoustics

Theatres are generally built with a short reverberation time, since this is required for good speech intelligibility and is the optimum for amplified sound. Many venues are made as acoustically “dry” as possible because most performances are fully amplified. For reinforced sound a reverberation time somewhere between 0.7 and 1.2 second is ideal. Many elements in a theatre determine the acoustic. Walls and seats can for example provide plenty of absorption and non-parallel walls are an effective means against flutter echos and other undesirable reflections. In addition to the reverberation time there are of course numerous other acoustic parameters which influence the acoustic quality and sound of a theatre auditorium.

Critical spots

In a theatre auditorium – which possesses a beautiful ambience – “difficult” positions can be found.
One can think of under balcony seats (impedance step) or the stage area (side and/ or rear wall reflections).Or a slap-back from the auditorium rear wall or balcony front edge back to the stage. In an acoustic design all these subjects are taken into account to realize an acoustically well-performing theatre.

SIAP ambience

In a theatre which has a reverberation time of 0.7 to 1.0 second, the acoustic is rather dry. As said, this is an ideal characteristic for amplified music (and speech), but it’s not really a friendly or pleasant atmosphere to be in. When one walks from a foyer space (which usually has a pleasant acoustic atmosphere), conversations etc. suddenly sound “dead”. To begin with SIAP can provide a very pleasant atmosphere, which makes the experience of entering the auditorium a less “hard” transition. The SIAP “theatre ambience” can be active 24/7; it’s not the reverberation time that is increased but the desirable pleasant reflections that are characteristic for a theatre are augmented by the SIAP loudspeakers that are (invisibly) installed.

SIAP variable acoustics & surround sound

For widening the range programmable performances in a theatre, variable acoustics and surround sound can be provided as well as theatre ambience. Variable acoustics makes the acoustic adjustable to different requirements. This gives artists as well as the audience the feeling of togetherness and being part of the performance. The audience is aware of its own presence and the artists have much less of the feeling as if they are playing into a “black hole”. Furthermore the hall is much more responsive to the artists which increases the interaction enormously. There are dedicated acoustic presets for amplified as well as unamplified music. So, from a rock/pop concert to drama, opera and classical music, but also for conference and presentations (speech support). SIAP employs a matrix which allows for a wide range of input to output settings. This way film surround sound can be reproduced as well as special musical productions. Summarizingly, SIAP offers:
1. Improved of (unamplified) speech intelligibility
2. Improved theatre ambience for the audience en with sound reinforced performances (bands etc.) without detrimental influence on the reinforced sound
3. Variable acoustics, comprising reverberation time increase and improved stage acoustics, for example:
– Opera / classical ballet (1.3 – 1.5 sec.)
– Chamber music (1.5 – 1.7 sec.)
– Brass band (1.7 – 1.9 sec.)
– Symphony orchestra (1.9 – 2.2 sec.)
– Choir (2.5 – 5.0 sec. and more).
4. Surround sound for film and theatre.