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Alex Klassen

MUS 406 Kirk McNally


November 15, 2016

Room Response
an elementary approach

The aim of the chapter is to explain the theory of small room acoustics without recourse to
the higher mathematics of wave theory. Algebraic formulae of modes are presented and their
accuracy is tested in a general purpose setting. Reasoning is given for the theoretical preference
of the rectangular parallelepiped room design in developing the throw of small room acoustics,
in that it provides a simple model for reference and in historical experiments has proven to be an
adequate model to set precedent. He shows the development of sound images produced by the
reflection of waves from the wall surfaces, explaining that a multitude of images fill the space
from all possible reflective positions.
The resonance of the room is then described as a function of the distance between the
facing walls of the room. The 6 walls of the room create their own independent (axial) and
interdependent (tangential and oblique) resonant frequencies or modes. A tabulation of the the
modes is included.
The theoretical system is then tested in an experimental example. The room described is
not designed as a laboratory example, but is given as a rectangular room with a sloping ceiling
and various damping agents. The experiment is outlined as the response to a signal sweep played
back in the room and recorded at 3mm/second. An examination of the graphs is given and some
characteristics are explained as attributes of the playback and recording equipment. The graph is
examined and demonstrates some similarities to the theoretical measurements. Some attention is
paid to the decay times of various modes, with the reason that human hearing differentiates
between the strength of the relative levels over time. While some pains are given to show
correspondence between the experimental and theoretical results, the final section discusses the
effects of overlapping bandwidth of the various modes, particularly as frequencies increase,
which regularizes much of the acoustic curve and gives the rather even response we are
accustomed to hearing in small rooms.

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