Reduce echo in conference rooms using office acoustic treatment such as absorptive lighting and curtains

How To Reduce Echo In Conference Rooms

Video conferencing is on the increase and unwanted noise is particularly noticeable in such an environment. It’s important to reduce echo in conference rooms because reverberation of speech frequencies can make it especially difficult for those joining online to listen and contribute, not to mention distracting for those in the room.

In spaces where big decisions are regularly made, the last thing you want is unnecessary disturbances, clouding both your judgement and the intelligibility of your voice.

What causes echo in conference rooms?

Meeting rooms aren’t usually equipped to manage sound effectively as they contain hard surfaces which reflect sound, for example:

  • Concrete 
  • Glass 
  • Wood
  • Metal
  • Media screens

The shape of the space will also play a part. If two reflective surfaces are parallel to one another (such as the walls of a meeting room) the sound waves will bounce back and forth causing them to sum together or cancel each other out. Tall or vaulted ceilings will also increase reverberation due to the increased cubic volume. 

The result? Voices become harder to understand. 

Is it possible to reduce echo in conference rooms?

The short answer is ‘yes’. All it takes is some well thought out acoustic treatment.

Digital Vision AV are proud partners of Buzzi.Space. We install acoustic treatment for video conference rooms and other workspaces, making them more usable, as well as inspirational. 

To reduce echo, reverberation needs to be controlled to a comfortable level. The only way to do that (without taking down the walls, in which case it would cease to be a meeting room), is to introduce elements which absorb, reflect and diffract the sound. 

Surfaces which absorb sound are soft, such as:

  • Cushions
  • Curtains
  • Rugs
  • Carpet

Jagged surfaces will help to diffract and reflect the sound into multiple directions and frequencies.

To debunk some acoustic treatment myths, here are some everyday objects which won’t do much to reduce echo:

  • Egg cartons (also probably not a good look for a board meeting or sales call)
  • Plants (a fabric planter will absorb sound but not the plant itself)
  • Canvas pictures (the material is too thin to absorb sound effectively)
  • Pictures (a glass fronted frame could actually increase echo)

Acoustic treatment could be part of the architectural design of your building but if it isn’t, don’t worry, you don’t need to knock it down and start again. There’s a huge range of simultaneously functional and beautiful elements which can be added to an existing conference room. Echo will be a thing of the past, although you might find it harder to book a slot once people realise what a tranquil space it’s become!

The process

The first step is for us to carry out an assessment of the room by measuring the reverberation time. We will also look at the space available for the various acoustic treatment elements we have at our disposal, and which would work within the existing design themes. Items which are not present such as plants, decor, or a splash of colour, will feed into our decision making and recommendations.

We’re always guided by the client and make suggestions based on your requirements. Whether your priority is performance, appearance, or budget, we’ll find the ideal solution to meet your needs.

When everything’s ready to go ahead, we’ll install the products at a time which suits you, so it has a minimal impact on the use of your meeting room.

Which acoustic treatment elements are available?

This is the part where you get to be creative and choose elements which not only improve audio quality but also revamp the room. It’s where important decisions and conversations happen, so shouldn’t it be inspirational?

For instance, there are some spectacular lighting options which could be designer pieces in their own right. There’s a stunning and seemingly endless range of elements to choose from. Items which are freestanding, attach to the wall, or hang from the ceiling, all available in a range of colours and shapes. 

Here are just some of the fantastic options we can install which will help to reduce echo:

  • Wall and ceiling lighting – pleated pendants or LED framed wall panels to provide an eye catching feature piece
  • Freestanding pillars – a fabric covered column which can be positioned in corners
  • Wall panels of different geometric shapes
  • Panels or grids hung from the ceiling
  • Wallpaper (yes, sound absorbing wallpaper is now a thing)
  • Modular frames – draw sound absorbing curtains around a workspace to dynamically create a conference room
  • Planters – a biophilic option for conference rooms which lack decor
  • Biophilic wall solutions – imagine being able to break the ice of a video conference with the fact your walls are acoustically treated with preserved reindeer moss?

The possibilities are endless and the impact could be priceless. By combining decorative acoustic treatments which complement the aesthetics of your brand, the resulting conference room will be both functional and inspirational, fostering creativity and productivity.

Get in touch

To find out more about how to reduce echo in conference rooms, get in touch with Digital Vision AV for a friendly chat!

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