Acoustics [was Common house design
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 24 May 2015 09:41:46 -0700 (PDT)
> On May 24, 2015, at 8:25 AM, Fred-List manager <fholson [at]> 
> wrote:

>       Check with a good acoustics firm in your area.  Presumably they
> can give you some key words directly or point you to a book or Web site
> that will tell you.  We used Acentech, a national firm that has offices
> here in Boston, and have been very satisfied with the results.

We had a hard time after the fact getting anyone to work with us on acoustics 
because it was a much smaller job than they liked. Most work with architects 
during construction on large or multiple spaces. None of them called us back 
with bids even when we were able to get them to visit.

We finally got a lead on a musician who also did acoustical installations. He 
was perfect because he was used to doing music studios with his musician friend 
so they  thought our job was big.

The musician also had a more intuitive sense of sound and what we needed. We 
had hired an acoustical expert who came out with machines and made everyone 
stay out of the room. Then he measured using different sound waves on all the 
walls. It took most of the afternoon as I recall. Then he produced a report 
full of numbers that only our electrical engineer could interpret. He  
calculated that we needed to cover every square inch to meet the standards in 
the report. 

But the real  problem was that the acoustical expert only understood sound in 
terms of numerical measurements. When we asked if a quilt on one wall would be 
as good as fiberglass panel, he said, I don’t know. I don’t have measurements 
on quilts.

So find a musician of you are already built and don’t have a friendly architect 
around. They will go around hooting and hollering and knocking on walls and 
tell you how well this or that will work where. No numbers.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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