What is Reverberation???
Reverberation is another name for what most people know and understand as echo. The following analogy explains what reverberation is quite concisely without getting overly technical.
If you press the accelerator pedal of a car, the car accelerates to a certain speed. If the road is smooth and level the speed will remain constant. With a constant force on the accelerator, the engine produces enough horse power to overcome frictional and aerodynamic losses and maintain a steady and even speed, or steady state condition. If you take your foot of the off the accelerator, the car will gradually slow, and come to a stop.
Sound within a room acts similarly to this. When a loudspeaker is turned, it emits noise into the room that quickly grows to a certain level. This level is the steady state or equilibrium point at which the sound energy radiated from the loudspeaker is enough to over come loses in the air and at the room boundaries.
A greater sound energy radiated from the loudspeaker will result in a higher equilibrium level, whereas less energy to the loudspeaker will result in a lower equilibrium level. If you push your foot flat to the floor in the car the equilibrium or speed will be much faster, than those Sunday drivers who only slightly depress the accelerator pedal.
When the loudspeaker is turned off, it takes a finite length of time for the sound level in the room to decay to inaudibility. This means there is an exact amount of time from when the loudspeaker is turned off until the sound from the speaker cannot be heard.
For most environments such as conference rooms, classrooms, sports halls, offices and the typical working environment or public space, the longer the time between the noise source stopping and the noise becoming inaudible, the worse the acoustic environment is perceived. This is because a lot of words and noises overlap one an another.
You can say, ” What on earth is reverberation time? How do I treat it.?
Continued in Part Two of What is Reverberation.
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