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    Sounding Cinematic

    by Christopher Klein

    "Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves." Although the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle couldn't have predicted it, his wisdom applies to modern-day home theaters. Now that technology has made it possible for homeowners to enjoy a theater-class audio experience, it's become important for their home theaters to be designed for both silence and sound, so that music can be heard as it was meant to be.

    Home theaters need to be free of, or isolated from, sounds from adjoining rooms and from any mechanical systems running through the walls. As an acoustics professional, I'm often asked by clients about "soundproofing." Although most of them are actually require "sound conditioning," which is quite different, acoustic isolation is clearly on their minds.

    Yet issues of isolation, soundproofing, and sound conditioning are often overlooked in planning a home theater or any other living space. This is unfortunate because the planning stage is the best time to address them. Understanding acoustic isolation and the difference between sound proofing and sound conditioning is crucial for home theater designers and installers.

    Simply put, sound proofing makes a space free of sound from an adjoining space. Sound conditioning is the science of making a room acoustically correct by manipulating reflection and absorption so that listeners hear the audio as it was meant to sound when recorded. Sound conditioning is the more important of the two in high-end home theater design.   >>>

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    Small theaters have become more frequent additions to luxury residential construction over the past few years.
    Photo: Big Picture Solutions

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    Acoustic design requires attention to surface materials and wall insulation as well as high-tech equipment.
    Photo: Big Picture Solutions

     

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