Acoustics for Business

Sound affects the way we feel and behave. In the working environment, sound is particularly critical. Complaints in the office often involve the lack of speech privacy, high noise levels and the distraction of, overheard extraneous conversations. These complaints risk becoming more pronounced when traditional office walls are replaced by partial height panels, which allow sound to circulate more freely throughout a space.

Frequently “private offices” are visually private but may not be as acoustically private as might be expected.

In the open plan office, the acoustical performance of panels, ceilings, floors and walls must be controlled if speech privacy is to be maintained, and the overall noise level is compatible with the intended use of the space. (Conference areas, executive offices and general office areas each have different sound level and privacy criteria).

SMG 2015 Offices Spec Sheet


In considering what is and what is not good open plan acoustics, it is important to appreciate the difference between “hearing” and ‘understanding”. The muffled sounds from an adjacent work space generally are not as distracting if they cannot be understood. Of course, if they cannot be understood, you have confidential speech privacy even though some degree of distraction may exist. The overall ambient sound level is also important.

We create a quiet environment by dealing with the paths that sound takes between the sources (equipment and people) and the receivers (people).

In the office, people and equipment are sound sources. People also are receivers of that sound which is transmitted.

There are three paths by which sound travels: a direct path which is the straight line between the source and receiver; a reflected path which occurs as sound bounces off various surfaces; and a defracted path which involves sound bending over the top and around the sides of partitions. The control of sound in an open office requires consideration of all three paths.


Office Panels in Stairwell

Ceiling and Wall Panels in Office Space

Wall Panels in Small Office Space

Wall Panels and Office Acoustics

Stretch Wall Acoustics in Office

Ceiling Cloud Walk-Thru #1

Ceiling Cloud Walk-Thru #2

Ceiling Cloud Walk-Thru #3

Ceiling Cloud Walk-Thru #4


HVAC Noise

Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems can be designed without office occupants in mind. A noisy HVAC system can be addressed with the right tools, analysis, and products. On occasion, noise levels from heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are excessive.

Open Plan Acoustics

The open plan office environment creates efficiency by enabling flexibility and interaction but can create distractions that lower work space efficiency, and reduce speech privacy.

Call Centers

Customer resource, support and call centers are based on the ability of office personnel to interact with the customer effectively. Design consulting from a design build or retrofit phase is part of Sound Management Group’s expertise.


Active systems integrate and operate within spaces in different ways than people. Speakerphone playback fidelity can be easily achieved with SMG products and analysis.

Meeting Rooms

Confidentiality may be as important as sound quality in your company’s meeting rooms. To make sure your meeting space can function optimally, understand what common problems occur and what Sound Management Group has done to solve them. The intent of their design is to create a room in which speech is audible and intelligible throughout.

Video Conferencing

Video conferencing equipment can be easily optimized by analyzing their space and how these systems interact with these spaces. Understanding the function and desired environments for active systems is our specialty.

Corporate Dining

Corporate dining areas shouldn’t prevent work from being done in adjacent areas. Dining areas multitask as quick meeting spaces and areas for interaction and conversation. Isolating noise from these spaces from work areas can be addressed through proper design. Corporate dining facilities share the same problems as do most restaurants.

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