High end sound absorption products are not the only thing that can influence your room’s acoustic environment. For instance, baroque music halls are known for their outstanding acoustics; however they are not treated with any acoustic panels. So why is the sound quality so beautiful in these baroque halls?
Baroque architecture is characterized by extravagant curving forms and excessive ornamentation. Every baroque hall is dripping with an assortment of marble statuary that can actually enhance a space’s acoustic environment. Each marble cherub, gargoyle, pillar and column has the absorption coefficient of nothing. So, when music plays, the sound reflects off of all of these curved marble surfaces creating a lovely, enveloping sound.
Today, contemporary design usually features flat surfaces and minimal decorative pieces. While these spaces look sleek and modern, their flat surfaces can create a troublesome reflection pattern known as a “flutter echo”. This type of echo can cause sound to reflect back and forth making speech unintelligible. To reduce flutter echo, the addition of pieces with uneven surfaces will break up sound reflections and create a well-rounded sound.
Below is a comparison between a typical contemporary space with sleek surfaces and a room with baroque ornamentation. As you can see, sound waves reflect directly back in the modern space but are dispersed throughout the baroque room. So, to improve the sound quality in your room you may not need costly acoustic panels, just a few pieces of furniture with ornate, baroque detail!