Sound masking, also known as noise masking, is necessary in areas where private or important details are expressed through spoken words and in loud working places. Speakers for masking sound are designed with special features that, when placed in a strategic arrangement, become noise-masking solutions.
Sound-masking speakers are mostly used in places like hospitals, hotels, financial institutions, and other organizations to maintain privacy. You can refer to these as sound masking speakers for privacy because they control noise waves by sending out alternating sound waves that result in noise cancellation.
While this is the typical function of noise-masking systems, this class of acoustic equipment comes in a variety of types. For further understanding of how they work and how to foster a safe approach when looking up the options, here’s a dive into some of the types of masking instruments for effective noise masking.
Types of Sound-Masking Speakers
- Open Ceiling & Plenum Sound-Masking Speakers
Open ceiling and plenum noise-masking speakers are of different types; they create a diffuse ambient sound layer that covers the whole area. This is possible due to the upward-firing position that bounces sound off the ceiling. These acoustic systems are used in open-ceiling designs and can also be positioned between the deck and tiles in the plenum space for effective effect.
They are used for sound-masking projects because of their exceptional acoustic performance and remarkable adaptability. Here are some features of these kinds of sound systems:
● They are perfect sound-masking systems for music.
● These systems produce and distribute a masking sound evenly.
● They are available in white and black color.
● They are easy to adjust due to their integrated rotary switch and power tap selector.
- Direct Field Noise-Masking & Paging Speaker
Direct-field noise-masking and paging speakers also come in varieties; they are placed in drywall, tile, or ceilings. It’s a perfect sound-masking system for offices with plenum space or for controlling background music and paging loudness. These have been used since the late 1990s.
Direct field speakers transmit energy in all directions equally. In cases where there’s no ceiling tile, direct field systems are installed downward on any structure around the office. Here are some features:
● It’s perfect for masking background music and public announcements.
● The individual output levels can be easily adjusted due to its integrated rotary switch power tap selector.
- Hidden Loudspeaker
Hidden loudspeakers are a type of speaker that is placed in a flush mount ceiling so that background music, and consistent noise masking can be achieved without compromising the aesthetic of the ceiling.
Hidden loudspeakers can transform suspended ceiling tiles into enormous, high-dispersion loudspeakers that create a diffuse, smooth, and clear sound field, perfect for masking applications. It is hidden in the plenum and positioned at the back of these surfaces.
- Compact Loudspeaker
Compact loudspeakers are a good speaker type for ceilings that don’t have plenums. These types of speakers effectively hide sounds in small corners that other types of sound-masking systems can’t fit. The speakers come with two drivers arranged in a dipole configuration. It is an effective device in a small form that allows sound-masking systems to be integrated almost anywhere.
Benefits of Noise Masking Speakers
Sound-masking systems foster privacy by fading off sounds within a far shorter range than usual. It does this through noise cancellation, which reduces the travel speed of sound waves, thus preventing people outside from hearing in-office conversations.
● Preventing Distractions
It’s common to get easily distracted by a little noise. However, noise-masking systems can help tune sounds to the range of ambient noise colors. Since these systems go as far as preventing noise as far as 15 to 20 feet away, they are very instrumental in enhancing work focus and productivity. Should you wish to know more about color noise, visit https://emastered.com/blog/different-types-of-noise.
How to Power And Control Your Sound-Masking Speakers
● Multi-Zone Masking Controllers
Controllers are the main instructions behind every sound-hiding instrument. These controllers work together to ensure the speakers provide sound-masking signals that can cover the right office space for effective noise hiding.
● System Management Software
Management software combines noise-masking design, daily operations, and commissioning into a graphical interface showing the office layout and wiring system in the office. This makes the adjustment of the cover-up noise and paging easier.
Noise-Masking Speakers Placements
A noise-masking speaker works well if only you place it well. Let’s look at how to place masking speakers:
● Where to Place the Speakers
The basic rule is to place your noise-masking speakers in a place where you don’t want your conversation to be heard. Strategic locations such as adjacent walls directly demarcating your office from other offices or work areas are ideal to ensure direct noise cancellation, which in turn allows the privacy you need. Usually, this should be on the wall side external to your office.
● Where Not to Place Your Speakers
It is wrong to set your speaker in your office if you don’t want outsiders to hear what you are saying. Placing a sound-masking speaker inside your office will prevent all noise from outside your office, rather than the other way around—preventing noise from your office from being heard by people outside.
Also, here are some things to consider before deciding whether to place acoustic masking systems on your walls or not.
Sound masking is popular among different organizations, especially those that require high work privacy or need to keep vital details from outsiders, like financial institutions, hospitals, hotels, etc.
Apart from privacy purposes, noise-masking systems play a big role in preventing confusion or distractions from outside noise. By placing any of these sound-masking systems in your office, you minimize noise from outside. Again, if you want to keep your conversations private in your office, then install the speaker outside of your office. Depending on your office architecture and design choice, you can choose from a range of options that are all the same effective: open-ceiling, direct field, hidden, or compact noise-masking speakers.