Wapping, London - 2018
Mute Acoustics® designs and builds professional-grade live rooms for music venues across London. Each application is expertly engineered to deliver a world-class acoustic environment, enhancing the artist’s performance and the audience’s listening experience.
Mute Acoustics® was commissioned by The Rattle to convert a Grade I listed, 19thG century warehouse, in East London’s Tobacco Dock, to incorporate a live room and two writing rooms, as part of their music venue launch.
In keeping with the surrounding architecture, and the history of Tobacco Dock, the live room was modelled to reflect the original timber roof trusses, for which the building is internationally famous.
For further visual impact, the live room retains the original, exposed brick, barrel ceiling. This detail, in particular, presented an interesting acoustical, design challenge.
Concave ceilings typically cause sound reflections to converge at focal points along their geometric centre. Field testing here, highlighted exactly that, with ‘loud spots’ detected across the mid-length of the room. Standing waves exacerbated the problem, rendering a “boomy” acoustic, when low frequency signals were transmitted into the space.*
Achieving flawless sound clarity, inside the live room, was a project imperative. Therefore, these acoustical distortions had to be eliminated (enabling the PA system to purposefully and precisely reproduce sound effects, as required).
The replica timber rafters offered an elegant solution; a suitably dispersed, supporting structure, for a system of sound absorbing baffles and bass traps. These, in combination with floor-to-ceiling, sound absorbing wall panels, deliver a desirably “dead” interior acoustic (a flat reverberation time profile, across frequencies, measuring 0.6 to 0.8 seconds) – ideal for amplified live music performances.
*Low frequency wavelengths often exceed room dimensions (unlike mid or high frequencies), therefore, when they reflect between two parallel surfaces, they ‘double back’ on themselves, causing interference (reinforcements and cancellations).
This interference manifests as a low frequency imbalance, such that some areas within a space will radiate too much bass (at a particular frequency), whilst other areas will radiate no bass tones at all.