Archive for March 26th, 2007

An Important Note On Acoustics (-coustics, -ustics)

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Cavernous train stations, art museums, and former warehouses are great places – to catch trains, view art, or store stuff. But as party sites, they typically share one drawback: acoustics which make your average school gym sound like Carnegie Hall.

Such venues were never designed with sound in mind. They are architecturally interesting, roomy, perhaps even rich in history. But they are also incredibly noisy, due to their concrete and stone construction. The art museum in my town is so “live” that I can hear every word spoken at normal volume by a man standing 100 feet away. Unfortunately, due to echo (-echo, -echo), I can’t understand a single thing he says. Multiply that times a couple of hundred party guests carrying on their own conversations, and you have one very loud room, even before music is added to the din.

In such environs, drumsticks on a snare sound like gunshots. Once the music begins, guests have to speak ever louder to be heard. The overall decibel level soon rises to the pain threshold and beyond. Toasts or speeches are unintelligible, and thus, ignored. Nobody hears that masterpiece of wit you sweated bullets over. In fact, most people don’t even know that you are making a speech, and thus continue their own chatter.

Bottom line: if there is a moment in your event in which the spoken word is important, then you should hold that gathering in a place where those words will be heard and understood.