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Room modes

  • Room modes are the resonances that exist in a room. The room vibrates to these frequencies like a musical instrument. Room modes over-emphasize certain frequency ranges, that is, some frequencies are unnaturally loud and long. In extreme cases this phenomenon is perceived as very loud noise. Room modes are caused by the room boundaries, especially by undamped, parallel and sound- reflecting surfaces. Sound waves, particularly of frequencies in the lower to medium range, are often reflected by the room boundaries and take a very long time to come to rest.

  • Men’s voices fall into this range. They may sound unnaturally sonorous or be perceived as unpleasantly loud. Many musical instruments sound highly imbalanced, because individual pitch tones come out much too loud. Impulses become unclear, the acoustic pattern is mushy. And as our brain constantly attempts to compensate, we start to find rhythmic music irritating and listening becomes tiring. Playing music or holding a conversation becomes a huge strain in rooms with a lot of unpleasant room modes. Therefore, in order to achieve balanced sound, room modes have to be eliminated.