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May 27, 2009

FYI, here’s another acoustical consulting blog for your enjoyment: Sound Off, the official blog of Acoustics By Design a consulting firm in Michigan.

In addition to blogs, plenty of audio and acousticians have made their way to the social media space. In particular I’m referring to all the acoustics and audio types that have made their way to Twitter, including (in no particular order):

I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t discovered yet - if you have a Twitter feed, please let me know so I can follow you. Typical tweet topics include loudspeaker design, home theater, noise control, architectural acoustics, sound reinforcement and more.

I have my own Twitter account but it’s mostly personal musings. I flag my acoustics-related tweets with the #acoustics hashtag and you can find my most recent acoustics tweets on the left column of this page under “Updates from Twitter.”

Update, May 27, 2009:

Dan Schwartz suggested checking out the American Academy of Audiology's feed for more recommendations.

Update, June 1, 2009:

Another one: James Bellew

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May 22, 2009

Marcus Johnson was asked by a police officer to turn down the volume on his car stereo. He didn’t react well to that request:

Authorities said Johnson became angered when a police officer told him to turn down the music in his car while he was parked at a south Wichita convenience store early on the morning of Jan. 7, 2008.

Johnson drove downtown, turned onto Main and then drove up a ramp into City Hall at an estimated 45 miles an hour.

Chaos ensues:

Kids, don’t do this.

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May 17, 2009

Toby Hatchett from describes his frustration in trying to escape from noise:

I go outside. The helicopter is gone. The jack hammer is not. It is jack hammering away and away, deeper and deeper into the granite. I am guessing it must be granite. Isn’t this the granite state? Isn’t the reason I am losing my sanity? Oh, granite. Would if only you could be as gentle as a peony. See what is happening to my mind?

Mr. Hatchett also asks “Is there such a thing as ear plugs that will also allow for listening to books on tape?” Thankfully, the answer to that question is “yes” through the use of several brands of in-ear noise isolating headphones.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I have a pair of the Etymotic ER-6 earphones and I love them.

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May 11, 2009

In his address to Congress this past February, President Obama made the following observation:

I think about Ty’Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina, a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom.

Acoustics does matter in schools - improper room acoustics as well as internal and external noise sources can result in reduced student performances and classroom disruptions. As I have discussed many times in this blog, overcoming bad acoustics isn’t simply a matter of adding a classroom sound reinforcement system after the fact, acoustics is something that needs to considered as an integral part of classroom and school design - there is no off-the-shelf classroom sound system that will compete with a freight locomotive.

I hope that some of the money in the stimulus package used for school construction and renovation will be used to help improve the acoustics of school. Of course being in the field I have some self-interest here, but I think that we acousticians have an important contribution to make. With that, I am encouraged by the announcement that in H.R. 2187 Congress is working toward creating grants to be used for addressing acoustical deficiencies in classrooms:

The House Education and Labor Committee passed H.R. 2187, the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act, which expanded the classroom noise and acoustics provisions in the legislation. If passed by Congress and signed into law, H.R. 2187 would allow federal grants to be used by districts to take, “measures designed to reduce or eliminate human exposure to classroom noise and environmental noise pollution.” Congressman Joe Sestak (D-PA) also offered a two-word amendment allowing schools to use money on “ceilings [and] flooring.”


Sestak further noted that his congressional district is in the flight path of Philadelphia International Airport with planes flying as low as 500 feet above the ground. He has received reports of children not being able to hear in their schools and has been fighting with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on noise abatement.

[thanks David Lubman]

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May 04, 2009

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