Nowadays, it is possible to predict and experience the acoustics of a room through a simulation process named auralization. The simulation returns a high-quality binaural audio, allowing users to listen to a space with a set of calibrated headphones or speakers, before its construction.
How does it work?
An auralization requires an impulse response, which can be described as a dynamic system output when presented with a very brief (and "ideal") input signal.
When it comes to room acoustics, an impulse response contains useful frequency response information that can be used to understand how a room reacts to "real-life" input signals, e.g. the human voice or a musical instrument.
Impulse responses can be measured digitally with special signals (e.g. MLS and continuous sweeps) - if the room being assessed has already been built, or they can be determined by means of a digital geometric acoustics modelling software.
Various proprietary modelling software packages are available, however, these are often similar in terms of the calculation algorithms employed (see MISM and RT). The common factor is that detailed information regarding acoustic absorption and scattering for each exposed surface, within the room, is required to ensure the obtained results are valid.
What are the advantages of auralization?
Acoustics criteria are not always easy to explain and as such, it may be hard for a client to see added value in improved acoustics. Auralization can enable a rich sensorial experience that has a much deeper impact than a number on a piece of paper, giving clients the required confidence to make certain decisions.
Auralization can be used not only in room acoustics but also in buildings sound insulation whenever an improvement over building regulations is required.
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