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Analyze This ? Online

Need an acoustic analysis of a room but money's too tight to bring in a consultant? Auralex Acoustics thought you might. The company recently launched its Room Analysis Plus service, which can remotely analyze a room's acoustics via the Internet.

Need an acoustic analysis of a room but money's too tight to bring in a consultant? Auralex Acoustics thought you might. The company recently launched its Room Analysis Plus service, which can remotely analyze a room's acoustics via the Internet.

According to the company, all an integrator needs is a Net connection, a mic, and a tape measure; Auralex takes care of the rest. "What happens is we send a frequency sweep .WAV file to the customer who records it in his space using an omni-directional microphone and sends it back," says Gavin Haverstick, lead acoustical engineer for Auralex. "We import that into the software, and from that sweep, we can figure out what the frequency response of the room is, the impulse response, generate waterfall plots, and other information that in the past you'd have to be on-site to get."

Auralex uses a variety of software programs (the company won't divulge which) to read the data, which Tim Martin, director of sales and marketing, points out would be expensive for an individual to acquire. The company also uses a physical diagram of the room provided by the customer to pinpoint the cause of acoustic anomalies. "The measurement's only half the equation. To interpret it and figure out why you're seeing certain results, you have to have physical dimensions of the space, then you can relate the two together," adds Haverstick. While he admits to being able to tell a lot about a room simply from a customer's recording–ceiling height, distance between the microphone and far wall–he says having the diagram provides the "extra boost" needed for the most accurate measurements possible, especially for oddly shaped rooms. "If you have a room that's not rectangular, that's not straightforward, having acoustical measurements allows you to figure out exactly what the problem is."

The frequency sweep file can be found on Auralex Acoustics' Web site. Once the company receives the file and the analysis is complete, Auralex e-mails a written report to the customer within three to five business days outlining the acoustical issues and how to solve them. "You may think that certain surfaces are problematic because they're glass or in a certain location, but the measurements may show otherwise," Haverstick says. "It may show that due to the angle of the speakers or the way the room's oriented, it's not as big a problem as you thought."

The Room Analysis Plus service will set a pro back $250 for one measurement and $100 for each additional location.

–Kimberly R. Griffin



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