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Choosing the Right Acoustic Management for Your Application

Choosing the Right Acoustic Management for Your Application

Posted by Written and Edited by the SoundPro Team on Mar 5th 2024

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Managing how sound waves interact with your environment is essential for achieving polished audio in any professional environment. Deciding which acoustic management methods to use in your specific space and application allows you to create welcoming environments for work, entertainment, and more.


Sound masking and sound absorption are the two basic techniques in acoustic treatment, which can be used in combination with each other depending on the individual situation. (For more details on the differences between these two acoustic management techniques, check out our article Sound Masking vs. Sound Absorption.)

Sound Masking Applications

Sound masking adds background sound in the form of low-level, broadband sound, such as white or pink noise, so that other sounds are less distinct by comparison. This increases speech privacy and reduces distractions. Sound masking is achieved by using sound masking speakers or emitters.

Sound Masking in Corporate Offices

Open-concept office layouts have many benefits, such as encouraging collaboration between team members. On the downside, however, is that many conversations may be happening simultaneously, which can be distracting. Sound masking minimizes these distractions, allowing for better concentration, a more peaceful work environment, and increased productivity.

Even for offices with more segmented layouts, sound masking can be a great help. Professional areas where confidentiality is high-priority—such as healthcare or financial facilities—can add low-level background noise to ensure privacy for their patients or clients, preventing sensitive information from being overheard, even in adjacent rooms.

Sound Absorption Applications

Sound absorption focuses on reducing the reflection of sound within a space. Echoes and reverb are caused by sound waves bouncing off hard surfaces, so sound absorption products are constructed of materials that soak up the excess sound. Common sound absorption products include acoustic panels, bass traps, diffuser panels, and ceiling clouds, which can be mounted on surfaces such as walls or ceilings.

Houses of Worship

For houses of worship, acoustic problems most often occur in the sanctuary, fellowship hall, or other large areas that are prone to echoes, reverb, and other audio distortions. Implementing sound absorption techniques in these areas ensures your worship space is welcoming with clear music, intelligible vocals, and individual conversations don’t bounce throughout the entire room. (Learn more in our articleOptimizing Your House of Worship’s Acoustics.)

Recording Studios

Whether it’s an expansive professional studio or a room in your home, you can achieve accurate sound reproduction in your recording studio by handling the space’s acoustics with sound absorption products that minimize unwanted reflections. Note, however, that sometimes over-treating your space (such as wall-to-wall, ceiling-to-ceiling panels), can result in a “dead” sound that some artists feel is unnatural and undesirable, so be sure to start small with changes until you achieve the level of control that best fits your audio taste.

Combining Absorption and Masking Techniques

Both sound masking and absorption techniques can be used in combination for acoustic results that both reduce noise transmission and control reverberation.


Examples of hospitality venues include restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions. These spaces are generally spacious to accommodate larger groups of people—and this larger space is prime for echoes, a prime issue when you have a crowd that’s talking simultaneously. Implementing sound absorption can reduce these echoes, while installing sound masking speakers can help improve speech intelligibility and privacy.


From classrooms to libraries, meeting rooms to study areas, almost any educational space is an ideal candidate for a comprehensive sound masking system. While adding audio to a library may seem counterintuitive, it actually creates the illusion of a quieter, more private space by making other noises less distinguishable.

Sound absorption is also a useful tool for larger spaces in educational facilities, such as auditoriums or gymnasiums.

Mobile Setups

Both sound masking and sound absorption can be used in temporary spaces, such as event venues or rental spaces, using portable or modular solutions.


While this article outlines the general needs (and typical solutions) for common acoustic management applications, the fact remains that every space will have unique requirements based on size, shape, and sound sources in that space. To get the most out of your environment’s audio, consult with an acoustic professional. They can help you assess the space, determine the appropriate techniques and products to use, and ensure proper placement and installation to achieve your desired acoustic effect.

Ready to put acoustic treatment into action in your space? Check out SoundPro’s top brands for Sound Masking including AtlasIED, Quam, and Yamaha, as well as Sound Absorption from Gator, Primacoustic, and more! Contact our Account Managers for expert advice at or 800.203.5611.