June 12, 2014 | Written by: Jonah Sacks and Ioana Pieleanu

Auralization 101: Show Me What I’m Hearing

Picture yourself in a restaurant dining room: you watch your dining companion’s lips move, but you can’t hear what he or she is saying over the din of other patrons. Maybe you’ve been to a library reading room where no one can focus because of all the distracting activity noises. Perhaps worst of all are the countless musical performances that sound small and lifeless, rather than present and enveloping, in an ill-suited performance room. Experiences like these are what make acoustics a critical aspect of building design. But how can designers make the connection between their drawings of a future space and the aural experience of its future users? A powerful tool, called auralization, is available to help make this connection.Using computer modeling and signal processing techniques, acoustics consultants can transform architectural drawings into an aural rendering of a space (an “auralization”) that allows architects and project owners to hear their space before it is even built.

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