Posted on: July 26th, 2018 by admin

These terms are specialized to either the marine industry or audio engineering, and may be used on the Soundown site:


Absorption – The opposite of reflection. Sound absorption results from the conversion of sound energy into another form, usually heat or motion, when passing through an acoustical medium. When a sound wave encounters resistance, absorption occurs. Absorption is measured in Sabins (after Wallace Clement Sabine). One Sabin is the amount of absorption offered by one square foot of open air.

Absorption coefficient – Ratio of sound absorbing effectiveness, at a specific frequency, of a unit area of acoustical absorbent to a unit area of perfectly absorptive material. In other words, the portion of energy absorbed when a sound wave strikes a material. The absorption coefficient of a material is dependent on the frequency of the sound wave. An absorption coefficient of 1.0 = total absorption, 0.0 = total reflection.

Acoustics – The sound characteristics of a room. The science of the production, control, transmission, reception and effects of sound and the phenomenon of hearing.

Analog – Analog representations of sound replicate its waveform, while transferring it through different media. All sound is analog. Audio may be analog or digital.

Airborne noise – Sound that is transmitted directly from the source to the receiver by the air. The sound of a person you are having a face-to-face conversation with is airborne.

Ambience – The residual “room sound” of a listening environment.

Ambient noise – All-pervasive noise associated with a given environment.

Analog – Analog representations of sound replicate its waveform, while transferring it through different media. All sound is analog. Audio may be analog or digital.

Analyzer – An instrument that allows for the analysis of sound or vibration by displaying its characteristics such as frequency and amplitude.

Anechoic – Literally “without echo”.

Area Effect – Due to exposed edges and diffraction of sound energy around perimeters, acoustical materials spaced apart can exhibit greater absorption than the same amount of material with no gaps. The surface of an anechoic wedge has a total surface area greater than the flat surface it replaces.

Articulation– A measure of the intelligibility of speech.

ASTM E 84 – A test method for determining the surface burning characteristics of building materials, sometimes referred to as the “Steiner tunnel test.” This test method is for single products and evaluates both flame spread and smoke development, assigning different classes based upon test results:


Flame Spread

Smoke Development










Attenuate – To reduce the level (volume, loudness, energy) of an acoustical (or electrical) signal.

Audio frequency A frequency that falls within the range of the human hearing, usually taken as 20 Hz to 20 kHz.

A-Weighted Sound Level – A measure of sound pressure level designed to reflect the response of the human ear, which does not respond equally to all frequencies, by reducing the effects of the low and high frequencies with respect to the mid-range frequencies. The resultant sound level is said to be A-weighted, and the units are dBA.

Axial mode – The room resonances associated with each pair of parallel walls (including ceiling and floor).


Background noise – The ambient noise level above which signals must be presented or noise sources measured.

Baffle – A device used to inhibit the propagation of sound waves. Baffles are usually suspended vertically from ceiling to reduce reverberation time.

Barrier – Heavy, dense and massive material used to block sound.

Bass – Sound that is below 200Hz. This low-frequency component of noise has more power than higher frequencies and is typically the most difficult to attenuate.

Bass Trap – A low frequency absorber. Low frequencies are particularly difficult to absorb due to their long wavelengths. Bass traps are designed and constructed to absorb these longer waves and control unwanted room resonances. Broadband absorbers extending to lower frequencies are often called Bass Traps, imprecisely. The term “bass trap” is counterintuitive since these devices eliminate low frequency room cancellations, allowing bass to be heard.

Block – The reduction of airborne noise by an acoustic barrier.

Boomy / Boominess – Listening term that usually refers to an excessive amount of low frequency (bass) energy.

Break – A physical gap in the assembly or construction, which acts to decouple sound vibrations, preventing them from traveling through a structure.


Cancellation – The destructive interference of two or more sound waves. Waves of similar frequencies and amplitude, but of opposite phase (180°F) produce mutual cancellation effects.

Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC) – Rates a ceiling’s efficiency as a barrier to airborne sound transmission between adjacent closed offices. Shown as a minimum value, previously expressed as CSTC (Ceiling Sound Transmission Class). A single-figure rating derived from the normalized ceiling attenuation values.

Ceiling Cloud – An acoustical panel suspended in a horizontal position from ceiling or roof structure.

Comb filter – A distortion produced by combining an acoustical (or electrical) signal with a delayed replica of itself (offset in time). The result is constructive and destructive interference that results in peaks and nulls being introduced into the frequency response. This response, when plotted to a linear frequency scale, resembles a comb (teeth) rather than a smooth curve.

Cocktail Party Effect – The ability of a listener to focus attention on a single talker among a mixture of crowd conversations and background noise while, at the same time, ignoring speech from other locations. Understanding is possible due to the ear / brain discrimination of unwanted sound as well as lip reading and body language. A single microphone recording of the same conversation, absent these additional factors, may be totally unintelligible and unusable as evidence in court.

Constructive Interference – The addition of two waveforms of similar phase. Constructive interference is responsible for the production of standing waves in which a signal and its successive reflections are continually added to one another. The opposite is destructive interference.

Critical distance – The distance from a sound source at which the direct energy (energy radiated directly from the source) is equal to the reverberant energy (radiated from walls, floor and ceiling).

Cutoff frequency – The lowest frequency above which the normal incidence sound absorption coefficient is at least .990 for an anechoic wedge, or set of wedges.

Cycle – A complete positive (forward) and negative (backward) movement of a vibration corresponding to a high and low pressure wave.

Cycles per second – Measured in Hertz(Hz), this is the number of peaks per second of sound wave.


Damping – The conversion of vibrational energy, typically in a panel. Normally damping materials convert energy to minute amounts of heat via friction.

Dead – A term used to describe a space with no acoustic reflection. A room that is treated on many surfaces with acoustic absorption materials.

Decay time – The length of time taken for a signal to drop in strength to a specific portion of its initial value. Decay time is often frequency dependent. The decay time of a room at a specific frequency is the time necessary for a sound of that frequency to decay 60 dB. (RT60)

Decibel (dB) – The measuring unit of sound pressure, and hence loudness. Decibels are measured in a range of scales, of which the most common is A scale, noted as dB(A). The A scale is weighted most closely to human hearing. The decibel is a numerical ratio comparing the sound pressure of a given sound and the sound pressure of a reference sound (usually .0002 microbar).

Common references noise dB(A) levels include:

  • the rustling of grass – 15 dB(A)
  • conversational – 50 dB(A)
  • live rock groups – 110 dB(A)
  • jet plane engines at close range – 130 dB(A).

Decouple – To remove the mechanical attachment between two materials in order to break the acoustic connection.

Decoupler Layer – The space between an acoustic mass layer treatment and the surface being treated. As the decoupled layer gets larger the resonant frequency of the cavity is decreased, providing improved acoustic performance.

Diffraction – The bending of a sound wave around an obstacle, or through an opening, such as slats. The scattering of sound waves at an object smaller than one wavelength, and the subsequent interference of the scattered wavefronts.

Diffuse sound field – A sound field in which the sound pressure level is the same everywhere and the flow of energy is equally probable in all directions.

Diffuser(also: Diffusor) – A device for the complex scattering of sound energy in all directions. Traditional spatial diffusers, such as the polycylindrical (barrel) shapes, may also double as low frequency traps. Temporal diffusors, such as binary arrays and quadratics, scatter sound in a manner similar to diffraction of light, where the timing of reflections from an uneven surface of varying depths causes interference which spreads the sound.

Diffusion – The scattering or random distribution of a sound wave after striking a surface.

Direct sound – Sound waves arriving at the listening location directly from the source. Differing from reflected sound, which arrives at the listening location after bouncing off the surrounding surfaces.

Doppler effect The apparent shift in frequency when the sound source, or the observer, is in motion.

Drywall A dense architectural wall construction material applied to wood or metal studs, A/K/A Sheet Rock or Gypsum Wall Board (GWB), useful primarily as a sound barrier but also as a low-frequency absorber in some applications.


E400 Test – See Mounting.

Early reflection – Reflected energy that occurs in close proximity to the source but is slightly out of synchronization (time / phase) with the source information.

Echo – A distinctly discernible reflection, or repetition of a source signal. Note: The term is often used incorrectly to refer to reverberation which consists of densely spaced, indistinguishable reflections.

Equal loudness contours – A set of curves of equivalent loudness, which model the ear’s frequency response throughout the audible spectrum. The curves, obtained from actual testing, show how much more sound power is required at one frequency than another to obtain a sound of equal loudness. The results show that the human ear is less sensitive to sound at the extreme high and low frequencies.

Equalization – The adjustment of timbre, or tone quality, achieved by changing the amplitude of a signal at different frequencies. (Abbreviated: EQ.) Tone controls are simple forms of equalization.


Far field – Distribution of acoustic energy at a very much greater distance from a source than the linear dimensions of the source itself.

Flame spread – A measure of the time it takes for fire to spread, when compared to red oak, whose Flame Spread Index (FSI) is 100 in accordance with ASTM E 84.

Flanking – The transmission of sound around a perimeter or through holes within partitions (or barriers) that reduces the otherwise obtainable sound transmission loss of a partition. Examples of flanking paths within buildings are ceiling plena above partitions; ductwork, piping, and electrical conduit penetrations through partitions; back-to-back electrical boxes within partitions, window mullions, etc. Flanking occurs when a free standing partition size is less than the wavelength of sound to be blocked.

Flat – The term used to describe an even frequency response in which no frequency is accentuated.

Free field – An environment in which there are no reflective surfaces within the frequency region of interest.

Frequency – The speed of vibration of a sound wave, measured in cycles per second, or Hertz. Frequency determines pitch; the faster the frequency, the higher the pitch.

Front-to-back imaging – The placement of vocal or musical information ahead of (closer to) or behind (farther from) center position, front-to-back.

Fundamental – The basic pitch of a musical note.


Grating, diffraction – The principle now used to achieve diffraction of acoustical waves, analogous to optical grating by which light is broken into its component colors as when passing through a prism.

Grating, reflection phase – An acoustical diffraction grating to produce diffusion of sound.

Grazing Effect – The way in which sound is absorbed by an audience; stepping or raking the seating reduces the absorption, and improves sight lines.


Haas effect – Also called the precedence effect. Delayed sounds are integrated if they fall on the ear within 20 to 40 msec of the direct sound. The level of the delayed components contributes to the apparent level of the sound.

Helmholtz resonator – A reactive, tuned, sound absorber. A bottle is such a resonator. It can employ a perforated cover or slats over a cavity. An acoustic guitar or violin body is a Helmholtz resonator.

Hertz – Unit of measure which denotes the number of peaks per second (or cycles per second) for a given sound wave.


Image shift – Sound dislocated from its correct position, to be more left and / or right of center.

Impact Isolation Class (IIC) – A system for rating the ability of a structure to isolate impact noise (i.e. footsteps, and other vibrational disturbances). Normally used in reference to floor and ceiling constructions, the IIC method utilizes whole positive numbers for rating purposes.

Impact noise – The noise heard as a result of vibrations transferred through the structure of a room. Foot thumps are impact noise.

Impulse – A very short, transient, acoustical (or electrical) signal.

In phase – Two periodic waves reaching peaks and going through zero at the same instant are said to be “in phase”.

INCE – Institute of Noise Control Engineering

Initial time-delay gap (signal delay) – The time interval between the arrival of a direct sound and its first reflection from the surfaces of the room.

Intensity – The amount of sound energy radiated per unit area, measured in watts per square centimeter.

Inverse square law – Any condition in which the magnitude of a physical quantity follows an inverse relationship to the square of the distance. In pure spherical divergence of sound from a point source in free space, the sound pressure level decreases 6 dB for each doubling of the distance.

Isolation – The separation of a noise or vibration source from the structure by which it is supported. This is typically accomplished using an elastic element such as a steel spring, rubber, or other elastomeric material.



Kerf – A slice cut into the edge of an acoustical panel so that it can accept a spline (extrusion) to connect and mount an adjoining panel, providing a level surface at the joint or seam.

Kilohertz / kHz – 1,000 Hz increments. See Hertz.


Late reflection – Reflected energy that occurs a greater distance away from the source than an early reflection. Sometimes referred to as “slap-back” or echo.

Law of the first wavefront – The first wavefront falling on the ear determines the perceived direction of the sound.

Leakage – Any unwanted sound picked up by (or “leaking” into) a microphone from another instrument or loudspeaker. Sound from one room that is heard in another.

Live – A reverberant acoustical condition, usually used in reference to a room whose many reflective surfaces encourage a lengthy reverberation time.

Longitudinal wave – A wave in which vibrations are in the direction of propagation of sound as are sound waves in air.

Loudness – Subjective impression of the intensity of a sound.


Masking – The process by which one sound is used to obscure the presence of another.

Mass law – The law of physics that states that a material’s ability to reduce the transmission of sound is proportional to its weight. According to the mass law, to increase a wall’s transmission loss by 6 dB it is necessary to double the thickness (weight) of the wall. See Inverse Square Law.

Mass Loaded Vinyl – Heavily loaded vinyl material that is used as a barrier to sound transmission. Directly applied to surfaces, suspended or used in wall, floor and ceiling construction. See Sound Transmission Class.

Mechanical Coupling – The rigid connection between two otherwise isolated objects. Short circuits of this type will reduce or negate the affects of any steps taken to isolate vibration (or noise).

Example: An engine on rubber mounts that has a steel cooling pipe that is rigidly connected to the foundation.

Mechanically Decoupled – The elimination of hard connections between a noise or vibration source and the surrounding structure. An engine on rubber mounts is mechanically decoupled form the foundation.

Mineral Wool – A raw material made of inorganic mineral fibers, used for acoustic and thermal insulation as well as structural fire protection. (Also know as rock wool)

Mode (Room Mode) – A room resonance. Axial modes are associated with pairs of parallel walls. Tangential modes involve four room surfaces and oblique modes all six surfaces. Their effect is greatest at low frequencies and in small rooms.

Mono – Common abbreviation for “monaural,” meaning from a single source.


Near field – That part of a sound field usually within about two wavelengths from a noise source, where there is no simple relationship between sound level and distance. The area in a room which is in the immediate vicinity of the sound source.

Node (Dead Spot) – A point or line where minimal air motion takes place.

Noise – Unwanted sound, or, the stuff that Soundown can help you reduce.

Noise Criteria (NC) – Standard spectrum curves by which a given measured room’s ambient noise may be described by a single NC number.

Noise isolation class, NIC – A single-number rating calculated in accordance with Classification E 413 using measured values of noise reduction. It provides an estimate of the sound isolation between two enclosed spaces that are acoustically connected by one or more paths.

Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) – The arithmetic average of the Sound Absorption Coefficients of a material at 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1000 Hz and 2000 Hz. This is the range having the most impact upon speech intelligibility.

Null – A low or minimum point on a graph. A minimum pressure region in a room.


Oblique mode – See Mode.

Octave – The musical spacing between a frequency and its double. For example, the distance between “A” (440Hz) and “high A” (880Hz) is an octave. The audible range is about ten and one-half octaves.

Octave band – A frequency spectrum which is one octave wide (i.e. all frequencies from 125 Hz to 250 Hz). In recording and audio testing, the octave itself is divided into thirds for increased accuracy.

Out of phase – Two related signals offset in time. See In Phase.


Passive absorber – A sound absorber that dissipates sound energy as heat.

Period – The length of time (measured in seconds) it takes for a wave to complete a cycle. t = 1/f

Phase – The time relationship between two signals.

Phase interference – The addition and/or subtraction of two waves of similar or multiple frequencies, causing peaks and dips in the overall response curve.

Phase shift – The time or angular difference between two signals.

Phon – The empirical unit of loudness. Since the ear has different sensitivities at various frequencies (Fletcher-Munson), it does not hear equivalent sound pressure levels as being equally loud.

Pink noise – Broadband noise whose energy content is inversely proportional to frequency.(-3dB per octave) This gives the noise equal energy per octave.

Pitch – How the human ear perceives frequency. Notes with a higher pitch are higher in frequency.

Privacy Index (PI) – A measure for rating the speech privacy performance of an architectural space (or lack of speech intelligibility), where the PI is calculated from the Articulation Index (AI). A privacy level of PI above 95% represents confidential speech privacy whereas a PI of less than 80% is poor privacy.

Polarity – The positive (forward) or negative (backward) direction of an acoustical, electrical, or magnetic force. Two identical signals in opposite polarity are 180° apart at all frequencies. Polarity, unlike phase, is not frequency dependent.

Polar Plot – The graphic representation of diffusion or scattering over all incident angles at a rated frequency.

Pressure zone – As sound waves strike a solid surface, the particle velocity is zero at the surface and the pressure is high, thus creating a high-pressure layer near the surface.

Psycho-acoustics – The study of the perception of sound.



Random noise – Noise whose instantaneous amplitude is not specified at any instant of time.

Rarefaction – A decrease in density and pressure in a medium, such as air, caused by the passage of a sound wave. Opposite of compression.

Reactive absorber – A sound absorber, such as the Helmholtz resonator which involves the effects of mass and compliance as well as resistance.

Reactive silencer – An acoustic silencer that has tuned cavities or membranes for low frequency noise attenuation.

Reflected sound – Sound arriving at the listening location after bouncing off one or more of the surrounding surfaces. The sum total of all reflected waves determines the room’s reverberation time and acoustical character.

Reflection – The bouncing of a sound wave off of a surface. Sound is reflected much as light is reflected, with the angle of incidence equaling the angle of reflection.

Refraction – The bending of sound waves traveling through layered media with different sound velocities.

Resilient – Free from rigid contact, such as an engine on rubber or spring mounts. Resiliency reduces the transfer of noise and vibration from one structure to another.

Resonance – When a spring or column of air is excited by a vibration or soundwave that matches its natural frequency, resulting in amplification.

Resonant frequency dip – The degradation of transmission loss of a barrier when it is excited at its natural frequency. The exact frequency at which this phenomenon occurs is a function of the mass and stiffness of the barrier.

Reverberation – The repeated reflection of noise in a closed space as sound waves bounce off the reflective surfaces.

Reverberation Room – A test chamber so designed that the reverberant sound field within the room has an intensity that is approximately the same in all directions and at every point. It is commonly used to measure sound absorption, ASTM C-423 and transmission loss, ASTM E-90.

Reverberation time – The time, in seconds, required for sound pressure at a specific frequency to decay 60 dB after the source is stopped. 60 dB of decay is equal to one millionth of their original level. The reverberation time of a room varies with frequency and is a function of the room volume as well as the total number of absorption units in the room. It can be determined by the Sabine equation:

Note: If the dimensions are in meters, change the constant from 0.049 to 0.161.
Other computations are available using the Eyring or Fitzroy equations.

Reverberant field – The area in a room in which the multitude of decaying reflections has created a reverberant and diffuse condition.

RFZ – Reflection-free zone.

RT60 – See Reverberation Time and Decay Time.

Rumble – Low-frequency noise.


Sabin – A measure of sound absorption of a surface. One Sabin is equal to 1 square foot of open window. Sabins are calculated by multiplying the absorption coefficient of a material by its area.

Scrim – A sheer, loosely woven fabric used as “backing” for acoustical panels.

Septum – A thin layer of acoustic barrier layer between two layers of absorptive material, such as foil, vinyl, lead, gypsum, steel, etc., that prevents sound waves from passing through absorptive material.

Signal-to-noise ratio – The difference between nominal or maximum operating level and the noise floor expressed in dB.

Shifting center – An apparent shift of the position of an instrument or voice in the stereo image due to a discrepancy in the phase relationships of the signals from either side. See Image Shift.

Slap back – A discrete reflection from a nearby surface.

Smoke Developed (Rating or Index, SDI)  The ratio of smoke emitted by a burning material to the smoke emitted by the red oak standard (ASTM E 84).

Sound – Energy that is transmitted by pressure waves in air, liquids or solids and is the objective cause of the sensation of hearing. The phenomenon caused by the vibration of the eardrum. The drum itself is set into motion by pressure waves traveling through the air, originating at the sound source.

Sound Board – Generic term for composition material available at building supply stores to dampen impact noise in floors and provide de-coupling in walls. Installing it with nails or screws reduces its effectiveness.

Sound isolation – The degree of acoustical separation between two locations, especially adjacent rooms, often measured in STC or Rw.

Sound level – The intensity of sound measured with a sound level meter and one of its weighting networks. Sound level is most often measured in decibels using the A scale dB(A).

Sound level meter – A pressure-sensitive device which measures loudness.

Sound power – The total sound energy radiated by a source per unit of time.

Sound pressure – A dynamic variation in atmospheric pressure. The pressure at a point in space minus the static pressure at that point.

Sound Pressure Level (SPL) – The fundamental measure of sound pressure. The measurement of what sound we hear expressed in decibels in comparison to a reference level.

Sound Stage – A room or studio that is usually soundproof, used for the production of movies. Or: The psycho-acoustic phenomena where a two-dimensional image (left-to-right and front-to-back) is created in the mind suggesting the physical relationship of the listener to the individual performers. A well designed listening space will create the impression of a much larger sound stage than the physical placement of the speakers, or the size of the room would otherwise allow.

Sound transmission (airborne) – The conduction of a sound wave through air. The speed of airborne sound transmission varies with temperature and humidity, and is 1,130 feet/second in air at 70°F.

Sound transmission (structureborne) – The conducting of a sound wave through a physical structure (such as a wall, floor, ceiling or door). Because of the increased speeds of sound through common building materials (wood @ 11,700 feet/second, steel @ 18,000 feet/second) as well as the physical connection of such materials in the structural framework of a building, structure borne sound transmission is much more difficult to stop than airborne sound transmission, and thus requires special measures to be dealt with effectively.

Sound Transmission Class (STC) – A single number rating for describing the sound transmission loss of a wall or partition. A rating system designed to facilitate comparison of the sound transmission characteristics of various architectural materials and constructions.

Specular – A mirror-like reflection. This is another instance where sound reflection properties are simplified by attributing to them the properties of light rays. A direct reflection from any surface incurring little or no attenuation. See Direct Sound.

Speech intelligibility – A measure of sound clarity that indicates the ease of understanding speech. It is a complex function of psycho-acoustics, signal-to-noise ratio of the sound source, and direct-to-reverberant energy within the listening environment. See Articulation.

Speech Privacy – See Privacy Index (PI). The degree to which speech is unintelligible between offices. Three ratings are used: Confidential, Normal (Non Obtrusive) and Minimal.

Splaying – Walls are splayed when they are constructed at angles of varying degrees from normal rectangular form.

Spline – An attachment method and related hardware for acoustical wall panels that works in conjunction with kerfed edges. Similar to a tongue and groove application. See Kerf.

Standing Wave – A sound wave continuously reinforced by its own reflections, influencing the character of all sound within a room. Since the standing waves are a direct result of the size and geometry of the space itself, each room has a unique set of standing waves. The presence of these waves can easily be determined by a combination of mathematical calculation and audio analysis.

Stuctureborne noise – Noise that is transmitted through structure and radiates into a space. Example: Noise from a train that is heard in a building some way away is result of vibration caused by the train running over the track. This energy moves through the ground and excites surfaces in the building and is experienced as sound.

Sub-harmonic – An integral sub-multiple of the fundamental frequency.

Substrate – The underlying material to which a covering is applied, or by which it is supported. A substrate (sometimes referred to as “core”) can also have important functional characteristics such as acoustical performance, impact resistance, and tackability.

Symmetrical room design – A basic acoustical design to create a desirable balanced listening environment.


Threshold of hearing – The minimum sound pressure level of a pure tone that can be perceived by a person with good hearing. A sound pressure of 20×10-6 Pascal (0.0002 mBar) is defined as 0dB SPL.

Threshold of pain – The minimum sound pressure level of a pure tone which causes a sensation of pain in the ear. (At approximately 140 dB SPL).

Tight – A descriptive rather than technical term usually applied to a well defined sound notable for its clarity and distinction. “Tight” usually refers to the absence of excessive reverberation and out of phase reflections.

Timbre – The subjective tonal quality of a sound. The timbre of any musical or non-musical sound is determined largely by the harmonic structure of the sound wave. Rich sounding musical tones tend to have a great number of inner harmonics which contribute to their lush timbre, while thin sounding musical tones tend to be lacking in the presence of harmonics.

Time Weighted Average (TWA) – The yardstick (standard of measurement) used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to measure noise levels in the workplace. It is equal to a constant sound level lasting eight hours that would cause the same hearing damage as the variable noises that a worker is actually exposed to. (This hearing loss, of course, occurs over long-term exposures.) Same as LOSHA.

Transmission – The propagation of sound from once space to another via various paths.

Transmission loss – The measure of sound that is blocked by a surface such as a dividing wall, enclosure, or bulkhead. Increased transmission loss is how much more noise is blocked by the addition of acoustic barrier.

Transmission co-efficient – The portion of sound energy transmitted through a material.

Transmission loss (TL) – The number of dB by which a barrier reduces the transmission of sound. Transmission loss varies significantly with frequency. For an accurate representation of soundproofing ability, Transmission Loss should be indicated at several frequencies for any given barrier.



Vibration – A force which oscillates about some specified reference point. Vibration is commonly expressed in terms of frequency such as cycles per second (cps), Hertz (Hz), cycles per minute (cpm) or revolutions per minute (rpm) and strokes per minute (spm). This is the number of oscillations which occurs in that time period. The amplitude is the magnitude or distance of travel of the force.

Vibration Isolator – A device or material that breaks the vibration transmission path between source and receiver. Examples include engine or machinery mounts, springs, elastomeric bearings etc…

Volume – The cubic space capacity of a room bounded by walls, floors, and ceilings determined by the formula:

Volume = Length x Width x Height.

Volume influences reverberation time. Also: Colloquial for loudness.


Warmth – A listening term. In frequency, it is generally considered to be the range from approximately 150Hz – 400Hz. A system with the “proper” warmth will sound natural within this range.

Watt – The unit of acoustical (or electrical) power.

Wavelength – The distance measured perpendicular to the wave front in the direction of propagation between two successive points in the wave, which are separated by one period. The distance between the beginning and end of a wave or cycle.

Since wavelength and frequency are inversely proportional, low frequencies have much longer wavelengths than high frequencies. For example, a 1000 Hz signal would have a wavelength of approximately 13.5 inches, whereas a 40 Hz tone has a wavelength over 28 feet in length.

Weighting network – An electronic filter in a sound level meter, which approximates, under defined conditions, the frequency response of the human ear. The A-weighting network is most commonly used.

White noise – Broadband noise having a constant energy per unit of frequency. Random noise having uniform distribution of energy with frequency.




Z-Clip – A two-piece metal clip, one sliding over the other, used to attach panels to a wall (removable).