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The Physics of Concert Acoustics

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by

Caroline Shepherd

on 12 May 2015

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Transcript of The Physics of Concert Acoustics


Intro to Sound Waves
Sound is a mechanical wave that results from the back and forth vibration of the particles of air, water, etc that the wave moves through
Sounds and Concerts
Outdoor Concerts
Outdoor concerts are extremely popular during the summer, but many complain about the lack of acoustics at venues
Without the architectural acoustics of indoor concerts (rock hard walls and ceilings), the sound waves are not reflected and drift away
Indoor Concerts
Indoor concert halls are designed to let waves travel around the inside of the building
They are often circular (ex. The Quicken Loans Arena) and this shape directs the sound around the the theater to allow the sound waves to travel without sounding like an echo bouncing back and forth.
Concert Fun Facts
Sound intensity is measured in decibels (dB)
Rock and pop concerts have an average decibel level of 115
The loudest crowd at a concert was measured at 140 dB (Hanson)
The loudest performance record is held by KISS (136 dB)
The Physics of Concert Acoustics
We don't "hear waves" once they reach our ear
The vibrating wave travels through our ear, until it changes into an electrical signal and sent to the brain via the auditory nerve
Indoor and outdoor concerts both utilize sound systems in order to amplify sound waves for the audience
How a Sound System Works
Microphone turns sound wave into an electrical signal
The mixing desk sends this signal to the amplifier, which boosts the signal
The signal is then amplified through the speakers to reach the audience
The largest recorded audience at a concert is 3,500,000 people (Rod Stewart)
Largest indoor concert in the United States held 104,793 people (George Strait)
In 2013, roughly $4.8 billion was spent on concert tickets worldwide
Concert Fun Facts
Outdoor Concerts
In order to combat little natural reverberance, sound engineers arrange directional speakers to direct sound waves to a certain area
Acoustic engineers typically design amphitheater style sitting for these venues as the stage adds reflections off of the floor and the raised seats prevents sound waves from having to travel through people
By Caroline Shepherd and Alexandria Chimera
In a Theatre
Walls and ceilings reflect sound while cushioned seats and carpet absorb the sound
The sounds that are not absorbed are bounced around the room in a way that makes the audience feel surrounded by sound
Real Life Examples!
ft. Taylor Swift
Indoor
Outdoor
Sources
http://www.noiseaddicts.com/2009/08/concerts-with-record-attendance/
http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/acoustics_info/concert_hall_acoustics/?content=unwanted_sound
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/want-to-actually-hear-the-music-at-an-outdoor-concert-how-to-find-the-best-seat/2014/05/12/bf271196-d45d-11e3-8a78-8fe50322a72c_story.html
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/sound
http://www.dangerousdecibels.org/virtualexhibit/2howdowehear.html
http://popcultureblog.dallasnews.com/2014/06/george-strait-sets-a-u-s-concert-attendance-record-in-a-musically-superb-star-laden-show.html/
http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/5827394/the-year-in-touring-2013-beyond-the-numbers
notes from class were used also
Full transcript