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Sound Masking System - White noise
Sound Masking System - White noise
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Old 2nd April 2007, 07:12 PM   #1
-_nando-_ is offline -_nando-_  Brazil
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Default Sound Masking System - White noise


Sometimes I REALLY need some silence in my office, I work in a house with many other people working together. I have my own booth, but I really need silence. I think that I'm not the only one, lot of more people also need silence

I'm wondering, this thing should be easy to build ! Is it just an amp, with speaker and a white noise generator?

Best Regards !
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Old 3rd April 2007, 04:05 AM   #2
Ron E is offline Ron E  United States
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I would suggest some sort of noise cancelling set or just some circumaural headphones with good isolation. I have a set of headphones I wear at work - often with no music playing. For this use, comfort is more important than sound quality.

Sound masking is useful if your office is unnaturally quiet and you hear every little noise. Most HVAC systems are designed to provide some white noise. Some, however, make too much noise and you need to block it out....
Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works. --Carl Sagan
Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence--those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. —Aldous Huxley
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Old 3rd April 2007, 04:15 AM   #3
warren o is offline warren o  United States
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This is usually done with two noise generators (for absolute random generation) and these days an audio DSP for setting the curve. And amps & speakers. If you take a look @ the curve, you need LF drivers/subs, too.

I do this commercially, it is not that hard & is effective for privacy. That is the main purpose. Call centers, executive areas where sensitive subjects are discussed, etc. Also for masking HVAC & machine noise.
Too much ambient noise becomes stressful, so there is a balance.

Take a peak:
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Old 3rd April 2007, 12:57 PM   #4
Zero Cool is offline Zero Cool  United States
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I design and install sound masking systems for my day job. we never use subs. dont know anyone that does. everything below 125hz we just let the speakers do what they can and we apply a rolloff above 2K. the most important thing is smooth coverage across the floor. lights, vents, etc can cause hotspots. we spend a great deal of time moving speakers and aiming cans to have less then 2-3db of variation across the room.

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Old 4th April 2007, 04:10 AM   #5
warren o is offline warren o  United States
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Interesting. I have installed many systems without LF/subs, but the better designed systems almost always have them. A company out of NYC, I will have to look them up, does the system design with these. I work for an integration company; we put them in & set them up. Final tweaks by the consulting firm that designs the system. More a blessing than a tweak, usually. We design/build, too.

Yes, hotspots are tricky. 2-3db is very tricky, you are getting into some modes there. Do you use RTAs or SPL meters? And what curve do you use normally? And have you used the Armstrong tiles yet? Have had some fun with them, too.
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Old 6th April 2007, 10:07 PM   #6
Burnedfingers is offline Burnedfingers  United States
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I also do some sound masking systems. I have never used subs but have added some to the low end before with good results.
I use a RTA and sound level meter to arrive at the proper level and curve. When it correct its like flipping a switch. I usually use a White brand pink noise generator or something along those lines.

To answer the original question... To be effective the area you are in needs to be treated not just your cube. The equipment needed would be speakers, pink noise generator, EQ, mixer, and amplifier. I normally use a mixer regardless of one input (noise) or masking plus music and page. There are some self contained amplified speakers that produce a sound masking source but these are rarely any help.
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Old 31st March 2010, 09:54 AM   #7
sunnymoon is offline sunnymoon
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To human ears, white noise sounds like a hiss—sounds such as a waterfall, an aerosol can, and static are all very similar to white noise.
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Old 31st March 2010, 11:46 AM   #8
bobodioulasso is offline bobodioulasso  Europe
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Sound masking is certaily good for privacy reasons.
For silence needs, i would rather experiment "sound cancellation"
Active Noise Cancellation - Succeed in Understanding Physics: School for Champions
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Old 7th April 2016, 12:37 AM   #9
rcavictim is offline rcavictim  Canada
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Default phase cancellation

Originally Posted by bobodioulasso View Post
Sound masking is certaily good for privacy reasons.
For silence needs, i would rather experiment "sound cancellation"
Active Noise Cancellation - Succeed in Understanding Physics: School for Champions
One of my service providers has a storefront office in the middle of a T intersection with traffic lights in a small town where one highway tee's into another. Much heavy truck traffic goes by, or sits with diesels idling and there is a lot of low frequency rumble in the office being telegraphed through the large vibrating surface of the glazed windows, just like a very large, low excursion subwoofer really. I suspect the reflections off the brick buildings on each side of the street in that area also act as a low-Q resonator tuned to low frequencies, amplifying the problem. In a situation like this I think active phase cancellation would potentially offer tremendous benefits.
"There are more worlds than the one you can hold in your hand." Albert Hosteen, Navajo spiritual elder and code-breaker, X-Files TV Series.
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