Pope Eng. Co., P. O. Box 236, Newton Centre, MA 02159
While careful attention is given to the visual appearance of most meeting spaces, the aural appearance often is neglected. Meeting rooms serve a multiplicity of functions in a variety of configurations. Typical of rooms at Acoustical Society meetings, for example, is a lecture-style setup with a presenter at the front of the room addressing an audience of 30--300 listeners. A good room will facilitate the communication of the presenter's message. The listener perceives, comfortably, only what the presenter wants heard. In practice, a number of acoustical defects and distractions may exist. Problem areas include air-handling (HVAC) noise, sound transmission from adjacent spaces, inappropriate reverberation, noise from audio-visual presentation equipment, and audience-generated noise. In addition to bad luck, the causes appear to include design, construction, maintenance, meeting planning, and facility staff issues. The use of a sound reinforcement system can mitigate some problems, while introducing new ones. The intent of this paper is to raise questions for discussion, and to provide an introduction to the session.