Leo L. Beranek
975 Memorial Dr., Ste. 804, Cambridge, MA 02138-5755
There are three common alternative techniques for judging subjective acoustical quality in concert halls and opera houses: (1) the binaural comparison method; (2) the expert-group round-robin listening method; and (3) the questionnaire and interview method. The questionnaire and interview method was utilized by me in rank-ordering 55 concert halls in 22 countries. Conductors, musicians, and music critics were interviewed and each was asked to rank-order the halls he/she knew well. In addition, to cover all halls, opinions were solicited from those who listen often to symphonic music in many halls, which included acoustical consultants and selected listeners who travel extensively and attend symphonic concerts. I have attended symphonic concerts in all but six. The halls were then separated into six categories from A+(super), A(excellent), B+(good to excellent), B(good), C+(fair to good), and C(fair). No rank-orderings were attempted within each category. It is probable that some halls might be ranked one category higher or one category lower than its present assignment if a different group if interviewees were selected. A shift of two categories is highly unlikely. The results for the 55 concert halls are presented and discussed.