Audio Engineering Society

Chicago Section

Meeting Review, April 26, 2007


other meeting reports

4/26/07 Meeting Highlights
by Nick Kettman

On April 26, 2007, the Chicago Section convened at Shure Incorporated to hear Russ Berger

discuss the design and construction of the Shure Performance and Listening Center (PLC).

Housed within Shure’s Technology Annex, the PLC features an evaluation studio for live

performance and recording, an evaluation control room, and a critical listening theater for

evaluating recorded material. Mr. Berger touched on two aspects of the PLC design: challenges

involving control of external noise sources, and the design choices affecting the internal

acoustics of a room.

 

Adequate isolation from external noise sources was a high priority for the PLC design. The PLC

is in close proximity not only to the tooling and model shops housed in the same building, but

also to the railroad tracks which run adjacent to the building. To achieve the desired isolation,

the PLC structure was designed as a “room within a room,” with floating walls, ceilings, and

floors which are mechanically isolated from each other and the main building structure.

 

The internal acoustics of the PLC are designed to provide a natural-sounding acoustic

environment while maintaining visual appeal. Mr. Berger stressed the importance of several

design parameters which affect the internal acoustics of a room, including dimensions,

volumetric relations, and surface finishes. Elements of the PLC design such as the bamboo

flooring and glass fiber ceiling panels were chosen for aesthetic as well as acoustic properties.

 

When asked about his use of objective metrics in designing and fine-tuning a room, Mr. Berger

was quick to point out that he approaches architectural acoustics as an “artfully” applied science.

Measurements such as reverberation time don’t always tell the whole story when predicting how

a room will sound. The characteristics of a room may look good on paper, but perceived sound

quality always prevails in the end.