Meeting Review, April 26, 2007
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.