Beginners Acoustic Sound Glossary

  • Absorption coefficient - The absorption coefficient is how effective a material is at absorbing sounds of a certain frequency. An absorption coefficient of 1.0 is total absorption, whereas a coefficient of 0.0 is total reflection.
  • Acoustics - A branch of physics that is concerned with sound.
  • Ambient sound - Ambient sound is background noise.
  • Anechoic - Anechoic means without echoes.
  • Attenuate - To attenuate is to reduce the level (energy or volume) of an acoustic or electrical signal.
  • Damping - Damping is the loss of energy in a sound vibration, usually through friction.
  • Echo - An echo happens when sound waves are reflected back. Just like a rubber ball bounces off the ground, sound waves bounce off hard, flat surfaces.
  • Flutter - A flutter is a repetitive echo that occurs due to parallel reflecting surfaces.
  • Impact noise - An impact noise is the result of vibrations that travel through the room. For example, footsteps are impact noises.
  • Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) - The NRC is the arithmetic average of the absorption coefficients of a room at 250, 500, 1,000, and 2,000 Hz rounded to the nearest multiple of 0.05.
  • Pitch - Pitch is the degree of highness or lowness of the tone of a sound wave.
  • Reflected sound - Reflected sound occurs when a sound wave bounces off a surface.
  • Reverberation - A reverberation happens when sounds are continuously reflected off flat, hard surfaces until they dissipate over time.
  • Sound - Sound is energy that is transmitted via vibrations.

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