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The Secret Acoustic Tricks of a Movie Theater

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Posted by Gary Pressley on January 23, 2018

We all go to the movies and enjoy the sights and sounds of Dolby 5-Channel or XD sound and a 4K visual experience. While recently enjoying a movie, it dawned on me that movie theaters apply some unique acoustical solutions to help enhance the viewing experience. You probably do not think much about it when you plop yourself down in those seats and munch away on popcorn. After reading this blog, however, and visiting your local movie theater, you will start to notice these acoustical solutions.

Movie theaters are large open spaces with many types of surfaces. Ever wonder why there is not a high level of echoing in such an open space? That’s because movie theaters use the latest in acoustical products to create an environment that enhances sound and sight.

Look up and what do you see? A dark, jet black ceiling! Those are actually black acoustical tiles in the ceiling. These fiberglass tiles offer excellent sound absorption properties. They also help to reduce reflections and control excessive room reverberations.

Now focus on the walls. What do you see? Bright colors and what looks like art. But, that’s not really art…those are acoustic fiberglass wall panels. Acoustic wall panels that are designed to help control echo and sound bounce within a room. The panels also provide further assistance in reducing noise transmissions between adjoining theaters.

Now look down. Yes, that’s carpet you’re walking on but not just any carpet. The first thing you will notice is that it is dark and that is on purpose as it allows the eyes to stay focused on the screen. But, that carpet is also effective at absorbing sound as there is a padded acoustical underlayment.

What you do not hear is the HVAC system kicking. Or, maybe you do, but it is low and not distracting. That’s because the metal duct system is covered with an acoustical duct liner.

The combination of all of these acoustical solutions mentioned above is what makes going to the movies such a great and enjoyable experience. Now you know a little bit about the tricks that movie theaters employ to help enhance your experience.

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