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Optimum Reverberation Times

The preferred ranges of reverberation time at mid-frequency (average of reverberation at


500 and 1000 Hz) for a variety of activities are given on the bar graph below. The ranges,
based on the experience of normal-hearing listeners in completed spaces. Satisfactory
listening conditions can be achieved in auditoriums which have different reverberation
times within the preferred range, provided other important acoustical needs are fulfilled. In
general, large rooms should be nearer the upper end of the reverberation time ranges than
smaller rooms of the same type.

"Dead" Spaces -------------------------------- "Live" Spaces ---------------------------------------------------------

Orchestra

Symphonic

Secular Choir

Opera

Chamber Music

Classical Music

Rock Bands

Churches

Auditoriums

Small Theaters

Cinemas

Conference Room

Classroom

Studios

0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.2 2.4 2.6

Reverberation Time in seconds


NOTE: Long reverberation times degrade speech perception of hearing-impaired persons
far more than normal-hearing persons. For hearing-impaired and ederly listeners,
reverberation times should be well below most of the values in the graph.

The graph below presents optimum reverberation times at mid-frequencies (average of


reverberation at 500 and 1000 Hz) for auditoriums with volumes of 10,000 to 1,000,000
cubic feet of space. A deviation of as much as 10 percent from optimum reverberation
generally will be satisfactory if other important attributes of room acoustics have been
sucessfully achieved. For music perception, reverberation adds to the fullness of tone,
blended sound, and richness of bass frequencies.

2.4 Organ Music Concert Halls

1.6 MultiPurpose rooms

1.2

Theaters
0.8

Classrooms
0.4
10,000 100,000 1,000,000

Room Volume in Cubic Feet