Audio-Visual Rental Equipment FAQs

Sound Masking FAQs

American Sound & Electronics serves many industries, including offices that face privacy concerns for clients, such as law offices, medical offices, and financial institutions. 

Today, our team answers several FAQs about sound masking.

What is sound masking?

Sound masking represents a technology that produces ambient background noise that precisely matches the frequency of human speech. The idea is to cancel out normal human speech for better speech privacy when individuals have confidential conversations.

What does sound masking accomplish?

Sound masking reduces how far away conversations can be heard and understood by others. It does NOT cancel sound or eliminate all speech noise.

What types of companies need sound masking?

Companies that need sound masking often have privacy concerns or must follow regulations to ensure privacy for clients, customers or patients.

You might find sound masking in:

  • Public spaces
  • Reception areas
  • Pharmacies
  • Waiting rooms
  • Medical offices
  • Dentist’s offices
  • Hospitals
  • Banks
  • Insurance offices
  • Government offices
  • Attorney’s offices
  • Hallways adjacent to private offices
  • Open office plans
  • Private offices
  • Counseling offices

In what rooms do companies install sound masking speakers?

Speakers that emit sound masking frequencies are installed in rooms or areas where conversations should not be heard, not necessarily in rooms or areas where conversations take place.

Why do offices use sound masking?

Sound masking disrupts voices in a room, so they do not travel farther than the space of an ordinary conversation. This ensures no one outside of a room can’t overhear the conversation using normal means.

How does a professional sound company install sound masking technology?

  1. Professional installation companies assess the space that needs this technology by taking measurements and looking at the structure of the space, including the thickness of walls, floors, and ceilings. This is called a site survey.
  2. Then a technician plugs in the measurements to their software to determine how many speakers, their sizes, and distribution throughout the room.
  3. The professional sound installation company installs the speakers, typically in the ceiling.
  4. After the installation of speakers, technicians calibrate the speakers and take measurements of the sound they produce. At this stage, technicians will tweak the ambient sounds for optimal results. 
  5. Following calibration, sound masking technicians will install software on an office computer that allows the company to control the system. All of the speakers in a system are controlled from a centralized location, typically a hub, where all speakers connect to (either hardwired or wirelessly).

How does sound masking work?

This technology uses quiet sounds, similar to that of gentle air-conditioned air filtering into a room, to actually make rooms quieter.

Sound masking technology works through speakers emitting a specific frequency of sound over various channels. The frequency is near the same frequency as human speech, which disrupts speech coming from other parts of the room.

What does sound masking noise sound like?

The noise from the speakers sounds just like airflow from a central air conditioning unit as it pipes air into a room.

How much does sound masking cost?

Average systems cost from $1.50 to $2 per square foot, but your actual costs vary depending on how many speakers you need and the size of the space that needs sound masking

For example, your building is 10,000 square feet. However, techs determine that only 4,500 square feet need sound masking speakers installed. This gives you an average range of $6,750 to $9,000 for installing this technology. Again, your actual results will vary.

What are the benefits of a sound masking system?

In addition to maintaining speech privacy, companies may see the following benefits:

Less distractions. People are less likely to be distracted because they can’t hear conversations in other rooms.

Higher productivity. Because sound masking cuts down on distracting conversations, your workers may actually be more productive at the office.

Protect your customers. Think of what happens when a customer places an order over the phone. Do you read back the customers’ credit or debit card number to make sure you heard it properly? What if another customer overheard that number? Is the customer’s card information safe?

Remove awkward silences. Oddly enough, completely silent rooms can be distracting when a sudden noise penetrates the silence. Reduce this distracting effect with sound masking technology.

How long does installing a sound masking system take?

Installers may take a day or two to install a system. The company will make an appointment with you to be at your office or facility after the equipment comes in.

What are the best sound masking systems?

The best ones adapt to changing conditions in the room, such as when sound levels are low or high, through the system’s equalizer equipment. 

Why is calibrating the sound masking system important to its functionality?

Calibrating the system is vitally important because there may be multiple channels through which the sounds flow. 

Think of calibrating the system like your television or radio. Your television uses three main colors, red, green, and blue, to generate all of the images on a screen. If even one of these colors is off, it will make images that you can tell are weird. On a radio, think of the bass and treble channels from the music. Increasing the bass means more “thump-thump-thump” sounds, while the treble produces lighter sounds. You can alter the music you listen to by changing different channels like the treble or bass.

Similarly, technicians must equalize and balance all of the channels in the sound masking speakers to make sure they work together properly to produce the right sounds. Otherwise, the ambient noise doesn’t sound right, and people in the room will notice.

Is sound masking safe?

Yes, these systems are perfectly safe for human hearing. It operates at a level of 48 decibels or lower. For comparison, 48 decibels sounds like a home’s automatic dishwasher. OSHA regulates the sound levels that employees can be subjected to over an eight-hour period, and the maximum amount is 90 decibels for every eight hours. 90 decibels is equivalent to heavy traffic, a window air conditioner, a subway, or a shouted conversation.

Do companies offer free quotes for sound masking systems?

Yes, if your company is serious about installing this kind of system then professional installers may offer a free quote. They will need to see the facility first.

Who should install my sound masking system?

Professional installation is the best way to go. Professionals will make sure the system looks cohesive, works properly, and trains the necessary staff on its operation. American Sound & Electronics can help! Contact us for more information or call (859) 261-9024.

Advice for Using Microphones for Hybrid Teaching as Part of Classroom Technology

There’s no doubt that teaching in hybrid classrooms is a challenge. Students and teachers must work together to overcome challenges like sound issues, confusion during discussions, and navigating technological difficulties with video, among many other things.

Although there’s no single solution for all of these challenges, having the right classroom technology can make a huge difference in the efficiency of hybrid teaching as well as the students’ success. If you’re searching for advice on using microphones for hybrid teaching, here are three helpful tips from our classroom technology experts to boost the efficacy of your microphones.

Related Post: Tips and Tricks for Optimizing Your Classroom Sound Reinforcement System

1. Have remote participants mute their microphones.

Just like noises in the classroom can be distracting, sounds from remote locations can also be very disruptive. To minimize distractions and keep the in-person classroom and remote classroom as quiet as possible, make sure remote participants all have their mics muted. Of course, students should un-mute themselves if they have a comment or question, but otherwise, muting everyone (except the instructor) for most of the session works best. This will help prevent unnecessary interruptions and ensure that all students can easily hear and communicate.

2. Speak closely to the room microphone.

While still maintaining proper social distancing, it’s best to speak as close to the room mic as possible. This is especially true if you’re wearing a mask. Students may struggle to hear the instructor through a mask or if they speak quietly. Although a microphone’s sound is never perfect, speaking very slowly and clearly while standing a short distance from the mic will help to minimize any issues students have hearing the instructor.

3. Consider using an external microphone that can be passed around the room.

Back-and-forth discussion can be hindered by the logistics of muting and unmuting select speakers to ensure sound quality. However, if you have the funds available, you can always purchase an external microphone. These can connect with a webinar and may be passed around the classroom for easier hybrid classroom discussion.

Related Post: Choosing the Right Classroom Sound Reinforcement System

Need Help With Your Hybrid Classroom Technology?

At American Sound & Electronics, we can install a variety of classroom technologies such as sound systems to help you improve your current setup and maximize the efficacy of classroom microphones. Contact us today for more details about our classroom technology installation services.

3 Advantages of a Service Contract Through American Sound & Electronics

American Sound & Electronics does more than just install world-class professional audio-visual equipment. We offer service contracts for everything we install. Today’s blog showcases three advantages of service contracts from our company.

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We Bring All of the Equipment

Service contracts from American Sound & Electronics mean we bring all of the equipment for your installation, including video monitors, wiring, electrical cords, Ethernet cables, coaxial cables, and everything else the audio-visual equipment requires to operate properly. Our installers make sure the new equipment works with your existing infrastructure.

What about future upgrades? Our staff brings all the equipment for that install, too. We test, re-test, and test again to make sure everything works properly.

Handle Training

American Sound & Electronics trains your staff on how to use video walls, conference room equipment, and classroom technology at the time of installation. But what about new employees? A service contract means we’ll come out and train any new employees on how to use the equipment. 

What happens when there are software upgrades? When your equipment has new software to install, our teams train your employees on how to use new features that open up due to the upgrades in the operation of your A/V equipment.

Replace or Repair Systems

We deal in professional-grade Samsung equipment. Samsung offers warranties from one to three years. Our service contract makes sure your audio-visual equipment stays within the warranty specifications. Warranties can save you money on future repairs or replacements.

In five years, your equipment may be outdated. What if you want to upgrade? Our service contract makes upgrades easier on your budget.

Related Post: How an Investment in Classroom Sound Reinforcement Pays Off in the Long Run

Service Contracts by American Sound & Electronics

Installing professional video and sound equipment is part of what we do at American Sound & Electronics. We offer service after the sale that saves you money in the long-term with our service contracts. Contact American Sound online or call (859) 261-9024 to learn more about our service contracts and how they help your company or organization.

Choosing the Right Classroom Sound Reinforcement System

Your school system may benefit from classroom sound reinforcement, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools must adapt to new learning environments brought about by the spread of this infectious disease. Today’s blog from American Sound & Electronics talks about choosing the right classroom sound reinforcement technology for your building or system.

Related Post: 5 Reasons Your Teachers Need Classroom Sound Reinforcement

Classroom Size

The classroom’s size is probably the most important factor in selecting the right classroom sound reinforcement system. There’s the physical classroom size: Is it a small room? Is it half of a gymnasium? Then there’s how many children are in the room. A small room with 30 children may need the same type of system as a larger room with 10 students. American Sound & Electronics can determine the right type of classroom sound reinforcement for each individual room in your building.

Portability

Can the elements of your classroom sound reinforcement be moved around the room easily? For example, a wireless microphone is a must. Do you prefer a ceiling-mounted speaker or one with a portable speaker the teacher can carry? Ceiling-mounted speakers pack a greater sound punch compared to portable models, but those won’t work if the teacher needs to head outside for recess.

Range

What’s the range of the system? Range includes the sensitivity of the microphone, such as how close or far away the microphone is from the teacher’s mouth. The range for classroom sound reinforcement technology also includes how far away someone can hear noises coming from the speaker. You want everyone in the room to hear what’s coming from the system, but not necessarily those in the hallway walking past the room.

Type of Instruction

A teacher lecturing on ordinary topics, such as math, science, or writing, needs a different classroom sound reinforcement system compared to a teacher working with musical instruments or singing. Those types of classrooms have different configurations and acoustics requirements, so you’ll need slightly different configurations for your sound systems.

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Classroom Technology by American Sound & Electronics

The pros at American Sound & Electronics are experts in classroom sound reinforcement. We’d be happy to demonstrate how these systems work, and then we’ll discuss your options. Get in touch with American Sound online or call (859) 261-9024 for more information on how we can help your school system, teachers, and students.

How an Investment in Classroom Sound Reinforcement Pays Off in the Long Run

Classroom sound reinforcement is more vital than ever to school districts across the United States. That’s because the COVID-19 hasn’t abated. Even when it does, then there’s cold and flu season to consider. In today’s blog from American Sound & Electronics, we take a look at how an investment in classroom sound reinforcement pays off in the long run. 

Related Post: How to Combine Hybrid Learning and Classroom Sound Reinforcement Technology

Fewer Sick Days

Fewer sick days for teachers lowers your health insurance costs for group health insurance year over year. And you don’t have to pay substitute teachers AND the sick day for the teacher who is out due to illness, laryngitis, or COVID-related symptoms. Classroom sound reinforcement allows teachers to maintain social distancing so they can reduce or prevent the spread of germs.

Warranties on New Equipment

New classroom sound reinforcement equipment comes with manufacturer’s warranties. If one of the systems breaks down, you have the potential to save money on replacement costs.

Lasts for Years

Audio-visual manufacturers design their equipment to last for years under ordinary use. Classroom sound reinforcement technology is no different. Your brand-new system can last for many years, even a decade or more, when your teachers utilize the technology properly and maintain it within normal operating conditions.

Customer Service

American Sound & Electronics services what we install. If you have any issues or concerns with your classroom sound reinforcement system, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’ll send someone out to perform an assessment, or we can try to solve the issue over the phone.

Repurpose for Other Uses

Even after the coronavirus pandemic abates, you can still use your classroom sound reinforcement systems. Class sizes may increase, meaning teachers may strain to be heard over the din of more youngsters milling about the room. Students can hear in-class announcements more readily during lab work or group activities. You could even find a way to connect the system to your school-wide announcement system for more effective mass communication throughout the building. 

Related Post: 3 Main Elements of a Classroom Sound Reinforcement System

Classroom Technology by American Sound & Electronics

Don’t think of classroom sound reinforcement as a short-term investment. You can combine this system with hybrid learning models when students feel more comfortable learning from home. 
Contact us about scheduling a consultation or demonstration of how classroom sound reinforcement works. We’d be happy to meet with you. Contact American Sound online or call (859) 261-9024 to learn more about what we can do for your school system, teachers, and students.

How to Make Classroom Sound Reinforcement Cool for Elementary Kids

Teachers need all the help they can get as they adapt to new learning models in the classroom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While masks and social distancing make it harder to deliver lessons, there are ways around these barriers to education.

Enter classroom sound reinforcement systems. They pipe sound through a microphone into an overhead speaker so everyone can hear. These systems save your teachers’ voices and allow them to be heard in all corners of the classroom. Today’s blog from American Sound & Electronics discusses how to make classroom sound reinforcement cool for elementary school kids.

Related Post: 5 Ways Classroom Technology Enhances Your Students’ Learning

Remember That Kids Love Technology

One thing to remember is that kids love technology. The sooner young children learn how to use computers and smartphones, the more adept they’ll be at using new technology when they’re older. Kindergarteners will undoubtedly ask repeated questions about the microphone and where the teacher’s voice is coming from with regards to the classroom sound reinforcement technology. Kids are understandably curious, and they want to know about the cool gadget their teacher is using.

Talk About the System

Rather than wait and talk about the classroom sound reinforcement when you have a formal lesson, talk about the system when kids ask about it. Say how this helps everyone, and that kids should pay attention to whoever speaks through the microphone. Consider letting some pupils speak through the mic so they can hear their own voices. Children learn the best when they can relate to the lesson, so making it about them is a great way to help them feel at ease with the classroom reinforcement technology. 

Make It a Teachable Item

Turn the classroom sound reinforcement technology into a formal lesson. Discuss how sound travels, the technology behind microphones and speakers, turning sound into electrical signals, and how radio waves connect the microphone to the speakers. Of course, each lesson should be age-appropriate. 

Discuss the Importance of Technology

Discuss how important technology is in the lives of everyone. Surely, your students can relate to talking to their parents through a smartphone. Talk about how the same type of technology applies to your classroom sound reinforcement system. Expand the teachable moment to talk about how communication, such as talking and listening, is important for everyone.

Experiment With It

Experiment with classroom sound reinforcement. Have your students talk into the microphone. Does the sound coming out of the speaker get louder as you get closer to it and then softer as you move away from it? What happens when someone whispers into the microphone? What happens if someone shouts?

Related Post: 5 Reasons Your Teachers Need Classroom Sound Reinforcement

Classroom Technology & American Sound & Electronics

Classroom sound reinforcement is an essential part of an overall classroom technology platform, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These types of systems can help your students and teachers stay healthier while achieving effective outcomes.  Contact American Sound or call (859) 261-9024 for more information on what we can do for your school.

How to Combine Hybrid Learning and Classroom Sound Reinforcement Technology

Many school districts across the country are turning to a hybrid learning model. Teachers combine in-class learning with remote learning as students connect from home using laptops or mobile devices. 

When combined with internet connectivity, classroom sound reinforcement can help teachers reach the most students in the most effective ways. Today’s blog from American Sound & Electronics explains how to combine hybrid learning and classroom sound reinforcement.

Related Post: 5 Reasons Your Teachers Need Classroom Sound Reinforcement

Hearing the Teacher’s Voice

One key to learning, both in class and at home, is hearing the teacher’s voice. A teacher needs to make sure every student can hear his or her lessons, whether 30 kids are in the room or just five. 

Classroom sound reinforcement alleviates the strain on the teacher’s voice through the mask while making sure their voice comes through loud and clear in the speaker system. But how do you set up the system to make sure students at home can hear, too?

Setting Up Microphones

Wireless microphones represent the best setup for hybrid learning and classroom sound reinforcement. Make sure your wireless microphone technology connects to the room’s speakers and the computer that transmits the lessons to your students. 

State-of-the-art wireless microphones use a USB drive that plugs into the laptop to serve as a direct audio connection. That prevents feedback from the overhead speaker from creating a loop of squeals and static. Plus, that direct audio link makes it easier for students to hear a teacher’s unfiltered voice compared to one that goes through the teacher’s microphone, a speaker, the computer’s microphone, and then the student’s speakers. 

Dual Receivers

To accomplish effective hybrid and in-room learning with classroom sound reinforcement, you’ll need a wireless microphone system with dual receivers that connect directly to computers and speakers at the same time. 

Other considerations include:

  • Does the classroom sound reinforcement reach the entire room?
  • Is the system user-friendly?
  • Can it reproduce sound so everyone can understand the teacher clearly?

Related Post: Why Classroom Technology in Cincinnati OH Is More Important Than Ever

Classroom Technology by American Sound & Electronics

The pros at American Sound & Electronics are experts in classroom sound reinforcement. Talk to us about scheduling a consultation or demonstration of how these systems work. We’d be happy to meet with you to discuss options. Contact American Sound or call (859) 261-9024 for more information on what we can do for your school system, teachers, and students.

3 Main Elements of a Classroom Sound Reinforcement System

Classroom sound reinforcement amplifies a teacher’s voice into a noisy classroom filled with kids. The overall goal is for the teacher to be heard more clearly, especially if the teacher has to wear a mask as mandated by health officials. In today’s blog from American Sound & Electronics, we describe the three main components of a classroom sound reinforcement system.

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1. Microphone

The teacher wears a microphone, usually as a lightweight appliance around the neck. Even though they are lightweight, these microphones are heavy-duty, withstanding hours of continuous use. Inside the microphone is a lithium-ion battery that recharges after a day of teaching. Handy controls allow the teacher to increase or decrease the volume and turn the unit on or off.

The idea here is to have a hands-free model that doesn’t interfere with the teacher’s normal movements. Lapel microphones with wires may get caught on clothing or on students. Headset microphones may not work well because it could interfere with a teacher’s mask.

2. Video or Interactive Screen

For larger classrooms, a video screen or interactive screen projects an image of the teacher on a wall or even to tablet computers in the hands of students. The camera is generally mounted high on a wall or the ceiling so it stays out of reach of curious students.

3. Ceiling-Mounted Speakers

The beauty of classroom sound reinforcement comes from the state-of-the-art speaker system. Ceiling-mounted speakers allow sound to travel in all directions to all corners of the room, which is much more effective than speakers at the front of the room projecting outward. Even better, ceiling mounts keep the speakers away from curious students. 

We might install one overhead speaker for smaller rooms or multiple speakers in larger classrooms for optimal performance. The staff at American Sound & Electronics will come to your school, assess the needs of each individual room, and test the classroom sound reinforcement technology before the teacher uses it in a learning environment.

Related Post: Why Classroom Technology in Cincinnati OH Is More Important Than Ever

Classroom Sound Reinforcement by American Sound

Classroom sound reinforcement represents an essential part of an overall classroom technology platform, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact American Sound or call (859) 261-9024 for more information on what we can do for your school.

5 Reasons Your Teachers Need Classroom Sound Reinforcement

School districts were forced to adapt to new learning models when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world. Classroom technology suddenly became a huge deal, with students learning remotely and teachers needing to practice social distancing in their classrooms. 

Have you heard of classroom sound reinforcement? It’s where teachers can amplify their voices via overhead speakers so they can be heard, even through a face covering. Today’s blog from American Sound & Electronics outlines five reasons why your teachers need classroom sound reinforcement.

Related Post: Why Classroom Technology in Cincinnati OH Is More Important Than Ever

1. Save Teachers’ Voices

Teachers must wear a mask to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Even in the best classroom conditions, it can be hard to hear a teacher speaking through a mask. Classroom sound reinforcement saves teachers’ voices so they can get through a long day of teaching without straining their vocal cords.

2. Improved Health of Teachers and Students

Social distancing, combined with face coverings, are two of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when you’re in a public setting, as laid out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. A teacher’s amplified voice helps him or her to maintain at least 6 feet of separation from students because the teacher’s voice can be heard from a distance.

3. Every Student Can Hear

Classrooms get noisy. Kids can’t help it. Whether you have a room full of kindergartners or 12th-graders, they’ll get loud. Classroom sound reinforcement allows every student to hear you because the speakers are overhead rather than at the front of the room. The sound travels in all directions so not one single decibel is wasted.

4. Instructions Come Across More Clearly

When students can hear, instructions come across more clearly. It’s already difficult to give individualized attention to dozens of students at once. Rather than getting close to students, a teacher can calmly give instructions through a classroom sound reinforcement system. Even better, integrated classroom technology helps this process along by having touchscreens, laptops, and tablets to enhance learning.

5. Better Classroom Learning Environment

Technology is cool. Kids love it, and they embrace it at an early age. When teachers and students are healthier and understand each other easily, it fosters a better learning environment. Students hear a teacher’s instructions, remember what was said, and complete tasks more effectively using this audio system. Combine classroom sound reinforcement with computer technology for lessons so teachers can help with all facets of their students’ learning abilities. 

Related Post: 5 Ways Classroom Technology Enhances Your Students’ Learning

Classroom Technology by American Sound & Electronics

Classroom sound reinforcement is a vital part of an overall classroom technology platform. Plus it can help your teachers and students stay healthier. Contact American Sound or call (859) 261-9024 for more information on what we can do for your school system.