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.

Conference Room Technology & Equipment FAQs

American Sound & Electronics serves many industries, including offices and corporate spaces that need professional conference rooms to handle clear communication among team members or clients at remote locations. 

Today, our team answers several FAQs regarding conference room technology and equipment.

What equipment do you need for effective conference room technology?

A conference room requires several technological components to work together, including:

  • Speakers or sound bar
  • Video screen
  • Microphones
  • Computer
  • Wireless capability
  • Interactive whiteboard

Different software requires various hardware. What works for Skype or Zoom may not work for Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. A professional sound installer can help you identify the right conference room equipment you need for your setup.

How do I set up conference room technology and equipment?

Size and budget are two main considerations for how you set up your conference room. 

  1. Start with the video display. Smaller rooms with fewer people may not need a huge 86-inch screen.
  1. Choose a compatible video camera. Most video cameras attach to the back of the video display, meaning you look at the screen while people appear to look back at you. This setup increases engagement with your remote teams.
  1. Next, look for appropriate speakers. You may only want one small speaker installed by the display because that is where everyone focuses their visual attention. Portable speakers may be convenient if you’re going to pass them from person to person. Larger rooms may need bigger or multiple speakers.
  1. Microphones offer several varying levels of sensitivity. While people can use laptops or portable mics, it may be more convenient to have a single microphone that can pick up everyone’s vocalizations in the room. 

A professional audio-visual company can help you set up the conference room technology and train your staff to use it.

How big should a meeting room video display be?

The size of your video display depends on how far away the farthest viewer is from the screen. 

  • 65” screen is ideal for people 15 to 16 feet away from the monitor
  • 75” screen for people 17 to 19 feet away
  • 86” for 20 to 22 feet away
  • A video wall or multiple displays for anything larger than 22 feet of distance

Because these large screens require expert installation without damaging your nice office wall, we highly recommend professionals to mount the display to the wall. Our staff can center the monitor against the wall to optimize it for the size of the room.

What kind of table do I need for my conference room?

Your table must blend practicality with comfort. Purchase a conference table with outlets and charging ports for mobile devices and laptops. 

The following room sizes and tables are a great rules to follow:

16 x 12 room size with an 8’ table to seat six to eight people

18 x 12 room with a 10’ table for eight to 10 people

20 x 12 room gets a 12’ table to seat 10 to 12 people

The room size and number of people determine how big of a video display you require.

Who should install my conference room technology and equipment?

Professional installation is the best way to go for conference room technology and equipment for excellent results and a cohesive appearance. American Sound & Electronics can help! Contact us for more information or call (859) 261-9024.