In order to control sound within any space there are three simple principles—known as the ABCs, to understand and apply. In particular, sound masking represents the C (Cover) which is imperative when the first two principles fail to achieve their full objectives:
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- Absorb—absorbing sound is typically achieved by introducing materials such as fabric wall or acoustical ceiling panels which have a high Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) value
- Block—blocking sound principles are used to contain sound within a space; this is best achieved through hard surfaces and slab-to-structure walls with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating
- Cover—covering sound is best achieved through the introduction of a noise source which gently raises the background noise level to “mask” intelligible speech