How does the ear interpret speech?

Our ears react to every tiny noise. Subjective perception of sound plays a particularly important role in human vocal delivery. In terms of psychoacoustic mental reception we speak of three mental levels: information uptake, information selection and information storage.

Intelligible spoken words and sentences at the information uptake level result in every other form of information being blocked at the information selection level. Speech has priority and, as primary information, is given preferential treatment in processing and storage. As a result, the error rate in simultaneously perceiving speech and performing other activities generally lies between 25% and 30%.

What is the value of zoning and acoustic conditioning?

The interior arrangement of present-day offices is, to a large extent, shaped by the technical possibilities of modern communication. Reflecting the need for networking, a transformation has taken place towards creating more communicative, multi-layered and cross-linked environments.

Within these open office space structures, privacy and the group sphere are spatially separated, yet generally located directly adjacent to each other – consequently acoustic conditioned zones are needed.

Can you explain the role of different zones?

Zone 1 - an intimate, shielded ‘thought cell’. A very high proportion of concentrated intellectually creative work is performed here. The proportion of internal office communication is very low. Consequently, effective acoustic and visual screening has to be planned in for the activities in this workplace.

Zone 2 - an informal communication zone. This open zone is assigned to the informal exchange of information within the working team. It is important to make sure that there is sufficient acoustic screening from territories given over to workplaces.

Zone 3 - a formal communication zone. This closed zone is allocated to the formal cross-group exchange of information within the working team. Acoustic screening is achieved by forming a space closed on all sides. Such spaces are also used for performing highly concentrated intellectually creative work that would not be possible to a sufficient extent with the screening used in the open Zone 1.

Zone 4 - The intercultural communication zone / marketplace. This open zone is allocated to informal social exchange both inside and outside the office. Mixing lounge and reception together with areas for lunching and relaxing turns this zone into a visual and acoustically strong meeting place. Attention should be paid to good screening and a location close to staircases or access doors.

All four zones are necessary for present-day offices. Only by systematically separating the required private and group spheres is it possible to achieve a setting in which acoustically undisturbed work is possible in a busy office.

What’s the main aim of acoustic conditioning?

To enhance the intelligibility of words and sentences over distances, helping to create an atmosphere that promotes well-being and productivity.

Why Soft Cells instead of another acoustic solution?

Soft Cells transform quality of space like no other acoustic product. They combine top-tier acoustic performance with aesthetic excellence, patented frame technology, sustainable design, and extraordinary durability. Available in standard or custom sizes, they are easy to install and re-use and offer an outstanding return on investment.

What are the acoustic parameters for Soft Cells?

The technical specification of the system has been designed for acoustic comfort by broadband conditioning in all relevant octaves between 200 and 4000 Hz. For the planner and acoustics expert this opens up an opportunity to adapt Soft Cells specifically to local acoustic room parameters.

Which aspects of sensual perception most affect our sense of well-being?

Usually the most critical are: our emotional security, our spatial surroundings and in the people around us; good vision and perception of colour; impressions of taste and smell; sensations of touch and of heat; perception of our acoustic environment as comfortable.

Why do many modern buildings suffer from poor acoustics?

The desire for openness, transparency and space-optimising flexibility in architectural and room design, and the change in working equipment, have created an imbalance compared to earlier architecture, which offered better acoustic conditions. We can justifiably speak of ‘acoustic smog’ in the modern working environment.

Are bad acoustic conditions bad for business?

Yes. It has been scientifically proven that physical and psychological strain from noise may result in approximately 25-30% performance loss among office workers. Plus, a noisy, stressful workplace makes it harder to retain staff.