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It all seems to be so common nowadays: going out to the trendy new bar or restaurant to catch up with friends, only to find yourself drowning in the loud noise that seems to be bouncing off every minimal, mid-century hard surface in the venue.
Sound engineers are working to provide some guidance on this issue. At the recently held 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America, Klaus Geniut, president and founder of German sound engineering firm Head Acoustics, presented an application for new International Standards Organisation (ISO) restaurant soundscape standards.
The new ISO TS 12913 “provides an updated framework for identifying a dining space with the right mix of ambient sound, privacy and good at-my-table speech intelligibility,” according to Geniut for Forbes.
At a restaurant, a number of elements such as background music, kitchen equipment, clinking of cutlery, and even the humm of the air conditioner, can combine to make it one of the most challenging and complex sound environments to assess.
To tackle this, the new proposal requires the use of “binaural sound recording” for room evaluation - an immersive, 3D-version of sound evaluation that is able to recreate the exact sound experience of being in the room. In addition, the proposal requires acoustics consultants to talk to diners about their sound experience in the environment via questionnaires.
This may come as music to many tired ears, especially for those in bigger cities like New York or London where diners have recenlty started to take the situation into their own hands by the use of apps like Soundprint.
As expressed by Genuit, the new ISO framework can hopefully provide additional guidance for fine dining restaurants to create quality soundscapes that are in line with standard of the food served.