Twentieth Century

In the twentieth century, architectural acoustics came to be recognized as a science as well as an art. Although the number and quality of the published works increased, our understanding of many of the principles of acoustical design did not in all cases lead to improvements in concert halls. The more routine aspects of room acoustics, including noise and vibration control and development of effective acoustical materials, experienced marked improvements.

Figure 1.23 Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, USA (Beranek, 1979)

Figure 1.23 Carnegie Hall, New York, NY, USA (Beranek, 1979)

10 O lO AO bo SO Feet

5 O 10 20 3O Meters

The development of electroacoustic devices including microphones, amplifiers, loudspeakers, and other electronic processing instruments flourished. The precision, which is now available in the ability to record and reproduce sound, has in a sense created an expectation of excellence that is difficult to match in a live performance. The high-frequency response in a hall is never as crisp as in a close-miked recording. The performance space is seldom as quiet as a recording studio. The seats are never as comfortable as in a living room. Ironically, just as we have begun to understand the behavior of concert halls and are able to accurately model their behavior, electroacoustic technology has developed to the point where it may soon provide an equivalent or even superior experience in our homes.

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