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How a Room Impacts Sound

By Michael Vincent on March 6, 2023

Music is performed in many different spaces.

The significance is enormous… 

…One church can make an organ sound deliciously soupy, while the same organ set in another church can sound thin and transparent. It all comes down to the complex interaction of natural reverb, early reflections and short delays.

To highlight the effect of acoustics on sound, French tenor Joachim Müllner has created a fascinating video recorded in 15 locations, including a church, gymnasium, oil field, living room, cellar and even an anechoic chamber.

The results are stunning, with each space framing his voice in different ways.


  1. Size and shape: Large rooms tend to have longer reverberation times, meaning that sound can linger for longer. A room’s shape can also affect how sound waves bounce around, creating areas of reinforcement and cancellation.
  2. Surfaces: Soft materials like curtains or carpet can absorb sound, while hard surfaces like walls and floors can reflect sound. Irregular surfaces like bookshelves or furniture can scatter sound waves, creating a more diffuse sound.
  3. Contents: Furniture, rugs, and other objects can absorb sound waves and reduce echo. Conversely, an empty room with few objects will tend to have more echo.
  4. Location: A room located near a busy street or railway line will be subject to more external noise, while a room located away from sources of external noise will be quieter.
  5. Acoustic treatment: Techniques such as adding sound-absorbing panels or diffusers can help to create a more balanced and controlled sound.

Michael Vincent
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