Acoustical Issues commonly found in live theater venues

Live theater remains as one of the few sources of entertainment that has great dynamics and nuance! From moment to moment the audience is engaged emotionally; from extreme joy to empathizing with grief or sadness.

The issue is not to make things louder, that’s easy. It is to be able to have a low enough noise floor and a clear acoustical environment that even a quiet voice or scene can be heard clearly in every seat in the house. This is true of small community theater or larger professional houses.

Some live theater spaces are too reflective and full of echoes. These reflections impede clarity. While the audience space may be equipped with lush padded seats and possibly existing absorption panels on the walls this amount of treatment is often incomplete.

Too much absorption can be difficult to project into vocally. This is especially true if the low frequency range has unchecked issues. These are fundamental frequencies that are powerful and interfere in the speech frequency range.

Generally the stage area itself is not considered. Shouldn't the space the players are presenting from be acoustically considered as well? Failing to do this can dramatically impact the ability to project and be heard by the audience. This also reduces the potential of stage noise (cast movement, props, etc) from washing into the seating area.


The popular view of acoustical treatment involves soft products that absorb sound. While we apply this concept as well we augment it with diffusion.

Diffusion doesn't just absorb sound waves but also scatters them. This redirects problem reflections and minimizes them, while at the same time leaving a natural sound in the space. This occurs at all frequencies, especially in the bass, fundamental frequency range, which is harder to control and reduce or attenuate.

There are numerous forms of diffusion available and most are more costly than absorption. CS Acoustics uses a diffusion system that incorporates multiple units in tandem with each other and the surrounding surface. As a result we are able to use a much smaller surface area foot print then absorption panels and yield a greater amount of reduction at a competitive price.

Absorption does not reduce low frequencies by a significant enough amount. If problematic fundamental frequencies are addressed correctly, mid and high harmonics are also balanced.



As a result of the listenable frequency spectrum being balanced and a room free of problem reflections, sound is more consistent in every seat. Vocal projection is clearer and easier to be heard to back of the hall with the artist's own voice or in larger spaces where electronically amplification is required.

Any underscore music or ambient sound effects are more defined and fuller. The room has better imaging throughout and even the quietest moments become more articulate. Dialogue does get overpowered or masked by underscore or sound effects.

With the right balance of ambiance in your performance space, singers and actors will be able to hear themselves more accurately. The artist will enjoy performing in the space with less strain. 

We would be pleased to help you have the best show in town!

Joseph and the Amazing Techni-Color Dream coat pictures courtesy of JDB-soundphoto