General English



  • The science that deals with all aspects of sound. This includes the production, transmission, detection, reception, control, and processing of sound, in addition to all phenomena arising from its effects.
  • The characteristics of a room, location, or enclosure which determine how sound waves travel within it. This affects many aspects of the listening experience. acousto-optic Pertaining to acousto-optics. Also called optoacoustic.

Media Studies

Real Estate

  • noun the study of sound, especially noise levels in buildings
  • plural noun the quality of the sound in a room, affected by the shape and size of the room and the materials used in it


  • The characteristics of a theater, auditorium, or other roomthat affect sound transmission and its fidelity. The most importantfactors are the size of the interior, the shape of the ceiling (whichreflects most of the sound), and the sound-absorbing properties ofcarpets, etc. A theater's proscenium arch is also a majordeterminant.

    The ancient Greeks and Romans built their outdoor theatersin quiet locations; the Greeks improved the sound reception by seatingthe audience on steep hillsides, while the Romans used elevated platforms.The Greeks also introduced periaktoi - prisms that couldbe angled to deflect sound towards the audience.

    The Italian opera house introduced excellent acoustics formusic by eliminating the domed ceiling, draping boxes to dampen reverberations,and adding baroque ornamentation, which diffused the sound.

    The spoken word presented more difficult problems. The Elizabethansplaced a small roof over the stage to deflect sound downwards. However,later and larger theaters often allowed architectural flourishes tocome before acoustical considerations. When Vanbrugh's largeQueen's Theatre opened in 1705 at the Haymarket, its concave roofmeant that only one in 10 words was heard distinctly. Thomas Betterton'scompany, who had moved there from Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre, hadto return to their old venue until alterations could be made. Thelate recognition of the value of the convex roof was particularlyimportant when projection acting was replaced by more realistic conversationalstyles. Convex devices have also been hung from the ceiling, as inLondon's Royal Albert Hall. Acoustics experts have also found thatsound quality is improved by a horseshoe-shaped auditorium. In moderntheaters with sound-absorbing ceilings, electrical amplification isneeded for proper acoustics.