Architectural Acoustics


The Acoustics Research Group of the University of Ferrara has long experience in the acoustical design of venues and in particular of concert halls, opera houses, rehearsal rooms,  as well as drama theatres or conference rooms. In all of these spaces acoustics has a role of paramount importance and must be part of the architectural design from the early stages.

When a new venue is to be designed the shape and geometry is firstly assessed starting from the sketches and major possible faults are avoided. Then an insight is gained into the fine characteristics of the sound field required by the acoustical brief by selecting surfaces for reflection and for sound absorption. Statistical tools are used for a first order approach to the evaluation of the objective acoustical parameters and computer tools with typical ray / cone / hybrid tracing codes for the fine tuning of the acoustics are finally employed. In some specific cases (small rooms) also other simulation approaches are necessary such as FEM/BEM.













Acoustical evaluation of rooms and of materials’ properties

Our group has long experience in the acoustical qualification of rooms, from open air theatres to churches, mosques, opera houses, concert halls and other types of spaces, such as sports halls, gyms, classrooms etc. The acoustical data of many outstanding theatres were gathered during the years. The group is using state-of-the-art measurement chains and procedures, whose updating is of primary research interest.

Generally measurements are taken with a combination of multichannel (B-format in particular) and binaural sound probes and a dodecahedron sound source is employed. Some specific application required developing of peculiar sound sources and made use of array sound probes.

Special application have been developed to evaluate the scattering and diffusion of samples according to the current ISO formulations.










Scale models

Despite the impressive improvement that computer assisted simulations have undergone during the years it is seldom advisable to resort to physical scale modelling in order to exactly replicate the wave nature of sound in the details. Great care has to be paid in the management of the model preparation as regards materials and finishing and a dedicated measurement chain has to be adopted.  

With the use of this technique several important project have been completed in the recent past a new ones are under development. In particular the (1:50) scale model of a mosque was used to investigate the role of the dome in worship spaces, the (1:16) model of the Teatro degli Arcimboldi in Milan was investigated and the (1:20) model of the Ancient Theatre of Siracusa was the basis for establishing the link between architecture and acoustics in ancient theatres.

Finally a multipurpose scale model for acoustical research was assembled recently in order to study the properties of non-sabinian spaces and the law of diffusion.














Virtual acoustics and psychoacoustics

The acoustical data of measured rooms or those obtained as output of simulations are rendered with the aid of virtual acoustics technologies inside a controlled room. Our group has developed a multichannel system which makes use of binaural data or of B-format ones, or of a combination of the two, and provides a single user with a sound field of great realism.

This rendering engine is part of a platform for psychoacoustics tests developed under the Labview® environment. Studies on listening in classrooms have recently completed and new investigations are scheduled also for the acoustics of musicians.












Anechoic recordings 


 The sessions for recording of singing pieces were accomplished in the CAHRISMA project. The sessions took place in an anechoic chamber at the firm Arcélik in Istanbul, Turkey. The recordings included solo and choral singing pieces of Islamic music and a solo piece of Byzantine music.

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ERATO Project

These recording were accomplished in Izmit, Turkey in 2004. The recorded material included pieces of music and singing in the Greek style expressly written for the project and played on replicas of the original instruments.

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ICRA noise

This type of noise signals are used as maskers of the human voice in the evaluation of speech in hearing aids research and room acoustics. The signals have the same spectral and temporal content of speech but are almost not intelligible. The version developed here was produced after an Italian spoken text.

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