Pyrotek Noise Control’s Echohush range has a proven record of accomplishment in reducing noise levels in bars, cafés and restaurants. Dux Dine restaurant on Riccarton Road in Christchurch needed a solution to the noise levels in its hard-surfaced dining room, which were affected by the 'Café Effect'.
Campanella and Ryherd define the 'Café Effect' as noise 'generated by groups of occupants who subconsciously compete with the reflected noise from other groups of occupants, who raise their voice such that they can be heard and understood by members of their own group.'
Elsewhere, Lauren Christie's research (p. 15) on the Café Effect showed that, with an average reading of 65 dBA, restaurants had the highest average background noise levels, whilst bars and cafés had readings of 57.5 and 58 dBA respectively. All three average background noise levels in Christie's research were above the recommended maximums for building interiors as set out by Standards New Zealand at 50 dBA for bars and restaurants, and 55 dBA for cafés.
The poor acoustic performance of bars, cafés and restaurants are often caused by the use of hard surfaces, such as concrete, tiles, glass and plasterboard – all materials that reflect sound around the room.
In the case of Dux Dine, after a meeting between the owners and Forman Building Systems, Pyrotek’s Echohush Metro Panel product was installed to reduce reverberation and absorb unwanted noise energy. Forman Building Systems both specified and installed the panels; 8 custom-painted panels (4 x 625mm square, and 4 x 1200mm square) matched to the existing décor, were installed on the ceiling and the walls.
Dux Dine customers have been enjoying the improved room acoustics since the project was completed at the end of 2013.
Feedback received after panel installation was positive. Ross Herrick, Manager of Dux Group, said "what we decided on has improved the acoustics immensely and we and our guests are now enjoying a far better-suited acoustic ambiance."
The Echohush range of products has also been installed at the Ad Lib Café & Deli, at Christchurch's University of Canterbury, with the same positive effect.
Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, 2000, 'Acoustics – Recommended design sound levels and reverberation times for building interiors', Standards Australia, Report, retrieved 18 November 2014
Campanella, A & Ryherd, S, n.d.p, 'Lombard Partied in a Café…or was it at a Cocktail Party…Say What? – the Clarification of Speech-Related Concepts in Acoustics', retrieved 18 November 2014
Christie, L H, 2004, 'Acoustics in the Hospitality Industry: A Subjective and Objectives Analysis', Victoria University of Wellington, retrieved 18 November 2014
Gibson, A, 2014, 'Hear this…diners rank noise at eateries', New Zealand Herald, Friday 23 May, retrieved 18 November 2014.