Ambient Noise Generator - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-28-2014, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi there, not sure if this is the proper forum to ask, so please move it if not!

 

What are the general thoughts about using a white noise or ambient noise generator in a call center type environment? What would be the best setup for that? Simply pipe the sound through the overhead speakers?

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post #2 of 9 Old 03-28-2014, 10:32 AM
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I assume you are asking about noise generators to keep conversations private or so that neighbors in adjacent cubicles don't hear each other or bother each other. As you add white noise to the background people will tend to talk louder so I wonder how much these really help. They make specific speakers for such overhead applications - I assume by the 70v transformer that these are used with PA type amplifier systems:

http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Sound-70-7V-4W-Transformer-Enclosure/dp/B00IML82NG

My experience with white noise for privacy was a fan based machine which could be turned up/down/off locally and used to keep conversations private through a door of an office from others on the other side of the door. This device works quite well but only if it is on the other side of the door - if it is in the room with the conversation you can still hear what is being said through the door - when it is on the other side of the door, it works much better (as you would suspect):

http://www.amazon.com/Marpac-Dohm-DS-Speed-Sound-Conditioner/dp/B000KUHFGM

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post #3 of 9 Old 03-28-2014, 12:21 PM
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It's really strange! I just ordered one of those exact machines today, from Amazon! I'm using it to help me sleep without outside interferences from the road.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtn-tech View Post

I assume you are asking about noise generators to keep conversations private or so that neighbors in adjacent cubicles don't hear each other or bother each other. As you add white noise to the background people will tend to talk louder so I wonder how much these really help. They make specific speakers for such overhead applications - I assume by the 70v transformer that these are used with PA type amplifier systems:

http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Sound-70-7V-4W-Transformer-Enclosure/dp/B00IML82NG

My experience with white noise for privacy was a fan based machine which could be turned up/down/off locally and used to keep conversations private through a door of an office from others on the other side of the door. This device works quite well but only if it is on the other side of the door - if it is in the room with the conversation you can still hear what is being said through the door - when it is on the other side of the door, it works much better (as you would suspect):

http://www.amazon.com/Marpac-Dohm-DS-Speed-Sound-Conditioner/dp/B000KUHFGM
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post #4 of 9 Old 03-28-2014, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mntash90 View Post

What are the general thoughts about using a white noise or ambient noise generator in a call center type environment?

Ouch! Such an environment is already too noisy and distracting. Adding yet more noise will only increase stress. I think something like this is a much better solution:

carrel1.jpg

This photo shows a recording setup, but the concept of sound isolation applies equally for call center operators.

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Ethan's Audio Expert book

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post #5 of 9 Old 03-28-2014, 08:10 PM
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Most cubical panels provide some sound absorption, and you can buy panels specifically designed for use in areas where greater sound isolation is a requirement. They are usually taller and include the typical OC-70x material or similar.

Years of working in such an environment has led me to the spelling "cubic-hell".

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post #6 of 9 Old 03-30-2014, 05:33 PM
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What you are looking for is known as sound masking. This can effectively reduce the perceived transient sounds by 10-15dB when set up properly. These are speakers installed in the ceiling (above the finished ceiling in a drop ceiling construction). The speakers emit a processed pink noise in a very diffuse way. There are many several turn key solutions for sound masking. I have used several and Logison has consistent results. In addition, you will want to also use absorption panels close to the callers as many have stated above. This two system approach will yield significantly better results than either by itself. To do this properly you should contact a local acoustician to come in and make a professional assessment - unfortunately, that means spending money. Depending on your level of expertise and luck, you may be able to find a solution yourself, but a good acoustician will be your best bet (sorry I had to put the "good" in there, but I have also seen some pretty shoddy work coming from acousticians. Where are you located? Maybe I can recommend one.

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post #7 of 9 Old 03-31-2014, 08:48 AM
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Make sure it's actually what you want. I work in a facility that went to an "open concept" and installed a number of pink-noise generators thinking that would replace the isolation of the cubes. Now I hear everyone else's conversation MORE because they just yell over the noise-makers, and I find the sound is really fatiguing. Most of us who can pack up our stuff and work from other places in the building, and when management comes down they seem to think it's working great- yeah, because no one's there..

 

They basically sound like a louder than normal HVAC whoosh/whir, or the background noise of a jet plane but quieter. Personally, I really don't think it would help with phone calls at all.

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post #8 of 9 Old 03-31-2014, 08:16 PM
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Quote:
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Make sure it's actually what you want. I work in a facility that went to an "open concept" and installed a number of pink-noise generators thinking that would replace the isolation of the cubes. Now I hear everyone else's conversation MORE because they just yell over the noise-makers, and I find the sound is really fatiguing. Most of us who can pack up our stuff and work from other places in the building, and when management comes down they seem to think it's working great- yeah, because no one's there..

 

They basically sound like a louder than normal HVAC whoosh/whir, or the background noise of a jet plane but quieter. Personally, I really don't think it would help with phone calls at all.

Ouch. This is an example of a sound masking system installed improperly. The sound masking should not really be audible - usually you notice it only after it is turned off, which should never happen. Your installation sounds like someone read about the concept and tried to DIY it - not always a great idea when it comes to sound masking or complicated acoustical spaces.

Sound masking is to mitigate a person's perception of sound farther than 20' or so. Anyone within that 20' radius will sound just as loud as they do without the sound masking on - this is why acoustic isolation "barriers" of sorts is recommended in conjunction with sound masking.

Acoustic isolation helps absorb near sounds (and far)

Sound masking helps "mask" far sounds

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-01-2014, 05:50 AM
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Yeah- I suspect it's probably been employed around me more often than I realize but was imperceptible. What happened here is that they were trying to blank out conversations happening about 4 feet from each other, and it wasn't working, so they just turned it up and up and up until everyone left. When I have to be here, I wear a pair of noise cancelling headphones. My kingdom for pulling the plug on those things and putting in some isolation panels!

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