BYU Radio Acoustic Design

July 1, 2011

Acoustical design for the new BYU Broadcast facility involved all the customary issues: sound isolation, noise/vibration control and room acoustics. What made this project particularly challenging was the diversity of technical spaces that all live under the same roof.

The building has three TV studios, including one that is a hybrid space equipped with retractable seating for productions that have an audience. We were faced with having air-handling equipment located on the second floor immediately adjacent to the studios, with huge ducts traveling overhead to feed the rooms beyond. Our solution was to create a separate interior concrete deck for the main studio, so the ducts could be routed through the interstitial space without having their breakout noise impact the production activity below. Background noise levels in Studio A are below a Noise Criterion rating of NC-15.

The acoustical design is evident starting right at the front door, where the building lobby features large windows into BYUB's master control hub, with five independent pods surrounding a central monitoring console. The main floor also has production control rooms for video, audio, and camera shading; audio post production rooms, including voiceover booths; 10 video edit suites; quality control stations; and higher-quality final edit spaces also used for presentations. Each of these rooms has specific functional requirements, so the acoustical performance has to be tailored to match the room.

The radio station (located on the second floor, which incidentally adds a layer of complexity to the sound isolation design) has its own variety of different room types. There are on-air control rooms, talk studios, edit booths - even a performance space comparable to a recording studio, with audiophile-quality monitoring and an extremely quiet live room for the musicians. The performance studio by itself would have been an interesting little project, so keeping tabs on that design while simultaneously juggling a couple dozen others is what made this project fun - and a little nerve-wracking.

Schrag is design principal for Russ Berger Design Group, Dallas.

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