dBx Jargon Buster - Reverberation Time

Welcome to the dBx Acoustics jargon buster! In this section, we list some common acoustic terms as well as standards and guidance you may be asked to comply with. If there’s something you need to know that we haven’t covered here, please let us know.

Reverberation Time

Reverberation time (RT) is a measure of how quickly sound decays, but in layman’s’ terms it can be considered as how subjectively ‘echoey’ a space is. For example, a church or cathedral typically has a long reverberation time, while a recording studio would typically have a very short reverberation time.

A shorter RT is desirable for speech, for example in offices or classrooms, while a longer RT can support music. Often where a space is considered ‘too noisy’, for example a busy bar or restaurant, control of reverberation can help.

Reverberation is dependent on the quantities of acoustically reflective and acoustically absorptive (‘soft’) finishes within a room – for example, a room with carpet will sound very different when you take that carpet up. In acoustic design, the quantity, specification and placement of acoustically absorptive surfaces, as well as surfaces which diffuse (scatter) sound, can be used to optimise conditions for the proposed use.