The following presents some virtual studies of how the potentially unwanted sound of ventilation units can be sampled, modulated and played back in order to mask unwanted sound, such as the sound from the ventilation unit itself, or road traffic noise. The examples below highlight contexts where the modulated sound could be either a passive or interactive sound art installation depending on the existing and potential activities of the users of the space.
Generally, a passive sound art installation is imagined to be calming, relaxing, potentially interesting and often in a location where individuals are more likely to pass by (but may take a seat if one exists), whilst an interactive installation is imagined to be a bit more energetic, interesting and perhaps encourage passers-by to take the time to explore the sound further, potentially re-composing the acoustic environment.
Locations selected are likely to experience a constant sound emitted from the ventilation unit. Audio samples represent the source ventilation unit sound before it has been modulated and then presented in the virtual experience audio. The virtual experience audio examples begin with a few seconds of only the existing ambient sound in context before the modulated audio is faded in to demonstrate the potential effect of the suggested installation.
Please use headphones!
Key words: unwanted sound, passive, placemaking, walking, masking, interactive, tonal, broadband, calming, relaxing, interesting, energetic
(Thanks to Stantec UK for the use of a sound level meter which supported this exploration).