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Why is knowing the seating plan important for sound design?

Getting the audio environment right in a restaurant can be crucial. There are numerous psychological and business reasons why music benefits these establishments, but it will often boil down to creating the right kind of atmosphere for your customers to have a good time and spend more time and money in your establishment.

The first part of the equation is the acoustics of the space itself. These will vary hugely from building to building and everything you do in the venue will have an effect. Everything from the materials you are building with to the number of people present will play a part in creating the right acoustics. Some of these elements can be improved by your audio design – for example, if your space is a large polished concrete shell any sound will bounce around, so some acoustic panelling can help to provide an element of control.

While interior designers will often win the battle with acoustic designers, the crucial role that loudspeaker placement plays cannot be dismissed. It can sometimes be easy to think that the audio design is simply installing loudspeakers in each corner of the room and turning them up so everyone can hear. The vital element that this overlooks is the customer experience. To cover the whole space in this way, the loudspeakers will need to be turned up loud so people in the middle of the restaurant can hear. This will mean that the music gets louder the closer you are to the loudspeaker and can make for an uncomfortable dining experience.

It is elements like this that makes it essential that your systems integrator knows your intended seating plan when they are creating the audio design. If for example you wanted to have banquette seating placed against the walls and minimal tables in the centre of a venue you can get away with wall mounting loudspeakers above the seating to fire across the room. These will crossfire with the other loudspeakers in the space to create a pleasant atmosphere for everyone as nobody will be affected by the volume of the loudspeaker directly above them.

As an example of the opposite kind of situation, you may have a large open space that you want to fill with tables. Often in this case more loudspeakers will be the better option. With a large number of loudspeakers you will be able to run them at lower volumes to cover specific areas. This will lead to an even volume around the restaurant and an audio experience that is the same for all of your patrons.

Every restaurant is different and deserves a bespoke audio design. The expert Prosound design team is here to make sure that your venue sounds as good as it can. Get in touch to see how we can help you.

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