On our visit to the Acoustic Research Facility we were first introduced to a room built to carry echoes – panels in the corners of the room and ceiling encourage sound to bounce and reverberate. A test at popping a balloon showed the sound continued for 20 seconds after the initial burst.
We then visited the anechoic chamber for the opposite experience. Bursting a balloon here sounds like the soft thud of a football. The walls, doors and even the floor are lined with spikes of sound dampening material, it is extremely absorbent and any bounce reflects back into the material because of the positioning of the spikes. A metal grid platform allows you to stand in the room, above the spikes below. A very strange looking environment indeed, and the absence of sound transports you to another dimension where time doesn’t seem to exist!
We had the opportunity to conduct a few sound experiments, peeling an orange, a very quiet sound that was good to capture without background noise. Then we took a long lie down. For about 30 minutes on foam pads on the floor. To experience the sound of silence.