Communication and performance are important functions in many types of building spaces, from hotel ballrooms to classrooms, transit terminals to sports venues, auditoria to places of worship.
Key factors that must be controlled for intelligible speech and enjoyable music include multiple sound arrivals and the ratio of direct-to-reverberant sound. These can be controlled physically through the design of the space and the choice of surface materials and seating, acoustically through the design and placement of loudspeaker systems, electronically through the use of microphones and amplification, and digitally through the use of digital signal processing. Each of these technologies has certain advantages and disadvantages. Recent advances in digital signal processing (DSP) have made it cost-effective to use this technology. When integrated with proper electronic and acoustical design, DSP-driven arrays can control acoustical energy while minimizing visual impact on the architecture.