The achieved quality of sound or audio in general comes from knowing how to solve real world problems through both technical and creative approaches – through the skilful blending of science and art. Acoustics is a science but it’s also an art as one has to be able to create spaces or environments that take listeners on a holistic journey.
As home cinema grows in South Africa or Africa in general, the need for well-designed spaces from an artistic and scientific perspective is increasing drastically. Gone are the days of the “Hi-Fi” guy that created his own “DIY panels”. It’s not about panels; it’s about the skilful blending of science and art. The expert acoustical consultant develops innovative, yet practical solutions to enhance desirable sound and mitigate noise. Another key skill would be the ability to focus on aural comfort of the user, the ability to understand and support the functions of that particular facility.
Every project undertaken by a consultant is unique. While many assignments may be similar in nature, no two are ever identical. For this reason, it is essential that a consultant be chosen with deliberate care. In essence, the more experienced and qualified they are to undertake a given project, the more likely their services will be in accord with the goals and objectives of the client. Moreover, provision of consulting services, by definition, implies a close, privileged relationship between the consultant and their client. To give less than full consideration to the selection/retention process, therefore, would be to jeopardize a successful consultant-client relationship before it begins, thereby risking the successful outcome of the project at hand.
Acoustic consultants should seek to solve real world problems affecting individuals, businesses, institutions, and the community. They are designers, problem solvers, advisors, mediators, and inventors practicing across a range of specialties. Often from a wide array of disciplines including engineering, physics, architecture, industrial hygiene, and performing arts, particularly music and entertainment. Some continue to offer services outside acoustics, but all benefit from their backgrounds in these related fields.