Soundproofing a Community Theatre

Striking the Balance Between a Limited Budget and Limiting Noise

Architects, building owners, and developers are more conscious than ever of the need for appropriate soundproofing. They are motivated to improve the acoustic performance in theatres, schools, healthcare, and government facilities at a modest cost.

Dr. Yutong Samuel Cai, a London epidemiologist, conducted research on 365,000 people. As a result of his research, he discovered that traffic noise can negatively affect the cardiovascular system and can increase the risk of heart attacks. A significant increase in type 2 diabetes cases was discovered in another investigation at the London School of Medicine. There have been many studies that demonstrate the adverse effects of poor acoustics on classrooms and other learning and teaching environments. The effect of traffic noise and poor acoustics is like the effect of pollution on the environment; both have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing, even though their effects can be difficult to measure in the short-term.

Community theatres, university lecture halls, and auditoriums typically have huge, open spaces that may hold hundreds or even thousands of people at once. Large rooms and spaces with great acoustics contribute to a positive user experience by improving the audience’s audible experience, improving student or employee communications and reducing errors, and addressing speech privacy concerns.

AMBICO has long been at the forefront of acoustic engineering advancements. The company employs dozens of engineers and technicians that pool their collective knowledge and expertise to tackle architectural, environmental, and industrial noise concerns for organizations and applications of all types.

Acoustic Installation and the Trade-off between acoustic performance and opening function (security or access control)

When it comes to addressing and enhancing acoustics, it is important to first understand the client’s acoustic concerns and requirements, so you can strike the right balance between acoustic performance levels and the opening’s functionality, fire, and security or access control requirements. There are solutions which can normally address all of these attributes, but these solutions may not be achieved in the same manner as they will be in non-acoustic openings.

It is critical that the architect delves deep into their clients’ acoustic requirements and compares those with other life safety, security, and accessibility needs. In some instances, compromise may be necessary in one or more areas, whereas in many other instances different hardware may be needed to address function, security, or access control. Not to mention that careful coordination is also required to ensure that an optimal solution is determined, and falls within the budget. 

To accomplish this, architects and acoustic engineers should also rely on hardware consultants and acoustic door manufacturers to help them coordinate the delicate balance in satisfying the life safety, security, accessibility, and functioning challenges, as well as to guarantee that the acoustic and aesthetic criteria are met. 

AMBICO strives to be a proactive partner in finding the best acoustic solution while considering other important attributes that may influence a client’s choice of product. To balance acoustic performance, security, and fire ratings with budget demands, we strive to identify the optimal tradeoff between acoustic performance and function. It is therefore imperative that we become involved early in the design and specification phase to ensure the success of the acoustic openings and the overall acoustic quality of any project. We are committed to helping our clients achieve the perfect balance between soundproofing, safety, and fire safety requirements while keeping within their budget.

Architectural Dilemma: Budget or Noise Reduction

The acoustics make it easier for people to hear and understand each other, whether in an open-plan office, classroom, lecture hall, hospital, or government building. Finishes and other aspects of a door’s appearance can be compromised more easily than performance attributes, as the right doors can make a huge impact on any facility. Budget is undoubtedly a crucial factor when it comes to providing the best acoustic solutions for clients. It is important to know that prices change depending on a variety of factors, such as the size of a single or paired opening, the STC rating, and the material type, as well as other attributes such as a vision lite and fire rating


We understand that each client has a specific budget and unique challenges. For example, in some cases, the client cannot afford the type of assembly recommended based on their budget. This type of dilemma is common in our industry. In order to build a long-lasting relationship with the designers and customers, AMBICO focuses on helping them overcome their challenges.. Our team works diligently to find the best possible solution for each  client that meets their individual need, budget, and desired outcome.

AMBICO was given the opportunity to help a local drama school, which hosts 50-60 children between the ages of 8-18 in a central room connected to three studios. The classes in the connected studios were frequently interrupted due to the children’s loudness and noise. 

AMBICO was approached for an acoustic solution, and we suggested STC 48 or STC 50 assembly for the studio rooms. However, this- resulted in costs that were higher than what the school could afford at the time. Although AMBICO believed an STC 48 or 50 would have been the right fit, the client landed with an STC 45 assembly to meet their budget. 

Three pairs of STC 45 doors were successfully supplied and installed in the facility, resulting in a significant reduction in noise levels between the studios and central room. With this simple solution, the school was able to increase revenue, which led to the expansion of their business, and a fourth studio was opened. 

In spite of the dilemma of budget versus noise reduction, AMBICO was able to provide an alternate solution within the school’s budget, which solved their problem and contributed to the growth of their business.

The AMBICO Solution

Every project at AMBICO is an opportunity to achieve excellence. The global benchmark for sound transmission loss is established by our adherence to ASTM standards. This benchmark is set by our extensive array of soundproof STC-rated wood doors, acoustic steel doors and window products. We embrace the opportunity to assist designers and spec writers with appropriate product solutions that will align with their client’s acoustic performance and operational requirements.