From our geographically central location, Soundscape Engineering LLC's acoustical consultants and noise and vibration control engineers serve clients located throughout North America - in Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Petoskey, Michigan; Milwaukee and Madison Wisconsin; Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, South Bend, and Northwest Indiana; Los Angeles, California; Vancouver, British Columbia; Dayton and Cincinnati Ohio, Winnipeg Manitoba; Saskatoon and Regina Saskatchewan; and elsewhere. Our engineers consult on issues of room acoustics, sound isolation, speech privacy, HVAC noise control, building vibration, and exterior noise impact. They also provide acoustic and vibration measurement services.

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Soundscape Engineering's latest news,tips, and trends in the acoustic engineering and consulting trade.

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Mandy Kachur has been selected as an associate editor of the prestigious internationally recognized Noise Control Engineering Journal, a publication by the Institute of Noise Control Engineering.   As the Associate Editor of Book Reviews, Mandy's responsibility will be to locate candidate publications on noise control engineering, coordinate volunteers to assess the books and provide a written review, and edit the reviews for the Journal.  She will be working for the Managing Editor, James Thompson, and is taking over the position from Richard Peppin.  More information on the Journal can be found here.  

by Mandy Kachur


Erin Dugan and Mandy Kachur organized and led a special conference session at the Institute of Noise Control Engineering’s 2017 national conference, Noise-Con, which took place in Grand Rapids, Michigan in June.  This unique session enabled vendors to present information about their products to a technically focused audience with the responsibility of specifying products or purchasing instrumentation.  The session was well received and a similar session is planned for the 2018 international noise control conference, Inter-Noise, in Chicago.  More information about the conferences can be found here.  

by Mandy Kachur


Soundscape Engineering is pleased to have been part of the design team for the first new downtown Ann Arbor hotel in several decades, the Residence Inn by Marriott. The developer, First Martin Corporation, required that an acoustics consultant be hired for analysis and compliance with Marriott's extensive acoustical specifications for their properties. 


We provided the sound isolation design for guest room, meeting room, lobby, fitness center and retail adjacencies, and for spaces below rooftop mechanical equipment. Mitigation of mechanical equipment noise

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by Nathan Sevener


‘Floating floors’ are often recommended by acoustical consultants when there is a need to isolate adjacent spaces within the building from impact generated noise – for example, when a fitness center is located in a mixed-use building – and when noise and vibration generating equipment must be located on an upper floor over noise sensitive spaces.  These floating floors consist of resilient pads laid down in a grid over the structural floor and layers of plywood or other lightweight boards placed on top of these pads.  When the floating floor must support a greater load or provide better airborne sound isolation,

Outdoor Noise Intrusion into Condos, Apartments, Hotels, Dormitories and Single-Family Homes  


by Nathan Sevener


Assessing and improving the sound insulation provided by residential building envelopes is one of the aspects of acoustics that we are most commonly asked to address for condos, apartments, hotels, dormitories, and single-family homes.  Residences may be located next to busy roads, near train tracks, under flight paths, or in just generally loud urban settings with accelerating buses, emergency vehicle sirens, honking horns, and other myriad sounds of the city. 


We begin our analysis by measuring the sound level at the project site.  For residential developments, we typically log the noise levels for 24 to 48 hours

Anna Catton, working with Soundscape Engineering for the summer, received the Leo Beranek Student Medal for Excellence in the Study of Noise Control award from the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE). The award recognizes excellence in the study of noise control by undergraduate and graduate students at academic institutions in North America that have courses in noise control engineering. Dr. Andrew Barnard of Michigan Technological University nominated Anna for her outstanding work in constructing specialty loudspeakers for acoustics testing in a reverberation chamber.  


In the fall, Anna will start her Master of Science in Architectural Engineering degree with a specialty in acoustics at the University of Nebraska, where her adviser will be Dr. Lily Wang, a well-known and respected researcher in acoustics and noise control.  


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by Mandy Kachur


Have you ever been in a pin-drop quiet medical waiting room or pharmacy and needed to discuss your medical condition with a person behind the counter?  Was it uncomfortable because you knew others in the room could hear you?  Technically, this is a situation ripe for HIPAA speech privacy problems, where bystanders are able to overhear your medical conversations.  


This situation happens.  For example, a pharmacist can violate speech privacy laws by

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by Mandy Kachur


NYT Article - Dear Architects: Sound Matters The character and feel of a space has more to do with just how it looks.  How it sounds either enhances or diminishes an occupant’s experience.  Michael Kimmelman in the New York Times on December 29, 2015, published an interactive article, Dear Architects: Sound Matters, that demonstrates this for various spaces and is worth a read and listen. Read it here


This quote from the article hits home for me:

On October 12, 2015, in Orlando, Florida, Mandy Kachur presented on healthcare acoustics as part of a panel at the co-sponsored Annual Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Seminar and Annual Florida Healthcare Engineering Association (FHEA) Meeting.  Specifically, she described the senior living research project that Soundscape Engineering performed for the Facilities Guidelines Institute (FGI) and Rothschild Foundation and how the results will translate into proposed improvements to the 2018 edition of the FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities.  Additionally, she described the acoustics sections of the FGI Safety Risk Assessment Toolkit for Healthcare Facility Environments and the contributions to the document from the Acoustics Working Group, for which she served as representative.  

By Mandy Kachur


Soundscape Engineering does not sell any products or have affiliations with any product manufacturers. Through this article, we are merely remarking on products that may be of interest to our clients and newsletter subscribers.


An attractive sound absorbing panel from Snowsound USA has recently debuted on the American market. Several notable design characteristics are tapered edges and mounting hardware that stands the panels off of a surface, floats them in a mobile-like array, or suspends them in a pleasant pairing suggestive of a butterfly.A dynamic three-dimensional look is the result. 

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By Nathan Sevener


There are two acoustical issues associated with fitness centers. One is the transmission of impact noise caused by weights and heavy objects being dropped. The other is transmission of airborne noise from instructors and music. Typically, neither is an issue when the fitness center is the sole occupant of the building, but when there are other tenants, noise complaints frequently arise.

By Mandy Kachur


Since 2006, Soundscape Engineering has been contributing content to the  FGI Healthcare Facilities Guidelines and support to the task forces that update the documents. Most recently, we are working on the 2018 FGI Residential Guidelines, mainly through a Rothschild Foundation and FGI funded research project involving a comprehensive acoustical assessment of a large retirement community.

Soundscape Engineering begins funded research study to assess outcomes of acoustical design for residential nursing facilities and inform the next edition of FGI’s Guidelines for Residential Health, Care, and Support Facilities.

Nathan Sevener, Soundscape Engineering LLC partner and Principal Acoustical Consultant, presented at Noise-Con 2014 in Fort Lauderdale. His presentation, entitled “Comparison of vibration levels and characteristics of cut, floated, and non-isolated floor slabs exposed to ground-borne vibration,” described...

Mandy Kachur, Soundscape Engineering LLC partner and Principal Acoustical Consultant, was an invited speaker at the National Academy of Engineering’s international symposium series Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering, which took place earlier this year in Tokyo.

Nathan Sevener, Soundscape Engineering LLC partner and Principal Acoustical Consultant, presented to the Northern Indiana chapter of the American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers on October 17th.  The presentation, entitled Sustainable Design’s Impact on Building Acoustics, focused on...

Nathan Sevener, Soundscape Engineering LLC partner and Principal Acoustical Consultant, presented at Noise-con 2013 in Denver. His presentation, entitled “Acoustical design of the perception based engineering laboratory at Ray W. Herrick Laboratories Center for High Performance Buildings,” described...

Mandy Kachur, Soundscape Engineering LLC partner and Principal consultant, recently returned from Washing D.C., where she was participating in the working group, led by the Center for Health Design, that has been tasked with the development, dissemination, and validation of a 'Patient and Worker Safety Risk Assessment' online toolkit that can be used by health care facility planners, owners, and design teams to improve facilities through Evidence Based Design. Noise control is...

Mandy Kachur, Soundscape Engineering LLC partner and Principal Acoustical Consultant, was recently appointed as the Vice President of Public Relations for the Institute of Noise Control Engineering (INCE) for a term lasting through 2014. She is also currently serving as an elected member of the Board of Directors and is Board Certified by the Institute, which is the highest level of industry certification for noise engineers.

Soundscape Engineering LLC partner and Principal Consultant, Nathan Sevener, presented “Acoustics In Healthcare Environments: What’s New and Why It’s Important” to the AIA Chicago Healthcare Knowledge Community. The well attended presentation, sponsored by the trade organization CISCA (Ceilings and Interior Systems Construction Association) was given on February 22, 2012 at the AIA office in Chicago. A brief description of the presentation and several links to useful healthcare acoustics resources can be found on the AIA website.