Do You Know Why Acoustics Matter in Your Interrogation Room?

Many people make the wrong assumption that acoustics only matter when it comes to recording music or getting a media-worthy commercial on the air. The truth is that the application of acoustics you apply (or don’t) has an impact on the recordings you’re doing of interrogations, interviews, and more. Learn how acoustics works, how appropriate applications improve your recording capabilities, and how your acoustics will portray the audio sounds you are recording.

If you can grasp the acoustics of recording and how it works with the development of your particular sound, you will also have more capabilities in recording and how you are able to portray the audio sounds that you are creating.

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Acoustics 101

Acoustics begins with the vibration of air, or in some instances, an electronic device.  With natural acoustics, the air moves through a certain compartment, such as an instrument or the voice.  The more the vibration of the air moves, the more sound it is able to create for the instrument.  This is what leads to the sound waves, which are more re-creations of the vibration of air that is moving through the space that it is in.


The vibration of air is what causes various acoustics to respond in a given space.  It is also the simple concept of air vibration that leads to specifics about how to set a recording studio or interrogation room in order to take in the right sounds to record.  Understanding how to control acoustics becomes the basis for setting up a recording studio as well as the main concept in controlling sounds as they are recorded.

When a sound is made through an instrument, for example, it has a variety of levels of air that it hits and causes to vibrate.  At one level, we hear this as a note that is played through the sound.  However, the acoustics can take on different capacities in producing different sounds that are not heard.

The first sound that is produced comes from the environment in which the sound is played.  If the room is larger, has higher ceilings and is spacious, the sound will bounce against the walls.  This will cause the sound to move faster, become louder and to resonate throughout the area.

Read more: Does Room Size or Acoustics Matter?


Another way in which acoustics change the sound is through resonance.  This is when the vibration of the sound is heard, even when the note is no longer being sung or played.  This resonance can continue to move as long as the vibration of air continues to hit the particular area.  Most of the time, resonance will be a filtering off of the initial sound as the vibration of air continues to slow down.  This is one of the reasons that your interrogation room or recording studio should be outfitted to the specifications of your recording purpose.


The last part of acoustic sounds is the concept of overtones.  Even though we only hear one note that is being played or sung, this is not the only note that is in the air.  Acoustics create a vibration of sound waves that continue to resonate and vibrate at different levels.  These will be pitches that are created above the original pitch, with specific spacings in the pitch.  While they are not heard, they still create an effect on the ear with the sound vibration that moves through the air.  This also makes a difference in recording, as the overtones can create a different effect and can be recorded as a wave file.  This may cause differences in peaks as well as basic sounds that are heard in the piece. It’s particularly important to understand how these overtones may impact intonation or the ability to read various tones in a suspect’s voice.

Read more: Interview Room Sound Transmission and Reverberation Issues

With the understanding of these acoustic ideas comes the ability to control it within the recording studio.  Each of these areas are ‘sound proofed’ at certain levels.  This is to allow the audio to move into the recording area as a pure wave file, which will then stop the acoustic sounds from muffling, echoing or changing the sound that is intended to be heard in the recording.

Is your facility equipped to handle and capture sound appropriately? With courts becoming more stringent on what they allow as evidence and what they define as clear, it’s important to ensure that your audio is top quality and that the equipment you rely on delivers when it comes to vibration, resonance and overtones. Talk to us today to learn more about how we can outfit your facility.

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