Check out the acoustics behind the quietest place on the planet

Microsoft has landed a Guinness World Record for the quietest room on earth with the help of Eckel Noise Control Technologies that installed an anechoic chamber measuring at –20 dB. Photo courtesy Space Age Media Consultants

Eckel Noise Control Technologies created a new anechoic chamber for Microsoft that won the Guinness World Record for quietest room in the world.

Microsoft contacted the company in March 2014 to build the chamber for audio and device testing at its Audio Lab in Redmond, Washington. The installation started in May of that year and was completed in July.

“We designed this and other super-quiet acoustically controlled chambers to engineer and build best-in-class audio products at Microsoft,” said the company’s principal human factors engineer, Hundraj Gopal. “We use these facilities for designing products, like the Surface, HoloLens and Cortana, and we take great pride in them.”

Independent tests of the main chamber were done by professional sound specialists from Brüel and Kjaer, who confirmed a –20.6 dB measurement, which surpassed the engineers’ predictions for –16 dB. The previous world record was held by Orfield Laboratories in Minneapolis, which had an Eckel anechoic chamber measuring at –13 dB.

To put sound measurement in perspective, the quietest known sound is random particle movement at –23 dB. Calm breathing measures at +10 dB, rustling leaves is +20 dB, and a jet plane takeoff is +150 dB.

Anechoic chambers are echo-free with a sound absorption level of 99 to 100 percent. The Microsoft chamber’s walls, ceiling, and door were fitted with sound-absorbing wedges. There were also anti-vibration mounts isolating the chamber from the rest of the building’s foundation.

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One comment on “Check out the acoustics behind the quietest place on the planet”

  1. I’m sure that designing something like this is an acoustic engineers dream. I’m astounded that they managed to beat the old record by more than 7 dB. It really is an engineering marvel to think that you can go into this room and have it be perfectly quiet. It would be quite interesting to use some of the sound absorbing material in a home.

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