It’s with excitement (and, admittedly, a slight pang of nostalgia) that we announced the discontinuation of our AccuMask Sound Masking System today – and, with it, the end of our involvement with the traditional form of decentralized sound masking system that saw our company through its first two decades.
Moving forward, we intend to concentrate solely on our networked technology, the LogiSon Acoustic Network. Since we launched this line in 2003, the writing has really been on the wall. While the AccuMask System certainly provided advantages over the centralized style of masking and other decentralized systems, the LogiSon Acoustic Network far outpaced it straight out of the gate...and increasingly did so as we added new features and functions.
Within its first year on the market, 95% of our business switched to the LogiSon line. But the AccuMask System’s fate was finally sealed when we launched TARGET, an application that – when combined with the LogiSon Acoustic Network's networked architecture – tunes the masking sound to within ±0.5 dBA of the specified levels, providing a consistently effective masking effect throughout a facility while reducing tuning time by 90% or more. Older sound masking architectures simply can’t do that.
What do those older sound masking architectures look like?
The first type on the market was centralized. Though it was developed in the 1960s, it’s still available in various guises today. Basically, the settings established at a central piece of equipment are broadcast over a large number of loudspeakers – sometimes as ‘few’ as six or as many as hundreds. These large zones mean that precise volume and frequency changes can’t be made for specific areas. So, the technician can only set the masking sound to a level that’s best ‘on average.’
However, the masking sound fluctuates across the space due to the impact of various interior elements, leaving it too low in some areas and too high in others. That happens regardless of where or how the loudspeakers are installed. Engineers have tried to address this problem by adding a rudimentary volume control at each loudspeaker, but they’re too crude (usually 4 to 5 settings, in 3 dBA steps). That’s why tolerance (the amount by which the masking sound is allowed to vary from the specified curve) for these systems is typically ±2 dBA or even ±3 dBA. That’s 4 to 6 decibels of difference in volume! And a 40 to 60% drop in performance at unpredictable places across the client’s space.
Decentralized architecture came out in the 1970s. It was a huge improvement over the centralized one because the technician could finally adjust the masking sound in small zones of one to three loudspeakers. However, this process is very time-consuming, even when handled digitally as it was with our AccuMask System (as opposed to analog screwdriver controls at each ‘Master’ loudspeaker). Also, frequency control was limited.
Then, in 2003, we launched the world’s first networked sound masking system – the LogiSon Acoustic Network – and, as they say, ‘the rest is history.’ Or, at least, it should be…
For 37 years, we’ve consistently led the sound masking industry because we’re committed to offering only the very best sound masking technology. We firmly believe the time has come for all older sound masking technologies – centralized and decentralized – to be shelved. The small savings offered by these types of sound masking systems aren’t worth the performance sacrifices. After all, when a client invests in sound masking technology, they’re intention is to improve speech privacy and noise control in their facility. They’re not seeking the mere pleasure of owning the equipment.
In an industry that unfortunately continues to sell products based on these older architectures, we hope to set an example – to continue to lead. We look back with pride at a type of system that supported our company and our clients for so many years, but know that it’s time to move forward.
Let’s all strive to give our clients the best possible experience with sound masking.