Theater acoustics : One solution for variable acoustics and speech control. 

Variable acoustics, ambiance, surround and speech control

Theater acoustics

The importance of the right acoustics in a theatre cannot be underestimated. A thoughtfully designed acoustic environment holds the power to enhance live performances, captivate audiences and immerse them in a world of sound that is just as crucial as visual elements. It is through the harmonious blend of sound and motion that the true magic of theatre comes to life, resonating deeply within the hearts and minds of spectators.

From the smallest intimate playhouses to grand opera houses, theatres and concert halls; the careful consideration of theatre acoustics is important in ensuring optimal sound clarity, projection, and envelopment.

Theatre Acoustics: Enhancing the Auditory Experience with Variable Acoustics and Speech Control
Theatres are generally built with a short reverberation time, since this is required for good speech intelligibility and is the optimum for amplified sound. Many venues are made as acoustically “dry” as possible because most performances are fully amplified. For reinforced sound, a reverberation time somewhere between 0.7 and 1.2 seconds is ideal. However, a dry acoustic environment may not create a friendly or pleasant atmosphere. When transitioning from a foyer space, which usually has a pleasant acoustic atmosphere, into the theatre hall, conversations may suddenly sound “dead.” To address this, SIAP Acoustics can provide a very pleasant atmosphere, making the experience of entering the auditorium a less jarring transition. The SIAP “theatre ambience” can be active 24/7, enhancing the desirable pleasant reflections that are characteristic of a theatre, accomplished through the use of SIAP’s discretely installed speakers.

SIAP offers variable acoustics and surround sound capabilities to widen the range of programmable performances in a theatre. Variable acoustics allow for the adjustment of the acoustic environment to different requirements, fostering a sense of togetherness between the artists and the audience. The audience becomes more aware of its own presence, and the artists feel a stronger connection with the space, increasing interaction. SIAP provides dedicated acoustic presets for both amplified and unamplified music, catering to a wide range of genres: from rock/pop/jazz concerts to drama, opera, classical music, and even conferences or presentations that require speech support. Our matrix-based system allows for a wide range of input to output settings, enabling the reproduction of film surround sound and special musical productions.

In summary, these are the solutions SIAP offers for theatre acoustics:

  1. Enhanced theatre ambience for the audience, with sound-reinforced performances (bands, etc.), without detrimental influence on the reinforced sound
  2. Variable acoustics, including an increase in reverberation time and improved stage acoustics, tailored to specific performance requirements, such as opera, classical ballet, chamber music, brass bands, symphony orchestras, choirs, solo instruments (piano concerts) and more
  3. Surround sound for film and theatre, creating an immersive audio experience
  4. Preserving speech intelligibility, ensuring clear and articulate communication, together with the desired active acoustic preset

SIAP Acoustic Systems combines their expertise in variable acoustics, surround sound, and theatre ambience to transform theatres into dynamic spaces that optimize the auditory experience for artists and their audience. By considering the intricacies of acoustics in theatres, SIAP contributes to the magic of live performances, ensuring that every note, every line, and every word resonates with exceptional clarity and emotional impact.

With our commitment to innovation and excellence, SIAP continuously pushes the boundaries of what is possible in theatre acoustics. Our solutions not only enhance the technical aspects of sound reproduction, but also create an atmosphere that engages and captivates the senses. The careful calibration of room acoustics ensures that the sound reflects off surfaces in a way that enriches the listening experience without overwhelming the space.

Contact us to see how we can optimize the acoustics in your theatre.

1. Improve your theater acoustic design

For widening the range of programmable performances in a theatre, variable acoustics and surround sound can be provided as well as theatre ambience. Variable acoustics makes the acoustic adjustable to different requirements. This gives artists as well as the audience the feeling of togetherness and being part of the performance. The audience is aware of its own presence and the artists have much less of the feeling as if they are playing into a “black hole”. Furthermore, with the right theatre acoustic design, the audience is much more responsive to the artists which increases the interaction enormously. There are dedicated acoustic presets for amplified as well as unamplified music. So, from a rock/pop concert to drama, opera and classical music, but also for conference and presentations (speech support). SIAP employs a matrix which allows for a wide range of input to output settings. This way film surround sound can be reproduced as well as special musical productions.

In short, SIAP offers the following for your theatre acoustic design:

  1. Improved theatre ambience for the audience en with sound reinforced performances (bands etc.) without detrimental influence on the reinforced sound
  2. Variable acoustics, comprising reverberation time increase and improved stage acoustics, for example:
  • – Opera / classical ballet (1.3 – 1.5 sec.)
  • – Chamber music (1.5 – 1.7 sec.)
  • – Brass band (1.7 – 1.9 sec.)
  • – Symphony orchestra (1.9 – 2.2 sec.)
  • – Choir (2.5 – 5.0 sec. and more).

3. Surround sound for film and theater (flexible routing)

Do you want to optimize your theatre acoustics? Contact us to create the perfect theatre acoustic design.

How does it work?


To create the perfect acoustic in theatre, a small number of microphones (usually four) will be installed high above the front of the stage to capture the sound. They feed the stage sound of the performers, orchestra, choir etc. with all of its information such as source location(s) and their tonal quality to the SIAP acoustic processor. We also add some ambiance (usually 4) microphones above the audience to have some extra ambiance and interaction between audience and actors.

SIAP acoustic processor

The SIAP processor is a very powerful sound processing “system”. In this processor, the sound is treated with appropriate time delays, filters and reverberation, based on the desired acoustic.

For this purpose the processor comprises a large number of independently digital programmable channels. Because of the large number of channels, it is possible to create more acoustical zones, each with their own envelope and reverberation time.


The SIAP system is very user friendly. No specialist knowledge needs to be at hand to operate the SIAP system. Simply choose between the acoustic presets (optional wireless). For example: (unamplified) speech as in drama, operetta/light opera, grand opera/classical ballet, chamber music, non-classical unamplified ensemble, chamber orchestra, large orchestra, choir/vocal group, solo piano. Amplified: ambiance, fill-in, surround. You can easily switch between (movie) surround presets and user presets via one or more fixed control panels or via iPad.

The output from the processor generates a “sound blanket” that covers the entire room (and orchestra pit and /or stage). This sound field, that is exactly the same as the reverberation time and corresponding nuances as set in the processor software, forms the optimum acoustic together with the hall itself.

Natural sound

The SIAP system creates this sound field by building up reflections, reverberation etc. in exactly the same way as the natural reflections and reverberation in a hall itself, while keeping the orginal acoustic character “signature” of the room. This sound is reproduced in the hall through high quality power amplifiers and about 50 to 200 loudspeakers, distributed over the walls and ceiling. All of these individual loudspeakers contribute for one or two percent of the total contribution which makes each loudspeaker individually unnoticeable to locate.

High quality

We like to use high quality loudspeakers with a very wide dispersion and an outstanding polar diagram to create a uniform dense and diffused soundfield. SIAP’s natural process preserves the natural balance, the correct localization and the timbre of the sound sources on stage (instruments, singers, actors).

With a SIAP system, a spectator can close his/her eyes and still localize the source position, which then appears to be exactly correct when they open their eyes again. Of course the same correct localization correctness applies to sound sources moving around the stage area (walking singer, actor or musician). At SIAP demonstrations this is always a nice experience.

Want to bring the perfect SIAP experience to your theatre? Contact us and we will be happy to see what we can do for you.

3. Previous projects

SIAP has been able to deliver exceptional acoustic performances in different theatres. SIAP’s solutions are tailored to meet the specific needs of each venue. The results speak for themselves – improved sound quality, enhanced clarity, and a more comfortable experience for both artist and audience.

Want to see more? Check out all our projects

4. Improve your acoustics with SIAP

SIAP Acoustics is an industry leader when it comes to delivering high-quality, custom-tailored acoustic solutions. With our focus on innovation, commitment to excellence and love for fine music, we are the ideal partner for your theatre acoustic design.

Our team of experts work closely with our clients to understand their unique requirements and develop a solution that delivers exceptional results. By combining the latest technologies with a deep understanding of acoustics, SIAP is able to create immersive, engaging environments that are a joy to experience. Read more about our organization here.

Or contact us for a demo and optimize your theatre acoustics with our SIAP system, giving your audience the perfect experience!


  1. How important are acoustics in a theatre?
    Acoustics play a crucial role in a theatre, significantly impacting the overall quality of the audience’s auditory experience. Well-designed acoustics enhance sound clarity, projection, and envelopment, ensuring that performers’ voices and musical instruments are heard with precision and depth. Immersive and intelligible soundscapes heighten the emotional impact of performances, creating a captivating and memorable theatre experience.
  2. What are the three main components of acoustics in theatres?
    The three main components of acoustics in theatres are room acoustics, sound reinforcement systems and noise control. Room acoustics involve the design and treatment of the physical space to achieve optimal sound reflection, diffusion, and absorption. Sound reinforcement systems consist of microphones, speakers, and amplification technology that ensure clear and balanced sound distribution. Noise control measures are implemented to minimize external noise sources and create a quiet environment for optimal listening conditions.
  3. Which acoustic materials are often used in a theatre?
    Commonly used acoustic materials in theatres include sound-absorbing panels, diffusers, and bass traps. Sound-absorbing panels, made of materials like fabric-wrapped fiberglass, help reduce excessive reverberation and control echoes. Diffusers, often constructed with wood or specialized materials, scatter sound reflections to create a more balanced acoustic environment. Bass traps, typically made of dense materials, are placed in corners to absorb low-frequency sound and prevent excessive bass buildup.
  4. Which theatres have the best acoustics?
    Determining which theatres have the best acoustics is subjective and depends on various factors. However, several theatres (actually concert halls) are renowned for their exceptional acoustics, such as the Vienna State Opera in Austria, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the Royal Albert Hall in London, United Kingdom. These venues have been praised for their ability to showcase performances with exceptional clarity, richness, and immersive sound experiences.

Please have a listen and become happy!

Contact us for a demonstration in a church which has a SIAP system installed.