Yamaha’s Unique Information-Masking Sound: Superiority and Technical Evidence

Author: Gina Cunsolo

shutterstock_454016317.jpg

Sound Masking System


 

Sound Masking has become an increasingly popular buzzword lately, particularly in the realm of coworking spaces. Sound masking systems reduce unwanted noise distractions and make it more difficult for uninvolved parties to overhear conversations by adding background noise and playing sounds known as “masking sounds.” Typically, the louder the masking sounds, the greater the effectiveness of the masking system.  However, at some point, the masking sounds also become a disturbance.  Many have researched how to create masking sounds that offer maximum effectiveness, without disturbing the user. Much of this research has focused on identifying a more effective frequency response by using a base of background noise that blends in within the target environment, like the noise of an air conditioner.

 

Yamaha Speech Privacy System
 

Over twenty years ago, Yamaha turned our attention toward sound masking as an alternative to architectural solutions for creating more comfortable sound environments. As a result of extensive research, we have developed proprietary information-masking sounds that offer greater masking effectiveness with more efficiency than conventional masking sounds. Yamaha’s information-masking sounds are a combination of the following three different types of sounds.

 
  • Speech sound masker:

These are masking sounds synthesized from human speech. They blend in with the actual human speech of a private conversation to make it less intelligible, even when used at lower volumes.

 
  • Environmental sound:

These are environmental sounds, such as ambient forest sounds, the sound of murmuring brook, or the sound of room air conditioner. These can be combined with speech sound masker sounds based on user preference to increase masking effectiveness, while also contributing to a more comfortable environment.

 
  • Sound effect:

These are sound effects, such as sounds of musical instruments or electronic devices, that add a bit of variation to the environmental sounds. They help draw attention away from nearby conversations.
 

 Picture1.png
 

Yamaha’s speech privacy system uses these proprietary information-masking sounds to achieve greater masking effectiveness at lower volumes than required by conventional sound masking systems. By adding environmental sounds and sound effects, it also creates more comfortable sound spaces.


 
Technical Evidence
 

The abovementioned features have been technically verified for both English and Japanese speech and presented at academic conferences, as demonstrated by the following in-house and third-party testing data.

 

In-house verification of effectiveness for English speech

Research performed by Yamaha compared masking effectiveness with conventional noise masking sounds when used with English speech.

  • Method: Based on Modified Rhyme Test as specified by ANSI/ASA S3.2-2009.
  • A listener was asked to identify a spoken word played together with masking sounds from a selection of six choices. Rate of accuracy was evaluated.
  • Evaluation included “Inaudible” to refer to words that are not only unintelligible, but also completely inaudible.

Results:

  • For English speech, Yamaha’s solution masked sound as effectively as conventional noise masking, even while using volumes reduced by up to 8 dB.
  • ​Equivalent or greater results in volume differences were also achieved when evaluated using Japanese speech.

If you are interested in learning more about Yamaha's VSP-2, check out the audio solution or contact our experts!