Reverberation Time

Reverberation Time

reverberation time

A reverberate sound in any closed space like a room or concert hall diminishes as the sound energy is absorbed by multiple interactions with the surfaces of the room. Though the speed it takes to diminish depends on the variable of the room's surfaces, for instance a reflective  or "live" room will take longer than a very absorbent or "dead" room. The time for the sound to completely die away will depend how loud the sound is at the start and how well the observer hears. 

The standard reverberation time has been established as the time it takes for a sound source to diminish by 60 dB below its original level. This is established at 60dB from testing in auditoriums where the loudest crescendo in an orchestra is 100dB and typical background noise for a music-making area being around 40dB. 60dB is also roughly the dynamic range for orchestral music.

In terms of time it depends on the rooms use. In a classroom you want the room to have low reverberation time to keep articulation clear and reduce build up from people talking. In an auditorium you probably want a bit more so you can really feel the music. As a general rule you won't get long reverberation time in a small room because of how fast the energy is bouncing off the surfaces and being absorbed a bit each time.Reverberation time is just one part in creating pleasing environments for sound, you also need to consider the absorption in terms of frequencies.