Acoustics is All Around

Anyone who has had the good fortune to have experienced naturally unique acoustics spaces such as caves, cathedrals or concert halls understands how these spaces affect our senses in a positive way. Two dynamic spaces with opposite acoustic compositions are Grand Central Station in New York City and Morakot Cave in Trang province, Thailand. The complexity of the acoustics present in both locations is nothing short of phenomenal.

Grand Central Station NYC

The Whispering Arches are a well know and sought out acoustics attraction but there are other impressive aspects of this busy train station. In the main terminal hall the large curved ceiling creates specific echoes that allow you find a listening position where you can clearly hear a conversation taking place at the other end of the station. Finding these acoustic anomalies can take time but in a quite moment its incredible what the ear can pick up.

The case of the Whispering Arches, this is all about fun. People come from all over the world to whisper sweet nothings across the room with their backs facing each other. Visiting the arches is a right of passage for anyone coming the New York City for the first time. The curvature of ceiling creates the perfect geometry for the sound to travel from one arch position to the other.

Morakot Cave, Thailand

Also called the Emerald Cave this is one of the most interesting of all acoustic spaces. Aside from its incredible beauty, traversing the cave is challenging. To get there you have to travel by boat which will drop you off in the crystal clear water at the mouth of the cave. From there you have to swim through the pitch black cave with strong currents and ebbing tides. The echoes inside the cavern range from ominous to menacing to tranquil and is always changing as the caves volume changes with rapid tide movements. Moving through the cave is a strange experience with our aural senses being relied upon to navigate darkness. Intense water and tidal sounds change our brains ability to understand direction, balance and distance. At the end of the tunnel we arrive in a sink hole filled with pure white sand and turquoise water. The sink hole is round with vertical rock walls and plant life extending at a hundred meters high or so. The acoustics here are so spectacular that it is hard to put in words. Every bird call or splash seems magnified and has a clarity and depth that is simple awe inspiring.