Tag Archives: reverb

The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College Balloon Pop

Description: This recording was taken at 10:55pm on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2021 in the courtyard of the newly built Benton Art Museum, which is located at 120 W. Bonita Avenue, Claremont, CA. 91711.

The newly built Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College was completed in 2020, replacing the Montgomery Art Gallery from 1958. The museum holds a collection of more than 15,000 objects from Native American art to Renaissance panel paintings and from 19th-century prints to contemporary commissions. It also includes long-running educational outreach programs to third-grade in Claremont and the Inland school district. The Museum of Art at Pomona College provides a space for some of Southern California’s most compelling and experimental exhibitions and an outdoor venue for many social events during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The 33,000-square-foot facility is located between the Pomona College campus and the Claremont city’s civic center inside the lively Claremont Village. Visitors enter the U-shaped courtyard after declining a small flight of stairs. Here, they can see a statue, small amphitheater, trees, a pavilion, and concrete walls accented with wood, glass, and a distinctive sloping roofline. The U-shape design contributes to the reverberation of sound in this outdoor space as the surrounding enclosure will allow sounds to reflect off the walls and pillars effectively.  

Recording setup: The TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder was propped up on the floor with a tripod facing north. The recorder was set facing the seats of the amphitheater in the museum’s central courtyard.  The balloon was popped approximately 3 feet directly from the microphone. In reference to the diagram below, the microphone was located in-between the large green circle directly in the middle and the lighter green rectangle.

Reverberation Time:

Max Intensity: ~92.45 dB

30 dB drop: ~0.503 seconds

50 dB drop: ~1.14 seconds

60 dB drop: nonexistent.

Minimum Intensity: ~32.5 dB @ ~1.97 seconds

Decay to ambient: ~35 dB @ 1.6 seconds

Acoustic Description: The U-shaped courtyard amplifies the echoes of the sound as the microphone picked up a maximum decibel level of 92.45dB. Because the recording was at night, cricket chirping was audible and set the ambient decibel level to around 35dB. As the balloon pops, the sound of the background noise (cricket chirps) dramatically decreases. As the frequencies from the balloon pop decays, the ambient sound level slowly goes back to normal in about 1.6 seconds. These characteristics are largely dependent on the architecture of the amphitheater where I recorded the balloon pop, the hallways surrounding the U-shaped courtyard, concrete floors, wooden pillars, and the statue right next to the amphitheater. A video documenting the balloon pop can be seen below.

Mead Tunnels


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Reverberation time.
30 dB decay: 1.9 sec
50 dB decay: 3.6 sec
60 dB decay: 4.9 sec

This recording was done in the underground tunnels beneath X and Y towers in Mead Residence Hall at Pitzer College. It is a very small confined space, made primarily of concrete and brick. The area is completely enclosed as is easily heard from the popping of the balloon. The exact point in the tunnel that I chose to pop the balloon in was devoid of any objects except some metal piping that runs throughout the tunnels.