Australian company JBN Sound Solutions has become the solution for a $1m lawsuit against a nightclub in Austin for noise disturbance.
Austin, Texas is dubbed the Live Music Capital of the World, and boasts an amazing array of performance venues in a city experiencing continued gentrification.
Noise complaints have risen dramatically in recent years, increasing 59 per cent between 2012 and 2015.
The Westin Austin Downtown Hotel filed a $US1 million suit against its neighbour, the Nook Amphitheatre’s Sixth Street nightclub, for damages attributed to loud music disturbance.
The case reflects a problem in cities around the world, with planners balancing hospitality and industry against living standards for a growing number of residents.
The city of Austin has engaged in trials and testing of solutions to the problem, wishing to protect its music reputation but also needing to consider the rights of citizens and other businesses.
In March, a test was done of JBN’s Sound Ceiling product under the gazebo atop the Brazos Hall.
This involved a 5 x 8-metre solar panel-style speaker system incorporating 700 smaller speakers, producing a stronger sound that is also very directional. The speakers face directly downwards, and use plane wave speaker technology to greatly reduce the dispersion of the sound.
The rooftop demonstration found a reduction of 20-decibels at 20 metres, and the 100-decibels of the performance was cut by more than half at 83 metres, with no other inhibiting factors.
Although lawyers for the Westin have declined to provide details of the settlement, according to Austin publication Community Impact there will soon be a 96-panel JBN Sound Ceiling in Sixth Street – representing the first time the product has been used in the US.
According to Texas legislation the ‘Agent of Change Principle’ the party that arrives at a location second (or later) is responsible for the burden of sound mitigation. This may see the Westin pay for the nightclub’s new sound system.
The city of Austin is considering funding the system into venues on no-interest loan arrangements.