Echohush acoustic panels from Pyrotek were used to successfully manage the ‘Cafe Effect’ at the Dux Dine restaurant in Christchurch. Proven in multiple installations at several bars, cafes and restaurants, Pyrotek’s Echohush acoustic panels can reduce noise levels effectively.

The Dux Dine restaurant in Riccarton Road Christchurch was facing a problem with the noise levels in their hard-surfaced dining room.

This common problem in restaurants has been defined by Campanella and Ryherd as the ‘Cafe Effect’ or noise ‘generated by groups of occupants who subconsciously compete with the reflected noise from other groups of occupants who raise their voice such that they can be heard and understood by members of their own group’.

Christie’s research into the Cafe Effect showed that restaurants, with an average reading of 65 dBA, had the highest average background noise levels, while bars and cafes had readings of 57.5 dBA and 58 dBA respectively. However, all these readings are well above the recommended limits for building interiors as set out by Standards New Zealand at 50 dBA for bars and restaurants and 55 dBA for cafes.

Hard surfaces in restaurants, bars and cafes such as concrete, tiles, glass and plasterboard are materials that reflect sound energy around the room, resulting in poor acoustic performance. In this particular instance, the restaurant was able to resolve the Cafe Effect by installing Pyrotek’s Echohush Metro Panel product designed to reduce reverberation and absorb unwanted noise energy.

Forman Building Systems specified and installed eight custom-painted acoustic panels (four panels each of 625mm square and 1200mm square) matched to the existing decor on the ceiling and walls of the restaurant. Installed in 2013, Pyrotek’s acoustic panels have significantly improved room acoustics, providing Dux Dine customers a much better dining experience.

Ross Herrick, Manager of Dux Group, commented that the Pyrotek panels have improved the acoustics immensely, with their guests now able to enjoy a far better-suited acoustic ambience.

The Echohush range has also been installed in the Ad Lib Cafe & Deli at Christchurch’s University of Canterbury to the same positive effect.