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The purpose of architectural acoustics is: To reduce the reverberation time (commonly known as "echo"). This result is reached by absorbing reflected sound.

The reverberation time is: The time between emission of a sound and the complete interruption of its source. Ideal reverberation times vary according to the volume and usage of the area concerned.

Effects of a too long reverberation time on the acoustics of a room: When speaking, a long reverberation time causes an overlap between successive syllables, with a masking effect that reduces clarity. In the case of music, persistence of low frequencies causes the sounds to melt together, with a confused or indistinct effect.

Effects of a too short reverberation time on the acoustics of a room: If the reverberation time is too short, the impression is that of a "dry" sound, unsupported by the environment. Further, a short reverberation time in a large area can cause the sound volume to be too low at the far end of the room, as the sound reflections that otherwise would sustain volume are not present.

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