Mc Squared System Design Group, Inc

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%ALCONS Calculator

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Percentage Articulation Loss of Consonants is an indication of the loss of speech intelligibility that occurs in difficult acoustic environments. This calculation provides %ALCONS values for an unaided voice with a Q (or directivity) of 2, and for loudspeakers with a selectable coverage pattern. As an added bonus, the Q and DI values are calculated. The assumptions made in this calculator are; that there is 25dB of signal to noise ratio available at the listening position (low background noise); that the frequency response is uniform in critical speech intelligibility bands; and that only one loudspeaker is providing direct sound to the listening position, and that all others are primarily contributing to the reverberant field. Note that at longer reverb times the %ALCONS is very high, and this definitely affects speech communication.

Metric Units Calculator

Room length
in Feet
Room width
in Feet
Room height
in Feet

Distance from talker or loudspeaker to listener The 2kHz reverberation time in the room (try different values to see the effect)
in Feet
in Seconds

The rated loudspeaker coverage
Horizontal coverage
Default value
Enter new value
in degrees
Vertical Coverage
Default value
Enter new value
in degrees
Loudspeaker Q
calculated here
No input required
Directivity Index
in Decibels
Number of loudspeakers
active in the room

%ALCONS for Listening Distances less than 3 x Critical Distance

This is the %ALCONS of an unaided talker

This is the %ALCONS of
the loudspeaker of the
coverage selected

% %

%ALCONS for Listening Distances greater than 3 x Critical Distance

This is the %ALCONS of either the talker or loudspeaker at a distance greater than three times critical distance.

What the numbers mean

For years, the acceptable maximum design %ALCONS was 15%, and as always, was based on the requirement to have at least 25dB of signal to noise ratio, and uniform frequency response in the 2-4kHz spectrum, which is the critical speech intelligibility spectrum. In the past few years, the study of speech intelligibility has led the sound industry to find 10% a more appropriate maximum for most purposes. When the information being delivered is familiar or expected, 10% is quite acceptable. In a learning environment, especially for people with hearing impairment, the target %ALCONS should be closer to 5%. Life Safety, and Voice Warning Systems have similar stringent requirements for high speech intelligibility, as they are required to deliver instructions and information that may literally be a matter of life and death. If you're involved in any project with critical sound system requirements, you should have the acoustical environment and the loudspeaker system designed by an acoustical consultant.

This information is provided with no warranty of its accuracy, or applicability, and any use made of this information is done so at the sole risk of the user. It is important to understand that there are literally dozens of other acoustic and sound system related factors that influence the design for speech intelligibility. This calculator is provided as method of seeing the relationships involved between these particular elements.

Mc Squared System Design Group, Inc Mc Squared System Design Group, Inc
323 - 901 West 3rd Street, North Vancouver, BC. V7P 3P9   Ph 604-986-8181
116-5100 Anderson Way, Vernon, BC V1T 0C4   Ph 604-986-8181
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901 King Street West, Suite 400, Toronto, ON. M5V 3H5  Ph 647-479-8601