When used in reference to a musical instrument or a piece of music, acoustic means ‘without electrical amplification’ – an acoustic guitar versus an electric guitar, for example. Most stringed, brass, woodwind and percussion instruments are therefore acoustic.
Acoustics can also refer to the way sound travels through a room or building. If a space is said to have good acoustics, it means sound travels well and is clear, with little background interference or echo.
For example, in the 1960s, the Royal Albert Hall in London decided to install a number of acoustic diffusers (nicknamed ‘mushrooms’, because of their shape), to tackle issues with echo and improve the quality of sound for the audience – i.e. to improve the auditorium’s acoustics.
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