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As debut year ended, Barclays Center spent $500,000+ to install 1,800 acoustic baffles (to fight escaping bass?)

The Barclays Center has earned kudos from architecture critics and initially led the nation in ticket sales (despite income lagging well behind projections). But the arena has a less-discussed flaw: at numerous bass-heavy concerts, noise escapes the building and can be heard on the street, with vibrations felt in neighbors' apartments.

Last April 30, the arena agreed to pay a $3200 fine for a reading twice the allowable limits during the 3/2/13 Swedish House Mafia show.

Acoustic baffles in ceiling,  2/16/14
Last May, Forest City Chief of Staff Ashley Cotton said, "This is something we are going to be vigilant about and get better on." 

But arena officials haven't said more, and there's been little improvement.

Last November, one arena neighbor said the noise emanating from the Kanye West concerts that week was--apart from Justin Bieber fans screaming on the street--the worst "since the arena opened."

In December, one neighbor said, “It feels like the subway train going underneath your apartment for two hours." An arena spokesman responded, “I don't have any update right now.”

Acoustic baffles

Well, they were apparently trying at least one thing. Last August, according to documents posted on the Department of Buildings web site, the Barclays Center was to install 1,800 sound-deadening acoustic baffles, for a total cost of $514,200. (See bottom.)

The application was filed 8/28/13, with an expiration 12/4/13. But complaints continued after late August.

 The photo above right, shot 2/16/14, indicates copious numbers of baffles in the ceiling of the arena.

Arena, 10/15/12, photo by Tracy Collins
Note: I don't know if that photo above pictures the 1,800 panels indicated in the document below.

It's possible some or all of those panels pictured were in the arena from the start. However, a photo from a different angle, at left, from the arena's debut season, does not show the same quantity of baffles.

But a photo from a 9/13/13 visit by HockeyBuzz, does show at least some of the same baffles. That means they were either there already or were installed immediately after the application was filed in late August.

Nor do I know if the acoustic baffles were justified, in part, to improve arena sound rather than to protect against escaping bass.

But it's sure been a more urgent mission to block that bass, especially since the developer plans to open the first apartment tower adjacent to the arena, B2, in December 2014.

As explained by one manufacturer, such baffles also can be suspended from high ceilings, and both sides baffle can absorb sound if hung vertically. Here's use of panels from another manufacturer in the Spokane arena.

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