Pink Noise vs. White Noise in Sound Masking
Feb. 24, 2023 - From white noise YouTube videos to professional sound masking solutions, there are a variety of ways to drown out or reduce noise. Noise management is a common concern in most facilities. But what is the difference between white noise and pink noise? And which is most effective in drowning out sounds, especially noise distractions, in those facilities?
What Is White Noise?
White Noise is equal power at all frequencies. That's the technical answer anyway. But in reality, it sounds like static and can be harsh, "scratchy” and uncomfortable. Despite this, white noise is a common solution to help drown out background noise, especially indirect speech, in order to improve self concentration or focus. White noise machines are very popular solutions for those looking for tools to reduce distractions or improve sleep quality.
The popularity of white, brown, and pink noise machines continues to grow. From YouTube videos to machines available on Amazon and other retailers, sound management sources continue to grow in popularity as individuals look for ways to control their environments and drown out unwanted, and unpleasant noise. Though white noise is often used to drown out sound, white noise is different from sound masking.
White noise, although the most commonly used term for the intention of its use, is not the most effective solution for noise reduction. As stated above, white noise is uncomfortable. It is necessary as white noise does cover, or mask, certain frequencies of human speech but it isn't effective in the range that it is needed. White noise only covers the very high frequencies of human speech. This is why individuals find such devices more effective as a sleep aid than as a productivity tool.
What is Pink Noise?
Similar to white noise, pink noise is equal power at all of the octaves. Again, too technical. Think of pink noise as the bass in music. It feels like the low tones or low frequencies. It is a much more comfortable experience but is less well known.
Pink noise is often used in combination with white noise in sound management solutions because it adds a layer of comfort as well as covers, or masks, the lower frequencies more effectively. This combination allows an effective sound masking system to cover a full, broadband spectrum of frequencies. Sound masking systems introduce noise into a space with the intention of covering human speech frequencies from indirect conversations – those talking about 10' to 12' away.
Pink Noise vs. White Noise: What's the Difference?
The difference between pink noise versus white noise is really in how you use them. If you are using a sound machine to improve sleep the difference is going to be in your personal preference. As mentioned above, most find white noise to be harsh but it can do the trick to drown out noises that may keep you from sleeping. Low-frequency sound, like pink noise or brown noise, tend to be more comfortable and soothing.
Which Type of Noise is Best for Sound Masking and Drowning Out Distractions?
When comparing pink and white noise for sound masking solutions, the answer to this question is a combination of both. White noise is necessary to mask certain human speech frequencies but an element of pink noise sound also covers lower frequencies as well as adds a layer of comfort. The intention behind sound masking is to cover, or mask, indirect conversations so that they are less distracting and allow you to concentrate. Sound masking is not designed to be a cone of silence. Sound masking is a noise management solution to allow the individual to achieve their best work through concentration.
With a proper sound masking system – one that combines both white and pink noise, you can create a comfortable environment and improve speech privacy. This is critical for healthcare applications, law offices, and in the general office workspace. Not only does sound masking help to reduce distractions and improve employee comfort, but sound masking improves ROI for employers.
Learn more about sound masking through our blogs: what sound masking is and how sound masking works.
Let Lencore Sound Masking Experts Make Noise Reduction Easy
Lencore sound masking systems produce a comfortable noise, blending both white and pink frequencies, into the space at a level slightly above indirect speech levels. This solution minimizes the level of distraction caused by the collaborative discussion occurring 10-12 feet away, in a much more effective manner than white noise or pink noise machines alone. Sound masking reduces the percentage of the conversation that the unintended listener(s) can understand and allows them to focus on their independent work – making them more productive.
Lencore has helped thousands of clients and has millions of square feet installed around the world, with clients from a wide variety of verticals.
Furthermore, Lencore prides ourselves on the ease of doing business. By providing a simple floor plan and answering a few relevant design questions, Lencore will help guide you through the decision process of what sound masking solution is right for your environment. We can also assist with installation, tuning and balancing through our expert, certified network. We will provide a quote and design layout – at no cost to you! If you would like to know more about Lencore's Guide to Choosing a Sound Masking System – just ask! We are happy to help.
Additionally, if you would like to get a quick cost on what it would take for a sound masking system (equipment only) you can find it through our Quick Estimate Form, or to plan out your sound masking system, you can Request A Quote and we will provide all of the details necessary to finalize your design.