Calibrating the Sabine and Eyring formulas

Karolina Prawda*, Sebastian J. Schlecht, Vesa Välimäki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
119 Downloads (Pure)


Of the many available reverberation time prediction formulas, Sabine's and Eyring's equations are still widely used. The assumptions of homogeneity and isotropy of sound energy during the decay associated with those models are usually recognized as a reason for lack of agreement between predictions and measurements. At the same time, the inaccuracy in the estimation of the sound-absorption coefficient adds to the uncertainty of calculations. This paper shows that the error of incorrectly assumed sound absorption is more detrimental to the prediction precision than the inherent error in the formulas themselves. The proposed absorption calibration procedure reduces the differences between the measured and predicted reverberation time values, showing that an accuracy within ±10% from the target reverberation time values can be achieved regardless of the absorption distribution in a room. The paper also discusses the oft neglected air absorption of sound, which may introduce considerable bias to the measurement results. The need for an air-absorption compensation procedure is highlighted, and a method for the estimation of its parameters in octave bands is proposed and compared with other approaches. The results of this study provide justification for the use of the Sabine and Eyring formulas for reverberation time predictions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1158-1169
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • reverberation
  • sound absorption
  • acoustics
  • room acoustic analysis


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