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You are here: Home > Articles > Sonet Sound Privacy System - Frequently Asked Questions

Sonet Office Privacy System
Frequently Asked Questions

How does sound masking work?
Recent studies have found that more than 75% of all workers in open-plan offices are distracted by out-of-office conversations. Sound masking technology, proven effective in thousands of open office installations, constructively adds background noise to dramatically reduce remote speech intelligibility. Experiments show that when office background noise increases, the clarity of intrusive speech decreases and distractions are reduced. The Sonet System's unique Patented Digital "Qt Quiet" Technology™ achieves this interference with a minimal increase in acoustic background level.

How does sound masking provide speech privacy?
Experiments show that when office background noise increases, the clarity of intrusive speech decreases. The Sonet Sound Masking System's unique Patented Digital "Qt Quiet" Technology™ targets the specific area of speech (consonants) that is most effective in rendering speech unintelligible. It also helps to cover hundreds of other miscellaneous noises present in an open environment floor plan, and with a minimal increase in acoustic background level.

Where should the speakers be placed to achieve confidential speech privacy?
When addressing issues of speech privacy, treat all adjoining areas outside of the offices, or conference rooms, in which sensitive conversations occur. So, if you are concerned about being overheard in the hallway in front of your office, speakers should be installed in the hallway. Confidential Speech Privacy is not possible in cubicle settings.

What difference does Digital "Qt Quiet" Technology™ make?
For years, sound masking systems have relied on a broad-spectrum analog signal to reduce speech intelligibility. With its New-Patented Digital "Qt Quiet" Technology™, the Sonet System can now target the specific area of speech (consonants) that is most defective in rendering speech unintelligible. This targeted spectrum allows the Sonet to provide the same level of speech and noise cancellation as an analog system, but at a lower, less intrusive volume level.

Why isn't added background sound as intrusive as nearby conversations?
Unlike speech, the sound produced by the Sonet System has no "structure." It is easy for the user acclimates to it, and the added background sound from the Sonet System just fades away; one simply doesn't hear it.

Does everyone need sound masking?
No. Sensistivity to out-of-office conversations varies - about 25% of workers do not find out-of-office conversations distracting.

How long should it take for me to adjust to the Sonet System background?
Most users adjust within a period of several days. To acclimate the most easily, we recommend that you start using Sonet with a low volume, and gradually increase over several days until you have achieved the desired interference with your neighbor's conversations.

Will my use of the Sonet System disturb my co-workers?
No. The Sonet background levels are so low that neighbors are not impacted. However, we do recommend that you allow sufficient time (at least one week) for co-workers to adjust to the new sound.

Can the Sonet Sound Privacy System be used in closed offices?
Yes. In a closed office, the Sonet emitters are located 8" above the floor insted of on the wall at head height and the emitted spectral pattern is optimized for closed offices via a simple adjustment. An enclosed installation sheet provides details.

Why is the Sonet System better than an in-ceiling (plenum) sound masking systems?

The Sonet System has several advantages over traditional, in-ceiling (plenum) systems, such as the Voice Arrest Speech Privacy System:

* The Sonet System can be installed in minutes without any special training. Traditional systems require installation by electrical contractors or other professionals

* The Sonet System can easily be moved with the office occupant. Relocating traditional systems is so costly as to be impractical.

* The Sonet System has a very low threshold of investment and it treats only the workspaces where occupants are distracted by conversations. Traditional systems must be installed for a larger area if they are to have any economy of scale.

* The individual office occupant controls the Sonet System sound level to suit his or her needs. Traditional systems sound levels must be the same for everyone. No individual adjustment is possible.

Why is The Sonet System superior to other alternative background sound, like sleep aids?
Sleep aids were created for a very different purpose. Most sleep aids produce structured noise, like crickets singing or ocean waves breaking. These sounds are not efficient at interfering with nearby speech, and would not have the same impact as the Sonet System, even if played at a very high volume (which would be inappropriate in an office setting). In general, sleep aids provide a very localized sound that many people find to be very annoying if heard for long periods. In addition, sleep aids are desktop devices, which unlike the Sonet System, take up valuable desktop workspace. White noise machines are available at

Why isn't sound masking more widely used?
Although traditional sound masking technology is known to over 80% of facility managers, the high initial cost to install these in-ceiling systems has been a barrier to its widespread use.

Is The Sonet System cost-effective?
Absolutely. Because The Sonet System can be installed only in workspaces where sound masking is needed, it is more cost effective than in-ceiling systems. Also, the Sonet System can be tested in potential problem areas. Traditional, in-ceiling systems offer no such option.

How many Emitters can be used with each Sonet System?
The Sonet System comes standard with 2 speakers or emitters, and 2 Extension Kits (includes 2 additional emitters in each kit), can be added. This is a good way to make the system even more cost effective, provided that the different areas in which the emitters are placed can all be set at the same volume level.

Can the Emitters be installed in the Ceiling?
No. The Sonet System Emitters where designed for use in the actual work area. Emitters should be placed equidistantly near the ceiling, near the floor, on beams, or on other structures. Our rule of thumb is at least one speaker for every 100 sq. ft. of area treated. If you need ceiling mounted emitters see the VoiceArrest System.

What is included in the package?
Each Sonet Office Privacy System comes with, 1 controller, 2 emitters, 2 cables, power & mounting hardware and supports 1 workstation (generally up to 10 x 12 Ft.)

Each Sonet Extension Kit comes with 2 emitters, 2 cables & mounting hardware.

A Sonet System with one extension kit added (total of 4 emitters) can generally treat a work station up to 12 x 20 Ft. For large areas, up to two extension kits may be added to a Sonet. Each Sonet controller can operate with a maximum of 6 emitters (Maximum of two extension Kits).

The Sonet Sound Privacy System is available at