Ore Hill & Swyft

When two different restaurants share one space, attention to acoustical design is paramount. In Kent, CT, the dining destination Ore Hill & Swyft called on Criterion Acoustics (CA) to assure sonic separation between dual establishments under one roof.


Swyft, a casual tavern-style pizza parlor is on one side, while the more intimate Ore Hill and its farm-focused tasting menu is on the other. Making things even more interesting for CA was the fact that both restaurants were built within a historic circa-1780’s post and beam farmhouse.


CA made sure that while all of the sound isolation was effective, no treatments negatively impacted the renovated building’s unique atmosphere or structure. “There are often weight limitations and historic preservation concerns in a project like this,” says Dave Kotch, President of Criterion Acoustics. “The architect and interior designer might want the old wooden beams to remain exposed, for example. So the acoustical treatments you select must strike a balance between sound absorption and appearance.”


To maintain the design vision at Ore Hill & Swyft, CA specified high-end materials that were equally effective and discreet. As a result, noise transfer between the two restaurants is minimized, allowing diners to focus fuly on the outstanding culinary creations of award-winning chef Joel Viehland.


“People have high expectations from the moment they enter Ore Hill & Swyft,” Kotch says. “If a place like this looks and feels amazing, but diners can’t have a conversation, that’s a problem. The acoustical design and sound isolation here are essential to a transporting experience.”

Marquee Las Vegas Nightclub

The Marquee Las Vegas is a live venue that stands out on the Las Vegas Strip. A 3,000 capacity nightclub/dayclub within the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, its outstanding sound comes via Criterion Acoustics.


With the Marquee’s sister venue, Rose.Rabbit.Lie, right next door, eliminating structure-borne noise and vibration was essential for both venues. The firm floated the theater’s entire 25,000 sq. ft. floor, which successfully achieved extreme sound isolation.

Spartan Gym

CA’s deep experience working with gyms nationwide made them the choice of Spartan Gym, a 14,000 sq. ft. facility opened in partnership with 1 Hotel South Beach in Miami.


Filled with unique gear designed for functional fitness, including equipment like overhead ropes, nets, pipes, heavy ropes, and sleds, Spartan Gym offers a first-of-its-kind workout to hotel guests and residents of 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach.


The acoustical experience is in keeping with the gym’s elite design. CA provided comprehensive noise and vibration isolation for the gym, as well as sound isolation for the Bamford Hayburn Spa, created by noted luxury hotel and spa designer Spencer Fung.


Texas Live

Texas Live is a new entertainment facility located in Arlington, Texas. The project celebrated its grand opening in August 2018, welcoming the public to its 200,000 square feet of dining and entertainment options. Upon completion in 2019 Texas Live will also feature a 300+ room upscale convention hotel, 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, plus an outdoor event pavilion, Arlington Backyard, accommodating up to 5,000 people.


Criterion Acoustics (CA) was chosen to assure that Texas Live exceeds all expectations for audio. Services provided include an environmental noise study, sound isolation design, noise control for mechanical/electrical/plumbing systems, and internal room acoustics.


“Texas Live is a massive playground that reflects the modern pastimes and culture of Texas,” says Amanda Lind, Ph. D., of Criterion Acoustics. “Arlington Backyard presented unique challenges for CA to address. This outdoor area included an open-air pavilion with flown speaker arrays. The facility wanted to be able to achieve optimal listening levels there without distributing the adjacent hotel tower, which required special care to ensure high acoustic quality.”


CA performed extensive computer simulations to get Texas Live’s acoustical properties right the first time. “A well-run simulation can save a project considerable money and time,” Lind explains. “We simulated how sound from the outdoor pavilion propagated to the nearby hotel towers, and the subsequent transmission through glass and the reverberation within the towers. These exercises led us to design a directional subwoofer configuration for the facility, among other components.”


CA also simulated Texas Live’s indoor area where sports broadcasts are viewed, to achieve the ideal sound properties. “There is a large interior viewing area, as well as adjacent bars and retail spaces,” says Lind. “We made a point of keeping reverb times down there, conscientiously balancing costs and acoustic quality. For example, we recommended perforated wood absorption to go with Texas Live’s glass façade-driven aesthetic.


“Making an informed decision about acoustic treatments can save a lot of money on a project of this scale,” Lind continues. “The wrong acoustic treatments can be unnecessary or ineffective. And if they aren’t considered at all, a large-volume space such as this would be stressful and unappealing to spend time in: having a normal conversation in a bar wouldn’t be possible.”


With Texas Live already drawing in large volumes of locals and tourists, the facility shows the importance of a well-executed acoustical design. “Ownership didn’t overspend and the customer feels comfortable in the space,” concludes Lind. “Whether they’re experiencing live music or a sports broadcast, the program material sounds clear without being overwhelming. People can fully enjoy being here.”


Rivers Casino & Resort

One of the most highly anticipated additions to the Empire State is the Rivers Casino in Schenectady, NY. This $330 million facility is the flagship of an even larger mixed-use development that is revitalizing the area.


Criterion Acoustics’ expertise with clubs, hotels, and commercial acoustical design made it the optimal choice for the project. CA performed sound isolation, mechanical noise control, and internal room acoustics throughout the attraction.


“Casinos are consistently becoming higher-end properties,” notes CA President Dave Kotch. “That means an increased emphasis on sound isolation between the gaming floor and the guestrooms, as well as guestroom-to-guestroom. Visitors expect a higher-quality experience than hotels can offer — acoustical design plays an essential role in delivering on that promise.”

APG “A Studio” Los Angeles

Criterion Acoustics’ (CA) expertise was essential to an important new addition to major label recording. The recently opened “A Studio” in Los Angeles is a next-generation creative space built around highly advanced recording studio facilities, founded by Artists Partners Group (APG), Atlantic Records and Warner Music Group (WMG).


Consisting of four studios, editing and writing rooms, executive offices and a shared communal space, the complex will serve artistic endeavors from across WMG’s family of labels – including Atlantic, Warner Bros. and their subsidiary labels – as well operating as an A&R incubator for new talent.


CA collaborated extensively with Mike Caren, Founder and CEO of Artist Publishing Group and Artist Partner Group/Creative Officer of WMG, and Atlantic Records Chairman & CEO Craig Kallman to bring the partnerships’ vision to life. Services provided by CA include recording studio design, internal room acoustics, noise and vibration control, sound isolation, AV systems, mechanical noise control, and more.


The “A Studio” was the subject of a feature article in Billboard. Discover more details about this groundbreaking facility here.


(Photo credit: Elisabeth Caren)

Human Studios

Project Closeup: Criterion Acoustics Designs a Dual-Purpose Studio for Human Worldwide


In New York City, nobody wants to waste a single square foot. Music company Human Worldwide is getting the most out of composer/founder Andy Bloch’s studio, owing to an innovative two-rooms-in-one design by Criterion Acoustics (CA).


Human has established itself as a top player, writing original music and sound design for advertising, film, TV and interactive media, sporting a client list that includes Nike, Diet Coke, Google, Adidas, Delta Airlines and many more global brands. When Bloch’s original studio was ravaged by a fire, he seized the opportunity to quicken his workflow by combining his control room and live room into one space.


“We’re seeing more and more demand for multipurpose rooms – in this case, it’s for composing and recording,” says Dave Kotch, Co-founder of Criterion Acoustics. “People do it because it saves on space, so it saves on cost. Also, music creators don’t always need a live room. There are fewer live instruments being used in sessions, so combining a control room with a live room makes sense.”


Bloch chose Criterion Acoustics to execute an upgrade in the sound, functionality and aesthetics of his Union Square facility, where he routinely records multiple live instruments, then has to execute a quick mix. “We had a live room and production room, but they never sounded good,” Bloch says. “It became more of a hassle to go get a drum mic then to dial up a sample, so the live space became a storage room and a mess. After the fire I said, ‘Let’s do it right.’ It was now or never.


“This is a laptop-based virtual industry, but to have a live room and record real music is the way that I came up. It’s a great asset, and you ultimately make better music in that kind of environment.”


Making it Multipurpose


Criterion Acoustics designed a comprehensive program for the studio, including full internal room acoustics, sound isolation from the existing rooms and mechanical noise control.


The project’s major challenge was to make one side of the room suitable for recording, while the other would be highly accurate for mixing. “For any kind of live room, especially when you’re recording drums, you want a reverberant room sound,” explains Sam Neff, Co-Founder of Criterion Acoustics. “Whereas in a critical listening environment, you want it to be flat so you can get an accurate mix.


“You don’t want a real live mix room with any reflections, because then everything you mix is going to end up sounding dead. We made it flat on the side he mixes on with acoustical absorbers, and put more reflective surfaces on the other side.”


Criterion Acoustics was selective about the acoustical materials that were used, specifying hardwood floors, high-quality carpet, and maple wood treatments throughout – even in the ceiling clouds — to create natural reverb tones that would best represent the piano and drums.


The firm also mastered a tricky HVAC system at Human. “The HVAC is the coolest thing,” says Bloch.Criterion Acoustics came up with a great solution. It’s very quiet and comfortable, with beautiful baffles that they designed.”


Better Faster


For Andy Bloch, his new room at Human provides everything he needs to turn around a national spot in as little as a few hours – and look sharp doing it.


“If you’re actually going to put up a mic and capture a performance, the room has to sound good, and the performer has to get something back from the room,” he states. “And clients love to hang out in these places — that’s important to keep in mind when you’re creating a live room and acoustic environment.


“When you make music for advertising media, we don’t have the luxury of sitting around for weeks and months, fine-tuning. Our tracks have to sound as good as records, and it has to happen immediately. A studio like this gives you an edge.”


— CA