Digital Sound Masking

Creatif’s digital sound masking system aims to reduce noise distraction, protect speech privacy and ultimately increase workplace productivity.

Humm is the process of adding to an environment a low level of unobtrusive background sound, which is engineered to protect confidentiality and reduce distractions by lowering the intelligibility of speech. This in turn makes the acoustical environment more comfortable.

What is Humm?

The concept explained...

The stars shine brightly against the night sky. As dawn breaks, the stars appear to dim as the ambient light increases.

The intensity of the starlight has not changed, but rather as the ambient light increases, it becomes more difficult to discern the light from the stars.

How is this applied to speech?

This works the same for human speech. As the ambient sound in the room increases, it becomes more challenging to discern an individual’s conversation from across the room. This inability to understand the conversation reduces distractions and increases the speaker’s speech privacy.

The problems

Most workplaces today feature more open spaces and smaller, and often shared, workstations. Less sound absorptive materials are being used such as lower or non-existent partitions, hard or glass surfaces, and thinner walls and doors. This creates acoustical challenges that negatively impact workplace satisfaction, productivity, and speech privacy.

Sound Distraction

Distraction brought about by noise is driving your employees crazy. Its why they put in headphones, or feel the need to shout to be heard by their colleagues. More distraction means less productivity, which essentially means less money!

Noise Distractions & Monetary Cost

In a recent study presented to the International Congress of Noise as a Public Health Problem, researchers found that on average employees wasted 21.5 minutes per day due to conversational distractions, making lack of speech privacy the number one cause of reduced productivity. An additional 2014 Steelcase/Ipsos study found that employees lost as much as 86 minutes per day due to noise distractions.

Even using conservative estimates, this loss of productivity adds up to big monetary losses for companies. 21.5 minutes daily is roughly 4% of an average employee’s work day (based on an 8 hour day). Some quick math shows that a company with 100 employees and an average employee salary cost of $50,000 is losing $200,000 a year in lost productivity.

Speech Privacy

Confidential and sensitive information is communicated within every workspace in the world on a daily basis. Private meeting rooms do not usually totally eliminate sound transfer, meaning people have to step outside to have a private conversation, or whisper whilst looking over their shoulders.

Noise Distractions & Productivity

Employees are interrupted once every 11 minutes according to research from UC Irvine, and it takes them up to 23 minutes to get back into the flow of what they were doing before they were interrupted. And its not just interruptions that are a problem…

Employees are all too aware of lack of speech privacy within the workspace – so much so, it has been identified as one of the biggest frustrations experienced by staff when evaluating their own workspace.

The Solution

QtPro uniformly disperses a pre-tuned Humm signal directly into the workspace. The result is a consistent sound throughout the space that is easily achievable without the complex tuning required by indirect systems.

The QtPro system is designed to meet the unique acoustic requirements of a space, whether large or small.

Qt emitters are easily installed by certified masking professionals in a simple grid pattern, determined by ceiling height. During the layout and design phase, the space is divided into zones based on acoustic requirements of the space. Zones can range from 100 square feet (9.3 m2) to 12,000 square feet (1,115 m2).

In the example below, the office space is separated into six zones, allowing for different volume levels for each unique space.

Technical Information

The patented QtPro system is a costeffective solution to protecting speech privacy and reducing distractions. It consists of three simple components; emitters (i.e. loudspeakers), control modules, and cables that connect the emitters to the control modules. The Qt® control modules come in three different sizes depending on the size of the space they cover.

Control Modules

Qt Emitters are powered and controlled by intuitive Qt Control Modules. The modules come in three different sizes depending on the size of the space being masked. A single Qt 600 for example can connect to up to 720 emitters — covering up to 72,000 square feet (6,690 m2) of space.

Qt® Emitters

Qt Emitters are the backbone of the Qt Quiet Technology Humm System. Qt emitters are wide dispersion direct-field speakers with 1.25” (3.17 cm) drivers and are smaller than a coffee mug. These emitters deliver four uncorrelated audio channels, which provide uniform, unobtrusive Humm. This feature, along with easy configuration capability, makes QtPro the most intelligently engineered and most effective Humm system available. The versatile Qt Emitters are capable of being mounted in any ceiling type.

System Options


Humm Product Brochure
O&M Manual
Return to Acoustif