Arup Soundlab New York; Arup Soundlab New York;

SoundLab and Experiential Spaces

Bringing acoustic design to life 

Bringing acoustic design to life 

Imagine being able to hear what your project will sound like, and understand how design choices will shape future experiences. A place where you explore and understand every aspect of sound and noise, and then use it to shape desired outcomes. This is why we created the SoundLab. 

What is SoundLab?

SoundLab is a collaborative environment where project constituents and stakeholders come together answers to fundamental questions like ‘how will the orchestra sound in different seats in this venue?’, ‘how much noise from this new railway will we hear at our residence?’, ‘will these patient rooms be quiet enough to allow an optimum recovery experience?’, ‘how much traffic noise will I hear in this new building’. The process brings common shared understanding, and confidence that the design outcomes will be as expected. 

We have used SoundLab to inform the design of some of the world’s best arts and culture venues, and to allow people to experience the impact of major infrastructure projects during the design process, shaping better design outcomes. SoundLab is also used alongside a range of immersive reality tools, including immersive projections, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality visualisation to allow multi-sensory design development in projects. 

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Why use SoundLab?

SoundLab is an extremely powerful collaborative environment, that enables project stakeholders, and communities to explore how acoustics can shape the built environment. By providing objective, quantifiable information in an accessible format, through listening, SoundLab makes the intangible tangible, demystifying and bringing clarity to design decisions.

SoundLab makes deeper use of data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, to extend the ways it can be used, drawing valuable insights from many thousands of completed projects. SoundLab can also be used with AR and VR, and because it is spatially precise, as you move around, particularly if wearing headsets, the sound is always true to what you see, (not the case in many VR experiences).  SoundLab® is a core tool in all the acoustics design work we undertake.

Design you can experience

The first iteration of SoundLab was deployed in 1998, and continues to be refined and upgraded. We have incorporated enhanced visualization and haptic capabilities in our ExperienceLab environments, and developed mobile versions to take to clients and stakeholders. Each lab offers a rich and revelatory experience, helping clients to experience, explore and understand their project, well before physical completion, and to build public understanding and support often vital to successful public projects.



Our industry leading, world pioneering technology for spatial audio design. Refined over 25 years, it has changed the way acoustic consulting and design is considered and conducted. 

Specially designed rooms, with neutral acoustics and state of the art spatial audio systems, allow people to come together, experience, and discuss sound and design.



Expanding beyond spatial audio and supporting visual and extended reality (XR) tools – ExperienceLab comes in a range of forms to include features to hear, see, feel, and broadly experience design in the physical and digital realm, for experiential engagement and decision making. 



Lighter weight, and portable, mLab uses a range of technologies modified and adapted for portability, and is usually deployed at project sites, or in places accessible to project constituents or the public, depending on the desired audio engagement.  

mLab creates collective understanding on projects around the globe, enabling more informed and focused dialogue about key issues and reaching a wider audience.

How we help you

SoundLab adds value to any project, from its earliest stages, through concept development, all the way to design, construction and operation. Its analysis, modelling and design insights are relevant to user experiences in almost every sector: 

Arts and culture

Reverberation Chamber for Bjork's Cornucopia

We helped the artist Björk realize her dream of singing in her natural voice, in the spaces that she experienced as a developing musician in her native Iceland, and bring it to the live stage.

Read about this project


The sound of trains

Whether expanding an existing network, mor introducing new rail systems, SoundLab and mLab have been used successfully to take noise impact studies into communities, and allowed them to experience, and in many cases navigate through examples themselves, to foster better dialogue, and understanding.

Find out more about this project


A new integrated station development in the heart of Sydney’s CBD

The impact of transport system on property requires careful assessment of acoustic impacts, whether introducing or changing rail systems or designing new developments, close to existing buildings, SoundLab and ExperienceLab have assisted property owners to understand these impacts and determine best mitigation approaches, be they at the building, in the transport system, or a combination of both, maximizing land use and value.

Find out more about this project

Urban planning and policy

Urban Air Mobility: Simulating the sounds of future cities

To understand the impact of UAM, one needs to do so in the context of the changing nature of cities, the move to electric vehicles, and other modes of urban transport.  This thought leadership piece explores those ideas as a speculation of possible futures. 

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The sound of windfarms

Hydro Tasmania used SoundLab auralisations as part of the community consultation for its proposed 200-turbine TasWind wind farm at King Island.

The auralisations used calibrated and verified sound recordings from the existing Studland Bay Wind Farm together with real existing background noises for areas considered for new wind farms. People could hear for themselves what the proposed new turbines would sound like at their properties.

Read more about the sound of windfarms

Get in touch

Access our SoundLab services through regional experts around the world. Contact us to experience how we can help you with your project. 


Meet our people

SoundLab® is a registered trademark.