A theoretical method has been presented to describe sound decay in building enclosures and to simulate the room impulse response (RIR) employed for prediction of the indoor reverberation characteristics. The method was based on a solution of wave equation having the form of a series whose time-decaying components represent responses of acoustic modes to an impulse sound source. For small sound absorption on room walls this solution was found by means of the method of variation of parameters. A decay function was computed via the time-reverse integration of the squared RIR. Computer simulations carried out for a rectangular enclosure have proved that the RIR function reproduces the structure of a sound field in the initial stage of sound decay suffciently well. They have also shown that band-limitedness of the RIR has evident influence on the shape of the decay function and predicted decay times.
Reverberant responses are widely used to characterize acoustic properties of rooms, such as the early decay time (EDT) and the reverberation times T20 and T30. However, in real conditions a sound decay is often deformed by background noise, thus a precise evaluation of decay times from noisy room responses is the main problem. In this paper this issue is examined by means of numerical method where the decay times are estimated from the decay function that has been determined by nonlinear polynomial regression from a pressure envelope obtained via the discrete Hilbert transform. In numerical experiment the room responses were obtained from simulations of a sound decay for two-room coupled system. Calculation results have shown that background noise slightly affects the evaluation of reverberation times T20 and T30 as long as the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is not smaller than about 25 and 35 dB, respectively. However, when the SNR is close to about 20 and 30 dB, high overestimation of these times may occur as a result of bending up of the decay curve during the late decay.