Sound absorbing materials

There are many soundproofing materials on the market today. At best, many are good products and truly useful for soundproofing, and at worst some are of questionable benefit to homeowners and businesses. Most of these products are readily found online, while a few are more specialized and will require a special order. Study this list of products and you can easily find the best soundproof materials to complete your project start to finish, and stay within your building budget.

These are the most used soundproofing materials; each category has different best use scenarios. Each of these acoustic materials falls into one of these categories: Sound Absorbing, Sound Insulation, Sound Dampening, and Decoupling.

Rather than reflecting noise, sound waves are absorbed into this type of material, softening echo and reverberation to improve the sound in a room. One useful material is fabrics, used for heavy acoustic curtains and blankets. The most popular though is acoustic foam, a special material designed with special cell structure and density to deflect, dampen, and absorb unwanted sounds.

They are commonly used in studios, theaters, and entertainment centers. Best Use : For improving the sound in small to medium rooms, like recording studios, control boardrooms, and even small home theaters. Auralex is a well know acoustic foam brand that has dozens of foam shapes and sizes that are perfect for musicians, recording artists, podcasters, and home theater lovers. Studiofoam Wedges have an NRC rating of 0. Best Use : Use as an alternative to the Auralex panels.

They offer multiple attractive colors to break up with the charcoal that looks great in any room. Pro Studio wedges are made in the USA from a high-quality acoustic foam. The wedges can be installed on walls where noise reflection is a problem, or as ceiling tiles to cut down echo and reverberation.

Most people use the Pro Studio Acoustic foam panels for absorbing sound in both home and professional use. The bright colors liven up theater rooms, gaming rooms, voice booths, and studios while absorbing sound and killing echoes. Best Use : Acoustic panels are best for rooms where the appearance of wedge and pyramid foam is undesirable.As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. These days a lot of people have the need to install sound absorption products whether in their house or office or somewhere else.

They keep asking me what materials are the most effective for certain situation, and how can you distinguish them. However, knowing which materials are absorbing the acoustics in your room the best, in my opinion, your sound treatment job will be half-way done.

sound absorbing materials

With this in mind, I decided to provide an answer to your questions. Although you may already know what a sound absorption is, let us revise that, just in case. Sound absorption can sometimes be confused with soundproofingwhich, actually, does not make much sense because they are pretty different. It is important to know that, when a sound encounters an object, only two things can happen: it can be either absorbed sound absorbing or reflected back soundproofing.

If you want to prevent an unwanted noise from entering or leaving a space, you need soundproofing. However, the situation with sound absorption is unlike. You need sound absorption when you want to improve the acoustics of the room. By doing this you are, basically, reducing the echo because it is being absorbed, and all you get is an audible and clear sound within the room. To put it in this way, sound absorption presents the loss of sound energy because sound waves are absorbed by sound absorbing products placed on places such as walls, ceilings, floors.

However, the sound made in one room can be audible in another room since the sound absorbing material only reduces an echo but it does not block it. First of all, the installation of sound absorbing product can contribute to suitable acoustic environment within a space, which is, you could agree, an enjoyable place to be in. Also, sound absorption is a desirable, or even necessary, solution for schools, sports halls, recording studios, lecture auditoriums, theatres, cinemas, or concert venues.

Therefore, you can find sound absorption anywhere. Since they are so widely used, you should know what types of materials are there and how you can distinguish them. When it comes to sound absorbing materials, also called sound absorbers or sound diffusors, they are, usually, soft, light, fluffy, or porous, which enables them to better absorb an echo. While products made of sound absorbing material can soften up the surfaces of the room, they are also designed to contribute to the aesthetics of the room.

Furthermore, you should pay attention to the fact that a sound absorbing ability of a material is not always the same depending on frequency of a sound. So, low frequenciesbelow Hz, can be much more difficult to detect and absorb while higher frequencies are, usually, easier to absorb.

Before moving on to the materials themselves, you should know that they are divided into three main categories. As the name says, they are made of a porous material.Edit this template. Part 1: Lumped Acoustical Systems — 1. Part 2: One-Dimensional Wave Motion — 2. Part 3: Applications — 3.

Noise can be defined as unwanted sound. There are many cases and applications that reducing noise level is of great importance. Loss of hearing is only one of the effects of continuous exposure to excessive noise levels. Noise can interfere with sleep and speech, and cause discomfort and other non-auditory effects.

Moreover, high level noise and vibration lead to structural failures as well as reduction in life span in many industrial equipments. As an example in control valves, the vibration caused by flow instability occasionally defects the feedback to the control system and resulting in extreme oscillations. The importance of noise issue could be well understood by looking at regulations that have been passed by governments to restrict noise production in society. Modifying and canceling sound field by electro-acoustical approaches is called active noise control.

There are two methods for active control. First by utilizing the actuators as an acoustic source to produce completely out of phase signals to eliminate the disturbances. The latter method is called active structural acoustic control ASAC. Passive noise control refers to those methods that aim to suppress the sound by modifying the environment close to the source.

Since no input power is required in such methods, Passive noise control is often cheaper than active control, however the performance is limited to mid and high frequencies.

Sound waves striking an arbitrary surface are either reflected, transmitted or absorbed; the amount of energy going into reflection, transmission or absorption depends on acoustic properties of the surface.

Best Sound Absorbing Materials (14 Examples of Acoustic Materials)

The reflected sound may be almost completely redirected by large flat surfaces or scattered by a diffused surface. When a considerable amount of the reflected sound is spatially and temporally scattered, this status is called a diffuse reflection, and the surface involved is often termed a diffuser. The absorbed sound may either be transmitted or dissipated.The answer to this question is that you are looking to block sound from going through your ceilings, walls, windows and doors.

Acoustical Caulk -Acoustical Caulk is a non-hardening, sound absorbing material with the active ingredient of Ethylene Glycol. Silicone is not an acoustical caulk so please do not buy for a soundproofing project.

The America Mat is a valuable material for use in applications requiring maximum sound reduction. Closed cell foam material is used as both a sound blocker and sound absorber. The America Mat is used often in automobiles as a hood liner, planes as a material to be placed underneath floorboards, door panels, baggage compartments, instrument panels and on cabin side of firewall, boats for engine room isolation, passenger cabin noise reduction, deck and wheel room soundproofing along with hull noise attenuation.

This material is also used in small quantities to line air conditioner enclosures and aquarium pedestals. Green Glue -Green Glue is one of the most cost effective solutions for soundproofing large areas currently on the market. A highly advanced and easy to apply soundproofing material, Green Glue can be applied between layers of standard drywall and requires no demo to use in existing space.

It provides superb sound absorption capabilities and will stop the vibration often attributed to air handling devices. Echoless roll material has a class A fire rating and reduces both heat and cooling air loss, while providing low air resistance within the ducting.

Call the professionals at Soundproofing America and ask about this great sound reducing product for your heating and air conditioning system.

Call For Pricing! American Sound Blankets TM: Sound Blankets, which are also known sometimes as Sound Curtains, are a combination of a barrier material with a sound absorption material such as fiberglass or open cell foam on one or both sides of the blanket.

These two materials are then covered with a quilted fabric blanket material and then grommets are placed into the blanket so that it can be hanged from J-hooks. The sound blanket is often an easy product to install for machine enclosures, sound isolation between two sections of a room, and door area coverage.

Sound blankets are available for both indoor and outdoor projects. This material sticks very effectively to the American Mass Loaded Vinyl. Low cost noise reduction and sound blockage are the benefits of this material along with a class 1A non-flammable fire rating. This material is perfect for noise reduction and blocking in swimming pool and Jacuzzi areas, gymnasiums, car washes, schools and many other places where you need both sound absorption and blocking from a material resistant to mold, mildew, chemicals and moisture.

The charcoal version is ideal for Movie Theater, ceiling tiles.The way we perceive sound and the specific properties a sound might have depends a lot on the environment. A common way to change the way sound is perceived is to add sound absorbent materials to a room.

15 Best Soundproofing Materials and Products

Since many different types of material are needed to cover the wide range of usages and environments needed for sound absorption, there is no one particular type of material that is the best. There are general properties that the best sound absorbers have, regardless of material. Sound is a pressure wave that can travel through liquids, solids and gases. The vibrations of a sound wave interact with your eardrums, which are then translated by your brain into sound. When a sound wave encounters any surface it interacts with it in three ways.

It can transmit through the surface, it can be absorbed by the surface and it can be reflected by the surface. The specific levels of each interaction type depend on the material encountered. For instance, a solid surface such as concrete will absorb little of the sound and reflect most of it away. Porous sound-absorbent materials will be anything that can transmit sound through themselves and then absorb the sound, converting it into a small amount of friction energy.

These can be items such as carpet, heavy draperies and open-cell foams. Any item that will allow air to pass into it and then be absorbed by a cellular structure will make a good sound absorber. The best porous sound-absorber materials will be specifically made for sound absorption, such a thick foam pads or thick sound-dampening window drapes.

Another way sound can be absorbed is by allowing the material to flex and reverberate, effectively absorbing and dissipating the wave.

This is done with flexible panels such as thin wood or other non-rigid material suspended in a frame. Any large surface that has the ability to resonate with any sound that interacts with it can be used as a panel sound absorber. Panel materials are generally better at absorbing lower frequencies then porous materials.

Too much sound absorption can be a bad thing. Without a small amount of natural reverberation that comes from reflected sound waves, sounds will have a dead or flat quality. Also, be aware that some sound-absorbing materials will absorb certain frequencies more than others, such as thin wood panels absorbing more of the lower frequencies. If are looking to use soundproofing as a means of creating a better environment for music, for instance, then wood paneling may rob the sound of a lot of the bass, creating a very flat experience.

What Materials Absorb Sound the Best? Radio station studios use sound-absorbent materials to prevent excessive reverb. Girl with headphones. Theatre curtains.

Recording studio with wood panel. Acoustic foam for sound absorption. Mix Online: Sound Absorbing Materials. Share this article. Show Comments.However, not many people consider the interior sound quality of their homes when making these types of decisions. As you may already know, sound waves travel in all directions. If you use the right sound absorbing materials, you can significantly lessen these kinds of reverberations.

In order to have the best results, you first need to know what all of these materials can do. However, these are, in fact, different strategies for fighting unwanted noise. Sound absorbing materialson the other hand, are not meant to stop sound from coming in or out, but to improve the acoustics of a room.

More specifically, they are intended to reduce echoing and reverberation of sound already present in the area for example the sound of music produced within your home studio.

This type of structure enables them to absorb a portion of the sonic energy of the sound wave rather than reflect it back where it arrived.

sound absorbing materials

What happens is a reduction in the reverberation time in your space. A shorter reverberation time results in decreased noise and echo, along with clear and audible indoor sound. In practice, if you are looking for overall sound isolation, you will need to employ both soundproofing and sound absorbing materials.

sound absorbing materials

Still, if you are bothered explicitly by echo and reverberations, your only option is to use sound absorbers. Sound absorbing materials employ their acoustic features, rather than their mass, to absorb echo within a space. Scientifically speaking, there are three main types of sound absorbers :. Porous absorbers, as the name suggests, consist of porous materials.

Their sound-absorbing effect comes from the fact that the sound waves can penetrate the surface of the material and flow into the cellular or fibrous structure, where they are dampened and converted into heat the amount of heat is minimal — less than one millionth of a watt.

In other words, porous sound absorbing materials convert the energy of sound into heat energy, which means that only a small part of sound energy is reflected back into the room. Typical examples are different textiles, carpets, curtains, open-cell foams, mineral wool insulation, glass fiberetc. Membrane absorbers are non-porous and non-rigid materials that are most effective in the bass frequency range but not with higher frequencies.

Regardless, they are a standard feature in our day-to-day life. For example, common building elements like windows, doors, floors all function as panel absorbers, as well as tables, chairs, closets and other furniture. Resonance absorbers consist of an acoustical oscillation system, where there is a solid plate on the front end with tight air space behind it. These plates include perforated materials for example perforated plasterboard or metal and materials that have holes or other openings.In an attempt to achieve complete quietness, we take all the possible steps, including spending our time and money.

But before, I dive deep into the topic, allow me to walk you through some basic information related to sound wave. Interference 1: The obstacle is very hard, and thus the majority of sound waves bounces back causing echoes.

To extract the maximum of the sound absorbing materials, you need to be well aware of the functioning of the different kinda sound absorbing materials.

Sound Absorption Materials

Soundproofing materials are used when one wants to prevent the sound from entering a room or vice-versa. For example, these materials can be used to enhance the audio quality of music produced in your home studio. I also had the same query in my mind when I was just starting my career in the soundproofing domain. Soundproofing materials are quite heavy and dense whereas sound absorbing materials are light, soft, porous and fluffy.

So, next time, if anyone says that I want sound diffusers, then it simply means that he is looking for sound absorbing materials. The soft and porous nature of the sound absorbing materials helps them to absorb a certain portion of the sound wave rather than reflecting it back on interaction.

As a result, you can expect a reduction in the reverberation time which leads to decrease noise and echo making way for clear and audible indoor sound. Unlike soundproofing materials, sound absorbing materials employ their acoustic features rather than their mass and density to enhance the quality of existing sounds.

The sound waves when interacts with the porous surface can easily penetrate through the surface of the material and flow into the fibrous structure, and there these waves are dampened and converted into heat. In the layman language, the porous sound-absorbing materials convert a high portion of sound waves into heat energy. As a result, only a small portion of the sound waves will reflect back from the porous surface into the room.

Some examples of porous absorbers are carpets, curtains, open-cell foams, mineral wool insulation, glass fiber, etc. Many of my clients have overlooked the membrane absorbers just because of their solid appearance.

You may also get confused with their appearance and feel like these membrane absorbers may not absorb sound. It consists of an acoustical oscillation system where there is a solid plate on the front-end with tight air space behind it.

The material used in these plates plays a significant role in the performance of the resonance absorbers. For example, you can expect plates to be made of perforated materials such as metal or perforated plasterboard with the presence of holes or openings.

It acts as a bottleneck and traps the sound waves and locks it into the space behind the materials. You can find a detailed explanation of high resonance absorbers work in this article.

So, I had tried to the best of my capabilities to walk you through the basic information related to the best sound absorbing materials.

What Materials Absorb Sound the Best?

In fact, the interiors of these sofas consist of foam, and thus, you can expect a tangible improvement in the acoustics. Moreover, when selecting a sofa for the acoustical purpose, you should also keep in mind the importance of the fabrics.

So, in case, you own a leather sofa, then the best thing that you can do is to smother it in cushions and blankets.

Sound Absorption Materials

However, you also need to look for sound absorbing materials that can work great when it comes soundproofing floorceiling, and most importantly walls. Well, getting a memory foam carpet underlay will serve your purpose. You can imagine the memory foam as a half-inch thick cloud that you could slide under your carpet to give it the required thickness.

You can also use thick carpets on your walls and ceilings- not to mention a quirky design choice:.

sound absorbing materials

In the case of bare walls, the majority of sound waves bounces off because of the hard surface of the wall. The benefit of using tapestries is that it can add some mass to the wall, and thus it can also act as soundproofing materials.

Recently, I completed one project where I added soundproofing materials to the wall, and then covered it with tapestries for aesthetic and absorbing purposes. If yes, then you would have definitely felt that the egg cartons are too thin to block any noise, right?

But, at the same time, you would have found people placing the egg cartons on their walls creating doubt in your mind, right? Just think of a cotton tapestry, it is thin still it is able to absorb sound waves, and same holds true with the egg cartons. I would highly recommend you to try this option because it will not cost you a single dollar, right?