If you’ve ever wondered how or why people soundproof their space, you’ve come to the right place. Soundproofing is one of those acts that have been around for decades, since the times of famous bands such as “The Beatles” when they wanted to record their music in a room with a professional studio to enhance their output, this is what the majority of the famous artists would choose.
Yes, a lot of them did it in their garages too but the difference of using a well-equipped sound studio versus recording music in your room far surpasses any sound you would ever hear in quality and production value, not to mention background noise.
There are tons of different types of sound-absorbing materials used in the market today. Different sectors that have gotten more advanced and popular over the years use these for various reasons. This fascinating article will tap into these reasons and the type of materials that you can use if considering to build a soundproof room or to use it for any other reasons. So, let’s jump right into this article, shall we?
How Soundproofing Works
The mechanics of it is quite fascinating for those who are interested. The relationship between soundproofing and sound waves is a complex one. In our everyday lives, we are surrounded by them no matter where they go.
NASA has a very interesting article about the science behind sound on their website that explains a sound wave as a longitudinal wave created by the energy that travels through any medium such as water or air. When something is loud, it is usually referred to as “amplitude” or sound intensity. The pitch is usually referred to as the “frequency”. One can get a glimpse of this content on their website https://www.nasa.gov/specials/X59/science-of-sound.html#
There are two types of sound waves, namely compression and pressure waves. Any of these is produced by vibrations of vibrating particles and gets reflected off surfaces, no matter what it is, wood, plastic, metal, a building to name a few. Softer surfaces such as carpets and curtains reflect minimal sound because they absorb most of it which means there are far less and sometimes even none, of the echo, that you would get with the harder surfaces.
When you embrace the idea that this fascinating “element” is produced just by hitting something or opening our mouths, you will appreciate that for instance, when a musician bangs a drum, the more he keeps banging it the more will they be vibrations that can get larger as the drum gets hit harder. The nearby particles in the air are caused to vibrate and these make up the sound that comes out of it.
It has been seen to travel at a speed of 343m/s through the air, and when there is water or some form of liquid, it travels even faster. One’s ear can detect these waves as sounds. When surfaces reflect it, it echoes.
In the context of music, sound barriers are typically used to absorb sounds coming out of the instruments as opposed to it producing an echo, which could cause issues when recording and less than perfect outputs. This is because when sound is reflected it alters the original waves and more audio distractions.
Having said that, let’s look at some of the reasons why people should invest in getting soundproofing and absorption materials when looking for less recording issues.
Reasons for Using Certain Absorption Materials
There are a few different ones you can invest in that are cost-effective and can help get the most out of any room. Absorption materials are slightly different from proofing materials. As mentioned above when sound hit something it can either bounce off or get absorbed. This is what the main difference between the two is.
The act of keeping sound from getting outside or leaving any space and trapping any unwanted noise from entering any space is what proofing refers to. however, when you want to improve the acoustics of a room or space, then absorbing it comes in handy. This means you are reducing any possibility of echoes.
Of course, a lot of homes and offices would much prefer a structure that does not have any echoes in it, and as such a lot of businesses have invested in this kind of technology. Three of the most prominent ones are:
1. The Music Industry – for making sure recording happens properly without interference.
2. Universities and Lecture Halls – for making sure students and lecturers can speak and listen clearly and audibly.
3. Conference Facilities – to make sure speakers and the audience of events can speak and listen to them clearly without any echoes.
So, when looking at the types of materials to use that would absorb the best, we have gathered a bit of information for you below. Read on.
Materials Used for Proper Absorption
When choosing the right kind of material, you should be looking into anything from “sound absorbers” to “sound diffusers”. These would include anything porous, soft, fluffy, and light because they better absorb the resonance. When looking around for one, either in stores or online, it is a good thing to know that nowadays not only do they serve the purpose of absorption but they also serve the purpose of making a room look aesthetically pleasing as well.
You can purchase them in an array of shapes, sizes, and colors to match the décor, making it a pleasant buy. Before we dive into the exciting bit, choosing the material, we will be taking a slight detour into touching on the 3 different categories of these materials.
1. Resonance Absorbers. You get the resonance absorbers, which house an acoustical and mechanical oscillation system which is created using plates with intervals of space for air in between them. They contain holes in them which are meant for trapping the air inside and keeping it there, thus making any possibility of echoes, less prevalent and more reduced.
When looking to get rid of low-frequency sounds or noises, this is your best bet. Made from sound-reducing materials such as Vinyl, certain sound-absorbing paint, and sprays.
2. Panel Absorbers. Then you get the panel absorbers which are created using non-rigid materials also known as single or membrane kinds. Good for bass or low frequencies, they come in acoustic paneling for rooms.
3. Porous Absorbers. Lastly, we have this kind which is made of porous materials. Sometimes also called open-celled foam and fibrous. The former absorbs air movement type of sounds through passages created in it and used mostly for mid-range sounds, while the latter can absorb the best as sound waves penetrate it and are absorbed as a result.
Now that you have some idea of the workings of this fascinating endeavor, let’s look at some of the materials you can invest in that will make the difference you are looking for.
Foam Paneling is possibly the most popular of the lot. It is easy to install, affordable, and comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors to fit any corner or trimming perfectly. It is however the best fit for a small space, not something like a theatre but more for a home entertainment room.
Fabric panels are those that are made from a wooden panel, that is wrapped in a fabric that acts as a sound absorber, sometimes a dense fiberglass one is used too. This can also be followed by a carpet or 2underlayment” if you have laminate or hardwood floors and is a good all-round solution. You can get a partition or a cotton batt if that’s the type of thing you prefer.
It is also good to know that cotton materials allow for less germ infestation.
Mineral Wool is also another option and is used for both proofing and absorbing sound. It is heat tolerant, water, and fire-resistant as well so if you’re looking to coat up your basement this may be the way to go.
We think that you could choose one of the above and make good use of any space in your home or office building.