Sound Panel Kits: Buyer Beware

MONDAY, MAY 6, 2013

The internet is chock full of soundproofing suppliers that offer prepackaged “kits” of acoustic panels, all boxed up and ready to ship at what look like very low price points.   While the internet can be a wealth of great information, it can also be a trap filled with alot of misinformation, which is the case with most sound panel “kit” systems.

With no single supplier in mind, just a general overview, we safeguard for our clients to beware of the kits.   The standard sound panel kit will no include anywhere near enough square foot coverage to trigger the sound effects that our clients are seeking, nor are the panels thick enough to produce the absorption coefficients that they are looking for.   The key to the success of sound tuning a room with acoustic panels is to ensure that the right “amount” of material is introduced into the room, and that the right “thickness” is ordered.  Otherwise, the sound values collapse, and despite what seems like a reasonable price for the kit, the money is actually being wasted.

The truth is that if a room is under treated with acoustic panels, the sound values decay rapidly.  And to properly insulate a room against excessive reverberations, square footage is more cost effective when bought in bulk, not as a kit, but by the panel.  The client should be determining the panel count, not the pre-determined kits.   Buy by the panel, not by the kit.   Plus you’ll notice that sound panel kits often include things you don’t need, such as corner cubes or triangular cuts.  These are all gimmicks designed to push more material out the door, but in fact don’t do anything to add ot the value of your soundproofing project.   Your best bet is to stay clear of the trap of buying sound panel “kits” and instead, target your soundproofing treatment based on overall coverage.  Home Theaters cover 30% of your walls.  Music Studios cover 50% of your walls.   Recording Studios cover 60% of your walls.  Drum Booths cover 70% of your walls.   By the time you use sound panel “kits” to generate the coverage, look at how much more money you would have ended up spending.

Our advice is simple.  Buyer beware.  Buy your sound panels by the panel, not the kit, and get the right amount of material, at the right thickness, drop shipped to your project site.   Don’t be fooled by low cost sound panel “kits” that misguide your treatment and deliver inferior soundproofing results.

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