How to Choose Acoustical Panels

9 Tips For Choosing Acoustical Sound Panels

If you are experiencing unwelcome levels of noise in your office space, gym, cafeteria, or church and want to lower the level of echo, a series of wall or ceiling mounted sound panels is your answer.   Place them in your room, they’ll absorb echoes, lower noise levels, and deliver back great quality sound.   Here are 9 tips for choosing your panels:

1.  Use Fire Rated Materials to Control Sound

Fiberglass panels are class A fire rated.  Foam panels made of melamine foam are also class A fire rated.  Polyurethane foam is not.  If you are in a public venue, target class A fire-rated sound panels.  See Fabric Panels.

2. The Durability of Typical Soundproofing Materials

Foam panels are effective for controlling echoes, but they have a shelf life to them.   Eventually, they will deteriorate over time, crumbling to dust and becoming less and less effective.  Their average shelf life is about 7 years.   Foam is great for music rooms, studio settings, drum booths, etc..but not public venues such as gymnasiums.

3. The Beauty of Acoustic Control Panels

Foam panels are sculpted to deliver a variety of patterns.  Fiberglass panels are wrapped in colored acoustically transparent fabric, and can also be custom color paint matched (Blush Panels) or have digital images printed onto the face of the panels to create large beautiful murals that control noise (Picture Panels).

4. The Thickness of Sound Absorbing Materials

Thicker panels absorb more low bass frequency noise compared to thinner panels.   If your noise source is musical instruments, such as drums, get at least 3″ thick foam or 2″ thick fiberglass panels.   See Pyramids.

5.  Placement of Sound Panels is NOT  as Critical

Despite what you may have been told, the location of your panels matters less than the amount of panels you are introducing into your space.   The key is to not under treat your room.   Check with your sound consultant to confirm targeted coverage amounts based on how your room is used along with the size, shape, and surface textures of your room. 

6.  Perimeter Walls Can Be an Obstacle to Acoustics

If your perimeter walls have glass, cabinetry, door stages, windows, and other obstructions, then look to do a ceiling treatment instead. Performance will be the same whether you put the panels on the wall or hang them from the ceiling. NetWell’s Ceiling Clouds are a popular acoustical ceiling treatment that “floats” as a cloud over the top of the room.

7.  Weather Resistant Soundproofing Panels

If your treatment is outdoors, do not use foam.  Get fiberglass panels that are wrapped in an exterior-grade VCP skin.  See QBO Blankets.

8.  Moisture Will Decrease the Effectiveness of Noise Reduction Treatment

If you need moisture-resistant panels, again, don’t buy foam.   It can’t take moisture.  Get a fiberglass panel with a waterproof membrane.   See Wet Room Panels.

9.  Baffles Can Improve Soundproofing

Rather than surface mounting a sound panel flush to your wall or ceiling surface, consider suspending a vertical sound baffle that will expose both sides of the panel to the room.   This will increase your absorption coefficients.   See VET Baffles.

Questions on Soundproofing?  

Call NetWell Noise Control for more help in selecting your sound panels.  1-800-638-9355.

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