Prisoner Interrogation Room Acoustics

H.M. Writes:

Which wall panels do you recommend for prisoner interrogation rooms?


It’s not every day that I am asked to treat an interrogation room, but I have three panels that will work and each will have its respective advantage and disadvantage. Although I’ve never seen the inside of an interrogation room, I have seen quite a bit of 24 and there seems to be an interrogation once every other week in their rooms. Being the acoustical geek that I am, I always wonder how they can get such a good sound quality in a concrete room where people are yelling, but I guess this is a Hollywood trick-of-the-trade.

Without knowing too much about the room, I would suggest one of the three products:

Echo Eliminator

Echo Eliminator - Cotton Acoustical Panel - Color Choices

The Echo Eliminator panel is made from recycled cotton and is one of the most acoustically efficient yet cost effective panel that is on the market. It is class A fire rated and typically is installed directly onto the structure with adhesive. These panels come in a standard 2′ x 4′ panel size and are available in nine different colors. They have an NRC (noise reduction coefficient) rating of .85 (1″) which basically means that the panel absorbs 80% of the sound that hits it. We actually have a version of this panel that is used as mattresses for prisoners. The downside to this panel is it is not intended to be an abuse resistant panel. They are typically installed into rooms in areas that are out of reach, like the ceiling or the top of the wall. Another issue that some people have with them is that they are not as finished looking as some of our other options.

Sound Silencer

The Sound Silencer panel is made from a polypropylene bead board and is one of the most impact resistant and cleanable panels available. This option is limited to two colors (Charcoal and White) and the largest panel available is a nominal 2′ x 4′. The NRC rating of the 1″ is .45 and the 2″ is .70, so as you can see, it is not nearly as absorbent as the cotton. The real advantage of this option is the durability. The beads that we use for the product are the same as those used in the core of a car bumper, so this panel can literally be hit with a hammer and not be damaged. It is also washable with just about any regular cleaner.

Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels

The other possible option for you would be the Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels. These panels start as boards of fiberglass, the largest being 4′ x 10′ and are cut to size and shape and then wrapped with a decorative fabric. These are usually glued up on to the walls with a clip that supports their weight while the adhesive dries. These panels have an NRC of .85 (1″) and are the most decorative and finished looking panels that we make. We are able to make any size panel (up to a 4′ x 10′) and wrap them with literally hundreds of different color and style of fabrics. Because these are a custom made product, the price will revolve around the size and quantity of the panels that make up the order.

So, any of these three panels will help reduce the echo and improve the sound quality in your type of room. I would be happy to discuss these options with you if you would like, or send you some product samples so you can take a look at them. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need any additional information.

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