Tag Archive: acoustical treatments

  1. The depth and dynamics of Acoustic Panels

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    The ability to perceive sound is a gift. Like all senses, it can produce immense pleasure and it can annoy you like crazy. There is a big difference between the volume produced by your favorite band in a classic venue and the volume produced by a house full of screaming family. It has less to do with the fact that your family is speaking in conflicting tones and more to do with the fact that the music venue was designed to sound great, whereas your kitchen, loaded with hard surfaces, handles sound much more poorly.

    But why doesn’t your home sound great? It’s just an oversight. Most homes aren’t designed to handle sound, but you can take care of that by yourself, quite affordably. There are simple things you can do to take care of the noise pollution in your home and create a much more comfortable gathering space. 

    Acoustical panels in the Living Room

    In most modern houses, the living room is the largest room in the home, making it a natural gathering spot. You’ve got a big TV and couches in there. What’s not to love? Open spaces with hard walls may look inviting, but they don’t handle sound well, and if you have hardwood floors to boot, you may have a bit of an echo chamber on your hands. Some well-placed acoustic panels will go a long way. You want to cover the hardest, most reflective surfaces, so the walls and ceiling are obvious targets. Keep in mind, you don’t want to completely soundproof the room, as that creates a silence that can be equally unsettling.

    soundproofing living room

     

    Sound bounces around the room like a racquetball, so by treating adjacent walls with acoustic panels, you can effectively reduce the amount of reverberation and echo. Since the majority of noise bouncing around the room comes from peoples’ mouths, it’s a good idea to focus wall treatments at mouth level, or somewhere in the range of 3-7 feet above the floor. You don’t want to completely cover the walls, but mixing them up on larger surfaces is sure to create the desired effect.

     

    Not all acoustic panels are created the same. Make sure any acoustic panel you choose to hang are wrapped with acoustically transparent fabric, which allows the soundwaves to penetrate the sound-absorbing material behind it. If the fabric reflects sounds, it doesn’t do a whole lot of good to you. If you can blow air through the fabric, it’s likely transparent. This is a spot where you want to make sure to purchase high-quality products since lower quality panels don’t absorb and trap sounds as effectively.

     

    Since sound travels in more of an expanding cone than a straight line, a few acoustic panels made for the ceiling, paired with a nice rug will help keep noise a little further at bay. If you have a textured ceiling, it may help a little, but adding a few ceiling panels adds a whole new level of texture to the ceiling, and makes it much more impressive to look at. When you incorporate sound-absorbing materials, you won’t find your conversation competing with the music, so you can set the mood without creating a shouting match.

    soundproofing kitchen

     

    The Kitchen

    People also love to gather in the kitchen. It smells good. That’s where the drinks are. There’s usually a table and chairs somewhere. It also has lots of smooth surfaces that are easy to clean. That means it also tends to get loud when you start getting close to capacity. A nice set of designer acoustical curtains could be helpful here. Since the walls are usually lined with reflective appliances, cupboards, and countertops, you likely have less room to work with. The curtains can help with windows, which can be large and are very acoustically reflective. This is another great room for ceiling panels, which give your ceiling a great new texture and add dimension to your kitchen.

     

    Acoustical panels for the Bedroom

    Do you or your partner snore? Does the noise seem to echo and amplify when the other is trying to sleep? It probably does. Think about adding a few acoustic panels to your decor. They look great in the bedroom, and they come in enough styles that you’ll have no problem finding something to match your space. Again, make sure they are wrapped with acoustically transparent fabric, and you’ll find new peace that will help you relax and sleep better. The fabric also pulls a little double duty with absorbing some of the light in the room, making it feel more tranquil.

     

    The Utility Room

    Whether your utility room is in the basement or on the main floor, chances are, some of the large machinery in there makes noise that you may have to compete with. You can quiet the machinery with moving parts, like your washer and dryer, with things like pads or mounts. The less the machine moves, the less noise it will make. Another issue arising out of the utility room is noise associated with your HVAC system. There are many different products for quieting a noisy HVAC system, so bring your questions, and we can devise a plan that works for your unique situation.

     

    The Conclusion

    Adding quality acoustic panels wrapped with acoustically transparent fabric is a great addition to any room where you are gathering, listening to music, or just want some peace and quiet. They look great, are easily matched to your decor, and they create the kind of attention to detail that affects you and your guests on a subconscious level. They create a mood that you can achieve with a few other products. Try some out in the common areas of your house, and you’re sure to pick up a stack for the rest of the house.

  2. Summer Sound Series: More Noise Than Joy…Church Acoustics

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    The Situation

    We have a large multi-purpose room in our church that we love to use for events, but when it’s full of people, the noise is terrible. The room has a vinyl floor, sheetrock walls and a sheetrock ceiling. Are there any church acoustical treatments that we can put in place to make this a better experience for everyone?

    Multi-Purpose Room in Church

    The Solution

    I have two pieces of good news for you:

    1. You’re not the first one with this problem.
    2. I’ve got a very straightforward approach that has worked in every instance where it was used, so there is a solution.

    As I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, I’ve been asked “How many panels do I need?” enough times that I figured that there had to be a relationship between the size/volume of a room and the number of panels that made people comfortable in that room.

    The Equation

    Cubic Volume × 3% = square footage of panels

    The Products

    I would probably start by installing some kind of acoustical panel directly onto the ceiling of the room, for two main reasons:

    1. In a room like this, there aren’t likely to be objects hitting the ceiling.
    2. The panels might tend to be a little bit less distracting on the ceiling than they would on the walls.

    Another thing that I run into all the time for projects like this is that the budget to fix the problem is quite lean, and understandably so. Building is expensive. I usually send out three product samples for churches in situations like this to consider:

    Echo Eliminator

    Echo Eliminator Cotton Acoustical Panels In just about every installation, people end up purchasing the Echo Eliminator panels, mostly because of the price. These are some of the most cost effective, Class A-rated acoustical panels on the market. They are also some of the most absorbent. They are not the most aesthetically pleasing panels in the world, nor are they the most abuse resistant, but if they are put on the ceiling or high up on the walls, you are so far away from them when you’re standing on the ground, that you are not likely to notice anyway.

    Sound Silencer

    Sound Silencer acoustical panels The Sound Silencer panels are much more impact resistant, but are twice the cost and half as acoustical.

    Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass Panels

    Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass Panels – Edge Options The Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels are MUCH more decorative looking and just as absorbent, but they are probably three or four times the cost as the Echo Eliminator panels. Most people who are sitting in a church board meeting looking at samples REALLY want to go with the Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass option, but when they compare the quotes, it’s usually not in the budget.

    Good luck, and we hope that your church is now full of the joyful noise that was meant to be!