Tag Archive: gym

  1. What’s That Noise? Gymnasiums

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    In this ongoing blog series, the acoustic experts of ASI will detail common noise concerns of different environments and offer solutions to resolve any issues. This month’s edition of What’s That Noise? focuses on gymnasiums—wide-open spaces that are highly conducive to generating echoes and reverberation.


    Upon entering a gymnasium, the first thing that people notice—almost immediately—is the noise. At any given time, there are dozens of unwanted sounds fluctuating throughout these recreational facilities. Squeaking sneakers, booming voices and footsteps, and piercing music are only some of the sounds you’ll encounter regularly.

    Gymnasiums aren’t limited to just exercise and sporting events; these multi-purpose spaces often serve as venues for banquets, concerts, performances, and business conferences as well. Regardless of their specific purpose, all gymnasiums are constructed similarly; they are always composed of wood, painted concrete or cinder blocks, and metal roof decks—all of which are highly reflective surfaces.

    When you combine large gym spaces, reflective surfaces, and a lack of absorptive surfaces (e.g. carpet, furniture, drapery or ceiling tiles), this results in excessive echoes and reverberations. With little to no absorption in the room, sounds constantly bounce around until running out of energy.

    This noise problem is especially troublesome when gymnasiums are for conferences or instructional events; speech intelligibility in the room suffers greatly since people hear sounds that have been reflected several times. This delayed response causes a lot of confusion, as people have difficulty distinguishing one sounds from another.

    How Can I Resolve the Problem?

    To facilitate appropriate noise abatement, many gymnasiums are treated with hanging baffles or absorptive wall or ceiling panels. Baffles are ideal for this application, but it’s important to observe and take note of the fire suppression sprinklers; installing baffles in a location that’s inhibiting the coverage of the fire sprinklers is a huge safety concern.

    Acousitcal Surfaces, Inc. (ASI) has led the soundproofing industry for over 30 years. People frequently rely on our sound expertise to solve noise problems in various settings.

    In gymnasiums, our Echo Eliminator™ Acoustical Panels are a great resource for noise abatement for walls or ceilings. These panels are cost effective, lightweight, and easy to install. Our Echo Eliminator™ panels are sold in 2×4 panels and are available in 10 different colors in both 1” and 2” thickneses. In addition to possessing exceptional absorptive properties, these panels are also Class A fire rated to provide added security.  It is also important to know that these panels are generally in stock and because they do not need to be made/fabricated, we can generally ship an order in just a few days.

    ASI’s PVC Wrapped Acoustical Baffles are also a popular choice for gymnasiums (with high ceilings and no fire suppression systems). These high-performance baffles are composed of heat-sealed polyethylene (PVC) with a fiberglass fill, making them absorbent enough to cut down reverberations. Our baffles are available in sizes up to 4’x10’, as well as various colors to compliment the design of you gym.

    Learn more about noise abatement by contacting Acoustical Surfaces, Inc. today.

    Tell ASI about Your Noise Problem

  2. Exercise Room Acoustics

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    Claremore Recreation and Expo CenterThis was a job that was finished quite a few years ago. It was for a racquetball court that had been converted into an aerobics room. Ted recently discovered that the director of this rec center had posted a video of the exercise room, with typical music for a spin class playing, on YouTube. He was so happy with the acoustics in that room that he posted the video for a health club in Chicago that was looking at purchasing some of our fabric wrapped panels.

    There was a lack of space for aerobics spin classes at the Claremore Recreation and Expo center, so they decided to convert a racquetball court into a new aerobics room. Mitch Louderback, director of the center, stated that the echo was “so bad that you literally could not clearly hear a normal conversation from ten feet away”.

    After looking for different solutions, he talked with Ted and came up with a solution using 18 of our fabric wrapped panels in the space.

    After this room was originally completed, this was what he had to say:

    These panels have absolutely changed the sound characteristics of our new aerobics room. The result was absolutely amazing! The new aerobics room now has the best sound qualities. It sounds like it has been designed specifically for an audio application.

    Mitch Louderback — Director, Claremore Recreation and Expo Centers

    All these years later, this is what Mitch has to say now:

    The room sounds great, the panels look great, and the spin class has been a great success for our club. We have increased the number of spin bikes from 9 to 20 over the last three years. If I could, I would convert our other racquetball court to an aerobics room!
    Mitch Louderback – Director, Claremore Recreation and Expo Centers

    Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the video of the converted racquetball court with music from a typical spin class playing.

  3. Gymnasium Acoustics and Noise Treatments

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    Noisy gymGymnasiums are huge echo chambers. A gym’s noise production, transmission, and effects, also known as your gymnasium acoustics, can have a more negative impact than many realize. From the sharp sound of a coach’s whistle to screaming crowds that cheer on the home team, gym acoustics not only create noise levels that make communication difficult, but can also result in noise related hearing loss. Treating a gymnasium will also have the unexpected benefit of cutting down on noise throughout an entire building.

    Why so noisy?

    It’s all about echo and reverberation. You’re probably familiar with an echo, from the sharp slap of a book dropped in an empty hallway to your voice responding back to you as you yell across a vast canyon. Well, gym acoustics are a bit like that vast canyon. As noise travels in this “canyon” we get reverberation that is very noticeable in such a large, voluminous space. When reverberation occurs in a hard surfaced room (like your gym) the sounds can actually increase in intensity, lasting for several seconds. This can hamper communication and contribute to even higher noise levels as everyone gets louder and louder trying to be heard. (You can read more about reverberation and other acoustical terms here).

    What to do and what to use?

    Due to the typical room structure of a gymnasium, we recommend that gym soundproofing be focused on walls and ceilings. Adding sound absorbing materials is the best remedy and there are a variety of gym acoustic treatments available to help you improve your gymnasium’s acoustics.

    One option is the Sound Silencer™, which can be applied directly to both walls and/or ceilings. This product is extremely durable and very effective at sound control management.

    Another great choice is the Echo Eliminator™. These recycled cotton panels can be applied directly to a wall or used as a baffle, suspended from your gym’s ceiling. They come in 10 great colors, one of which is sure to complement your school colors! Check out this blog post describing one school’s unique way of soundproofing their gymnasium so that noise was reduced while also being visually appealing. The Echo Eliminator also makes attractive hanging acoustical baffles that may count towards making your school LEED® certified.

  4. Summer Sound Series: When The Kids Are Away… Fixing School Acoustics

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    Gymnasium – School Acoustics

    The Situation

    School is out for summer, and we want to take advantage of the time to work on the acoustics in our gymnasium, classrooms, and cafeteria. What would you recommend?

    The Solution

    You’re in good company! Teachers and administrators researching acoustical treatment for classrooms, cafeterias, common areas, etc. often contact us for help, and summer and winter breaks are usually the best times to make improvements. Large common areas like cafeterias and gyms have different acoustical needs than most classrooms due to their size, and they must be approached differently. However, there are some common factors and things to consider that can be applied across the board.

    In order to find the right acoustical solution for your particular situation, a bit of planning and preparation is required to learn the advantages and disadvantages of different acoustical products and methods of installation. Some of these products are custom made and will require a 1-4 week lead-time, so you’ll want to make sure to allocate enough time for that. It’s always good to request product samples so that you can see and feel the differences between products to make the best choice for your situation.

    Taking the Edge Off

    In the interest of simplicity, I’m going to discuss the basics of “taking the edge” off of a large space, such as a gym or cafeteria. The goal here is to reduce the reverberation time (echo) in the room so that it is simply easier and more comfortable to occupy.

    I developed the following equation about seven years ago and have been using it ever since, with positive feedback from hundreds of customers. The idea here is not to try to achieve perfection, but rather to give you an idea of how to approach a room that needs acoustical treatment without having to hire an acoustical consultant.

    Assuming your room has hard (usually tile) floors, drywall or cinderblock walls and either a sheetrock or metal deck ceiling:

    .04 × (cubic volume of space) = approximate number of square feet of panels to put into your room.

    This is probably a lot simpler than you thought it was going to be. Awesome.

    The next two questions are always: “Well, where do I need to put the panels?”, and “What type of panels are you talking about?”

    Where Do I Put The Panels?

    The first question is easy to answer. The nice thing about acoustics is that in most elevations, sound travels in the ballpark of 1,116.43701 feet per second, which means that the sound in a room travels too quickly for the exact location of the panels to make any audible difference on the overall echo reduction. In almost all instances where one is just looking to reduce the echo, there is not going to be any overall performance differences between a wall or a ceiling mounted panel. Most of the time, in a gymnasium, it is best to put the panels directly onto the ceiling or high on the walls so that they are not hit as often with volleyballs, basketballs, etc.

    What Type of Panels?

    Now, when it comes to what type of panels, there are three panel types that are probably the most common for schools to install:

    1. Echo Eliminator recycled cotton panels
    2. Fabric-wrapped-fiberglass panels
    3. PVC or Sailcloth hanging baffle

    Echo Eliminator

    Echo Eliminator Cotton Acoustical PanelsThe Echo Eliminator panels are going to be the most cost-effective option; they are generally in stock in 2′ × 4′ panels and are available in ten different colors. They are easy to ship and install, but are also generally found to be less aesthetically pleasing than the other two options.

    Fabric Wrapped Panels

    Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass Panels – Edge OptionsThe fabric wrapped fiberglass panels are very decorative and finished looking, can be made in any panel size needed up to a 4′ × 10′ board and come in hundreds of different colors and fabrics. We can also print custom graphics on the fabric before wrapping for a premium price. They are, however, heavier, and can be more difficult to install.

    PVC and Sailcloth Baffle

    PVC Acoustical BaffleThe PVC and Sailcloth baffles are hung from the ceiling like a flag. They are also custom made with plenty of choices for both baffle size and color – so school colors (or something similar) can be chosen. The downside to baffles is that they cannot usually be used in rooms that have fire-suppression sprinklers. When they are installed in the ceiling, they will commonly inhibit the throw and coverage of the sprinklers, which can violate the fire code for the building. Check with your local fire marshal before getting too far down the design path for a baffle installation.

    As always, I’m happy to do what I can to help you make the best choices for both the type of panel as well as quantity. Feel free to contact me with the dimensions of your room and a few digital pictures, which are great aids for me to help you. Also, please feel free to include your personal or school address so that I am able to send you a few different product samples for your review. Finally, some schools have rooms that need to meet specific ANSI standards, and for these you can contact me directly and we can discuss your particular room further.

  5. Home Gym Acoustical Treatment


    In the past few weeks or months, I have had a few inquiries about reducing the echo and reverberation in a home gym.  The nature of a gym with it’s hard floors, concrete or drywall walls and (generally) metal ceilings are the epitome an echo chamber.  They are always fairly large or very large rooms and are used by people doing loud things.  So, acoustical treatment of the gym is usually necessary and always makes the room more comfortable.

    There are usually three questions that people ask when inquiring about treating a gym. What product do you suggest, how much do I need and where do I put this treatment?  I’ll do what I can to simplify my answers to these as I could probably go on and on.

    What product do you suggest?

    This question can provide quite a few different answers. Most of them revolve around the room itself. There are a variety of panels available that can easily be glued to the ceiling or high up on the walls. There are cost effective panels, abuse or impact resistant panels, and then there are custom panels which are typically available in a wide variety of sizes and colors.

    If you are not worried about how the panels effect the look of the room, then by all means, why not go with the cost effective panels?  If they perform well enough for your needs and you are not worried about how they look, they can be a great cost saver. One school gym used these panels in a decorative way, though, making a sweet checkered pattern with them.

    If you don’t really care about how they look, but you are worried about them getting hit, then you may want to consider panels that are going to be abuse or impact resistant. These are going to take a lot of damage without showing wear or tear. Here you can read a success story about a home gym using impact/abuse resistant panels.

    If the gym has a look you are trying to uphold and acoustical panels will not fit into the design, you may want to look into custom made panels. You will find these are going to cost the most, but they will be able to meet your acoustical and design needs.

    How much do I need?

    Unfortunately there is no “easy” answer to this question as the right answer depends just as much on your comfort level and the use(s) of the room as anything else, but I have developed a safe way to at least get an idea of what kind of coverage is going to “take the edge off” of the space.  I’ve applied this equation to a considerable amount of different rooms and the result has always been acceptable.

    Take the cubic volume of the space and multiply that by 3%.  This will give you an approximate square footage of panels to install.  So:  Height x Width x Depth = Cubic Volume.  Cubic Volume x .03 = Square footage of panels.

    My Disclaimer:  If you have a massive gym, this math will change a bit.  The larger the room, the more panels are needed because of the increase in reflective surface area.  So, call me with your measurements and I’ll help you out with the applicable math.  In larger situations, I will use 4% or even 5% based on the actual size of the room.

    Where do I put this treatment?

    The treatment can really be placed anywhere you would like and have essentially the same result.  This leaves the end user with a lot of freedom to install the panels in locations that will not be hit by flying objects, be out of the way of impact or damage, act as a decorative element in the room, blend into the room or be installed in areas that have the available surface area.  This means that you can put the panels on the walls or the ceiling and it will sound the same.

    If you had two identical gyms and you put 350 panels on the ceiling of the first gym and the same 350 panels on the walls of the second gym and you had a conversation in either with your eyes closed, it would sound exactly the same.  So, the spacing, location and pattern is up to you.

    If you would like to ask me questions about your situation, please feel free. I would be happy to do what I can to crunch some numbers for you, talk about the best product for your particular application and get you a quote or some product samples.  If you have the (even approximate) measurements for the space and you could E-mail me a digital picture or two, it would be greatly helpful

    Here’s a picture for inspiration.  This is one of the coolest installations I’ve seen.  I’ll add a story about this later.

  6. Training Room Echo Problem

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    We have a new training room that has the following dimensions: 8′ High, 40′ Long, & 18′ Wide. The walls are dry wall, the ceiling has the typical tiles, and the floor is concrete covered by thin vinyl tiles. Also, one 40′ long wall has a white board all the way across it. The echoes are quite awful in this room. What would you recommend doing to reduce the noise?



    Thank you for the E-mail. Taking care of the echo in the room is actually quite simple, but there are a few options. Before I get too far along, if you would like to see samples or get literature for any of the products I will mention below, please feel free to let me know and I will get them on the way as soon as I can. Also, if this gets to be confusing or if you have questions, don’t hesitate to call or send me an E-mail.

    Although there really isn’t a cut and dry way to treat every room, I have come up with a simple equation that I have been very successful with for reducing the echo to a reasonable and acceptable degree. This isn’t a guarantee or anything, but it is a simple answer to at least give people an idea of how many panels they will need for their rooms.

    Cubic Volume x 4% = square footage of panels installed.
    40′ x 18′ x 8′ = 5,760
    5760 x .04 = 230.4
    This room needs approximately 230 square feet of paneling.

    One nice thing about acoustics and fixing echo problems is the fact that the exact location of the acoustical material is not critical and, for all practical purposes, it can be installed anywhere in the room and have about the same performance. So, the panels do not HAVE to be installed on the walls a certain distance off of the floor to be effective. Let’s say that you had two identical training rooms and you put 230 square feet of paneling on the walls of “Room A” and the same 230 square feet on the ceiling of “Room B”, if you or I were in either (with our eyes closed) we would not likely be able to tell which room we were in. This leaves a lot of freedom for the end user to put the panels in whatever location they want. Most people end up installing the panels on the ceiling because they are the most inconspicuous and the most out of the way along with the fact that they can get a very even coverage throughout the room while not taking away much from the aesthetics of functionality of the room but the walls are just as efficient. With this said, I would suggest spacing the panels out rather than installing them one next to the other. This will increase the overall surface area of absorption and give you a bit more absorption per panel because the sound can hit the edges of the panels as well as the surface.

    As far as what products to use, there are a few likely options. Each of these will have it’s own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing which is best for the room is ultimately going to be up to you and is usually decided by two factors, the budget for the project and the necessary aesthetic of the room.

    Echo Eliminator Panels:
    This is going to be the most cost effective panel of the lot. This is a board made from recycled cotton and has a surface appearance like felt; a soft, fuzzy texture. It is in stock in ten different colors and is sold in 2′ x 4′ panels. The most common issue or complaint is that it is not “finished looking” enough for the room. That is understandable as the aesthetic of the panel is not why it is suggested, it is the value. This product is just as absorbent as any but is usually about 1/3 the cost.

    Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels:
    This is one of two of the most decorative and finished looking panels that we offer. This is a pre-fabricated panel that is made by cutting a piece of fiberglass down to size, treating the edge with one of four profiles and wrapping it with a decorative fabric. They can be made into any size up to a 4′ x 10′ board and there are LOTS of fabrics to choose from. Because they are pre-fabricated and hand made, they are going to be the most costly option as well as the most expensive to ship. But, when the panels get to the site, they are the faster and easier to install than the product below. The cost for this option depends on fabric, panel size, and shipping needs to be quoted with size and quantity).

    WallMate Stretch-Wall System:
    This product is a site-fabricated high tension fabric system. We provide the pieces and parts and the panels are built on site. I usually use the analogy of a “canvas painting” to explain how this works. The WallMate system uses the light, non-rigid cotton as the acoustical core and rather than wrapping the cotton panels themselves, a track, or frame is installed on the wall- similar to a wood stretcher for a painting. The fabric is wrapped around the frame, not touching the cotton. These pieces can be shipped via ups and is usually about the middle of the road (between the un-faced cotton panels) and the fabric wrapped fiberglass panels above, but it does depend significantly on the sizes and shapes that you want to use in the room.

    Sound Silencer Panels
    I would only suggest this panel if you are planning to use the look of the panel and/or you want to use it as a tack-board for presentations or something. It is about half as acoustical as the other three options and about half as absorbent but it does have it’s own merits. It offers a unique aesthetic that works very well in some contemporary settings, it is tackable, and it is very impact and abuse resistant. It is only available in 2′ x 4′ panels in the Charcoal and White colors.

    Again, I hope this hasn’t confused or overwhelmed you. If it has, please feel free to contact me.

  7. Church Gym Sound Problem

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    We are looking for some help in recommending and pricing some panels that will help cut down on the echo in our Family Life Center.
    This room is used for contemporary worship on Sunday morning with live bands. The echo or “slap back” is challenging for the bands.
    The panels will also need to be able to withstand the occasional basketball hit.

    We actually set-up bands on the main floor in front of the stage and/or to the right of the stage.
    The room is approx. 65′ wide by 100′ deep.
    See attached photos.

    My thoughts are to put up 8 panels across the rear wall.
    Approx. dimensions for estimating;
    2 panels 4′ wide x 17′ high
    2 panels 4′ x 11′
    2 panels 4′ x 9′
    2 panels 4′ x 7′

    We would want something that is neutral in color and appearance to blend in with the wall.
    While we are at it, perhaps panels that would allow us to hang seasonal banners over them for decoration.

    I’ve volunteered to come up with a plan that will then be presented to the property management team for approval.
    Your help and consideration is greatly appreciated.
    Feel free to call me with any questions.



    Thank you for the description and pictures! Seeing a space like this is a great help for me as I tend to be a right brained person. I have a few things that I want to briefly explain, but if you have time, please feel free to contact me.

    The first thing that I noticed was the physical volume and size of this room. The place is massive! I really like your idea of putting panels on the back wall (and it kind of reminds me of a cell phone commercial), we have the most bars in the most places? But, the thing that throws up a bit of a red flag for me is that although this is a good start and a great design, it may not be enough overall square footage to really make a noticeable dent in the acoustics and reverberation of the room. It’s a good starting place, and will help, but I wanted to share that before I got too far into it.

    As far as treatment goes, three products came to mind, each having their own respective advantages and disadvantages. I will do my best to briefly explain each and if you would like, I would also be happy to get some physical product samples to you so that you could see them in person which is often a great help.

    The three products that came to mind are our Echo Eliminator recycled cotton panels, the WallMate Stretch-wall fabric system and the Fabric-Wrapped-Fiberglass panels. These three all have extremely good absorption numbers and the biggest difference is going to be the cost, the aesthetic and the panel sizes of each.

    The Echo Eliminator panels are made from recycled cotton and are, by far, the most cost effective. They can be shipped in boxes via UPS and are in stock in nine different colors. The panels are 2′ x4′ and very easy to install. The disadvantage of this option is the aesthetic as some times people do not feel that it is “finished” looking enough. We are limited to 2′ x 4′ panels and the standard colors. Roughly, the 1″ panels are $4.00 per square foot and the 2″ panels are $5.50 per square foot (not including shipping or adhesives).

    The Wall Mate system is basically a way to cover up the Echo Eliminator panels offering a more finished aesthetic. I like to use the analogy of a canvas painting here, where the wooden stretcher pulls the tension on the canvas. The advantages here are the use of the low-cost Echo Eliminator, the ability to make panels in sizes that are limited to the width of the fabric bolt, and the freedom to use one of hundreds of different color fabrics. The disadvantage is that this product requires the most site labor to install as these are all put together by the end user. There is a bit of a learning curve to get over, but once that is done it usually goes quite quickly. This is a more difficult product to ballpark because the cost will depend on the sizes of the panels that you are building, but you would have the square foot cost of the cotton plus $2.95 per linear foot for the track, and usually $14.95 – $16.95 per linear yard for the fabric (usually in 66″ wide bolts). Again, this does not include adhesive or shipping.

    The Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels offer the same, finished aesthetic of the WallMate system but they arrive on site as prefabricated, ready-to-install panels. These start as 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 10′ boards of fiberglass and one of four edges is cut onto the side (square, radius, beveled and half-beveled) before each is wrapped with a decorative fabric. The advantage of this product is the freedom of panel size (up to 4′ x 10′) and the freedom of color of fabric used. They are shipped ready to install, so the shipping is relatively easy. The disadvantage of this option is usually the cost. Because they are custom made panels, we have a good amount of labor and parts that go into their manufacturing. Additionally, because of the weight and fragile nature of the board, they are crated in plywood and shipped on pallets, so the shipping can be costly. Again, the price for this option will depend on the sizes and quantities of the panels along with the fabric chosen, but ballpark numbers are $7.50 per square foot for the 1″ panels and $13.00 per square foot for the 2″ panels.

  8. Home Gym Echo Problem – Fixed

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    This gym project may be slightly smaller in scale than most, but it is a success story none the less.

    My customer T.Petsche writes:

    Thank you for the Sound Silencer acoustical wall panels, they have worked perfectly for my home gym. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, I have been in many sports arenas and gymnasiums. While they are fun to be in, they are very loud and often have a terrible echo. When we designed our home gym, my wife and I wanted the walls to be safe for when my kids to run around in the gym and we wanted the room to be more quiet than a regular gym. We considered hanging impact absorbing gymnastics type mats on the walls, but these were expensive, difficult to install, and not very sound absorbing. We looked at fabric acoustical wall panels, but they were not durable or easily washable. Then I found the Sound Silencer acoustical wall panels online. I had a free sample sent to me, and I was thrilled to find that they are not only sound absorbing, but impact absorbing as well. The panels will deform to absorb an impact and yet bounce quickly back to their original shape. This was exactly what we were looking for, a sound absorbing material that was also impact absorbing, durable, and easy to install. I would strongly recommend these panels for other similar applications. We love our fun filled, kid friendly, and quiet gym.

    T. Petsche, MD

    Here are some photos of the installation