how to soundproof a room

Soundproofing vs Sound Absorption

Sound is a lot like water. It doesn’t have a shape or form, it can mold itself to its surroundings, and like water, it can be absorbed by some materials and contained by others.

(Click here to learn more sound basics.)

This is why both soundproofing materials and sound absorbing materials co-exist and serve separate purposes. So, how does one define soundproofing vs. sound absorption? Soundproofing products keep sound contained in a space, make it impossible for sound to move to other parts of a building, and stop unwanted sound from entering a room. Soundproofing is the solution you want if you’re looking to keep what happens in your conference rooms confidential, or if you want to block the sound of your next-door neighbor’s Metallica records. Sound absorption products, on the other hand, absorb the extra sound waves that bounce around a space and cause poor acoustics, background noise, and bad echo. They don’t stop sound from travelling into adjoining rooms, but they do drastically improve speech intelligibility and the sound quality of rooms, cars, boats, and other enclosed spaces. They improve the quality of the sound within a room.

To be able to compare the performance of different soundproofing products, we rate them by how much sound they can block. This rating is called STC, which stands for Sound Transmission Class. Click here to learn more about STC.

Generally, the higher the STC rating, the better the material is at blocking sound.

To be able to compare the performance of different sound absorption products, we rate them by how much sound they can soak up. This rating is called NRC, which stands for Noise Reduction Coefficient. Click here to learn more about NRC.

Generally, the higher the NRC rating, the better the product is at absorbing sounds.

There are 2 types of soundproofing products: sound blockers and sound absorbers. The origin of your sound issue will determine the best product type for you.

If the sound you need to control is not originating from the same space as you, sound blockers are the best solution. Sound blockers stop, reflect, or reroute noise to prevent its transmission through a surface. They are hard, heavy, and flexible.

Use sound blockers to stop sound from traveling from one space to another. Sound blockers can be installed in walls, doors, floors, and ceilings.

If the noise you need to control is originating in the same space as you, sound absorbers are the best solution. Sound absorbers soak up, trap, and dissipate noise energy. They are light, porous, and soft to the touch.

Absorption products control noise within an enclosed area, improving the sound quality. Because they usually are a finishing product, they are available in many different styles and colors to match any decor.

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