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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 traveling 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.

In an attempt to rid yourself of unwanted noises quickly, you could erroneously mix up these terms and invest in the wrong material for your home or business.  While you will often find sound blocking and sound absorbing materials used in conjunction to provide a barrier against noise pollution and sound, they each offer unique benefits and resolutions that make them suited for separate distinguishing purposes.

Sound Absorption

When you need a material that will reduce the level of echo and sound waves that travel within your space, sound absorption products are your go-to solution. Sound absorption products are not ideal for an individual who wants to block noise from entering or leaving their home. Audio absorption products do not prevent the travel of sound, but instead absorb any frequencies to improve the acoustical properties heard from within the room.

Materials such as sponges and foams are excellent sound absorption materials because their construction softens the surfaces of your surroundings. In effect, this dampens the production of airborne sounds.

Sound Blocking

Sound blocking materials work to reduce the level of sound you hear from within — and outside of — your room by blocking the frequency waves before they reach your ears. When your issues consist of unwanted sounds seeping into your room throughout the day, opting for a sound blocking material is your best bet.

Materials crafted to block sound are often heavy and sturdy, unlike their porous and lightweight sound absorption counterparts. Fiberglass, for instance, provides a substantial sound barrier between the noise created internally and externally from your room. In effect, this form of soundproofing produces an environment in which noise generated within the studio stays inside while sound from your external surroundings stays out.

What Sound Absorption and Sound Blocking Have in Common

Often, you will find that sound absorption and sound blocking materials synchronize and complement one another to enhance the acoustical properties of varying rooms. While their uses differ, the two different soundproofing products share one overarching purpose: to help you obtain the level of noise and reverberation reduction you desire.

Ideal Applications

Finding the right product for you depends upon the circumstances you seek to improve. Does your room suffer from echoing and unwanted reverberations from within? Then sound absorption foams are the product for you! Spaces such as music studios and gymnasiums would find their acoustical properties significantly enhanced after installing a sound absorption product.

If you have loud neighbors or find yourself distracted by noise pollution throughout the day, opt for a sound blocking product instead. When your goal is to block noise by trapping it outside, you need a strong enough barrier to provide a wall that separates internal and external noise. Sound blocking products offer just the protection you need to obtain noise control throughout the day.

Whether you need sound absorbing or sound blocking materials, Soundproof Cow has you covered. To find out more about our products or for further assistance in choosing the perfect product for you, fill out our contact form today.

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.

"The times I talked with you on the telephone and corresponded through email you have been very helpful and efficient. I would highly recommend Soundproofcow.com to anyone!" S. CIMINO, LA