What to Consider When Buying Acoustic Panels

November 28, 2023

What to Consider When Buying Acoustic Panels

Acoustic panels are sound-absorbing materials that help improve your space’s acoustics by reducing unwanted noise and echo. Whether you’re setting up a home recording studio, improving your home theater’s sound quality or enhancing the environment of a commercial space, you need the right tools for the job.

What to Consider When Buying Acoustic Panels

When you’re looking for the right acoustic panels, you need to keep several important factors in mind. Acoustic panels come in dozens of types, placements, and qualities to ensure you get a configuration that maximizes your comfort. Rooms made of hard material do little to keep sound from traveling — without acoustic panels, the sound will bounce freely in loud, mixed waves around the room. Having custom acoustic panels setup helps reduce reverb and helps to give you that clear audio you’re looking for.

Let’s take a look at some of the key factors to consider when finding the best sound panels:

1. Panel Type

Panel type affects sound absorption and quality. Each type has its own features, costs and drawbacks:

  • Foam panels: These are an extremely common panel for sound absorption. They’re lightweight, easy to install and come in different thicknesses and shapes. Foam panels are great at reducing echo and improving sound quality in spaces like home studios, home theaters or offices.
  • Fabric-wrapped panels: These panels have an outer fabric layer that enhances aesthetics. They’re highly effective at sound absorption and have lots of customization options for fabric color and pattern. You’ll often see these panels in commercial spaces, conference rooms and home theaters.
  • Diffusers: Diffusers scatter sound waves in different directions. This scattering breaks up echoes and creates a more balanced sound. They work well in spaces where you want to maintain some liveliness, like music studios or performance venues.
  • Bass traps: Bass traps target low-frequency sound absorption, reducing the rumbling or booming sound in a room. They’re typically placed in corners where bass frequencies tend to accumulate. Every recording or home theater needs bass traps to help create a more even sound.

2. Material

Material plays an essential role in acoustic panel effectiveness. You have to pick the material that’s going to work with your sound needs if you want to get the best results:

  • Perforated wood: Perforated wood helps break up sound waves, dispersing them in lots of directions so they don’t reflect at you. The wood and perforations add a stylish touch to any space, letting you reduce sound without sacrificing style.
  • Acoustic foam: Acoustic foam panels are lightweight and easy to handle. They’re effective for mid- to high-frequency sound absorption. However, they’re less effective at lower frequencies, so consider using them in smaller spaces or as complements to other panels.
  • Mineral wool: Mineral wool panels are another excellent option for sound absorption. They’re fire-resistant, offer good thermal insulation and are low-emission products. They work well in recording studios, home theaters or anywhere you want to reduce sound.

acoustic panel material

3. NRC Rating

The Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating is something you have to consider when looking for good acoustic panels. The NRC rating measures a panel’s effectiveness at absorbing sound across different frequencies. A panel with a higher NRC rating, like 0.9, is more effective at reducing sound reflections and improving acoustic quality.

For spaces where echo reduction is a higher priority, like recording studios or conference rooms, you’ll want to invest in high NRC ratings. To create effective soundproofing, you’ll also want to get panels with a higher Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating, which measures a panel’s sound-blocking ability. Combining these ratings will give you a highly effective acoustic panel for a quieter space.

4. Thickness and Density

When looking to buy acoustic panels, you’ll come across different thickness and density options. Thicker panels generally provide better sound absorption across a wider frequency range. You’ll often see thicker panels in spaces with significant acoustic challenges, like office spaces or recording studios. Thinner panels work well for general echo reduction in offices or restaurants. High-density panels are better at absorbing low-frequency sounds, while lower-density panels are more effective at mid- to high-frequencies. Think about the frequency range you want to target and pick your density based on that.

Tips for Choosing Acoustic Panels

Getting the right acoustic panels can significantly improve your space’s sound quality and stop unwanted noise in its tracks. We’ve got some tips to help you pick the best acoustic panels for the job:

  • Define your acoustic goals: Determine whether you need soundproofing to prevent noise from entering or leaving a room or if you want sound absorption to enhance a space’s acoustic quality. Understanding your goals will help you pick your panel type, material, NRC rating, thickness and density.
  • Pick your aesthetics: Acoustic panels come in tons of designs, colors and finishes — you can even get custom art acoustic panels. Select panels that work with your space’s aesthetics, allowing them to work functionally and as fun decorations.
  • Consider your installation: Always think about how you’ll install the panels. Some panels come with easy installation features, while others need professional work. Factor the installation process and cost into your budget.
  • Plan your room layout: Your room’s shape and layout will affect panel placement and effectiveness. Corners, walls and ceilings are all common spots for acoustic treatment, but the coverage area and layout will influence how you effectively manage sound.

Soundproof Cow’s Quality Acoustic Panels

Soundproof Cow offers professional acoustic panels to help you get the sound treatment you deserve. We have three high-quality options for acoustic panels, giving you the custom quiet experience you’ve always wanted. Explore our acoustic panel selection and start building a space you can fully enjoy:

  • Fabric-wrapped acoustic panels: Our Udderly Quiet™ Acoustic Panels are made-to-order, delivering professional soundproof performance to your space exactly how you want it. With a Class A flammability rating and recycled materials, you can enjoy safe, environmentally friendly soundproofing, whatever your needs. Our unmatched Udderly Quiet™ technology ensures your space has better sound quality while preventing sound from traveling outside the room. With multiple series options, you’ll get to build your acoustics to fit your needs and enjoy lasting, durable soundproofing for as long as you need it.
  • Art acoustic panels: Soundproof Cow’s art acoustic panels let you maximize soundproofing and creativity. We print your image onto our fabric-wrapped acoustic panels with patented DyeFusion™ technology. Your image is UV-resistant with additional fade resistance for up to 25 years. Bring your designs to life with your preferred art printed onto these acoustic panels.
  • Perforated wood art panels: Our attractive EccoTone™ acoustic wood panels deliver sustainable, effective sound dispersion to your space. We offer custom perforation design options to ensure your space is cohesive and inviting with our panels. Soundproof Cow’s perforated wood panels have a Class A flammability rating and are made in the USA. Create a warm atmosphere with our elegant perforated wood acoustic panels.

Request a Quote

Getting the right soundproofing starts with high-quality, custom acoustic panels. The team at Soundproof Cow is here to help you every step of the way. With expert advice and industry-leading acoustic panels, we’ll make sure you get the design and soundproofing you’re looking for. Start your Soundproof Cow journey today with a free acoustic analysis, or contact us to learn more about our custom soundproofing options!

Soundproof Cow Free Acoustic Analysis

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About Kellen Beaver

Soundproof Cow Representative Kellen

Kellen has been a member of the sales team for over a decade. Prior to delving into the soundproofing realm, he was a jack of all trades in the service industry, working both front and back of the house jobs to various degrees. This diversity in experience makes it easy to relate to the needs of a large customer base. He understands noisy environments as well as the importance of aesthetics in a space. Adding something that doesn’t fit the look can be intrusive, so knowing that acoustical needs must fit the interior design is something he’s become very well-versed in. Most of this planning comes from working with both the owner/operators as well as their design team and architects. He has been able to adapt his knowledge in the restaurant industry into projects involving schools, office buildings and large medical facilities when the situation calls for it.

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