DIY B&Q Acoustic Foam Panel

DIY acoustic foam panels using a piece of mdf from B&Q

One question we are always being asked is how should I attach my acoustic foam to walls. the usual way is the use of adhesive contact spray, tube glues such as green glue and pink grip. and even panels hung with clips or panel pins.

Acoustic foam sticks well to walls

No matter how you hang them you will deface the wall to some extent, once glued on with adhesive well the foam will rip rather than be taken off the wall.

Make your own DIY panels

There is another option make acoustic panels, nothing could be simpler , pop down to your local DIY store like B&Q and get a piece of hardboard or plywood or better still MDF and at most B&Q stores they often even have a cutting service so you can get the board cut to the panel sizes you require.

then glue the acoustic tiles to the board attach a chain etc to the back  and you have an acoustic panel which can be hung like a mirror or picture and is also moveable.

Egg Cartons For Soundproofing

Egg Cartons in Recording Studios

Yes People actually do it

Gathering  up loads of empty egg cartons, fastening them to their walls, under the assumption that the shape will in someway work like real acoustic treatment and absorb sound,. Just because they resemble in some way the walls you often see in recording studios and radio broadcast stations.

Do egg cartons work to reduce sound ?

Yes in some way, all materials will have some acoustic properties and egg cartons will  have some effect on the room’s acoustics but they are not acoustic foam . Egg cartons are made of completely different materials and in no way will they act like acoustic foam such as the types of products used in used in sound booths and recording studios.

The fact is the egg cartons may even amplify some sounds you wish to dampen or cause sound distortion. Regardless, the result will not look so good or do much for sound absorption across a broad frequency spectrum.

Egg Cartons do, have acoustical value. and people have had their acoustic performance calculated
They measure NRC = 0.40. but this is a little misleading as the results show nearly all the absorption is in the 500 to 1000Hz range and almost none in the low end

Wherea’s acoustic foam products exhibit a smooth curve, there is a “spike” in the results with egg cartons.

acousticsfirst have a page detailing the properties of egg cartons and their test data can be downloaded here

 

You could do something else with your egg cartons to see if it works better on another product

egg-sofa

Acoustic Foam For Vocals

Acoustic Foam For Vocals

BLOCK100 Acoustic Tile

We all want to get the right sound, by capturing the subtle nuances in music is what makes a great live performance stand out, this could be simply that is a guitar chord at a certain moment a beat, a vocal or a single note cutting through the air, the sort of sounds that can make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. We can all hear this but all too often when recording these moments can be lost, as the clarity may not there and these moments can be lost. the use of acoustic foam can help to control the recorded sound and help you achieve the recorded results you are after.

Treat your room and make it a good environment for your music, whether for recording listening or for rehearsing.

An acoustically untreated room can blur and smear your sound, thus altering the vocals and instruments, the end result is it will leave you with a compromised listening experience which can be, at best, frustrating!

In order to get the room out of the way you want it you will need to improve the definition and clarity of the listening experience. The only way this can happen is when you treat the room correctly, by keeping the right frequencies in your music, especially in the vocals where the clarity is such a major concern.

By paying attention to making the vocals and instruments the most important element, and by allowing them to shine through. it will bring an intimacy with the singer and the musicians instrument, which is an important factor in the final recording.

Therefore you need to treat your room, then there is the question what do you want from your acoustic foam? This will always differ from room to room and situation to situation, being able to fully understand the problems you have before seeking the solution, and then acting on the options that are available to you.

BLOCK100 Acoustic Tile

What’s Different About Pro-Acoustic Foam?

First off almost all acoustic foam sold is 25 to 50mm thick (1 to 2″) this thickness will deal with the higher frequencies well and is the staple in most recording studios, But look also at using thicker tiles. there is a good reason for this. thinner acoustic tiles do very well at absorbing frequencies above 500Hz. but struggle to absorb much sound energy below that level. this is all down to physics and it is simple, the thicker the tile the better it will deal with the low frequencies. a thicker tile will cost more but it may be worth the extra to get the sound you need. it is always a good idea look for the NRC values of a foam tile to see the sound absorption at differing frequencies.

The human voice spans the range of 100 Hz. to 800 Hz, absorption attention must be paid below 500 Hz. the reason for this is because around the 500hz range is where a large percentage of all the vocal sound energy will lie, more so with male vocals. Standard thin acoustic tiles will make a huge difference but you may be missing a critical factor which is some absorption at the bottom half of the vocal range as this is where more a large amount of the energy is.

In order to achieve just the right balance of absorption below 500 Hz. and we needed to start with 125 Hz. (the bottom frequency range of the male vocal). How could we get a good rate and level of absorption below 500 Hz. that was smooth in its gradual climb to 500 Hz.?

There are standard properties that make acoustic foam perform, these are a combination of porosity density airflow resistance hardness and very importantly a regular cell size. however as sound waves are all dependent on length the simple fact is the thicker the tile the better it will deal with lower frequencies.

This is why we offer 3 thicknesses in our tile range giving you the option to opt for differing absorption results. our thickest BLOCK100 100mm thick tile gives an outstanding NRC of 0.42 (42%) at the low 125Hz range

 

The Difference between OK and outstanding vocals and music.

Thicker foam gives more absorption below 500 Hz. fact, our 100mm BLOCK100 tile will absorb 42% at 125 Hz. and 107% at 250 Hz. reaching 127% at 500 Hz. looking at bottom half of the existing absorption curve a thicker tile will produce a smoother absorption curve that goes lower where our vocals start and ends with a smoother, more gradual rate and level of absorption.

Its all a balancing act to give you the sound you need, you might not want to deaden the rooms sound completely even in a vocal booth, going now to the 75mm BLOCK75 tile the curve changes the sound yet again this tile will absorb 18% at 125 Hz. and 61% at 250 Hz. reaching 100% at 500 Hz which may suit your needs better!

And now the thinnest tile the BLOCK45 45mm tile still gives excellent absorption results compared against other manufacturers tiles with an average NRC of 55% and this thickness tile is by far our largest seller with many happy customers and great reviews on its effectiveness, however at 45mm it will struggle on the lowest frequencies and absorbs 10% at 125 Hz. and 29% at 250 Hz. reaching 54% at 500 Hz

block45-03

What are the benefits of having a choice of thickness?

  • You get a technology that was developed specifically for voice and music with more absorption below 250 Hz. than standard tiles, and a smoother absorbing curve from 125 Hz. – 500 Hz. which is the heart of the vocal and music frequencies. It means you can enjoy clearer and cleaner instruments and vocals so you can have a more intimate experience with your favorite music.
  • You get a technology that will manage side wall reflections so well that you will hear the direct sound from your sources, which is the purest kind as it is the sound that does not contain the room. This will ensure you can hear the purest sound the artist and engineer recorded so that your vocals and middle range instruments will pop out for you in your room.
  • You get the option of choosing three different thicknesses of foam, each with a different absorption curve, which will allow you to absorb at different rates and levels depending on what music and vocal usage your room has. This ensures you have the flexibility to perfectly match the foam to your favorite music so you can experience the ultimate emotional connection with your songs.
  • You will get a technology that absorbs at the correct rate and level for music and vocals ensuring it does not drain the life out of your room like so many other foams. You wont be destroying precious sound energy through over absorption like so many dreaded “dead room” studios. Instead you will hear the intimate timbre of the singers voice in every recording ensuring you have a room others will envy.

block45-01

Which Size Is Right For You?

The thicker the foam, the more absorption that occurs below 500 Hz.

Not only the level of absorption but also the rate must be taken into consideration. Reflection management in small room environments requires middle and high frequency absorption that is smooth and gradual. There isnt always a need to absorb 100% of the reflected energy in order to manage it. Remember, once sound energy is absorbed it is converted to heat and it is no longer sound energy but heat energy. You can not hear heat energy at all so its always better to start with less and add more until the sound is right for you.

These products are for serious recording studios, engineers and Audiophiles only. If you’re sincere about wanting sonic perfection, then this is most definitely for you. Don’t live with a compromised listening room and room sound for a minute longer. Take action now, believe me, you’ll thank me for this, for years to come. The NRC values shown on this page are for our BLOCK tile range however the same is true for all acoustic foam tiles if you go thicker the low end is dealt with better.

MTV Pimp My Ride

MTV Pimp My Riot Van 2009

Back in 2009 we were featured on the MTV show pimp my ride where our foam was used to kit out the interior of an ex police riot van which was made into a mobile recording studio. for a charity organisation XLP

Since then we have supplied our acoustic foam for many films and TV programs often used as much for the aesthetics as for acoustic treatment.

Website Link to www.acoustic-foam.co.uk

We didn’t realize it at the time but our  name and website address were featured at the end of the show and also we were credited on MTV’s website with a link to our site. which did bring us a great deal of interest. Which art the time was perfect as we had just started our online sales from the website www.acoustic-foam.co.uk

here are the old youtube videos of the MTV show


and a behind the scenes video

Camden Recording Studios

Camden recording studios One of the UK’s best

for quite a few years now Phil has used our pro acoustic range of acoustic foam treatment in his studio in the heart of London. and we are proud that our products have been used on some of his great recordings. now a bit more about the studio. Visit the studio here to see all the names that regularly pass through this recording studio gem.

About::

Philip “Doyley” Doyle owner & producer set up this studio on Camden Lock Village Market over 4 years ago. The bands & people that have passed through our doors include Adam Ant, Tall Boys, Polecats, John Otway, Terror & members of Madness, Specials & Bad Manners. We are an alternative studio who like to work with live musicians. Producer “Boz Boorer” Morrissey’s guitarist and musical director has joined the team here at Camden Recording Studios.

Camden Recording Studios
12 Leybourne Rd
London
NW1 8QY

Tel:: 07982 172484 

You can reach us every week day by telephone during UK working hours (9am – 5:30pm) or alternatively, drop us an email we usually reply very quickly. Studio viewings strictly by appointment only.

Email::

camdenrecordingstudios@hotmail.co.uk
For bookings please leave a message regarding your inquiry and we will get back to you.Phil

Maplewood Studio

Maplewood Studio’s Live Room

Nice Little Video here from Maplewood Studios Using our AFW305 tiles

A bit more About Maplewood Studio

Maplewood Studio – Audio Recording Services
Kent’s best kept studio secret…

Inspired by the legendary LAFX studio in North Hollywood, Maplewood Studio is a professional recording studio integrated into the home of studio owner, engineer and producer Paul ‘Stick’ Annis, who regularly works with Eddie Kramer, the man behind the desk with such legends as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Kiss and The Beatles.

Contact Info

Within one hour of London and twenty minutes from the M25, Maplewood Studio offers something different from your normal studio environment, we are all about making you, the artist, feel relaxed and welcome.

To get what Maplewood Studio is all about, give us a call so that we can discuss everything we can do for you.

Telephone: 01622 872 577

Email: paul@maplewoodstudio.com

 

Beginners Guide To Acoustic Treatment

by Mo Volans 6 Apr 2009

After touching on the critical subject of acoustics and room treatment in a few recent tutorials, I felt it was fitting to create a basic guide to acoustically treating your work space. I get asked about this subject a lot so I’m hoping a run down of the essential technique and kit needed will be of some help to readers.

Of course this is an extremely technical subject and this tutorial in no way claims to be the definitive guide to acoustic treatment, but these tips and guidelines should get beginners up and running and generally help to clarify the whole subject of room acoustics.

I’ll run through the basics of choosing the right space, positioning your kit and then look at different types of treatment techniques and materials.

Step 1 – Your Room

Unfortunately most of us don’t have the luxury of designing our own studios from scratch and in some cases permanent customization is even a problem, so often the rooms we work in have pretty obvious faults and more often than not there is work to be done. If you can afford it, you can have the room analyzed, or you can even attempt this yourself but assuming this is too expensive or technical for most, we’ll look at a more basic route.

Every room is unique and everything in the space will effect its sound. Wall angles, flooring, windows, doors and of course its overall shape will all dramatically change the way sound is perceived within the room. The first thing to do in any situation is to identify the problem areas in your room and home in on the issues that need to be addressed. It’s possible that some things can be rectified before any acoustic treatment is even purchased.

If you are restricted to using one particular room, you are pretty much stuck with its basic shape and size but look out for things such as highly reflective surfaces. These will create large amounts of reflection and play havoc with your stereo image and you are also likely to hear your audio several times as it bounces back to you. These issues can make mixing an absolute nightmare.

So if you have any large windows try using some curtains to cover them up. Even blinds would be a better option than large exposed areas of glass. Mirrors and exposed polished work surfaces should also be avoided if possible. This rule of thumb generally extends to floors as well, so try to opt for a hard wearing carpet rather than a laminate or hard wood floor.

If you are fortunate enough to have a choice of rooms (or you are able to modify the one you are in) it’s a good idea not to go for anything too large or too small. I realize these are very general terms but common sense should prevail here. Extremely large rooms often have many inherent problems, such as standing waves, nodes and large amounts of reflection. These problems often require a lot of treatment to rectify. The sheers size of the walls in larger rooms will mean that more acoustic treatment is required.

Large rooms can require a lot of treatment

Very small rooms will arguably present fewer problems from the offset but there will be obstacles none the less. Lower frequencies will often not have space to develop in these more confined spaces and this can lead to mixes that don’t translate well to larger systems. Unfortunately a lot of the problems caused by monitoring in smaller rooms cannot be solved using acoustic treatment, so the only remedy here might be to relocate!

A well designed small room set up

As far as shape goes, there are a huge number of variables here but as a rule symmetrical opposing surfaces are not ideal and rooms with differing angled walls will be much easier to treat.

Custom room design is ideal but expensive

Step 2 – The Listening Position

Just as important as the room you are in, is the listening position you choose. Smaller rooms may limit your choices here but if you have enough space, you can afford to take a more considered approach and really think about where you place your equipment.

First up the sound coming from your monitors needs space to develop, especially the lower frequencies. Try not to position your workstation in an alcove or too close to any walls. The same goes for your listening position, this should be a good distance away from any walls as well. Some speakers for example will be rear ported and these need to be placed at least ten inches or so away from any hard surface in order for the bass be reproduced correctly. The same goes for any sub woofers that are rear or side ported.

If your room is oblong in shape or has one aspect that is longer than another, it is wise to position your self so that you are in line with the longer part of the space. Again this gives the all important low frequencies a chance to develop and any reflections from the back wall will be more easily managed by using broadband absorption.

Correct position in an oblong space

Another important thing to think about here is something known as the ‘sweet spot’. This is really just the ideal position between your speakers. With your speakers positioned correctly you should be able to draw a triangle between your ears and each speaker. The speakers should be positioned so they face down the lines of this triangle and if they are above you in height they should also be tilted downwards.

A simple representation of the ‘sweet spot’

If you are positioned correctly in your room and you are in the sweet spot you should get a good stereo image and be able to hear all the frequencies your system is producing. You should now be ready to identify and tackle any acoustic problems the room may be throwing at you.

Step 3 – Absorption

Before I go into how and where to fit your acoustic treatment, let’s look at the different kinds of treatment that can be used and what each one is capable of. If you can get your head around these basics then it should be relatively easy to decide what you need when you experience a certain problem.

The first kind of treatment we’ll look at is absorption. This is possibly the most commonly used acoustic treatment in home studios, in fact it is possible that it is over used. In some studios this will be the only sort of treatment you’ll see and often far too much of it. This can have a really negative effect on your final mixes, so let’s look at the how it works and when to use it.

Absorption is needed where there is a lot of reflection taking place. This will present itself as an echo or ring in your room and will usually effect the mid and high frequencies. These echoes are called early reflections and if untreated can be very fatiguing to the listener over time. It’s also hard to get an accurate high end mix when these are present.

Representation of early reflections

Early reflections being treated by absorption

Absorption treatment most commonly comes in the form of tiles, and these can be of various densities and textures. These tiles will actually absorb a proportion of the sound that hits them. This means less reflection and less of the signal coming back to the listener.

If you are pretty new to the area of acoustics, it might be best to acquire some broadband absorption tiles. These tend to be of a higher density and will work well across the largest frequency range possible.

AFW75 Acoustic Foam Treatment Tile

 

Absorption tiles

The trick is here to do things a little at a time. As a general guideline you are looking for about 70% coverage using some kind of acoustic treatment. Don’t go crazy here and slap tiles on every surface, you will end up with a totally dead unrealistic space. You are really just trying to eliminate the ring for now and once you reach this point you will have certainly made enough impact to start looking at other areas.

Step 4 – Diffusion

Some reflection of the sound in our workspace is actually a good thing, believe it or not. Hearing some of the mix come back to our ears from various parts of the room can help create a realistic stereo image and a more open natural sound.

The problem is that if you simply leave areas of wall bare to create this reflection you will get a horrible slap back style delay and this is far from desirable. Other hard flat surfaces such as your computer screens and work surface can also create this sort of unwanted reflection.

The answer to this problem is diffusion. This is similar to reflection but instead of all the sound being reflected in one go it is diffused and returned to your ears at many different intervals.

When you see a diffuser you will immediately see how they do this. An average diffuser panel is made up of numerous small segments. These may appear random but are designed using exact mathematics. The Skyline range of diffusers for example uses a primitive root formula, meaning each section is an exact prime number.

Skyline diffuser

Diffusers fitted above listening position

This sort of treatment works really well in smaller rooms and can greatly enhance the stereo image and overall sound of a room when applied correctly.

Step 5 – Bass Traps

Fine tuning your space to reproduce low frequencies correctly is an art of its own and can prove to be a challenge. The first step here is to use traditional bass traps to treat all the corners of your room. This will help to prevent the powerful omni-directional low frequency energy from grouping and creating bass heavy spots. If you need to you can also treat the join between the ceiling and walls.

 

AFBTX Acoustic Foam Bass Traps

Traditional bass traps

If after this initial treatment you are still experiencing bass heavy areas in your room, it is likely that you have nodes or standing waves occurring. These can be reduced using heavier wall mounted traps. These are similar to broadband absorption panels but are usually made up of several layers and of much denser material. These are pretty expensive to buy but if you are confident enough DIY versions can be effective.

DIY traps

Step 6 – Decoupling and Isolation

When treating your room it is worth looking into isolating your speakers and subs. By using dense platforms under your speakers you can ‘decouple’ them from your work station, desk or floor. This will do a few things, firstly it will prevent anything the speakers are resting on from resonating. This means you will be listening to your mix and not the furniture in your studio. Secondly decoupling will reduce the amount of low frequency transmitted into the walls, floor and ceiling of your studio, cutting down on the sound traveling into adjoining rooms.

Speaker isolator

Subs can be isolated using dense pads especially built for the job and you can also decouple kit that is effected by vibration. For example turntables can be isolated to prevent errors in playback in loud environments.

Sub woofer isolator

Step 7 – Placement and Fitting

When you have got your head around the different flavors of acoustic treatment available to you and you have identified the issues in your particular room, you are about ready to start installing the stuff.

When it comes to actually sticking the panels, traps and diffusers up you have a few choices. For a permanent solution go for glue. For a more semi permanent, re-fixable option try spray adhesive and if you need something that leaves absolutely no marks at all you can get velcro pads or pins to hold the treatment in place. A hint: companies such as Auralex do supply excellent products but a quick scout around your local hardware store may reveal the same thing for a tenth of the price!

Fixing glue

Spray glue

Fixing velcro

If you are not well versed in the science of acoustics and you are unsure about the placement of various treatments, a good analogy to use is that of pool balls being fired from your studio monitors. If the balls hit a hard surface imagine they continue on their path, they then hit subsequent surfaces and continue further.

With this in mind it is likely that the path of the virtual balls will eventually reach your listening position and this is what you are aiming to stop. Try to treat the spots along this route you have traced with broadband absorption panels and listen to the difference this makes. This method should highlight how important it is to treat the rear and front walls and the surfaces directly above and to the sides of the listening position.

This is a very basic guideline on placing your treatment and shouldn’t be taken as gospel. If you are serious about doing this to the letter then you should really take the time to do some further research into audio acoustics.

Diffusion panels can be placed above any hard surfaces such as a workstation or computer monitors , and absorption panels can be alternated with diffusers for a more open sound in the room. This can be adjusted to taste as you go.

Treating the room for bass frequencies should be a separate process really and this is one area you can afford to be pretty heavy handed in. It’s pretty difficult to go over the top here but treating all corners is a pretty safe bet.

Bass traps being fitted

Bass traps being fitted

DIY acoustic treatment is all about applying common sense and caution. Apply a good mix of treatment types, add more treatment a bit at a time and take time for critical listening sessions throughout the process. If you follow these guidelines you should end up with a superior listening environment and mixes that transfer to the real world satisfactorily.

Acoustic Foam Guide

Acoustic Foam Use and Placement

Acoustic foam is a vita addition for any room where music is going to be recorded. or rehearsed. or mixed or edited. this acoustic foam guide will help you get started on treating your room.

Control Room

The control room the room has to be made free of any distortion in order that the signal can be judged with accuracy. Therefore the main areas such as around the mixing desk will need the most coverage of a combination of bass traps and acoustic foam tiles. Also acoustic foam may also be required on the rear wall although this depends on how short the room is.

acoustic foam guide

Live Room

Inside a live room the sound waves within the room must be controlled, but with a difference in order to sound natural some reflections may well be needed in the room. As a guide a live room may call for around 20 to 40% coverage of acoustic foam tiles and some corner bass traps. Live rooms will need to be flexible as the use of the room can vary greatly in terms adapting to genre of music that is being recorded or rehearsed so effective acoustic tiles and bass traps are a must to achieve the best results.

Vocal Booth

In a vocal booth acoustic tiles are the only requirement bass traps will not be needed in this space. The amount of coverage in vocal booth depends greatly on how ‘dead’ you wish the space to be. So if a vocal booth’s recordings are to be used in music then around 50% coverage of acoustic foam tiles are required. If the vocal booth is to be used for voiceovers then the acoustic tiles need a heavier coverage this will give a tighter recording. However never will 100% acoustic tiles be required in a vocal booth or any room for that matter. Some reflective surfaces will always be required in a room. As without reflective surfaces the recordings will sound very unnatural and claustrophobic. and during mix downs then reverb may need to be added to give the recordings air to make them sound natural.

Untreated Room

A room without any acoustic treatment will be overly reflective. The absebnce of surfaces in the room where sound waves can be absorbed will cause the recorded results to be out of control. By the carefull and often gradual installation of acoustic foam the ‘liveness’ of the room can be brought under control, improving the response of the room. By the addition of acoustic treatment you will get a clearer and more accurate result of the music you are recording. editing. mixing or monitoring. Acoustic treatment will give you the added ability to record and monitor accurately letting you take more control. Whether you want the room live or dead. acoustic treatment is the only way to tame your room in order to keep it under control.

Traps and Tiles

Acoustic tiles are only one part of your acoustic room treatment. The acoustic tiles primarily will absorb the mid and top end of the frequency range with outstanding accuracy. and while acoustic tiles make up the largest means of coverage of acoustic foam in the room. there is also the need to treat the low end frequency. Low end frequencies are nuch stronger and have longer wavelenghts than mid and high end frequencies.this means it takes more foam mass to absorb these stronger frequencies, this is where 2 factors come into play using foam as a way of dealing with this. the mass of the foam product and the placement. The way in which to treat low end frequencies is with the installation of bass traps. The placement for bass traps is in the corners of the room. low end frequencies tend to congregate in the corners. And as the sound can be 6 to 12dB louder in a corner than in any part of a room is why corner bass traps need to be installed there. The wider the bass traps the lower they can absorb.

Traps and tiles

Choosing The Right Acoustic Foam

Choosing The Right Acoustic Foam

Using acoustic foam in your studio will improve the sound quality of your studio. However with so many companies now selling acoustic foam it is easy to see why many producers venturing into acoustic treatment make the wrong decisions when looking for the right material to treat their rooms. This confusion is brought about by the fact that there are so many companies out there selling cheap packaging and passing it off as specialist acoustic foam. This foam is normally cheaper will have poor acoustic properties and will not be as fire retardant. A common question we are often asked is. “Why is acoustic foam so expensive?” It is because it is a specialist foam grade made with specific properties to enhance sound absorption

Acoustic foam is the room treatment material of choice for many home music producers, and for a number of reasons some of which are;

  • Acoustic foam offers great absorption especially for mid to high end frequencies.
  • Acoustic foam is much more affordable compared to high end options
  • Acoustic foam is also easy to install and can be aesthetically pleasing cut into the performance enhancing shapes

There are three main types of acoustic foam grades made for acoustic applications. These are, in order of increasing price.

  • Polyurethane polyether foam
  • Polyurethane polyester foam
  • Melamine foam

 

Polyurethane polyether foam

Polyurethane polyether foam has a large range of applications and comes in a variety of densities and colours with many different properties. Acoustic applications are best suited to densities which are reliability light between 24 and 32kg/m3 and densities below or above do not perform as well as ones in this density range. To be a good acoustic absorber the foam not only does the foam have to have the right density it also has to have the right hardness, porosity, open regular cell structure and permeability.

Also do not be fooled by manufacturers stating a higher density will work better The NRC Data for a specific tile will let you know which performs better.below is an example of two tiles of the same size and similar construction however one is made in a 30 Kg/m3 foam and one in a 25 Kg/m3 foam the results are surprising

 

Noise Reduction Coefficient NRC Test Data
Frequency (Hz) Hyped Up Acoustics Sonarflex Tile 30KGm3 Pro-Acoustic’s BLOCK45 Tile 25KGm3 BLOCK45 is better by
125 0.09 (9%) 0.10 (10%) 11.1 %
250 0.28 (28%) 0.29 (29%) 3.6 %
500 0.48 (48%) 0.54 (54%) 12.5 %
1000 0.65 (65%) 0.84 (84%) 29.2 %
2000 0.66 (66%) 1.05 (105%) 59.1 %
4000 0.79 (79%) 1.12 (112%) 41.8 %

 

The comparison above shows that a lighter 25 kilo acoustic foam performed better on every audible frequency and has a 33.6% better noise absorption coefficient overall. So who said a denser acoustic foam performs better?

The reason a lighter foam outperformed a heavier one to such a large extent is down to physics. Although the chemical makeup of the higher density polyether foams is the same or very similar to the lower density foam, the open cell structure air permiability hardness and overall porosity of the lighter foam works better in allowing the air pockets to absorb the sound waves impacting on them which increases the observed performance.

More interesting is the performance in the 500 to 100hz range as this is where the majority of the vocal range lies and so is a very important factor when recording vocals, and is often overlooked when acoustically treating vocal booths..

sonarflexblock45-01

The results above were taken from the test data provided on these documents http://www.hypedupacoustics.co.uk/images/stories/sonarflex%20test%20data.png and the reviews are based solely on the tiles acoustic performances

 

Polyurethane Polyester Acoustic Foam

Polyurethane polyester foams have been used traditionally in the manufacture of of acoustic foam grades and come at a premium as the manufacturing process is more costly. Polyester foam has always had a very good regular cell structure which lends itself natrually to being a good property for acoustic foam, however over the years polyester foams younger brother polyether has moved leaps and bounds and acoustic grades in polyether now also have a very good regular cell structure, so the gap has narrowed between the two.

Melamine Acoustic Foam (Basotect)

Whilst not traditionally used in music studios melamine foams are fast gaining recognition as an acoustic treatment option for studio acoustic treatment. Priced higher than polyester and polyether foams melamine foam offers the perfect combination of absorption and light weight.

Melamine foams achieve this extraordinary feat by exhibiting a true 3D filament structure. This structure means that melamine foam doesn’t have any closed cells but rather millions of air chambers which significantly increase its performance in the mid to high frequencies. Although thicker panels will shift the absorption down to the lower end of the spectrum for domestic purposes the cost doesn’t justify the performance.

So where then does melamine foam come in handy? The answer is simple. Firstly the extremely light weight nature of this foam means that melamine foam panels can be stuck on to ceilings of large buildings without any concern of the impact on roof loading. This property means that melamine baffles and blocks are used in large building, factories, gymnasiums, churches and swimming pools.

Secondly melamine foam is available in brilliant white and is the only type of foam which holds its colour without becoming discoloured by polutants in the atmosphere reacting with the anti oxidants in the foams makeup ( known as phenolic yellowing ). This lends it well to use for indoor applications where darker coloured tiles would present an aesthetic challenge. Melamine panels are handy for home cinemas and used for treating walls and ceilings at reflection points as well as treating home studios that double up as work offices.

Melamine foam can be cut into a number of shapes although most popular are flat panels with bevelled edges. Melamine comes in standard White, grey and light grey however the white panels may be spray painted using specialist equipment to any colour.

Finally melamine foam is class 0 fire rated which is lends it well to applications where building regulations mean only materials with high fire ratings can be used without impacting on the aesthetic of the room it is applied to. Other foams can be treated to make them class 0 rated but this involves impregnating them with graphite and carbon which results in black sheets. Not exactly the best for indoor use.

Melamine foam however is quite brittle and can easily get damaged so needs to be handled with caution and costs a small fortune.

Hyped up Acoustics Pro-Coustix Sonarflex V Pro Acoustic BLOCK45

Hyped Up Acoustics Pro-coustix Sonarflex V Pro Acoustic BLOCK45

Lets Compare 2 acoustic foam tiles in the same price bracket Firstly : Hyped Up Acoustics Pro-coustix Sonarflex and Secondly : The BLOCK45 tile from the Pro Acoustic range both tiles are 12″ (305mm) square and both are of similar thicknesses.

Hyped up AcousticsPro Acoustic

Now For The Differences

Hyped Up Acoustics pro-coustix

Hyped up acoustics Pro-coustix Sonarflex is a heavier density acoustic foam made from a 30 Kilo m3 acoustic polyether foam, and is cot on an eggbox convoluter with a dimple profile top surface. The manufacturer states the following.

These Pro-coustix professional Sonarflex acoustic treatment tiles have raised the bar in room acoustic treatment. Made from a high-grade 30Kg/M3 open cell acoustic foam these panels are precisely profiled like no other tiles in this price range also available with a self adhesive backing

Unlike other common  acoustic tiles these panels have more than two and half times the number of convoluted cones and dips when compared to the standard 12” panels effectively offering twice the reflective surface area of typical 12” tiles. These tiles also boast of over twice the number of cones and dips found in common 15” panels resulting in a reflective surface that is greater than most 15” convoluted tiles.

This focus on increasing the panel’s surface area means these tiles effectively obliterate any high frequency sound waves incident on them by presenting several obsorption and deflection surfaces. Further more the increased number of dips trap air in them creating resonant chambers broadening the spectrum of absorption in the medium frequency range. Medium to high frequency waves stand no chance!”

Side by side does this really stand up?

 

BLOCK45 tile from Pro Acoustic

Pro Acoustics BLOCK45 is made from a 25 Kilo M3 acoustic polyether foam, and is Computer guided CNC cut with a block profile design top surface. Its a lighter density foam than Hyped up Acoustics Sonarflex but let us rely on the test data compare the two please look at the table below

 

Noise Reduction Coefficient NRC Test Data
Frequency (Hz) Hyped Up Acoustics pro-coustix Sonarflex Tile 30KGm3 BLOCK45 Tile from Pro Acoustic 25KGm3 BLOCK45 is better by
125 0.09 0.10 11.1 %
250 0.28 0.29 3.6 %
500 0.48 0.54 12.5 %
1000 0.65 0.84 29.2 %
2000 0.66 1.05 59.1 %
4000 0.79 1.12 41.8 %
The table above shows how the Block45 tile compared against the Hyped up Acoustics convoluted “eggbox” tile. The BLOCK45 tile wins hands down on every  frequency showing it to have a staggering 33.6% overall better noise absorption coefficient.

So don’t believe the Hype that a denser foam makes a better acoustic foam, The NRC test data is what you need to compare.

The results above were taken from the test data provided on these documents http://www.hypedupacoustics.co.uk/images/stories/sonarflex%20test%20data.png

The CNC computerised profile foam cutting machines used to manufacture our tiles long since replaced the old eggbox roller foam convoluters.

You will now find that all the professional tiles as made by the high end acoustic foam specialists are now CNC cut on this type of foam cutting machine, as it gives a much neater finish and far better aesthetics to your studio.

 

 

Unlike many acoustic tiles sold on the pro acoustic range is tried and tested, the range is now in its 10th year and we have supplied thousands of these tiles into both professional and home recording studios. Having supplied our acoustic foam products into many well known professional studios, film sets and MTV to mention just a few.

 

Try for yourself and hear the difference that our pro-acoustic tiles deliver !

Acoustic Foam
Will Help You With The following

  • Reflection Both primary & secondary
  • Improve vocal clarity
  • Flutter echoes
  • Reverberation
  • Modal issues
  • Standing waves Mid to High