What is Acoustic Treatment?


It is very important to make a distinction between “soundproofing” and “acoustics treatment”. Soundproofing is when you would like to isolate one space from another (typically separated by a wall). Acoustics treatment is useful for shaping sound within a room, typically the sound source and listener are in the same space. If you clap your hands in a closet full of clothes and compare that to clapping your hands in a cathedral you will notice a significant increase in how long the clap sound remains in the cathedral. This phenomenon is known as spacial reverberation (echo). Various building techniques and products can be used to shape this decaying sound to a desired level. Echoes have a tendency to “build-up” in very reflective spaces especially when many people are present, making the space seem loud, sporadic, washy, or muddy. Imagine your space as the surface of a lake. If you are the only one in the lake chances are it is very calm and relaxing, minimal waves. Now imagine hundreds of boats driving around the lake, these represent speakers in your space voicing. The waves crash in to one another and can create even larger waves in some cases. This form of treatment helps to controls these overly built-up pressure waves by absorbing or diffusing them before they have a chance to interact to the point of disruption. Our most common form of treatment for when reverberation is too long is introducing absorptive materials into the space. This includes but is not limited to prefabricated/modular acoustic panels and on-site custom-fitted fabric walls. The next few sections will cover these applications.

Acoustic Panels

Acoustic Panels come in many difference shapes and sizes allowing for flexibility in terms of aesthetics. The cost of various brands of panels can fluctuate heavily dependent on which core material is used for absorption and how decorative they appear.

The most common type of panel to give you the most “bang for the buck” are fabric-wrapped with a fiberglass core. The fabric must be of acoustic quality so that sound can pass through without reflecting off the fabric back into the room. There are many choices for textures and colors, we can help you make a selection using out library of swatch books. Custom artwork panels are also available to mimic painting, family portraits, you name it! Of course, these custom prints will be more expensive than stock fabric. The most typical mounting for acoustic panels is surface mounted on walls and/or ceiling. Alternatively panels can be hung from the ceiling using thin aircraft cable or jack chain which would allow the panel to absorb utilizing both faces. For spaces that require water resistance or other exterior durability, acoustic panels make from a 100% plastic (polypropylene) can be used instead. The plastic is dyed during the production process and is available in many colors avoiding the need for fabric. These panels can be cut to custom shapes on-site or even into individual “pixels” and arranged to meet aesthetic requirements. The possibilities are endless! For special cases there are many other designer and architectural absorption options, please do not hesitate to call us with any questions, we are happy to help!


Fabric Wall & Ceiling Systems

Fabric wall and ceiling systems are tailored on-site and utilize the same concepts as acoustic panels. The fabric track system is compatible with a variety of fabrics and well absorbent cores of varying thicknesses to create beautiful, high performance surfaces. This combination of options allows for aesthetically pleasing solution while meeting treatment requirements. This type of treatment is especially useful when more coverage is required than what would be realistic with acoustic panels, or to draw less attention to the surface than the modular acoustic panel route.

Seams between sections of fabric are dependent on the roll width of specific type of fabric chosen. Most acoustic fabrics allow for a maximum section width of roughly 5 feet. These sections can be oriented horizontal or vertical based on your preferences or to minimize seams. Large format fabrics (extra wide up to 16 feet) also exist allowing for a seamless wall depending on the exact wall dimensions. Custom designs and images can be printed directly to large format acoustical fabric. It is worth noting that there is less of a selection available regarding colors and textures for large format acoustical fabrics. If your budget allow, it is also possible to roughly match your existing wall color and/or texture by means of custom printing, resulting in a less noticeable install. Many people actually prefer the look of a decent fabric covering for their walls over the basic orange-peel drywall look or in place of a standard accent wall. Let us help you to upgrade your space today, we offer free phone consultation or click here to request a formal on-site visit from us.