It seems there are a number of different brands and types of acoustic fabric available on the market, but not all acoustic products are created equal. Acoustic materials vary by composition, weight, and design. Choosing what’s right for you is not as simple as picking an item off the shelf and running with it – there is some homework involved first! You deserve to find out which product is best for your needs. To help you get started, let’s break down some of the most popular categories…
What do we mean by “acoustic”? Simply put: sound absorption and diffusion – that is: how well sound can move through space. Acoustic fabric is designed to maximize this absorption.
All acoustic fabrics are NOT created equal. They are usually made of one or more of the following materials:
Synthetic or natural? Both have their pros and cons…
What’s best for you? The answer depends on your needs, your space, and your budget. So now you know it’s not as simple as picking an item off the shelf. But you now know what to ask! To help you get started, let’s break down some of the most popular categories…
Categories of Acoustic Fabrics : There are a number of different types of acoustic fabrics on the market. In general, they fall into one of 3 categories:
Fabric A : Materials that are lightweight and highly porous create a very dense material with a very high absorption rate. This type of acoustic fabric is designed for use as a wall or ceiling cover, or as a booth drape on a stage for example. These fabrics can be used as an effective sound barrier, they block out noise and help to prevent echoes. These lightweight fabrics can be hung with hooks, staples or directly onto a wall, and many of the newer versions come with hanging grommets already sewn in.
Fabric B: Materials that are heavier and less porous create a more dense material with a higher absorption rate. This is the type of acoustic fabric that is normally used for acoustical treatment of common spaces such as conference rooms, restaurants, retail stores etc. Usually made from a heavier material, they are designed to be mounted as a wall or ceiling panel or as a low wall, because their density makes them difficult to drape over a booth for example. They can be mounted using screws, nails or picture hanging hooks and come in a variety of sizes.
Fabric C: A hybrid acoustic fabric that incorporates materials from both categories above. These fabrics are designed to offer the best of both worlds – light weight and the ability to provide the maximum absorption rate possible within the material itself. They provide the same great absorption rates without sacrificing easy installation and versatility.
What makes them better? Acoustic fabric can be divided into two categories: fabric A and fabric B. Fabric A materials are usually very lightweight and porous, while fabric B materials are heavier and less porous. Fabric A provides great absorption for relatively easy installaion, while the less porous fabric B allows for a more effective blockout of sound. In order to create a more effective barrier, both fabrics need to be installed using different methods.
Fabric C is a hybrid that incorporates both properties – it is lightweight enough to use in most applications, but offers the best of both worlds which enables it to provide the most efficient absorption with a given material weight. When choosing the right acoustic fabric for your application, there are a number of things to consider: the correct absorption rate (usually measured as NRC rating), loudness level (or SPL rating), installation method and whether or not you want to include fire protection into your solution. The most common types of sound absorption fall into three categories: fabric A, fabric B and Fabric C. Fabric A offers very good sound absorption with a relatively low material cost, but it also has a higher cost of installation. Fabric B offers the best absorption rates for a given weight but is more difficult to install. Fabric C is a hybrid between fabrics A and B, offering great absorption rates with an easy installation method.
How much fabric do you need for an acoustic panel?
There are a number of factors to consider when calculating how much acoustic fabric you need for your acoustic panel.
This sounds simple, right? But it is an important first step. Before you decide on acoustic panels, take some time to think about what benefits you are trying to achieve with the paneling. Is it noise reduction, sound absorption or is it both? You may go through many different iterations before deciding on the right panel. For example, if your primary objective is sound absorption, then you may want to consider fabric with an NRC rating of 20 or higher. If you are trying to reduce echo, you may go with a fabric with an NRC rating of 25 or higher. If sound reduction is your primary objective, then you may choose 20 or lower. Sound reduction comes down to the overall amount of sound that is absorbed by the acoustic fabric itself. The lower the absorption rate (the higher the NRC), the more sound that will be absorbed. Lack of absorption can often be caused by poor installation techniques or improper material selection for your application.
How much acoustic foam do you need for an acoustic panel?
Although the amount of acoustic foam to use depends on the mounting method, product, and thickness of the foam itself, there are some general guidelines. It is always best to have an overabundance of acoustic foam on hand. This will allow you to cut multiple sizes to fit your particular needs.
If you are using a non-stocked mounting method, it is recommended that you build your own test panels with different size pieces of acoustic foam in order to determine the best amount for your application. The simplest method is to mount some scrap wood or plywood at several heights on a wall or ceiling and then attach different sizes of acoustic foam using construction adhesives.
What is acoustic fabric made of?
Acoustic fabric is made up of either a blend of several different materials, or constructed in one material. These materials are listed in order of their NRC ratings:
How do I choose the correct acoustic fabric?
There are several factors to consider when choosing an acoustic fabric for your installation. They are usually listed in order of priority, but this is not always the case.
Loudness level (SPL) is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing an acoustic fabric for your application. All sound absorption occurs at the point where it enters the material itself, even if you chose a high NRC rating for your material. Therefore, to achieve high sound absorption rates, you must use high NRC rated materials. For example, a 20 NRC rated material could absorb all sound that enters it at a loudness level of 100 dB, but only absorb 60% of the sound entering it at a loudness level of 80 dB. If you choose a higher NRC material for your panel and only allow the sound to enter the panel at lower levels, then less of it will be absorbed.
The next factor to consider is how much material do you need to use? Acoustic panels can be mounted in many different ways and each method calls for a different amount of material.
How thick is acoustic fabric?
The thickness of acoustic fabric depends on the material used to create it. For example, a high NRC rated fabric will be more transparent and thus thinner than a lower NRC rated fabric. Fabric thickness also differs depending on the sound reduction or absorption that is necessary for your application. The higher the sound reduction (the lower the NRC rating), the thicker and higher quality materials you will need to use for your panel.
What is fireproof acoustic fabric?
Low mass acoustic panels generally experience less heat transfer than high mass panels, so they offer an additional benefit in applications where there is a risk of fire exposure..
Acoustic fabric panels can be used in a wide variety of settings to achieve desired results. Some examples include:
- Aerospace applications
- Home theaters, concert halls, auditoriums and churches
- Conference rooms and office spaces (open office plans)
- Recording studios (voice recording applications)
What are the advantages of using acoustic fabric panels?
The advantages of using acoustic fabric panels are many, but they generally fall into two categories: physical and psychological. If you are trying to reduce noise in your home or office, you may want to consider acoustic panels for their noise reduction properties. However, if you want to reduce echo or sonic reflections, then it is best to use acoustic panels for their sound absorption properties. This really depends on how much sound must be reduced and the overall environment in which you wish to achieve.
What are the disadvantages of using acoustic fabric panels?
Acoustic fabric panels are lightweight and easier to transport than other alternatives, but they also take up more space when packaged. They may not be suitable for every application due to their lightweight properties.
What is the best fabric for acoustic panels?
A large number of materials clearly work for noise reduction and acoustic absorption, but the question of which one is best is really up to you and your application.
Some considerations should be made before you choose your acoustic fabric for an acoustic panel. They are usually listed in order of priority, but this is not always the case. It is always best to look at the overall picture and determine what will fit your needs best before deciding on a product to use.
Noise reduction (determined by loudness level) – Try to determine what volume or loudness level will be experienced in your specific area by using a sound meter or decibel meter during different times of day and times of year (if possible).
What is the best type of fabric for soundproofing?
The best type of fabric for soundproofing is an acoustic fabric. It will reduce and absorb sound and eliminate unwanted noise in a wide variety of environments. This is because acoustic fabrics reduce or absorb noise as it travels through it, as opposed to reflect the noise back into the environment.
If you are interested in purchasing acoustic fabrics, you will most likely need to contact the company directly. Usually, their website will have a convenient way to purchase acoustic fabrics. Based on your project’s specifications, they may also be able to recommend the best product for your particular application. It is always best to contact the manufacturer directly for questions about specific products. This is because they know which materials work best for their products and what types of applications they are best suited for.