EQ Web Extra:
Quick Guide to Acoustic Materials
The March 2011 issue of EQ features an interview with acoustician Bob Hodas. Here, brush up on your studio design basics with this quick glossary of acoustic materials.
Diffusors break up large, smooth surfaces to scatter sound wave reflections, to reduce standing waves and flutter echo, increase clarity by minimizing early reflections, and even widen your sweet spot.
Acoustic Foam is designed to absorb high frequencies and reduce flutter echo. Although simple and inexpensive to install, foam is not effective for soundproofing or minimizing bass build-up.
Bass Traps are acoustic energy absorbers designed to reduce low-frequency energy; they can be installed or act as free-standing devices.
Goboes are free-standing panels designed to provide acoustic isolation by absorbing or diffusing sound.
Wall Barriers help soundproof your studio by adding layers of dense mass to your wall. Some wall barriers are installed in your walls, and some are hung on your walls.
Acoustic Ceiling Tiles have a broad range of absorption capabilities, and offer some reduction in noise transmission through your ceiling. They can be attached directly to your ceiling or installed in a suspended grid, and come in a variety of textures and surfaces, although painting tiles yourself generally diminishes their acoustic benefits.
Acoustic Wall Coverings are designed to absorb unruly high frequencies while making your room look aesthetically pleasing. Fabric wall coverings are available in hundreds of colors, prints, textures and custom designs, and a variety of ratings
NRC, or Noise Reduction Coefficient: This number tells you how much energy is absorbed by a material. The higher the NRC, the greater the absorption.
STC, or Sound Transmission Class: This number is the amount of sound (in decibels) blocked by a barrier. The higher the number, the greater the soundproofing.