What is soundproofing?
Soundproofing is defined as any method of reducing the ability of sound to travel between point A and point B, and is accomplished by the reduction of noise and the absorption of noise. A requirement in many professional recording studios, soundproofing is also becoming popular in residential structures, especially multi-family structures like apartments and condominiums wherein tenants share walls.
The basics of soundproofing
In order to understand the concept of soundproofing, you must first understand the concept of blocking sound. Specifically, there are only three ways in which sound can be blocked or noise can be reduced. These three ways are as follows: Space – The further away from a source of sound you are, the less likely it is that you will hear the sound.
Space impedes sound travel. Mass – This one is also simple. The more mass between the origin and destination of a sound wave, the less audible the sound wave will be once it reaches its destination point.
Dampening – This one is a bit more complex. Essentially, dampening is a way to absorb sound by forcing sound waves to travel through various layers of material with different densities, thereby obstructing the sound wave’s path of travel, and ultimately absorbing the sound wave before it has a chance to become airborne. Dampening works by limiting a sound wave’s ability to vibrate through different structures. This eventually results in the absorption of the sound wave.
are insulating materials that work to reduce the noise that enters a room from outside the home or from other rooms. These materials can be installed during construction, or later as an improvement project.
How Sound Insulations Work
Sound is transmitted when vibrations move through the air, floors, ceilings and walls. The sound waves move from one room to the other, or from the outside of the home to inside. This includes traffic noise or the sound of noisy neighbors. Insulation is a good sound absorber and is effective at minimizing the noises entering a room.
Soundproofing consists of using a barrier of some sort to prevent sound from entering the space that has been sound proofed. There are two basic ways to achieve this reduction in sound: noise absorption and noise reduction.
Approaches to Sound Insulations
There are a few approaches to noise level reduction or noise absorption. A variety of materials can be used for either purpose. Noise reduction can be accomplished with the use of space between rooms. The more space, the more room for sound waves to dissipate. If you increase the distance between the source of the noise and the space, you will reduce the noise that enters the space.
The other method, noise absorption, is also referred to as dampening. With this method, the sound waves are converted to heat within the insulation. This increases energy efficiency, while reducing sound. It also suppresses the echoes and reverberation of sound waves.
NRC: The Basics
- The NRC rating for sound absorption materials ranges from 0 (perfectly reflective) to 1 (perfectly absorptive)
- It is an average of how absorptive a material is at four different frequencies (250, 500, 1000, and 2000)
- Because the rating is an average, two materials with the same rating might not perform the same at all frequencies and in all applications
- The NRC can also be viewed as the percentage of sound waves which come into contact with the sound absorption material that are not reflected back within the space. Example: NRC of .5=50%
- Different materials with the same NRC may provide very different results. Performance at different frequencies may be very different
- The NRC rating does NOT measure how well a material can block sound
- Depending on a material’s shape and surface area, some acoustic soundproofing products can test at an NRC above 1
SOUND BLOCKING with sound insulation material stops sound from entering or leaving a room. Sound insulation material is perfect for blocking loud music, voices, traffic, and many other distractions. Look for sound blocking materials with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. This number, the higher the better, indicates how effective a certain sound insulation material is at sound blocking. For instance, sound insulation material with a 35 STC would block most normal speech while material with a rating of 60 would render most sounds inaudible.
STC is roughly the decibel reduction in noise a material/partition can provide, abbreviated ‘dB’. The human ear perceives a 10dB reduction in sound as roughly reducing the volume by half. For example, a sound reduction from 50dB to 40dB seems half as loud. This is an important fact to keep in mind when considering a sound solution that ‘fits’ the problem. To understand how to soundproof a wall to create a higher STC rating
Common STC Ratings
A common acoustic issue in virtually any space is sound transmission. Sound transmission can be both airborne and/or structure borne vibration. (Structure borne vibration is assessed by a different standard, Impact Insulation Class – IIC, and is not addressed in this text). Airborne sound travels through the air and can transmit through a material, assembly or partition. Sound can also pass under doorways, through ventilation, over, under, around, and through obstructions. When sound reaches a room where it is unwanted, it becomes noise. Noise such as that from automobiles, trains and airplanes can transmit through the exterior structure of a building. In the same way, noise from mechanical equipment or speech can transmit from one room within a building to an adjacent space.
Sound transmission can cause noise control, confidentiality, and privacy issues. Sound from a noisy environment such as a mechanical equipment room or an area with loud activities or music can transmit through a partition into a quieter space. This will cause unwanted noise within the quieter space. This is not only an annoyance; in several cases it can cause the quieter space to become unusable for its intended purpose. Several spaces require confidentiality. Offices of counselors, lawyers, or human resource departments cannot function in a space where sound will transmit through the surrounding walls and into an adjacent space. In most other office situations if confidentiality is not an issue, privacy is. If sound transmission is not properly controlled, the space or environment will not provide privacy for its users.
• When soundproofing rooms, the STC of your doors & windows need to be equal to or greater
than the STC of your walls in order to maximize the rating.
• Structurally decoupling drywall panels from each other (using steel studs, a staggered-stud wall, double wall stud, or resilient channels) can produce an STC rating as high as 63 (for a double stud wall) and will result in effective low-frequency loss. This figure, when compared to a normal wall with an STC of 33, will make most frequencies inaudible, making the room sound 88 percent quieter.
• Music-related sounds may require the highest STC ratings. In practical terms, a 55 STC rating will prevent a resident living in a multi-family home from being bothered at all by their neighbor’s loud music.
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Contact our soundproofing experts for advice on which products will work best for your situation or look through our extensive selection of soundproofing resources that will answer some of the most commonly asked questions. Whether you are building a studio, constructing a recording booth or simply trying to eliminate outside noise, we have the professional products and experience in the soundproofing field that will help you complete your next project.
Within the industrial markets, noise barrier controls are a completely necessary acoustic material in battling noise control and noise safety issues.
Do you need to solve any of these issues?
- Equipment Noise
- Meeting OSHA & Worker Safety noise requirements
- Industrial HVAC/Piping Noise
- Heavy Construction Noise
- Generator Noise & Vibration
- Water Plant & Treatment Facility noise (generators, piping)
Industrial noise is a global, large scale problem effecting our environment and safety of the community. Not only meeting legal requirements let alone providing your workers and the surrounding community with effective noise mitigation solutions is critical. Solving your Industrial Noise Control problem with our industrial barriers can be a complex task, which ALL Noise Control can simplify for you.
Not sure which soundproofing material meets your needs? Just call us (561) 964-9360, we’ll be happy to walk you through our products and solve your noise control problem.