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What is Acoustic Foam?

A music studio is lined with acoustic foam to prevent external sounds from penetrating into the room and ruining a recording.
Acoustic foam can improve a home theater system by containing the sound within the room and by minimizing echoes.
Inside a church, sound waves travel through the large space and bounce off the flat walls, which causes echoes.
Acoustic foam panels can help reduce noise between floors.
A soundproof room made with acoustic foam.
Acoustic foam for soundproofing.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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In order to buffer sound and reduce echos, recording studios and home musicians often attach acoustic foam to the walls of a room. While not exclusive to use by musicians, this material is immensely useful to people looking to reduce echos in a room or prevent excess noise frequencies from escaping to the outside of the room. Conversely, it can keep outside noises from coming into a room. It comes in a variety of sizes, and is pliable enough to be nailed or otherwise attached to walls, ceilings, doors, and other features of a room to control noise levels, vibration, and echoes.

Acoustic foam typically comes in squares or sheets, varying in size depending on the room to be soundproofed. A square or sheet will vary in thickness, but all varieties of the foam feature a jagged landscape. This is because even surfaces tend to act as a soundboard for vibration, but jagged edges and uneven surfaces absorb sound waves and deaden them before they can reverberate, causing sound to travel farther and even cause echoes.

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Musical purposes are not the only applications for acoustic foam. Industrial settings also often use it to deaden sound not only for the benefit of surrounding businesses and homes, but also for the health of their employees. Live venues and concert halls can host a variety of purposes, and acoustic foam will improve acoustics and deaden echoes for the benefit of the audience. Home theater systems can produce an excess of sound that can leach into other rooms and create strong echoes, thereby deteriorating sound quality. Soundproofing foam can help control vibrations and echoes to improve the sound quality of your home theater system and keep sound from escaping into other rooms.

Large rooms may also benefit from acoustic foam. Churches, synagogues, temples, etc. often have massive spaces to accommodate large numbers of audience members, and therefore sound has a large swath of space through which to travel. In addition, such large spaces often include large expanses of flat wall, which conduct vibration and echoes extremely well. Using jagged foam to baffle the sound can help buffer some of that vibration; in addition, hanging sound baffles--large, flat panels that break up the empty space in high ceilings and large rooms--can prevent sound from traveling far enough to cause echoes by bouncing off more walls.

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ElbowTickle
Post 3

@Almita – Wow, my situation was the opposite. I wanted to practice my voice lessons for choir class and I was worried that my neighbors would complain. I own a duplex and my garage is right against theirs, so I didn't want to start a big deal over noise. They are always quiet and the neighborhood is peaceful too.

I almost got the acoustical foam panels, but my garage needed insulated anyway – so I went with the insulation. I'm not exactly a professional, but with enough self-help books – I can figure out anything. So I insulated and boarded over the whole garage! It only took me three days since it's a one car garage.

No noise complaints so far and I've had my friends come over to play background music, so I guess it works.

Almita
Post 2

The house I just moved in to came with a little guest house. I was so excited because I could use it as a meditation room that would be away from the noise of the house. I meditate on the weekends and my husband is always watching TV and the kids are always running around playing loudly.

Of course, the weekends also is when the neighbor's teenagers practice with their band. I could hear every drum beat in my little meditation guest house.

So I looked into sound reducing insulation and found acoustic foam. It wasn't as expansive as I had originally thought to add acoustic foam panels to my meditation room – to I made sure to cover everything.

It works pretty good, as long as the kids don't come knocking on the door. Peace and quiet at last!

anon121521
Post 1

Specify some acoustic material names.

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