Choosing the Right Acoustic Panels: A Buyer's Guide

Choosing the Right Acoustic Panels: A Buyer's Guide

Acoustic panels can significantly elevate the comfort of your home office, improve the sound quality in a home theater or studio, or enable you to create the ideal space for conferences and large meetings. Yet, various acoustic panels may differ from each other significantly, serving different purposes. Therefore, in this article, we will focus on how to choose the right acoustic panels. Interested? Read on.

Acoustic Panels Guide: Panel Types

At first, we will delve into the two main types of acoustic panels. They may be either absorbing or diffusing.

Absorption Panels

The first kind of acoustic panels that we will discuss in our guide are the absorption ones. They are designed to stop the soundwaves from spreading further.

Absorption panels are an excellent choice for home studios (combined with diffusion panels), rehearsal rooms, hotel rooms, or gyms.

Diffusion Panels

These acoustic panels are designed to reflect sound equally. They are placed to increase sound clarity or underline particular frequencies.

Diffusion panels may be useful in home studios, classrooms, conference rooms, or home theaters.

How to Choose the Right Acoustic Panels: The Metrics

Knowing which kind of acoustic panels will be ideal for your purpose, we may proceed to the metrics used for evaluating their effectiveness. In general, you may see two measurements: the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) or the Sound Absorption Coefficient (SRC).

The NRC is slowly being substituted by the SRC, yet you may still see it as a part of some panels’ specifications. While this should not be an issue for general purposes (such as soundproofing a room), the NRC is inefficient for home studios since it does not take into consideration lower frequencies which are often most problematic when recording music.

In both cases, the higher the score the better the absorbing properties. Thus, for soundproofing, you should search for panels with the highest values. However, for places that require a combination of both types of panels (such as home studios), you should choose a solution adjusted to the space in which you are installing the panels.

Choosing the Most Suitable Acoustic Panels: Select the Right Material

Every type of surface has its own sound-absorbing and reflecting properties – this is true for ceilings, floors, furniture, or acoustic panels.

Fiberglass or melamine foam-made panels are among the best ones. They will be ideal for public places. When opting for a solution for your home, you can use less expensive materials since you will not need exceedingly strong acoustic effects.

Acoustic Panel Guide: The Size

Another aspect that you should consider is the size of the panels. The right choice depends on the space in which you desire to install the panels. Larger ones will be easier to place since there will only be a couple of them. Yet, since you should put them on the walls and ceilings at equal distances from one another, often smaller ones will be the better choice.

When considering size, you should also focus on the thickness. In general, the thicker the panels the better their absorption quality. Moreover, thin panels are incapable of dealing with low frequencies, such as basses. Therefore, for the finest home studio acoustics, invest in the thicker ones.

Connected to size is also the surface pattern. Absorption panels may be flat, have a pyramid structure, or even ridges and egg crates. This often determines their soundproofing qualities, with flat panels being the least effective.

Select the Panels with an Excellent Design

Finally, you should also focus on the visual side. While this might seem insignificant, the panels will be present in the room and visible at all times. Therefore, you should choose ones that suit the overall decor.

Acoustic panels may differ in color and shape. Often, you may purchase them in bundles designed to complement each other and look good in a room. Consider the space that you are planning to install the panels in – what will suit it and what will look terribly inside? This is especially important for public locations, such as conference rooms, where you build your, or your brand’s image.

The Takeaway

After reading our guide on acoustic panels, you are now ready to make a conscious decision. Select the right panel type and material, check the NRC or SRC, decide on the size and thickness, and finally choose a stylish design. Do not forget to consider the space where you are planning to install the panels – every room is different and might require individual treatment.

Did you like this article? Then you should definitely read other entries on our blog, such as: Where to Install Acoustic Panels?

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