Sound panels reduce sound and enhance the experience and comfort in any given space. Sound absorption creates a great atmosphere by filtering out unwanted sounds from outside the room and from sounds bouncing around inside the room.
But the question of how many sound panels do I need is not always an easy question to answer. Multiple factors influence the number of panels you need.
In this article, we’ll explore a few of the factors you need to consider before choosing the number of sound panels for your room.
Shape & Size Of The Room
It probably comes as no surprise that the larger the room size, the more panels you’ll need for optimal sound absorption. Larger rooms produce more echo and more reverberation, requiring a higher level of protection to prevent sound from bouncing around the room and onto other surfaces.
The shape of a room will also affect how sound travels in and around it. A high ceiling will completely change the acoustics of a similar-sized room with lower ceilings. More height = and more space = more reverberation.
Rooms with straight, square, or rectangular walls are pretty straightforward by placing sound panels around the perimeter. But spaces with high-ceiling can benefit from sound panels on the ceiling to reduce the reverberation. Longer rooms have different problems to solve.
So before you decide on the number of panels you need, it’s important to take into consideration the size and shape of the room.
Materials In The Room
The contents of the room are important to how sound travels and is absorbed. Does your space have carpet or hardwood floors? Are the walls drywall, concrete, or wood? Is it heavily furnished or sparse? Questions like these are critical to determining the type and number of acoustical panels are needed for any given room.
Remember that hard surfaces reflect more sound than soft surfaces. Ceramic tile floors will reflect a lot more sound than carpet for example. A room full of plush couches will reflect less sound than a room full of metal chairs.
The Purpose Of The Room
The purpose of the room won’t directly affect the sound levels but is more so used to determine what is an acceptable level of noise and sound reverberation. Is your room a theater? An office? A home recording studio?
All of these rooms require different levels of noise reduction to suit their unique needs. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the acoustics of a room.
For many spaces, it’s not just the amount of sound that needs consideration, but the frequency as well. Different panels will absorb different frequencies, and in general, a thinner panel will absorb higher frequencies, while a thicker panel will absorb lower frequencies.
Different materials inside the panel and the outer wrapping will affect how the panel reduces noise, and which frequencies it takes out the most.
Just like using too few panels will not reduce the sound enough, using too many panels can deaden the sound too much and produce an unnatural and undesirable effect. Reverberation is natural, and important for many rooms. Too many panels in the wrong space results in a room sounding “dead”, which is not what you want unless you’re in a recording studio or similar space.
Positioning Of The Sound Panels
The position of the sound panels plays an important role in how sound is absorbed and reflected. In general, you want to place sound panels at the first reflection points, which is the first area sound would otherwise bounce in a space.
It is recommended to place panels on the sidewalls, ceilings, corners, or the back wall to deal with the first reflections. The size, and shape of the room as well as sound source and type will all play a part in determining the best place to put the panels.
How Many Do I Need?
The short answer to this question is in general you want to have 10-30% of the area covered. However, as we explained above, several factors will determine the exact number and type. You can also use this formula as a rough guide.
- Cubic Volume of the room x 3% = square footage of product
- Height x Width x Depth x 0.03 = Sq/Ft
These calculations and estimates are just guides, however. If you want your room to have the best soundproofing and absorption possible, it’s best to contact an expert to help you make the right decision.
Each room is different and unique. Call Specialty Interiors and speak to one of our trained sound panel specialists who will answer all your questions and help you choose the best panels for your room.