When it comes to soundproofing, the first method often considered is installing acoustic panels as they are affordable and easy to install. The only problem is that it can be challenging to know how many panels you need to soundproof a room.
You will need at least 7 acoustic panels for a 5.1 surround system. However, there are different factors to consider to know how many acoustic panels you need to use for a room. You need to know the room’s size, shape, surface material types, and intended soundproofing goal.
After knowing how many acoustic panels you need, the next thing you have to work with is the installation. Luckily, there are some simple tips that you can use to make this process easier.
How Many Acoustic Panels Do I Need?
Acoustic panels are materials for sound absorption. They consist of foam and mineral wool and are mounted on ceilings and walls to decrease unwanted noise and echoes in a room.
As a result, there is a significant improvement in the overall quality of sound, especially in recording studios, home theaters, and media rooms.
However, most people who plan to use acoustic panels have the same question – how many panels are needed to soundproof a room?
In order to answer that question, there are several factors that you need to consider:
- Shape and size of the room
- How you will use the room
- The surface materials within the area
- Type and placement of acoustic panels
The shape and size of the room you want to soundproof
Large rooms mean more noticeable echoes and reverberation. Sound waves bounce off surfaces, resulting in the production of reflections that will either bounce or be absorbed by other surfaces.
The larger your room is, the longer time it will take for sound to travel between surfaces. As a result, there is a long time delay before the sound waves scatter, causing them to reverberate longer.
Additionally, it is crucial to know the shape of the room before installing the panels. Rooms with high ceilings will have a longer reverberation time than those with low ceilings.
Meanwhile, parallel surfaces, such as hard floors and drywalls, will cause resonance to the room.
How you will use the room
There are different levels of acceptable room reverberation depending on the purpose of a room.
For instance, home offices, home theaters, and recording studios all have different reverberation levels. Meaning, they need different numbers of acoustic panels for soundproofing.
Needless to say, how you will use the room will influence the number of sound waves that the panels need to absorb and at what level of frequency.
If you only want to eliminate mid and high frequencies, using thin acoustic panels is ideal. Meanwhile, thick panels will allow you to absorb low and high-frequency noises.
If you only want to reduce background noises, you do not need to eliminate low frequencies. But if the room’s purpose is for home theater or recording studio, you need to control low, mid, and high frequencies.
Moreover, it is essential to note that adding too many acoustic panels will result in loss of reverberation. This factor will cause your room to sound “dead.” Such is something that will not sound good, especially when you are recording something.
The surface materials within the area
Before installing acoustic panels, you need to figure out the kind of materials used in the room. It is important to note that hard surfaces like drywall and concrete walls reflect more sound than carpeted and hardwood floors.
In addition, hard surfaces will play a significant role in the reverberation time of sound waves. On the other hand, surfaces with soft and porous textures absorb more sound, shortening reverberation time.
That said, the objects within the area you want to soundproof do play a role in eliminating unwanted noises.
If the room is fully furnished with couches and pillows, these materials will absorb sound, thus reducing echoes. In this case, you will need to install fewer acoustic panels.
Type and placement of acoustic panels
Many people are not aware that there are various types of acoustic panels. Each type has a crucial role to play in the sound quality of a room.
Additionally, each type of acoustic panel has an NRC of Noise Reduction Coefficient. NRC helps in indicating how well the panel will work in sound absorption.
NRC ratings usually range from 0 to 1. The higher the rating, the better the panel be in absorbing sound. So, if you want the panel to absorb a lot of noise, you need an acoustic panel type with a high NRC rating.
Similarly, the placement of the panel is also important. Before mounting your acoustic panels on the wall or ceiling, you need to consider how you will use the space.
After knowing all these factors, you can use this formula to get the exact number of acoustic panels that you need for your room:
- Height x Width x Depth x 0.3 = Square footage of the panel
- Cubic Volume of the room x 3 percent = Square footage of the product
Easy Tips for Identifying the Number of Acoustic Panels Needed
It may be a little complicated to find out how many acoustic panels you need. But there are some easy tips to help you figure out how many panels you need.
Still, it is crucial to consider the abovementioned factors to ensure that you have the right number of panels for your room.
- Ceiling height
When it comes to acoustic panel insulation, the standard ceiling height is eight feet. If your ceiling is more than this height, the number of panels you need will start to change.
- The room should not be too big.
If the room is a standard 10′ x 10′, 10′ x 15′, or 20′ x 20′ area, you will need to soundproof around 40 percent of the space. But if the room is larger than 400sq.ft., you may need a custom soundproofing recommendation.
- The room should not be odd.
The room that you will soundproof should not have multiple glasses or metal walls. The reason is that these materials can change the dynamics. So, the room should only either have concrete walls or dry walls for the acoustic panels to work.
- Ted W., How many Acoustic Panels do I need?, Acoustical Surfaces, https://www.acousticalsurfaces.com/blog/soundproofing/how-much-do-i-need/
- How Many Acoustic Panels Do You Need For Your Home Theater?, Boom Speaker, https://boomspeaker.com/acoustic-panels-home-theater/
- The Ultimate Guide to Acoustic Panels for Home Recording, E-Home Recording Studio, https://ehomerecordingstudio.com/acoustic-foam-panels/
- Caroline, How Many Acoustic Panels do I Need?, ATS Acoustics, https://www.atsacoustics.com/blog/how-many-acoustic-panels-do-i-need.html/
- Calculate a Rectangle Area, Calculator Soup, https://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/construction/square-footage-calculator.php/