While researching decoupling solutions, I came across several different kinds of isolation clips. This got me wondering about the performance of whisper clips vs. RSIC-1. If you’ve wondered the same, here’s a quick answer:
In terms of performance of whisper clips vs. RSIC-1, whisper clips are the better choice. With a single layer of drywall, whisper clips offer an STC of 56 compared to the STC of 50 for RSIC-1. However, both will offer a vast improvement on just insulation alone.
In this article, I’ll look at the specific differences of whisper clips and RSIC-1s so you can decide which would be better for your next soundproofing project.
Also read: Green Glue vs. MLV
What are Isolation Clips?
Isolation clips are used as part of the process of decoupling. You may or may not be familiar with this process, but here’s a brief rundown.
Decoupling involves mechanically separating two sides of a partition wall to prevent sound waves from passing all the way through a structure.
You can do this by creating separate wall studs for each side, or by using isolation clips and hat channels. The latter is both more convenient and less invasive, making it a more popular option.
Regardless of the specific design, isolation clips all work in essentially the same way. This involves:
- They’re screwed into the wall joists.
- They have a metal clip into which you insert the hat channel.
- The hat channel is prevented from wobbling due to tensile strength and the weight of the wall.
- Isolation clips also have a rubber foot to dampen and absorb vibrations.
The main difference between whisper clips and RSIC-1s is the design of the rubber foot. Both use similar designs for attaching to the wall and hat channel but have different rubber feet.
RSIC-1s have a circular rubber foot that’s slightly deeper than the whisper clip’s. Whisper clips, on the other hand, have a thin, flat rubber foot for dampening vibrations.
Another noticeable difference is that whisper clips are a two-part design, whereas RSIC-1s are a single piece of metal with a rubber foot. I’ll discuss why this is important in more detail below.
Realistically, if you’re decoupling a wall using this method, either would do a good job. RSIC-1s are the more classic design, and they’ve performed well for a number of years.
Whisper clips are a newer design, made by Green Glue, and have updated a number of RSIC-1s issues. That said, these issues aren’t significant.
Think of it as changes to a smartphone. The previous model works fine, but the newer model performs better and usually has a more streamlined design.
The Pros and Cons of Whisper Clips
While design changes might seem minor, they can make a big difference in terms of performance. As I mentioned at the start of the article, whisper clips do have a better STC (sound transmission class).
This is because of their two-part design, which offers an extra level of isolation compared to a single-part design.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the pros and cons of whisper clips.
Pros of Whisper Clips
They work better at low frequencies
Their two-part design is more effective at low frequencies because the extra layer of isolation stops even sound waves with more energy.
Low-frequency sound waves pass further through structures because they expend less energy making the material vibrate. Whisper clips prevent this with their 2 layers of isolation.
Easy to install
Whisper clips are really simple to install; you just need to screw them into the wall stud and clip in the hat channel.
What’s more, they have a pivot head, which means you have a greater range of applications. You can fit them into awkward spaces and angles.
Check out this video on whisper clip installation for more information.
Whisper clips don’t short-circuit
One of the major flaws in isolation clip design is screwing them into wall studs. This might not seem like a problem, but screws offer a way for sound to transfer through the clip.
This problem is removed using whisper clips. Their rubber foot sits on the wall stud, meaning the screws pass through it and so any vibrations are dampened.
Cons of Whisper Clips
Take up space
This isn’t a massive problem, but using whisper clips to decouple a wall will take up about 2” of space.
Compared to a full decoupling method, though, this isn’t much. Just be sure to factor it into your measurements.
Pros and Cons of RSIC-1
As with whisper clips, it’s worth knowing the pros and cons of RSIC-1s to know whether they’re right for your project.
Pros of RSIC-1
Big improvement of STC
While I mentioned earlier that whisper clips provide a better STC, RSIC-1s can still offer up to a 15-point increase in STC if used properly.
When combined with other soundproofing materials, such as mass loaded vinyl (Amazon link), this will be enough for most rooms.
Each clip can support 36lbs, so simply use more if you’re fitting a lot of MLV to the wall.
RSIC-1s are the slightly more cost-effective option. What’s more, as they’re not made by a single company, you have plenty more options for getting hold of them.
RSIC-1s can be used on flat and curved walls and can support drywall, wood, metal, and more.
They’re an incredibly versatile product that’s also really easy to install.
Cons of RSIC-1s
The only major downside of these isolation clips is that the screw passed through the metal bracket, which can transfer some sound through the structure.
Granted, it’s not much, but if you’re using these clips to isolate a wall, you don’t want any sound waves to pass through.
Take up space
Like whisper clips, these isolation clips also take up a bit of space – around 2” again.
Just be sure to factor this into your measurements.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Isolation Clips
Regardless of the type of isolation clip you choose, they won’t do much on their own.
For best results, you need to support them with a number of other soundproofing materials.
Here are my suggestions for how to get the best STC from a decoupled wall.
1. Use MLV
Mass loaded vinyl is limp mass, meaning it doesn’t vibrate when sound waves hit it.
Sandwich a layer of this between 2 sheets of drywall and you’ve instantly got a more mass-rich structure.
2. Use a dampening compound
Green Glue, which makes whisper clips, is better known for its sound dampening compound.
Unsurprisingly it’s called Green Glue (Amazon link). It helps to stop sound waves from passing through a structure so is useful for supporting a decoupled structure.
Add a liberal layer of Green Glue between each layer of your MLV sandwich for even better dampening.
Some Final Thoughts on Whisper Clips vs. RSIC-1
Hopefully, this article has given you some useful tips on whisper clips vs. RSIC-1.
In short, both are great at what they do, but whisper clips come out slightly on top.
That said, you’ll have more resources for how to best use RSIC-1s, so they might be your better option.
Whichever you choose, be sure to do plenty of research before you begin installation.