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3 Parts to an Acoustic Panel

Acoustic Panels
An acoustic (or sound-absorbing) panel is one of the most common options for improving sound quality in a room. They are used to mitigate noise by reducing the reverberation and echo within a space. It is important to note that an acoustic panel does not actually soundproof a room or block sound from entering a space. Let's take a closer look at the parts that make up these sound-absorbing panels and how they function.

Acoustic panels come in many different shapes and sizes, from the standard wall panel, to baffles, to clouds; however, no matter the shape, one thing they all have in common is they all have a sound-absorbing core. The core of an acoustic panel is the most important part. It's where the magic happens and where sound waves are dampened and deadened to control reverberation. Existing sound is converted into heat, reducing the sound waves’ ability to reflect back. While there are many different types of material that can be used as the core of an acoustic panel, some of the most common types are acoustical foam, cotton, fiberglass, and recycled polyester.

When selecting an acoustic panel, select a core with the highest NRC (noise reduction coefficient). An NRC of 0 means the material absorbs no sound, and a rating of 1 means that the material absorbs almost all sound. A good rule of thumb is that a NRC of 0.8 is good, and a rating of 0.9 or higher is very effective. Let's take a second to look at a few different sound panels with different core materials.

SONEX acoustic foam panels are made from Willtec acoustical foam and boast an impressive NRC of 0.92. They are also Class-1 fire-resistant, making them a great option for commercial buildings and businesses.
UltraQuiet Acoustic Panels have an NRC ranging from 0.85–1.15 and have an environmentally friendly cotton core. The edge contributes to sound absorption thus increasing NRC above 1.0. Surprisingly, they also have a high fire rating, making them a safe choice for businesses as well.
Whisperwave panels come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and NRC ratings. They mostly have foam cores with a rating of 0.85 or higher. They are also fire-resistant and are designed to look great in large spaces such as offices and lobbies.

When picking a sound-absorbing panel, be sure to target the amount and frequency of sound you want to reduce. Not all panels are built the same, and some might work better in certain environments. If you need help, feel free to give us a call or use this handy Acoustic Panel Calculator to figure out exactly what you need.

The fabric around an acoustic panel is primarily for aesthetic purposes. If you are placing large panels on your walls or have baffles hanging from the ceiling, you’ll want them to look good and match your aesthetic. These fabrics are acoustically transparent, meaning they allow sound to pass through them and right to the core of the panel. Acoustically transparent fabrics for sound control come in a variety of different sizes and colors. Guilford of Maine creates quality acoustical fabrics with a Class A fire rating, making them perfect for businesses and homes. Get a cost-effective solution to your sound-quality problems with stylish, modern designs.

Mounting Options
The final piece of an acoustic panel is the mounting option, i.e., how the panel is directly mounted to the wall, ceiling, or suspended from the ceiling. One popular option is a fabric wall track system. These tracks allow you to easily and affordably stretch fabrics across large quantities of acoustic panels, vastly changing the natural acoustics in the room. They use large seamless swaths of fabric to provide excellent coverage across large spaces, making them a great choice for gymnasiums, office rooms, and bars. Best of all, the setup is simple, so you can DIY your own acoustical setup in your home office or workplace.

For hanging baffles, you might want to use corkscrew hangers to ensure a tight fit that won't come loose. One of the last things any business owner wants is for part of their ceiling to fall on someone's head, and thankfully these hangers are designed to prevent exactly that. We also carry Z-clips, rotofast fasteners, and impaling clips to ensure your panels are affixed tightly to any surface and won’t come loose or fall off. These fasteners are easy to install and perfect for any task, from tiny do-it-yourself projects to massive installations.

Now that you have a better understanding of what makes an acoustic panel and how they function, the next step is figuring out exactly what your project needs. Spend some time to figure out if you want to use wall panels, ceiling hanging baffles, other forms of sound control, or a mix of these options. Don’t forget to use our Acoustic Panel Calculator, or give us a call at 866.768.6381. We're here to help find the sound solution that’s right for you!