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Acoustic panels ensure that sounds, that would otherwise reflect off walls, are absorbed. These acoustic panels are necessary if you wish to sound treat a room (so as to improve the acoustics). They are particularly useful if you plan on setting up a home studio, video gaming set up or streaming setup. Acoustic panels greatly reduce excessive reverb, slap echo, flutter echo, comb filtering, and early reflections.
In this article, we will look at the best acoustic panels on the market. Not only are these panels effective, but they are also really easy to install. It is important to know that acoustic sound panels absorb mid and high sound frequencies and not low frequencies. For that, you need bass traps.
In a Rush? Here’s Our Top Picks:
|Auralex Acoustics SonoFlat Acoustic Absorption Foam, 2" x 24" x 24", 16-Panels, Charcoal||Check Price on Amazon|
|ATS Wedge Foam Acoustic Panels (Charcoal) - 24x24x2 (6pk)||Check Price on Amazon|
|Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedgies Acoustic Absorption Foam, 2" x 12" x 12", 24-Panels, Charcoal||Check Price on Amazon|
|Auralex Acoustics D36-DST Roominator Acoustic Absorption Treatment Room Kit, Charcoal/Burgundy||Check Price on Amazon|
|Foamily Acoustic Foam Egg Crate Panel Studio Foam Wall Panel 48" X 24" X 2.5" (4 Pack)||Check Price on Amazon|
Acoustic Panel Types
There are two types of acoustic panels. These include the wall-mounted acoustic panels and gobos (movable acoustic panels). While wall-mounted acoustic panels are used to ensure improved acoustics of a studio, gobos are used to partition/isolate an instrumentalist or vocalist. In this article, we will be looking at wall-mounted panels.
Acoustic Panels Surface Patterns
You may have noticed that acoustic panels have different surface patterns – some have tiny pyramids, others are wedged, while some have flat surfaces. No single surface pattern is the best. Different people have different preferences. However flat-surfaced can look very elegant and simple. However, when fitted right, both the wedge and pyramid patterned acoustic panels can create exquisite patterns and looks.
Best Acoustic Panels Sizes
Acoustic panels can be 1 sq. ft., 2 sq. ft., or 2 x 4 ft. in size. The square-foot panels are lighter and easier to install than the 2 x 4 ft panels. Similarly, acoustic panels are not all of the same thickness. An acoustic panel can be four inches thick. two inches thick or just an inch thick.
Four-inch thick panels absorb the most sound, while one-inch-thick panels absorb the least sound. Also four-inch-thick panels are generally the most expensive; followed by two-inch-thick panels; and finally, one-inch-thick panels. I recommend getting two-inch-thick panels. They are reasonably priced and work well for home studios. For professional studios, four-inch acoustic panels are best.
Number of Acoustic Panels Needed
You don’t need to cover every inch of your studio walls with acoustic panels in order to have a room with great acoustics. In fact, covering the entire room with acoustic panels usually leads to a sound dead room that also looks claustrophobic.
Most home studios need about 36 to 48 sq. ft. of acoustic panels. This ensures you have a good sounding room for broadcast (such as podcasting), or recording.
To know the number of acoustic panels needed, you need to do an acoustic analysis of the room. There are several mobile apps out there that help you determine the number of acoustic panels needed. Some of these apps include Room Layout eXpress™ (RLX™) by Auralex® Acoustics (can be found on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and works for rooms up to approximately 8,000 cu. ft.), Ultimate Acoustics, and the Free Online Room Acoustics Analysis from ATS.
Best Acoustic Panels On the Market
The top acoustic panel brands on the market areAuralex and ATS. As such many of the products featured here are produced by these two brands. These two companies manufacture thousands of different acoustic panels as well as bass traps, diffusers, and many other acoustic treatment products.
Auralex Acoustics SonoFlat Acoustic Absorption Foam
- sophisticated look and a cost-effective choice for accurate sound
- Out performs the Wedge and Pyramid panels
- Class B fire rating
- NRC of .95
This product comes in two variations. The first features sixteen SonoFlat acoustic panels which each panel being 2 inches thick and measuring 2 sq. ft. The second features 14 panels with each panel measuring 1 sq. ft. and having a thickness of 2 inches.
The panels come in two colors burgundy and charcoal black. According to Auralex, these flat acoustic absorption foams outperforms both wedge and pyramid patterned panels. They have a Class B fire rating and an NRC of 0.95 (NRC, which stands for Noise Reduction Coefficient, ranges from 1 to 0, which 1 indicating maximum absorption and 0 indicating minimum absorption).
The material used in the construction of these acoustic absorption foam tiles, Studiofoam, works by increasing air resistance. This, in turn, reduces the vibration/oscillation of sound waves and reduces sound reflections. As it any quality acoustic panel, the Auralex acoustics SonoFlat foams work exceptionally well on mid to high frequencies.
One of the big pluses of this product is aesthetics. The charcoal black or burgundy color is really attractive and professional looking. The angled edges fit together to form a simple yet stylish look. They are easy to install and can be arranged to form several delicate patterns.
Safety is high on the list of priorities when it comes to Auralex. The panels have a Class B fire retardancy rating as already mentioned. A Class B classification means the panels are effective against moderate fire exposure. Unless caught in a huge fire, the Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam won’t burn. This ensures they don’t easily catch on fire.
These panels can be installed with the help of double-sided adhesive tape or spray adhesives.
Reasons to Buy
- The SonoFlat Acoustic Absorption Foams are extremely effective at absorbing mid to high frequencies.
- These panels have a Class B fire rating.
- They are made with high-quality material – Studiofoam.
ATS Wedge Foam Acoustic Panels
- 2 lbs/cf density acoustic foam. NRC 0.65.
- Each panel is 24x24x2 inches
- Six panels per package (24 square feet of coverage)
- ASTM E84 Class A(1) Fire Rated
- Just $7.49 each in a 6-pack.
While these are aesthetically pretty basic, the ATS Wedge Foam Acoustic Panels work really well and are reasonably priced. This makes them perfect for any and all home studios. The pack features 6 panels with each panel measuring 2 sq. ft. and having a thickness of 2 inches. Six panels per pack mean that a single package can cover 24 sq. ft. Most rooms won’t need more than two packages.
The panels are charcoal black in color. This gives your studio a sleek professional look. The panels have an NRC of 0.6 which makes them effective at absorbing high-range frequencies and mid-range frequencies down to 500Hz. They also have a Class A fire rating.
Since each panel costs under $10, the ATS Wedge Foam Acoustic Panel is a very good economical alternative to the more high-priced panels such as the Auralex acoustics SonoFlat foams.
They are easy to install and with the help of spray adhesive, or glue you can affix them to the walls of the studio. The panels are quite heavy and as such might not work well with double-sided tape. These panels can easily it shaped or sized down with scissors or a knife as they are quite heavy and sturdy.
When it comes to safety, the ATS Wedge Foam Acoustic Panels have a fire rating of Class A. This means they are effective against severe fire exposure. Even in a huge fire, the panels most likely won’t burn.
As they are moderately priced panels, they may not work as well as other high-priced panels. However, they prove effective for home studios and even professional studios.
Reasons to Buy
- The ATS Wedge Foam Acoustic Panels are an economical way to absorb unwanted sound.
- They work great for both home and professional sound studios.
- These panels have a Class A fire rating.
Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedgies
- Great performance at a low cost
- Smaller panels offer more options for placement and design
- Class B fire rating
- NRC of .80
- Includes: (24) 2” x 12” x 12” Thick Studiofoam Panels" "- 24 Square Feet"
The Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedgies are a great option for your acoustic needs. Unlike the previously mentioned Auralex panels, the Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedgies measure 1 sq. ft. with a thickness of 2 inches. There are two variations available, the 18-pack, and 24-pack respectively. The 18-pack contains 18 panels while the 24-pack contains 24 panels. As you can easily tell, the 24-pack has a coverage area of 24 sq. ft., while the 18-pack has a coverage area of 18 sq. ft.
The panels are charcoal grey in color and are wedge-shaped as suggestive by the product name. The sleek dark color ensures that your studio looks professional. In all, these tiles are an excellent way to absorb standing waves as well as reflections. The panels have an NRC rating of 0.80 and a Class B fire rating.
Due to the small nature of the panels, they offer more options for placement and design. They can be installed in an alternating pattern and accented with other Auralex acoustical foam panels. Auralex Wedgies can be used to create aesthetically pleasing designs and patterns.
The Studiofoam Wedgies are a great way to spot treat studios, listening rooms, and even isolation booths. Since the wedge patterns mean more exposure, Studiofoam Wedgies, in theory, should absorb more sound than the flat surface panels. It is a great way to great rid of small flutter echo problem areas. Also when spread apart, they make effective sound diffusers.
You can install the Studiofoam Wedgies using double-sided tape for a more temporary solution and with spray adhesive for a more permanent solution.
Reasons to Buy
- The Auralex Acoustics Studiofoam Wedgies are constructed using quality material.
- They produce a great performance at a reasonable cost.
- They get the job done.
Auralex D36 Designer Series Roominator Kit
- Just the right amount of treatment for a small studio
- Easy to Install
- Add some LENRD bass traps to help optimize your room!
- Class B fire rating
The Roominator is an acoustic absorption treatment room kit. This kit contains the right amount of acoustic panels for a small room. It is great for persons who want to create a small studio or vocal booth. It is also excellent for sound treating a home theater room. The kit allows you to create the best acoustics possible while giving the room a great designer look.
The box contains eighteen DST-112 panels, eighteen DST -114 panels, and adhesive tabs (EZ-Stick Pro Mounting Tabs) for installation. Both panel types are 2 inches thick and measure 1 sq. ft. The main difference between the DST-112 and the DST-114 is the shape. While DST-112 has two wedge faces, the DST-114 has four wedge faces. The DST-112 foam panels come in charcoal grey, while the DST-114 panels come in charcoal grey and purple.
The Roominator has a Class B fire rating and as such the panels are not flammable. They withstand moderate exposure to fire.
The Auralex D36 Designer Series Roominator Kit is best used as a starter kit for sound treating a recording studio or vocal booth with minimal fuss.
Reasons to Buy
- The Auralex D36 Designer Series Roominator Kit absorbs mid to high frequencies with no issues.
- The Roominator kit has a Class B fire rating.
- This kit contains panels and adhesive tabs made with the best materials. As an Auralex brand, you are guaranteed the best.
Foamily Acoustic Foam Egg Crate Panel Studio Foam Wall Panel
- 2.5" Convoluted Acoustic Wall Panels provide an ultra clean look and SUPERB sound absorption
- Great for spot treating sound on walls in your studio or office - For use in recording studios, control rooms, Offices home studios, home entertainment theaters, Home Offices
- Very Good Quality High NRC !!
- One of our thickest panels
- MADE IN USA - Passes the CA TECHNICAL BULLETIN CAL 117-2013: Requirements. This is the Procedure and Apparatus for Testing the Smolder Resistance of Materials Used in Upholstered Furniture. This product, passes the requirements tested in the CAL 117-2013 procedure
Do not expect miracles from these budget-priced panels. However, they do offer the best value for money. They have a large exposure area and works very well if you have large areas to cover.
These Foamily panels are thicker and wider than most. They are also very dense. A single Foamily panel is 2.5 inches thick (half-inch thicker than most panels), and measures 4 x 2 ft. The extra thickness means it absorbs a wider range of frequencies. The large surface measurements mean you can cover large areas easily. A package includes 4 panels which add up to a coverage area of 36 sq. ft. They come in 4 different colors – namely charcoal, burgundy, red and ice blue.
The Foamily panels have high NRC ratings which show its effectiveness when it comes to noise absorption. Because they are large in size, you may need to cut them up into smaller sizes before you can work with them. As always, remember that acoustic panels are for sound absorption and not soundproofing. Positioning them correctly allows for the best results.
Also, they come rolled up and need a day or two before they change into their default shape. You can affix them to the walls using spray adhesive and even double-sided tape, assuming you cut them down into smaller sizes first.
On a negative note, these foams are flammable.
Reasons to Buy
- These Foamily panels can cover large areas at a go.
- They are a cost-effective way to absorb unwanted noise, echoes, and sound reflections.
- They are made in the United States.
There you have it. These are the absolute best acoustic panels on the market at the moment. These are guaranteed to ensure perfect room acoustics whether you are building a vocal booth, a recording studio or even a voice-over studio.
While the Auralex tiles are quite costly, they are the best. However, for an economical choice you can go for the ATS tiles. Lastly, if you are on the tightest of budgets, I recommend the Foamily panels.
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Last update on 2020-08-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API