Acoustic Panels vs Foam – What You Should Use!


When people are thinking of any type of acoustic treatment, there are options out there worth researching. One of the most significant decisions comes down to going with either acoustic foam or acoustic panels which are made of other materials.

Acoustic panels vs. acoustic foam, what’s best? Panels are going to help out more when picking between the two. Acoustic Foam serves some purposes, but the sound quality in a room will see a boost with panels at a much quicker rate.

Some people like what foam can do and how it looks but is it really able to stand up against panels made of other material when it comes to performance? Below are a few different types of Foam products for soundproofing and noise absorption.

Acoustic Foam

There are a lot of people who like using foam for any type of soundproofing. They can act as a barrier to control sounds coming in or leaving, and it is definitely worth looking into if a person has nothing currently. The downfall is not that many people see a ton of success with foam unless they install a lot of it.

There are different types of foam out there that all serve to do basically the same thing. It comes down to where the foam was going to be placed, and what a person wants their room to look like in the end.

Egg Crate Foam

The common myth has been that egg crates actually work as a way to control sound in the room (Article that Disproves this), but that has been proven false.

However, that shape with the right type of foam actually works pretty well. The convulsions in the profile of the egg crate foam allow for a lot of sound absorption area to help make sound a lot more controlled. It is an affordable option that can be placed just about anywhere.

Another great thing about using egg crate foam is that it can be part of a more important process as well. It might not provide the same type of sound control that people are counting on by itself, but it certainly acts as a solid contributor.

Foam Ceiling Tiles

A quiet ceiling can dictate a lot about a room. There are foam ceiling tiles (Amazon) available for people to invest in if they really want to. They are available in many different sizes, and the foam actually works pretty well blending in with the rest of a room.

Again, the foam is not going to provide the same level of noise control that people are expecting from other materials, but it is a pretty quick solution to make things better.

As long as a person get something that blends into the ceiling well, most visitors will not notice that there is anything up there.

Corner Bass Traps

A lot of people will start with acoustic foam corners that can be placed around the room. It is very good at helping with low-frequency sound waves, especially when dealing with musical instruments.

If a person needs to start with any type of treatment, targeting the corners is the right place to start. It will help to change how things work in the rest of the room, and it does not really stand out too much aesthetically.

Foam Strips for Windows

Foam Strips Self Adhesive

The window area of any room needs some type of treatment to help with sound. This is always a very vulnerable spot, and foam trips are very lightweight to put in whenever it is needed.

Try by putting foam around the corners of any window at first. If it seems like one particular area is troublesome, it might make sense to go in that direction as well.

There are so many people out there that might have older windows that do not control sound as much as modern ones. When that is the case, foam helps a lot, and it is so lightweight that the window is fully functional as well.

Foam for Doors

There are not really too many leaks with most windows, but the doors are very different. Even outdoor doors will sometimes have small leaks that could cause a lot of issues with sound (as well as temperature issues).

Interior doors are even worse, as there is almost always a gap at the bottom and sides for sound to leak. A door sweep is one option to help with sound control a little, but foam is another option that can sometimes be removed when not needed.

A self-adhesive foam strip is going to fit nicely around the inside of a door frame. It might change how easy it is to open and close the door, but it will seal things off, leaving noise out.

How Well Does Foam Actually Work?

Foam is more of a fix for people who might not have that many issues with sound in general. Maybe they need a little bit of help controlling things, but nothing too crazy.`

Foam is a solid enough material that it will block a lot of sounds and absorb everything well, but it is not going to stack up exactly the same as panels. When looking at acoustic panels, these are the options that are for more heavy-duty help.

Acoustic Panels

A look at acoustic panels is pretty much a catchall term for any type of option out there. People who have sound problems and want to increase quality right away should look into this type of assistance.

Without any type of acoustic panels up on walls, ceilings, and more, sounds are just going to go into the environment and bounce around sporadically. It might not always come back as a sound that is as pleasant as what a person is hoping for, so that is where panels come into play.

When compared to foam, which is more in line with focusing on soundproofing, panels are more for improving sound quality. They do provide some benefits as far as sealing the room off, but that might be where foam can do a little more good.

There are quite a few panel options out there for any type of problem that needs to be dealt with. Depending on what a person is going to use them for, they have certain specific benefits.

Artistic Acoustic Panels

People who want to make sure that they are not compromising how a room looks will want to shop for artistic acoustic panels. They are very customizable, and can go into just about any room out there. People who are really worried about how the room appears after installing panels will go in this direction.

There used to be a time when acoustic panels did not look nearly as nice when set up. The good news is that people can rely on not having to compromise anything when setting up panels these days. They may not operate at the absolute best compared to ones that are strictly for function, but they still rank pretty highly.

Click for some awesome looking acoustic panels from Amazon.

Fabric Wrapped Panels

These are a little bit better as far as acoustic performance is concerned. Fabric can provide that little bit extra that really makes a big deal. Not only is it a more professional great option, but they can still be customized to a certain degree.

Here are a few examples from Amazon.

Perforated Acoustic Wood Panels

Not only can these panels reduce noise levels coming from speakers, but they can decrease reverberation around the rest of the room.

There are dents inside the panels that will make sure that the sound waves are centralized at all times. This provides not only superior absorption but better sound quality and greater overall privacy with that sound.

Common Questions About Acoustic Panels

Since acoustic panels tend to be the better option overall compared to just using foam, there are a lot of people who have questions before jumping in. It is important to do research beforehand so that the right materials purchased, and prices stay pretty low.

Fabric options

The most expensive acoustic panels out there are going to be wrapped in fabric, with fiberglass inside. These panels do a very great job of controlling noise for different frequencies, and the fabric holds up very well. Some people may think that they might be a little bit flammable, but the high-quality ones are going to be just fine.

Perforated wood

From a sustainability standpoint, perforated wood is a great option for acoustic panels. There are many different options out there available to people who want to shop around, and that is good news for anyone looking to save some money. Some people will even go to the do-it-yourself option as far as these panels are concerned.

Foam

Foam is great with absorbing sound, but it is not soundproof. People like going with the foam option because it is very inexpensive and easy to put up, but keep in mind that it is not going to be the best at providing value for true professional setups.

What are the benefits of using acoustic?

At times, acoustic treatment is pretty self-explanatory as far as benefits are concerned. In other cases, people may not realize just why it makes so much sense.

For any business owner who has a somewhat noisy environment, it can be much more inviting to lower the sound and make things easier for the customer. Too much noise inside a restaurant can be very distracting, and it might hurt the overall dining experience for customers.

The same goes for a relatively quiet office or business. Maybe it is quiet when there something else going on, but it is easy to hear outside distractions. It is also the case if there is something inside that is making some noise.

All it takes is a little bit of treatment in this case, and it can go a long way towards people feeling a lot more comfortable. This can boost overall productivity, and help a business overall.

Finally, it is probably pretty obvious, but the acoustical quality in any type of musical venue is going to be greatly increased with acoustic panels. People are actually mimicking these music venues in smaller spaces so that they can practice and record in a place at home. It might seem complicated for someone who has never done it before, but there are some products available that are affordable and easy to set up.

Can acoustic panels, and acoustic foam, be put up by a person without any professional assistance?

Most setups are going to be completely fine for an individual to do themselves. It is pretty fast and simple, as there are kits available that help with the hanging process. It might be worth asking a professional to give some recommendations before jumping in, but the actual installation process is fairly simple.

There are professionals out there who can really turn a space into a very easy place to work in, but they are not always a necessary part of the process. Think of professionals only if the room needs to be at the highest of levels from a sound perspective.

Final thoughts

Acoustic panels and acoustic foam both help out with people who want to have a better environment inside a room in general. Even if it is just a bedroom or living room, the improvement in sound is going to be noticeable almost right away.

Overall, panels are going to help out more when picking between the two. Foam serves some purposes, but the sound quality in a room will see a boost with panels at a much quicker rate.

Martin Poirier

For the last number of years, I've Been dedicating a lot of time in soundproofing and helping people be able to soundproof their home, business, and vehicles. I also have a YouTube channel by the same name Soundproof Guide.

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