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Acoustic Wall Panels - what fabric to cover?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by BestGear, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. BestGear

    BestGear
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    Hi Folks

    Looking to upgrade my existing acoustic wall panels to some deeper ones with Wickes dense wadding.

    Obviously I need to cover these panels (6 of them, a meter square each) with fabric.

    Has anyone got advice as to suitable fabric to use, apart from standard loudspeaker grill fabric?

    Thanks

    D
     
  2. pemberto

    pemberto
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  3. avanzato

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    Loudspeaker grill cloth and the Professional acoustic fabrics will be fire rated or should be. Otherwise you can use any fabric that allows air through it, the easier you can blow through it the better.

    Which Wickes product are you using?
     
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    30mm high density slabs?
     
  5. avanzato

    avanzato
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    I was wondering as I tried the dense slab and then swopped for the cavity slab which was miles better. I also tried fluffy fibreglass and fibreglass slab from B&Q and they all seemed better than the dense slab I first got.
    Then I was directed to Bob Golds list of absorbtion coefficients page where the numbers probably explain it better then I can.
     
  6. BestGear

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    ..slabs - I tried the high density ones too and found the 50mm "normal" density ones better... in my room...

    I guess its not to say that would be better in every case though...

    D
     
  7. BestGear

    BestGear
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    Out of interest... and I guess I am opening up myself to (more?) ridicule...

    My original acoustic panels were made from 1m square 6mm mdf panels with a deep foam backed carpet glued on.

    You would be gobsmacked as to how good these actually worked out.

    I think the placement of the panels is often just as important as the build.

    I used the old "get a pal with big arms to move round the room" trick to check the best place to mount the panels... again, it makes a huge difference.

    D
     
  8. BestGear

    BestGear
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    pemberto - many thanks for the link - that is a great find.

    That material feels a bit expensive but the choice and quality certainly seems to be there...

    avanzato - Another great link - that guy has cenrtainly done his homework... wish I had found that a while ago!

    D
     
  9. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I'm sure I've seen panels constructed with MDF and other 'accoustic' material that were meant to do exactly what you're home made panels did, except yours were much cheaper. :)

    I think people are more likely to aks you how you made them than try to ridicule you!

    Gary.
     
  10. pemberto

    pemberto
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    About 6 months ago on the Discovery Home and Leisure channel (Sky) presenter John Revell had a 2 part show about building a home cinema. During the show he built several of these panels.

    Construction of these panels consisted of a 2x2 frame with a 4mm mdf backing board. 50mm rockwool panels inserted and the covered with a muslin cloth to keep the rockwool from escaping and the covered in a finishing cloth. To attached to the walls he used double sided velcrow.
     
  11. BestGear

    BestGear
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    ...that was quite a good, two episode program....

    It was amusing watching him go round a couple of dealers (from memroy, it may have been one) and being astounded at the prices!!

    My Tivo caught that series - god bless wishlists!!! I think I dumped it to DVD for future reference too... better go dig it out...

    D
     
  12. pemberto

    pemberto
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  13. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    That's a great look, and probably didn't cost the earth either. I think the frames look is much better than a plain treated wall. Wish I'd thought of doing that. :)

    Gary.
     
  14. BestGear

    BestGear
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    ..yeh, these frames look very professional and I bet they work really well too..

    I am not sure if I would have the patience to make so many of the damn things... after the first 6, the rest may not be of quite the same quality... he he!!!

    I liked his room build photos - nice idea with the platform/stage up front - quite a nice easy feature to add...

    D
     
  15. pemberto

    pemberto
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  16. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    GOM fabric has always been mentioned over at AVS ever since I started going there, and seems very popular. I don't think we have anything similar over here though.

    I wonder what speaker grill cloth would be like? It's cheap and comes in some other colours as well as black, and being acousticaly transparent would mean the accoustic material underneath would be able to work to its full effect.

    Gary.
     
  17. pemberto

    pemberto
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    Gary,
    You can get GOM fabric over here. Its distributed by Interface Fabric Group, which I think is the European arm of Guildford of Maine, http://www.interfacefabrics.com/index-uk.html
    Contact Details: Interface Fabrics
    Hopton Mills, Mirfield, West Yorkshire, WF14 8HE
    UK Sales Tel:01924 490491, General Enquiries: +44 1924 490591

    I managed to get sent a fabric sample sheet from Acoustical Solutions in the US for GOM fabric which looks very good as well as SoundSuede panel fabric, http://www.acousticalsolutions.com/products/panels/sound_suede.asp ,in 55 different shades and Acoustone acoustic grill cloth, again they look very good. I might go down the soundsuede route.
    Paul
     
  18. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Thanks for the info Paul.

    Gary.
     
  19. stevebez

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    Howdy

    I kind of like the look of heavy hanging curtains... quite dramatic ... ceiling to floor ... even a little extra long to cover any gaps on the floor... gets rid of the flat surface rebound and sound absorbtion is - well really good depending on how heavy / dense the material and interlining is. You need pretty thick and heavy interlining. I don't think its a substitute to wall panels but if I put my cinema together I think I will go his route. It can hide any wall panels pretty well too, but does take up a bit of space and interfere a little with ventilation if there are vents behind these curtains.

    Also you can probably wind them out the way electrically if you have the appropiate rails ... could really look the part.

    Don't think its a substiute to wall panles though but the combo could be benchmark.

    Any Thots ?

    Rgds Steve.
     
  20. dazca1

    dazca1
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    Are these soundseude panels along the same lines as Auralex sound treatment?
     
  21. pemberto

    pemberto
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    Dazca1,

    Yep, they are along the same linees. Have a look at Acoustical Solutions website, http://www.acousticalsolutions.com for details of what they offer for Home Theater. For information on the SoundSeude panels have a look at http://www.acousticalsolutions.com/products/panels/sound_suede.asp

    I am currently only interested in the fabric as I plan to make my own panels. I just cannot work out if I should use the SoundSuide or use the Guildford of Maine fabrics.

    At the end of the day its all down to the wife. She has the final say on what this is going to look like. I just get to buy the toys.

    Pemberto
     
  22. meridian808

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    Hi.

    I have a very 'bright echoey' room. Am I better with high density slabs or normal ones?

    curtains are not an option.

    thanks in advance

    W
     
  23. avanzato

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    Use the normal ones probably called 'Cavity slabs' in the DIY shop generally the thicker the better as then you cover a wider range of frequencies. One pack should be enough to start with and 2 packs will be plenty. Wickes have 85mm thick Rockwool or B&Q Warehouse have 75mm thick Knauf Fibreglass, the Knauf is better value but more itchy to handle IMHO.
     
  24. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Snapper,

    Do you have carpet on the floor of your room? Plain wooden flooring can cause lots of echo, and wall treatments may or may not help if that's the case. Try laying a rug or similar downand see if that makes a difference (assuming wood flooring).

    Gary.
     
  25. meridian808

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    Yes this is a living room with solid wooden floors, plaster walls.
    a thick large wool rug has helped but not cured it.
    I have already bought 5 high density slabs 30mm from Wickes but I dont want to waste time & effort if something else would work. My intention was to make 5 panels to stick on the walls around the room.

    thx

    W
     
  26. avanzato

    avanzato
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    Put the slabs in the room and see how they alter the rooms acoustics. Subjectively I felt the softer slabs and even fluffy rolls sounded better but that's in my room so yours may just need the HD slab.

    Just putting the absorber in the room will give you some idea of how it's going to work or not.
     
  27. Killahertz

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    It is often preferable to use a high-density panel, one that sustains it's own shape whilst free-standing. Whilst of obvious benefit, you have to be aware that excess density will negate absorption at the target frequency range. It may very well be absorbent at bass frequencies (assuming sufficient material depth), but essentially reflective at the more important specular range. The same (within reason) follows for the covering.

    Whilst neither needs to be audio-specific (or expensive), they do need absorbency and transparency to be effective. Medium density Rockwool (in a simple frame) is both cost and acoustically effective. And, whilst Cara fabric (from Custom Audio Designs) is acoustically ideal, it is expensive, but readily replaced with a natural hessian or muslin fabric (which can be dyed to suit).

    If you want/need to use curtains instead, then use a heavyweight material. Better still if they are lined over a light filling of BAF/Dacron wadding. And used heavily ruched, rather than layed flat.

    PS: Edited to add a link to a natural fabric supplier:

    http://www.whaleys-bradford.ltd.uk/products.cfm
     
  28. stevebez

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    Some persian rugs hung on the wall? - not cheap but bet missus may like the idea...!!! Not best insulator but they aint bad.

    Rgds Steve.
     
  29. ROZ

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    A mate of mine is an acoustic engineer (part of the design team for the acoustics at Bridgewater Hall (Halle Orchestra) gave me some advise on acoustic partitioning. He said you'd never completely isolate without > 4"-5" void.

    As I had a only 2" to use he said the best I could do was a drywall affair with low density acoustic fill-roll covered with two thincknesses of high density acoustic wallboard (he also said there probably wasn't much between normal materials and these acoustic ones - just a bit of snakeoil, which is what he also says about high proce interconnects for AV applications :lesson: ). I only had space for 38mm fill and 12mm wallboard.

    Trick is not to attach your studwall frame to the wall you're trying to isolate. We were soundproofing a party wall in preparation for our HC investments (amp arrives tomorrow :rotfl: ). This makes it a bit more tricky if you're trying to isolate all four walls (plus floor and ceiling :confused: ) This then ensures no vibration is transmitted through the frame to the wall behind, and allows it to flex and let the fill absorb the sound. The frame was then "sealed" with hign modulus acoustic mastic (more snakeoil?) before fixing the wallboard, taping, filling and painting.

    All in all, with a chippy helping out (paid) it probably cost less than £300 for two 13' x 11' walls.

    NB One thing to bear in mind is the amount of noise that gets transmitted under floorboards and wall cavities. Good idea to stuff partition fill roll or equivalent under in there.

    Good luck
     
  30. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi Roz,

    That is indeed a tried and tested method of sound isolation that works very well indeed. Two layers of 1/2inch plasterboard (UK term for wallboard) or one of 1/2 inch and another of 5/8 inch which are glued and screwed together make a stiff wall that won't flex too much. A wall that flexes too much can act as a bass trap and suck all the bass out of a room. 4x2" wood is prefered for stiffness again, as smaller will be more flexible. As you rightly say, if the new wall touches the existing wall, the sound vibrations will pass straight through the materials that make it and straight into the room next door. A 1" gap with 4" wood studding and 1" plasterboard infilled with 4" of rockwool is a cheap and very effective method of sound isolation. If possible, use a rubber strip between the bottom footer and top header to help improve isolation further (for bass vibrations, these isolaqtion methods work mostly for 125hz and above IIRC).

    Using high modulus silicone rubber is to ensures a good seal and fills all air gaps, whilst remaing somewhat flexible without breaking the seal. Where air can go, so can sound (a 1" hole will allow 15dbs of sound through, and can negate the effect of fitting a new wall altogether), so you should do all edges, probably before and after fitting skirting.

    My rear wall in my loft was only 2" thich with 30mm high density slabs and edges sealed with silicon rubber, but that works quite well, though 4 x 2 would have been better of course. Bass response in the loft is less due to the thinner flexible back and side walls I have. It's good compromise between having a good volume and not annoying the nerighbours. :)

    Your recommendation of doing something with the floorboards is a good idea - it's probably the weak link after making the new wall.

    STC values are used to show the effectivness of sound proofing, and the higher the number you can achieve the better. A 4x2 wall as described can achieve an STC of approx 41, which is 11 more than an average wall of around 30 IIRC. An STC of 50 is 4 times quiter than an STC of 30.

    Gary.
     

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