For anyone looking to optimize their room or studio for sound, acoustic foam panels would be the best place to start. Acoustic foam panels may be made by following any DIY’s instructions, or by purchasing them from your next door sound store.
However, acoustic panels are not cheap and you should understand how many you need before investing in this worthwhile product.
The slightest amount of research online, would confirm that the standard measurement for foam panels is 12” x 12”. These square foam panels are available in packs and are generally used in large numbers to cover any flat surface in your room.The thickness of the foam panels can also vary between half an inch to 2 inches.
Once you have considered the size of your room, and the available wall space, you can mount the appropriate sized panels to start soundproofing your room.
This article outlines the various factors that you need to consider before you purchase the panels. By the end of it, you will have grasped a proper understanding of the task at hand in no time.
What is the Average Size of Acoustic Foam Panels?
As mentioned, the average size of acoustic panels is 12’’ x 12’’. While some people tend to customize the size and shape of their acoustic panels, it is also possible to buy ready-made foam panels. Some great options available online have been listed below:
The aesthetically pleasing acoustic foam panel is a customizable option to cover your room’s walls. These panels are generally available in a 12” x 12” size. However, these can be cut up into smaller 3” x 12” panels. These acoustic panels control the sound reflected in a room and do not deteriorate with time. Check them out on Amazon.
Auralex D36 Roominator
The Roominator D36 is a sound control kit that can be used to considerably reduce echoes in a room. These panels measure 6’’ x 8’’ x 8’’ and are appropriate for smaller areas that need to be covered. The panel size offers the user several possibilities to start fine-tuning the acoustic atmosphere of your room. Find them on Amazon.
Auralex 2″ SonoFlat Panel
This SonoFlat panel is a two-inch thick, 12’’ x 12’’ square panel that is very suitable for covering the walls or ceilings. The panel offers good sound absorption of medium to high ranging frequencies.
The flat panels have a sophisticated and clean look. These panels are small enough to be used in compact spaces and can also be linked together to cover larger spaces. The compact size of the panels can be easily arranged on irregularly shaped walls as well. Here’s their listing on Amazon.
Burdurry Soundproof Studio Foam
Burdurry offers acoustic panels that measure 12” x 12” with a one inch depth. The panels are suitably priced for their size and absorb sound effectively. Burdurry’s panels are available in packs of 50, providing you a wider range of use to attach on doors, ceilings, walls, or windows. They are suitable for any space and are recommended by most customers on Amazon. Check them out here.
Things to Consider About the Size of Acoustic Panels
When it comes to the size of the acoustic panels, we have to take various factors into consideration. Some of those factors have been listed below, to help you understand the size of the panel better. This will further help you evaluate how many panels you need and how you need to place them, once you begin your own endeavors to soundproof your room or studio.
Depending on the reason for using acoustic panels, you can choose a suitable thickness. The 2” panels are considered to be the standard in the industry, but 4” thick panels are available for purchase, too. For deeper wavelengths or lower frequencies, it is better to use thicker panels.
So, if you are thinking of soundproofing lower frequencies or lower frequencies, 4” thick panels are suitable to soundproof your room.
The number of speakers or subwoofers you’ll be using also dictate the required thickness of your acoustic panels. Thicker panels should be used to absorb sound from multiple sources, but if your sound is coming from a single source, thinner plannes can get the job done.
Placement of panels
The placement of acoustic panels is essential to creating a properly working acoustic environment. To treat your room, you would have to decide whether panels need to be mounted on the walls or ceilings (or both) and which panel shapes can be adjusted on these surfaces.
- If you have triangular or pyramid-shaped foam panels, you can use them to cover the most important parts of the room. The trihedral corners of the room are the spots where the walls meet the roof or the floor and are very important when considering panelling your room. Bass traps can be used for these tricky spots. We recommend trying out the True North bass traps for this purpose.
- Sound waves have a tendency to reflect off of the opposite walls in a room. You should spread out the flat foam panels on your wall and try to cover as much of the surface as possible. Also, keep in mind the ceiling and mount of the foam panels on the top to further improve the quality of sound.
Room Size and Shape
The shape and size of the room also help in deciding on the panel size. Sloped ceilings, irregular walls and high ceilings are just some of the ways acoustic panelling can get harder.
For square or rectangular rooms, with normal and straight ceilings, the process is very simple, particularly if the walls have no artwork on them. Basically, you should aim to cover all four walls of the room, evenly. One wall would be covered with the screen but, apart from that, you should try to cover all of the exposed walls with flat acoustic foam panels to reduce reverberations and echoes from your speakers.
However, if you have larger rooms or higher ceilings with frames and light fixtures attached to corners and walls, things get a bit more complicated. The placement of your furniture in the room and uneven walls and ceilings make it tough to spread the panels evenly around the room. You need to address these issues by placing the panels in open spaces, such as the ceiling and the corners by using bass traps.
Purpose of the Room
Once you know what you are using the room for, you can form the logic behind attaching the panels.
Let us start with managing the sound quality in your room which is being used as a simple home theatre. In such a case, all you need are acoustic panels attached from across the source of the sound and add bass traps in the corners.
If you want to vamp up the sound quality of your home theatre, you can add additional foam panels to the ceilings and the remaining walls, as well. This is particularly helpful if you have subwoofers, speakers in the corners or a Dolby Atmos surround system. The reverb is significantly reduced and the voice is contained in the room.
Additionally, you can focus on adding acoustic panels to tricky nooks and corners of the room by adjusting them. Because the panels are customizable, you can cut them into smaller shapes and sizes and mount them in irregular and compact spaces. This would not reduce their effectiveness significantly, and you can cover more of your room.
Inside studio spaces though, you need to treat your room effectively with high-quality acoustic panels to help you record clear audios, podcasts, or recordings. You have to aim to cover every part of the room to record crystal clear sounds. This method focuses on covering 100% of the walls including the ceilings.
The above examples indicate how the acoustic panel requirements change as the purpose of the room changes. If you think of it in terms of percentages, you need to cover:
- 10% of your walls for a home theatre
- 50% for an effective surround sound system
- 100% for a recording studio
Considering Available Wall Space
Obviously, the smaller the room, the fewer acoustic panels you will need because the sound will have fewer surfaces to bounce off.
- If you have any picture frames, or art pieces hanging on the wall, it can contribute to lower sound quality in the room. While you may attach panels around everything hanging on the walls, these items still can reflect sound waves, because of their flat surfaces. Any picture frames or mirrors in the room will limit you from treating the room acoustically.
- Before you start mounting acoustic foam panels, it’s important to know that you cannot hang anything on the panel itself. To soundproof your room, you need to carefully consider the walls you will be using up for the panels and adjust your artwork elsewhere.
- The ceiling is also an option on which you may be able to mount acoustic panels. You can increase the acoustic treatment in space by making use of the ceiling. While these panels are not across from any speakers they do bring a balance to the acoustic environment which is well worth the expense.
Do Larger Acoustic Panels Absorb More Sound?
Simply put: yes, larger acoustic foam panels will absorb more sound than ones of a smaller size. Acoustic panels trap the sound within its absorbing material and prevent them from escaping. So, the deeper or wider the panel, the more effective it is at trapping sound waves and reducing reverb and echoes within the environment.
The standard measurements of an acoustic panel are large enough to cover spaces easily and compact enough to use in smaller rooms.
If you choose panels that are too slim, you may be forced to replace them once you notice the lack of improvements in your sound. So, if you are a beginner, you can start at the standard sizes and increase them if you are in larger spaces as required.
You’ll be in a better position to tackle the echoes and reverberations in your room once you understand the basics of how sound waves behave.
Sound tends to reflect off of flat surfaces, which is where you should focus your paneling efforts. You need to stop the sound from bouncing off of the walls and place the panels in these places.
So, even if your room is of an irregular shape, you can start simply by focusing on the empty, flat walls. Just focus on covering the space across from the noise.
Once you have started, you can add more panels gradually to the remaining walls, until you are satisfied with the sound quality in the room.
Attaching acoustic panels is a simple enough task if you have a square room that you want to convert to a home theatre. Standard acoustic foams can be purchased and mounted on walls and ceilings to create a soundproof area.
But, as your demands from the room increase, the amount and the size of the panels also change. So, if you need high-quality recordings, you need to have covered every inch of the space to avoid any interference.
Always keep in mind why you’re putting acoustic foam panels in the first place, this will dictate the required shape, size, and thickness of these panels. Have a look at your walls and check if the frames can be removed from the walls to attach the panels instead. The task is not tough as long as you have made the necessary plans in advance and studied your room and its requirements properly. Lastly, if price is an issue, try having a look at these cheap acoustic panel options here.