Acoustic Foam – Sound Absorption for Vocals & Music
Getting the right sound is what we all want, capturing the subtle nuances that make a great live performance stand out, whether that is a guitar chord a pulsing beat, a vocal or trumpet note cutting through the air, the sounds that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. We can all hear this but often on recording these moments can be lost if the clarity is not there. It’s this visceral connection to the music we all crave whatever genre we listen to. and the use of acoustic foam can help to achieve this.
Firstly make your room a good environment for your music, for recording listening or for rehearsing.
The problems with an acoustically untreated room is that your room can blur and smear your sound altering your vocals and instruments leaving you with a compromised listening experience which is, at best, incredibly frustrating and at worst downright exacerbating!
To get the room out of the way you need to improve the definition and clarity of the listening experience. That can only happen when you treat the room correctly keeping the right frequencies in your music, especially the vocals where the clarity is always a concern.
Putting the focus on making the vocals and instruments the most important element in the musical presentation allowing them to shine through bringing to you that intimacy with the singers soul and musicians instrument that is so important.
So you need to treat your room, but also what do you want from your acoustic foam? This will differ from room to room and situation to situation, you need to fully understand the problems you have before seeking the solution and the options available to you.
What’s Different About Our Acoustic Foam?
Nearly all acoustic foam sold is 25 to 50mm thick (1 to 2 inches) this will deal with the higher frequencies well, however it may be worth looking at using thicker tiles. Why? Because thinner acoustic tiles do well at absorbing frequencies above 500 Hz. but do little to absorb much energy below that level. its all down to physics the thicker the tile the better it will deal with the low frequencies yes a thicker tile will cost more but it may be worth the extra to get the sound you need. always look for the NRC values to see the sound absorption at differing frequencies.
The human voice spans the range of 100 Hz. to 800 Hz., Therefore absorption attention must be paid below 500 Hz. because that is where a large percentage of all the vocals will lie, especially with male vocals. Standard thinner acoustic tiles will make a huge difference but you may be missing some absorption at the bottom half where more a large amount of the energy is.
In order to achieve just the right balance of absorption below 500 Hz. and we needed to start with 125 Hz. (the bottom frequency range of the male vocal). How could we get a good rate and level of absorption below 500 Hz. that was smooth in its gradual climb to 500 Hz.?
There are standard properties that make acoustic foam perform, these are a combination of porosity density airflow resistance hardness and very importantly a regular cell size. however as sound waves are all dependent on length the simple fact is the thicker the tile the better it will deal with lower frequencies.
This is why we offer 3 thicknesses in our tile range giving you the option to opt for differing absorption results. our thickest BLOCK100 100mm thick tile gives an outstanding NRC of 0.42 (42%) at the low 125Hz range
The Difference between OK and outstanding vocals and music.
Thicker foam gives more absorption below 500 Hz. fact, our 100mm BLOCK100 tile will absorb 42% at 125 Hz. and 107% at 250 Hz. reaching 127% at 500 Hz. looking at bottom half of the existing absorption curve a thicker tile will produce a smoother absorption curve that goes lower where our vocals start and ends with a smoother, more gradual rate and level of absorption.
Its all a balancing act to give you the sound you need, you might not want to deaden the rooms sound completely even in a vocal booth, going now to the 75mm BLOCK75 tile the curve changes the sound yet again this tile will absorb 18% at 125 Hz. and 61% at 250 Hz. reaching 100% at 500 Hz which may suit your needs better!
And now the thinnest tile the BLOCK45 45mm tile still gives excellent absorption results compared against other manufacturers tiles with an average NRC of 55% and this thickness tile is by far our largest seller with many happy customers and great reviews on its effectiveness, however at 45mm it will struggle on the lowest frequencies and absorbs 10% at 125 Hz. and 29% at 250 Hz. reaching 54% at 500 Hz
What are the benefits of having a choice of thickness?
- You get a technology that was developed specifically for voice and music with more absorption below 250 Hz. than standard tiles, and a smoother absorbing curve from 125 Hz. – 500 Hz. which is the heart of the vocal and music frequencies. It means you can enjoy clearer and cleaner instruments and vocals so you can have a more intimate experience with your favorite music.
- You get a technology that will manage side wall reflections so well that you will hear the direct sound from your sources, which is the purest kind as it is the sound that does not contain the room. This will ensure you can hear the purest sound the artist and engineer recorded so that your vocals and middle range instruments will pop out for you in your room.
- You get the option of choosing three different thicknesses of foam, each with a different absorption curve, which will allow you to absorb at different rates and levels depending on what music and vocal usage your room has. This ensures you have the flexibility to perfectly match the foam to your favorite music so you can experience the ultimate emotional connection with your songs.
- You will get a technology that absorbs at the correct rate and level for music and vocals ensuring it does not drain the life out of your room like so many other foams. You wont be destroying precious sound energy through over absorption like so many dreaded “dead room” studios. Instead you will hear the intimate timbre of the singers voice in every recording ensuring you have a room others will envy.
Which Size Is Right For You?
The thicker the foam, the more absorption that occurs below 500 Hz.
Not only the level of absorption but also the rate must be taken into consideration. Reflection management in small room environments requires middle and high frequency absorption that is smooth and gradual. There isnt always a need to absorb 100% of the reflected energy in order to manage it. Remember, once sound energy is absorbed it is converted to heat and it is no longer sound energy but heat energy. You can not hear heat energy at all so its always better to start with less and add more until the sound is right for you.
These products are for serious recording studios, engineers and Audiophiles only. If you’re sincere about wanting sonic perfection, then this is most definitely for you. Don’t live with a compromised listening room and room sound for a minute longer. Take action now, believe me, you’ll thank me for this, for years to come. The NRC values shown on this page are for our BLOCK tile range however the same is true for all acoustic foam tiles if you go thicker the low end is dealt with better.