Don’t Get Fooled By Sound Proofing Foam!

I recently saw this post on Facebook, advertising ‘wall sound proof’ foam. Many people believe that buying this would be the solution of sound proofing their room,  but is it?

Don’t Get Fooled

Now with all due respect to the advertiser, this is false advertising. Maybe he or she had overlook the way the advert was written, but calling these foam sound proof is not true.

These foams are basically made from polyurethane and is shaped like egg cartons. The reason it is shaped that way is so sound bounces off in different directions when these foams are placed on walls. The foam also diffuses the travel of sound, therefore you get less echos in your room. However they do not ‘sound proof’ a room. Sound will still travel from your speakers or instruments out the openings around your door. It’s even worse with bass, bass sound have lots of low frequencies and it basically penetrates solid structures like a wall or door better. That’s the reason your neighbours would always still hear the instances of bass coming from your home studio.

But in any way, these foam do not sound proof your room at all. It’s a very common misconception that people tend to fall for.

Also you should note that this foam are made up of Polyurethane. For those of you who do not know, Polyurethane is made from petroleum derivativs and yup, is extremely flammable. Untreated and exposed to high heat or fire, they will burn vigorously, produce lots of smoke and spread fire to other combustibles around. How fast do they burn again? Very fast.

Now if you know me personally, I’m talking about the fire based on my true experience. Yes, not very long ago I got my studio burnt down to the core because of an accident.

Got it. Now How Do I Sound Proof My Room or At Least Try To?

So how do they make soundproofed rooms? I’m by no means a true expert of building soundproof rooms but I know a thing or two.

Before you start building anything, you need to understand that sound travels with vibrations. That is why there is no sound in space. (have you watched movie, Gravity stared by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney?). So the idea to building a soundproof room is to isolate it. Professional studios achieve this by building a room within a room. Yes, a room that is suspended within a room. That means sound travel is now harder with the absence of mass between the rooms for sound to travel by sending vibrations through.

That is to say if you can airtight your room, you also be able to contain more sound within your room. However not forgetting sound travels through vibration and that means it travels through your walls too.

To counter that, constructor build very thick studio walls filled with gypsum board and fiber wool in them to absorb and diffuse sound travel.

What Should I Do?

Now depending on your budget, you could have a few acoustic foam panels hanging in your studio. You might even consider to DIY your own sound absorption panels. They are not expensive to build and can be easily done with very basic carpentry. Try putting things that absorb sound as well such as a sofa or bookshelf filled with books in your room. Avoid any parallel walls in your studio so sound is refracted when it hits your wall surfaces.

You should also try to airtight your room by installing simple rubber seals around the openings of your door. That ensures less sound travels beyond your door and is diffused in your room with your DIY sound absorption panels.