Acoustic Foam vs Producer’s Choice Sound Blanket, challbasrober: Comparing Cost/Efficiency

Deky vs Akustické penyIn places such as recording and music studios for singing, VoiceOver, recording musical instruments, playing music, films etc., it is necessary to have good acoustics.

But it has been ingrained in our brains that this can only be achieved with products that are not cheap and that you have to pay a lot of money for effective results

But is this really the case?

Our customers deal with this issue quite often, so we decided to do a comparative
study of sound absorption efficiency and price between acoustic foam and sound blankets.

 

(WARNING: In the interest of transparency, VocalBoothToGo.eu sells acoustic blankets! We design them, we test them, we sell them, we do this for a living. Our customers love our products.
To be accurate and honest, we test our products in accredited acoustic labs in the U.S.)

ACOUSTICS COMPARISON BETWEEN:

Auralex Studiofoam Wedges (V-profile) and Sound blankets Producer's Choice

 

Name of product

Thickness *

NRC

Price per square metre**

Price for 20m2

Acoustic foam products

AUR-1IN (2,5cm) - KEIL (V-profil) 60x120cm -  20er Pack. 

2,54 cm

0.50

41,84 €

836,80 €

AUR-2IN (5cm) - KEIL (V-profil) 60x60cm -   12er Pack.

5,08 cm

0.75

53,04 €

1 060,48 €

AUR-3IN (7,5cm) - KEIL (V-profil) 60x120cm - 8er Pack.

7,62 cm

0.90

63,48 €

1 269,12

AUR-4IN (10cm) - KEIL(V-profil) 60x60cm - 6er Pack.

10,16 cm

1.10

106,12€

2 121,83 €

VocalBoothToGo-Soundblanket (Schallabsorber)

 Schalldecke nach Auswahl des Herstellers VB-70G (200x200 cm)

  1,27-1,9    cm

0.80

17,25€

342,33€

 

** Acoustic foam comes in various shapes and thicknesses. For the purpose of this study we have used products from one of the leading manufacturers, Auralex. For this particular product, we compared the full range of thicknesses available.

** To be fair in comparing acoustic foam prices, we used the sale price from the Thomann and B&H Photo Video e-stores (not the manufacturer's suggested retail price). The price is calculated from the price for the whole set. (Foam sold in individual 60x60cm or 60x120cm pieces is typically 30% more expensive.)

Sound absorption efficiency:

The sound absorption efficiency of the acoustic blankets falls right in the middle of the acoustic foam samples compared, between the 5cm V-profile and the 7.6cm V-profile.

The sound absorption efficiency of Producer's Choice Sound blankets exceeds that of 2.5 cm and 5 cm thick acoustic foam and is close to that of 7.6 cm thick acoustic foam. In fact, when the sound blankets are hung with 15 cm of corrugation, their sound absorption even exceeds that of 7.6 cm acoustic foam, reaching 95% sound absorption (NRC 0.95). If you look at the absorption curve below, you can easily see that adding 15 cm of corrugation gives the acoustic blanket an absorption exceeding that of 10.16 cm of acoustic foam.

This shows that sound blankets are a very effective product for sound absorption.

graphfoamcomparison-EN

Price vs. use value:

Acoustic blankets clearly outperform acoustic foam in terms of price/performance ratio At first glance, you can already see the huge difference between price and performance.

For example:

- Acoustic foam with a thickness of 2 5 cm is 30% less efficient than acoustic blankets but times more expensive.

- 7.6 cm thick acoustic foam is only 10% more absorbent than acoustic blankets but is 3.6 times more expensive.

- 10 cm thick acoustic foam is 30% more absorbent than an acoustic blanket and is 6 times more expensive.

(Just imagine how many acoustic blankets you could buy with the extra money you have set aside for acoustic foam, or how much money you might have left over for other audio equipment)

(NOTE: For ease of comparison, the default NRC value of 1.0 is 100%)

For example, the absorption of 2.5 cm thick foam is (NRC 0.5) which is 50% and the absorption of a blanket is (NRC 0.8) which is 80%. Therefore, 2.5 cm thick acoustic foam has 30% lower absorption and lower efficiency than acoustic blankets)

 

Practicality of use:

Ease of use is important and hard to put a monetary value on.

Acoustic foam comes in different colors and is trendy - it looks cool.  It is lightweight and easy to stick to the wall or ceiling.  Unfortunately, once it's on the wall, you can't move it.  It tears easily, so it is very difficult to take it down without damage and use it elsewhere. The blanket does not need to be glued to the wall. In fact, they are even more effective when there is an air gap between the wall and the blanket.  Sound blankets make it very easy to create a vocal booth or dedicated recording space by simply hanging the blanket from the ceiling.  This makes sound blankets an indispensable choice for sound absorption if you don't have enough free space, for living in a rented property, or when expecting to move from one place to another frequently.

Difference in the way sound is absorbed and cleaned

Acoustic foam is a porous material with open cells.

The open cells are the openings of long twisted tunnels.

To be absorbed, sound must enter the holes and flow through the tunnels, losing energy through friction. One of the reasons why sound foam has V-shaped profiles is to increase the total absorbing surface area of the foam.  However, this V-profile also makes acoustic foam a great dust collector!

Porosity and flow resistance are the most important parameters in determining sound absorption. Imagine if the pores or openings of these tunnels become clogged with dust - sound cannot get in and therefore the sound absorption efficiency is reduced. No matter how thick the foam is or how well the tunnels are twisted, if the openings of these tunnels become clogged - sound cannot get in and therefore sound absorption is reduced. While we haven't found any specific research to cite, it stands to reason that the absorption of acoustic foam must also deteriorate over time. Foam also degrades over time and begins to break down.

The sound absorption mechanism of sound blankets is different. It is based on the fact that sound waves expend their energy to vibrate the fibres of the inner filling. The sound gets inside and passes through the blanket. As each fibre vibrates, the sound energy is lost by converting it into heat. If the blankets become dusty or dirty, they can be easily removed - knocked out, vacuumed or washed.

Any way you look at it, acoustic blankets are a more effective, cheaper and healthier product than acoustic foam.

 

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