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noise barrier design

Debunking the ‘Best Sound Proof Panel’ Myth

There is no such thing as the best sound proof panel. There is no such thing as a soundproof panel let alone the best sound proof panel. There is no such thing as sound proofing. Noise transmission can not be proofed or absolute. All noise issues are managed, never proofed. The search term for the best sound proof panel is neither accurate nor functional.

Any time you are dealing with a noise transmission issue, you are talking about a permanent construction fix for all noise issues. There is no wall hanging panel that you can place on a wall to stop noise. The noise will simply go around and through it. For this reason and many others the search term best sound proof panels is a no go. Let’s look at the process of noise transmission for a better understanding of noise.

noise barrier construction

Noise Transmission and the Reality of Soundproofing

Noise starts out as airborne energy. It travels through the air until it strikes a solid surface. When it strikes the solid surface, it then becomes vibrational energy. Noise transmission is really vibration transmission. When we need to reduce the strength of airborne noise, we must look at minimizing the impact of vibrations.

To build the proper barrier, we must know the frequency and amplitude of the noise. We must know the lowest frequency the noise is at and how strong (amplitude) the noise is. The barrier design and the materials used within the barrier are directly related to the frequency and amplitude of the noise. All barrier designs are different just like all noise is different.

best sound proof panel

From Airborne Energy to Vibrations: The Truth About Noise

All noise must be measured before any barrier design can be considered. The frequency of the noise and how strong each frequency is determines what material types to use within the barrier, how to arrange said materials and what density of those materials to use.

Noise frequencies that are less than 125 hz. will require a completely different barrier type than noise transmission issues above 126 hz. All noise transmission issues must be measured over a seven day time period with a minimum of two measurements per day. One will be taken during the quietest part of each day and another will be at the loudest part of each day.

A measurement of a middle noise level for each day is also welcome. When you measure noise levels over a full week you receive an accurate map of the changing pressure levels. We will not use the best sound proof panels for this project. We will construct a barrier that is solely based upon the noise numbers taken. With this method we have a room that can be used at any time day or night. At Acoustic Fields we can assist you with any noise measurement process with a single app and a cell phone.

sound proof barrier design

Constructing Targeted Noise Barriers with Precision

Once the numbers are taken using our apps and your cell phone, the frequency and amplitude numbers are recorded on our on line data sheet. When we receive the noise data, we begin the design process by first looking at the lowest recorded noise frequency during the week and then looking at the amplitude or strength of that energy issue. Lower frequency noise issues are much more expensive and take more space to mitigate than middle and higher frequency noise issues.

Lower frequency barrier materials have greater densities. Lower frequency noise also requires that the higher density material types be assembled using different construction methodologies than middle and higher frequency noise issues. This is why noise numbers are so critical. Knowing the numbers will allow the noise barrier to be built without over building by guessing. Guessing with noise issues is both expensive and a waste of valuable time.

soundproofing solution

Understanding the Permanent Solution to Noise Control

With noise issues, you do not want to spend one dollar more than you have to. Since all noise issues must be dealt with using a permanent construction methodology, you do not want to use any more material than are required to mitigate the frequency and amplitude of the measured nooses. Once you build it into the structure, you are not taking it when you leave.

You will also not be receiving any additional value attributed to the structure through appraisal. The room will be quiet but you can not take it with you. It is a permanent sealed container that is designed not to leak. It is a boat that you built and placed in any ocean of noise. The boat structure must be strong enough to handle the low frequency waves along with the middle and high frequency ray of sunshine. It also must not leak.

Dennis Foley

I am an acoustic engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the business. My technology has been used in Electric Lady Land Studios, Sony Music of New York, Cello Music and Films founded by Mark Levinson, and Saltmines Studios in Mesa, Arizona, along with hundreds of others.


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