A common query that we get asked is, “what are the best acoustic panels”. The term ‘best’ can take on many forms when referring to acoustic panels. ‘Best’ could refer to the quality of the materials; it could also refer to how and where the acoustic panels have been manufactured. For the most part, however, ‘best’ can be judged by the effectiveness of the acoustic treatment, and whether it has made a positive impact on the space in which they have been applied.
Surprisingly, you don’t have to spend a great deal of money in order to get the best out of your room’s acoustics. Have you read our blog, ‘Cost-effective ways to control office acoustics?’
A more strategic approach is required when it comes to addressing your room’s acoustics and no matter how much money you spend, your panels won’t be effective unless you’ve sought the skills of an experienced acoustician, who’ll assess the room’s acoustics and make informed suggestions on the type of acoustic treatment and where your acoustic treatment should be applied.
It’s important to note that each building is different and will, therefore, require a different type of acoustic treatment. This blog sets out to delve a little deeper into the term, ‘best’, and will explore how to get the best out of your acoustic panels.
Acoustic panels made from recycled materials
Many architects and designers place a high emphasis on sourcing products made from recycled materials as a way of addressing our global waste crisis.
PET plastic (Polyethylene Terephthalate) is commonly referred to as recycled plastic drinks bottles and is a great material that can be repurposed into highly effective acoustic panels.
Foam products can also be reused and repurposed. All of our off-cuts get taken to our recycling department where they get chopped down, minced up and converted into solid blocks or reconstituted foam.
Because our foam is Crib 5 furniture rated, our reconstituted off-cuts can be used for a range of purposes, for example filling for cushions, carpet underlay, or a unique piece of furniture.
You can read our case study to learn more about how one of our clients, Stella McCartney, uses our reconstituted foam in her stores.
Acoustic panels that are design-led
Of course, blending a strong design aesthetic into acoustic panels is something that firms and organisations strive for, and maintaining an on-brand appearance is highly important.
You will notice that versatile branding can be applied to acoustic panels to give an element of authenticity to a company, whilst improving poor acoustics.
Acoustic panels that either blend into, or compliment, a room’s existing décor are usually the ones that are most popular, which is why it’s important to source acoustic solutions during the design phase of a project.
Acoustic panels that cover the largest surface areas
The best acoustic panels are usually the ones that address the largest surface area within the room. Normally, applying acoustic panels to a ceiling space is the best way to dampen noise and improve speech intelligibility.
Many would suggest that applying acoustic panels to a ceiling would be problematic due to lighting and wiring restrictions, which is why we advocate suspending the acoustic panels from the ceiling so as not to tamper with the room’s functionality.
For weak internal walls, the acoustician would turn their attention to blocking the sound from travelling through to neighbouring rooms, as opposed to sound absorption (which would be common in large open spaces).
In this instance, the best acoustic panel would have high density properties whilst covering the entire wall so as not to allow sound to travel through.
The solid core of a noise transmission barrier dramatically reduces sound travelling through the wall cavity, keeping meetings private and working conditions free from distraction.
Poor acoustics are predominantly found in large, open spaces. In such instances, an acoustic panel that is absorptive would be the best option. You can read more about acoustic panels for large, open spaces here.
Sound absorption panels require the acoustician to identify reflection points in a room in order to make suggestions for the best possible location for the acoustic panel to be applied.
The acoustic panel options vary. You may choose to specify wall-mounted acoustic panels which can be incorporated into the existing décor of the building.
Alternatively, free standing acoustic panels serve a multitude of purposes. For example, designers may opt for a wall partition-style acoustic panel. This may be used as a physical barrier to separate teams in an open-plan office, or a unique way of housing noisy machinery.
A degree of scientific understanding is needed in order to get the best out of your sound absorbing acoustic panels.
As you can see, there are several options that determines ‘the best’ acoustic panels. We’re very aware that ‘best’ to some might not be ‘best’ to others. Some may place a high emphasis on recycled materials, others may lead with a functional approach.
Whatever your requirements, Sound Zero’s team of acousticians and expert designers will help to create a solution that is unique, and one which represents yours (or your client’s) brand in the best possible way.
For more information, talk to one of our specialists today or book a virtual meeting via the link here.