Dispelling Myths and Assumptions about Acoustical Foam

Acoustical foam is among many popular products which are used for soundproofing purposes. However this product uses may be misunderstood. There are a lot of possibly wrong assumptions made by customers and the public. In this blog, we’ll try to provide clarity on acoustical foam and its function.

But before we get into that, let us understand:

The Difference between Sound Absorption and Sound Blocking

Many people are under the assumption that these two aspects are one and the same. However, this is far from the truth. There is a distinct difference between sound absorption (Open cell foam) and sound blocking  (Closed cell foam).

  • Sound absorption refers to the process where a soundproofing material soaks up the sound, whenever sound waves hit the foam. Such sound will “blow through” open cell foam but not closed cell foam.
  • Sound proofing (sound blocking) refers to reducing the sound pressure waves passing through from the sound source. The source can be an instrument, a machine, many types of annoying noises, etc.

If these terms are understood the rest of the blog will make a lot more sense.

Myths and Assumptions Regarding Acoustical Foam

Here are the general assumptions believed by clients or the public.

  • Acoustical foam can block sounds.
  • You need acoustical foam to prevent sound from entering or escaping a room.
  • Covering an object with thick foam can completely block sounds.

Let’s put the cards on the table right now – all these assumptions are wrong! The realities are given below.

Acoustical Foam In  Rcording Room

Acoustical Foam In Recording Room

The Truth behind Acoustical Foam

Let us take a look at each myth one by one:

  • Acoustical foam can block sounds: The primary objective of acoustical foam is to reduce the reverberation or echoes in a room. It can never block sound. For example, if you cover a speaker with foam, the sound will simply pass through it.
  • You only need acoustical foam for soundproofing: Foam is never used as a standalone product. It is always used along with different types of sound blocking products. For example, the walls of recording studios can consist of layers of drywall mounted sometimes on metal channels and sound clips. The foam is placed over these layers to reduce the echoes (sound wave reflections) that will be created in the closed room.
  • Covering an object with thick foam can completely block sounds: Let us take example of the speaker again. As open cell foam does not absorb the sound completely, there will never be much of a reduction in the speaker’s volume. However, the reverberation will decrease. This is why many product manufacturers line their speakers and earphones with foam.

So now you know the proper use of acoustical (Open cell) foam.

Soundproofing is not rocket science.  However, there are certain materials that need to be used to block sound. When it comes to “acoustical” foam, we need to understand its purpose, and use it accordingly. Always speak with our soundproofing product technicians and get all your queries answered before purchasing a product. They are in business to help you, not to just sell you a product. This can save you a lot of time and money!

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