If you live in a busy residential area, you know how hard it can be to get your daily tasks done with excessive noise coming from outside.
Alternately, if you have a recording studio or music room where outside noise filters in or where the room produces a ton of echo, you will want to minimize that as much as possible.
So how do you go about doing that?
The perfect solution is using the best sound absorbing fabric.
What fabric is good for sound absorption and how do they work?
Continue reading as we explain all you need to know about sound absorbing fabrics.
- Best sound absorbing fabrics reviewed
- What is sound absorbing fabric?
- Types of acoustic fabrics
- How to use soundproof fabric for noise reduction
Best sound absorbing fabrics reviewed
The Guilford acoustical fabric falls into the category of acoustically transparent fabric and is made from 14.4-ounce polyester.
What this means is that they allow sound to pass through them while masking whatever material it covers.
This is possible because of the way it was woven and the 255 thread count per inch.
They are available in different colors at an affordable price with an ASTM E84 Class I or A fire rating.
The fabric comes on a roll unfolded with 1 yard measuring 36×60 inches.
The Acoustimac Mesh fabric is acoustically transparent and has a fire rating of Class A.
It is made from 100% polyester and comes in 15 vivid and solid colors.
This high-quality material measuring 64 inches wide is perfect for use on DIY sound panels or to cover speakers.
It can even be used to cover up batt insulation for better sound quality in a home theater setting.
They have a great stretching ability which makes it easier to work with.
DMD is the most durable fabric on the market and cheaper than most of the other options.
This excellent scratch quality fabric is loose enough to let sounds through but tight enough to keep the fibers in.
The open weave of the burlap fabric is to permit sound and air to pass through it easily.
Although air and sound can pass through, the fabric fibers are close enough so that you cannot see through it.
This specific burlap is 100% jute which is a coarse and strong fiber from the East Indian plant.
This fabric is not fire rated and may have to be sprayed with a fire retardant spray.
The fabric is 60 inches wide that is sold by yards and can be cut to order.
This velvet fabric falls into the category of sound absorbing fabrics and can convert sound into heat for noise reduction.
Although they are both transparent and sound absorbing, the sound absorbing properties outweigh the transparent ones.
They are better used as blackout curtains rather than covering acoustics panels since they somewhat block out sounds.
This specific velvet fabric is 45 inches wide and sold by the yard.
Yet another acoustically transparent fabric from Acoustimac, the Acoustimac Executive Fabric comes from the Executive Collection panel series.
The panels from this line are already covered in this high-quality material but if you can opt to purchase the fabric alone if you wish.
It features 100% polyester and a twill weave with blended colors of neutral, earthy or bright tones.
For this reason, it matches the aesthetics of any room so no need to redecorate.
The fabric is fired rated at Class A and allows you to have a look of sophistication without a hefty price tag.
It measures 58×36 inches and is sold in yards.
With 100% percent cotton construction, Lushes Curtains velvet fabric is a heavy-duty fabric with awesome sound absorption properties.
The thickness and weight of this material can help balance temperature in a room insulating against the summer heat and winter chill.
Achieve the look of luxury with this high-grade fabric that blocks out light as well as sound.
The velvet fabric is silky, soft and pleasant to the touch and looks at.
It is sold in yards with 1 yard measuring 54×36 inches weighing 16 oz.
Note that this fabric is not machine washable and doing so can damage your fabric.
Instead, the company advises you to dry clean the fabric only.
If you want to reduce sound within a large room without building a wall, get this RYB Home Room Divider.
The 100% high-density polyester material is triple woven to ensure you have the privacy you need.
This portable divider is 15 ft Wide x 8 ft long and splits your rooms for a private space wherever you may need it.
With 16 Metal Silver Grommets on the top, it blocks light and insulates against heat and cold which can help you save on your energy bill costs.
With the same material at the back and the front of the divider, it is easy to clean and maintain.
Toss it in the wash with non-chlorine and tumble dry low.
If need be, you can use a warm iron to rub out any wrinkles for folds that happen during laundering.
Audimute sound absorption blanket is an environmentally friendly blanket made from 100% recycled materials.
It is a combination of polyester, wool and cotton that reduces almost 70% of sounds in the room.
This blanket has an NFC rate of 0.85 and is the best sound dampening fabric to use in a professional setting.
As the best, the Audimate blanket can be quite expensive to use in the home but if your budget permits, by all means, get your hands on this.
As the name suggests, the Sure-Max sound dampening blanket measures 80×72 and is used to dampen sounds.
The brand has become somewhat of a household name and offers one of the cheapest and most valuable sound dampening blankets on the market.
The dual-sided cotton make-up and cotton batting padding within is what lends to sound absorption properties.
If you are on a tight budget but need a sound absorption blanket, you cannot go wrong with this due to its affordability.
What is sound absorbing fabric?
Sound absorbing fabrics are not to be confused with soundproofing materials. These fabrics are primarily designed to absorb sounds and improve the acoustics in the room.
They decrease reverberation and echoes of sounds generated in a room to improve the sound quality
Since sound waves travel through the air, they reflect off of surfaces such as walls, ceilings and walls.
At their source, sound waves are stronger but as they travel they weaken.
For this reason, the farther you are from the source of a sound, the harder it is to hear.
However, in many situations, you may not be able to distance yourself from the source of the sound and that is where the use of soundproofing fabric comes in.
Sound absorbing fabrics are used to dampen or soften the sound in a room.
They act as a barrier and are an additional surface for sound to pass through.
They absorb the sound and prevent it from traveling any further.
Types of acoustic fabrics
So what is acoustic fabric made of and what are the different types? For better understanding, bare with me for a little while as I explain.
Most times you will find that acoustic fabrics are made from recycled polyester fiber. They are usually spun and woven into thick but soft velour or velvet material.
They offer an eco-friendly way to increase acoustics and are fairly cheaper than other sound absorbing materials.
Let us now dive into the different types of acoustic fabrics.
Sound Absorbing Fabric
If you find that your room is creating a lot of echo and reverberations when little noise is being made, you will need some sort of sound absorbing fabric.
These types of fabrics are thick and porous to absorb sound waves effectively.
Due to the thickness of the material, sound waves are trapped in the fibers and are converted to heat.
This conversion is what stops the sound from traveling any further.
Some fabrics have a Noise Reduction Coefficient(NRC) rate, the higher the rate, the better it absorbs sounds.
Acoustically Transparent Fabric
For the most part, transparent fabrics are used in conjunction with acoustics panels, bass traps, diffusers and any other audio installation.
They are used to cover the audio installations and do not change the characteristics of the sound.
That is to say, unlike sound absorbing fabrics that absorb sound waves, acoustically transparent fabric permits sound waves to pass through.
The best way to figure out if a fabric is transparent is by placing the cloth on your lips and blowing.
If you feel the air on your finger, then the fabric is transparent.
Check to see if the particular fabric you are choosing is fire-retardant.
This will aid in reducing any fire-related accidents in your rooms.
How to use soundproof fabric for noise reduction
After reading and understanding what soundproof fabric is, and their functions, let us now deal with how to use soundproof fabric.
Also known as blackout curtains, soundproof curtains have 2 layers of fabric that are sewn together to block out light and absorb sound.
They also double as insulators and keep your room cool in summer and warm in winter.
Both the layers of soundproof curtains are triple weaved which makes it denser.
This is not a transparent fabric, hence why it reflects light and absorbs sound coming from outside.
Your soundproof curtain needs to be thick and porous in order to absorb sound effectively.
The thickness of the noise-canceling fabric acts as a barrier while the pores act as tiny sound traps that capture sound waves and turn them into heat energy.
Note that adding extra pleats to your curtain will add to its sound absorbing properties as well as the placement.
Place your soundproofing curtains at least 6 to 12 inches from the surface behind for best results.
Acoustic panels are commonly used to control echo and reverberation in a room.
They are put in place to improve the sound quality of a room rather than blocking out sounds from outside.
These fabrics, unlike soundproof curtain fabric, are transparent and allow sound waves to pass through.
They come in 1-6 inch thickness with the thicker option offering more sound conditioning.
Some of these panels may be too expensive to buy but no worries you can make your own DIY sound panels.
Diy panels give you the option to decorate and paint however you see fit while the ones you purchase come in various colors.
Ensure to cover about 20% of your wall if you are going to use acoustic panels to control sound.
Fabric Covered Walls or ceilings
You can cover the walls in your home theater room or any room when you can’t use soundproofing curtains.
With this option, you have the freedom to use any fabric of your choice.
You can decorate your room to reflect your personal style and go crazy with it.
Even though you have the freedom to choose, carefully check the fire rating of the fabric before you purchase.
These fabrics go on your wall so you need them to be fire resistant in the event of any fire.
Fabrics come in lengths of 100 yards or more without seams and measure 66 inches in width.
Acoustic dividers do not need to be installed to your ceilings and walls and can be moved to any place where you want to improve sound quality.
These thick polyester curtains reduce echo and reverberations in rooms and spaces where it’s not possible to build a wall.
These are pre-made and in a color chosen by the manufacturer.
However, you can customize it with some acoustically transparent cloth for a personal touch.
Widths and lengths are available in a wide selection so you can get whatever measurements you want.
Sound Dampening Blankets
Thick quilted blankets work by absorbing sound, reduce reverberation, vibrations and damping sounds.
Sound dampening blankets are generally made from cotton or polyester fiber or a blend of both.
These can vary in thickness and size so choose accordingly.