There are no one-size-fits-all answers in the world of acoustic treatment. The interpretation of sound lies within the individual hearing it, so even if a product technically meets its performance specifications, it may not meet the needs or preferences of the individual. Music styles and genres also play a role in how sound can be treated because of the different frequencies emphasized. Layout and size of the room where recording and mixing takes place also has a major impact on the effect treatment materials can have on sound.
Because every space is unique, Foam Factory, Inc. offers complete customization of their acoustic foam sound deadening product line. In addition to their standard acoustic offerings that include studio columns, corner bass traps for vibration dampening, and drop ceiling tiles, all available in 12 different colors, Foam Factory offers customizable specialty products that can be manufactured to a customer’s exact requirements.
One of these custom products is the hanging foam baffle. Typically seen in large spaces like gymnasiums, warehouses, auditoriums, and places of worship, baffles are suspended from ceilings and work to break up echoes and dampen the waves that bounce around cavernous structures. The larger an area, the more potential there is for noise, as the gap between first hearing a sound and its echo returning to you increases. Anybody who has tried to enjoy a quiet lunch in a cafeteria can attest to this. These hanging baffles stop echoes so the only sound you hear is the original message, not the echo of the message coming by a third or fourth time.
The typical size for a two-sided baffle is 4 feet wide, 2 feet tall, and 3 inches thick. These feature straps with grommets extending from either three or four of the material’s corners so the baffle may be hung vertically or horizontally. Foam Factory can manufacture baffles to this standard dimension or any other custom size to outfit your space. By adhering two sections of acoustical foam to a center fabric layer that supports the grommet, the foam itself doesn’t bear the weight of the product, preventing tears and damage. These baffles can be made in thicknesses from 2 inches up to 8 inches for the largest mountings. Styles are available in any pattern Foam Factory offers for acoustic tiles such as eggcrate, pyramid, and wedge, as well as their new Wave, Spade, and Grid panel patterns. All 12 colors are offered for the eggcrate, wedge, and pyramid, while currently charcoal is the only color offered in the new sound panel designs.
For treating smaller spaces that don’t have the problems baffles are designed to solve, acoustical foam tiles are an excellent way to treat your space at multiple sound frequencies, eliminating echoes and increasing diffusion. Much like the baffles, acoustical tiles break up bouncing waves, clarifying sound and minimizing echoes. This is important in smaller spaces because many feature square or rectangular rooms which enhance echoes, as the parallel walls can bounce waves off one another. Acoustic treatment foam can help improve the sound in these situations and many others, and Foam Factory’s Class A rated fire retardant foam tiles are perfect for the job.
Able to be manufactured in different colors, styles, and sizes, Foam Factory offers customization to all of their acoustical treatment tiling products to give you the performance you need and the aesthetics you want. The most basic tile treatment is the economical eggcrate foam, which can be made in a thickness range of 1 to 4 inches. These products can be customized to have shallow valleys with a thick base, steep peaks with a thin base, or any combination between. With acoustical tiles, the greater the size and depth of a pattern, the better diffusion ability the material possesses with its greater surface area. Meanwhile, shallow patterns and thicker bases provide more absorption. This mix of base thickness and pattern depth can be applied to the wedge and pyramid patterns as well, but while eggcrate maxes out at 4 inches thick, these two patterns can be cut into panels up to 24 inches in thickness. Treatment of that size would obviously be for incredibly specialized purposes, but the ability to customize to that degree still exists with these Foam Factory products. The depth of certain patterns does need to have a base of appropriate thickness to maintain the structural strength of the material, but that is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on designed pattern. All of the aforementioned tile products are available in 12 vibrant colors to make your treated room a truly personalized space.
In addition to the three tile patterns, Foam Factory has recently introduced three more designer acoustical panels, created with compression cutting technology. The new Acoustic Grid, Spade, and Wave patterns incorporate precision design and performance into their sound deadening forms. Made in reciprocating pairs because of the nature of the cutting process, these larger panels, measuring 69 by 43 inches or 66 by 45 inches depending on edging, range from 1 to 4 inches in thickness. Again, pattern depth versus base thickness can be altered on these products, this time by adjusting the amount of pressure applied to the foam during cutting.
And while many of their offerings are more passive in nature like room treatment, Foam Factory also offers items that take a more active role in combating sound. One example of this is custom sound isolation pads for microphones stands. While sound waves can bounce around a room, vibration generated from speakers, instruments, footsteps, and even toe taps can travel through stands and be captured by sensitive recording devices. Foam rubber isolators placed under the feet of these stands can absorb the shocks and vibrations that occur in studio or recording space. The most basic of these products are dense, closed-cell foam discs to be placed under a stand’s feet to separate it from the floor of the room. These can be made of either cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) or neoprene foam, in thicknesses as little as 1/4 of an inch for cross-linked polyethylene and 1/8 of an inch for neoprene. Pads can be cut separately to go under the individual feet of a stand, or mats can be made from a single piece of foam with larger, solid bases. Another option for speaker isolation is open-cell charcoal firm foam. Unlike the disc pads, these can be cut to wrap around the foot of a stand, staying with the structure when moved or slid across a room.
If you’re in need of a unique product for a unique purpose, you may feel that your options are limited, whether it’s in performance or design. But with Foam Factory’s acoustical solutions, you have all the options you’ll need to get things the way you want.