Acoustic panels are good at mitigating background noise and reducing echo in a room. Usually, you can use 8-10 panels to solve sound issues in a space, but that number can increase depending on the kind of acoustic treatment you desire. If that is the case, is there such a thing as installing too many acoustic panels?
You can have too many acoustic panels in a room, giving the space a “dead” feeling. This outcome can make the area unnaturally quiet and uncomfortable to work in instead of being comfortable as you had hoped.
In the rest of the article, I will explain further how adding too many acoustic panels in an area can be detrimental.
In addition, I’ll talk about how to determine the correct number of panels you need to soundproof a room.
Disadvantages of Mounting Too Many Acoustic Panels
Too many acoustic panels can dampen all the reverberation in the room to a level that makes the ambiance feels unnatural.
As you want a certain level of quiet in a space, you still want it to feel alive. The “dead” kind of silence may work well in recording studios to an extent, but if it’s excessive, it can make your recordings sound unrealistic.
Can You Have Too Many Acoustic Panels
When you put too many panels at the first reflection point behind a home theater, you will end up causing too much absorption that can ruin the “spaciousness” and energy of the soundtrack.
Too much sound treatment in a studio can cause your recordings to sound “boomy” and make the music sound quality feel lifeless or unnatural.
Adding lots of panels for bass trapping in a small room can cause diminishing returns because the extra boards will only trap more heat in your studio. So you will waste money on acoustic panels that will do nothing further for your space.
How Many Acoustic Panels Do You Need?
The number of acoustic panels needed for a space can depend on the number of speakers, their reflection points, how much sound will spread, and other various factors like:
Consider the Purpose of the Room
First, you must consider how you want to use the room.
You won’t need many panels if you’re making beats and jamming with other musicians in the room. If you want to use the space for this, less is more.
You’ll enjoy your creative process more if the room has enough reflecting wall surfaces to feel natural.
On the other hand, if you want to mix or master in the room, you’ll undoubtedly need more acoustic panels at the first reflection points. They will help give an accurate picture of what’s coming from your monitors by reducing the room’s reverb.
Acoustic panels will be your best friend if you’re recording vocals in the room. The last thing you want with vocals is unnecessary reverberations in your recordings because they’re extremely difficult to remove from the track once they are captured.
Put an acoustic panel at each of the reflection points.
Account for the Size of the Room
A bigger room will need more acoustic sound panels than a smaller one because the sound waves spread out more in larger areas.
Moreover, you may wish to have more speakers in a larger space than a smaller one; remember that you will need to place at least one additional acoustic panel for each speaker you add.
For example, adding ten acoustical panels will be a good starting point if you want to turn a standard, bedroom-sized room into a studio or home theater.
Still, remember that the number will depend on the kind of sound system used in the space.
Install Acoustic Panels According to Ceiling Height
The height of the ceiling can affect the sound quality in a room, depending on what you want to use the space for.
Ceiling height can also help you determine your required acoustic panels.
In rooms of typical ceiling height, sound waves from musical instruments and speakers will echo off the ceiling and the walls, forcing you to cover both the walls and ceiling to get high-quality sound.
Besides that, a low ceiling can also let in noise from neighbors in an apartment complex, pushing you to soundproof them.
When you have to cover both the ceiling and the walls, the number of panels used will be more than if you have to cover the walls alone.
Alternatively, higher ceilings in spaces like restaurants and offices where you want to control sound can be advantageous, as sound can get lost at the top of the space rather than disturb neighboring rooms. So will not need to mount panels on these ceilings.
Consider the sound Absorption of Surface Materials in a Space
A room with a hardwood floor or carpet will reflect less sound than a tiled or concrete floor.
The same concept applies to drywall vs. concrete walls.
Also, a furnished room, such as a living room with sofas decorated with pillows and a carpet, will need less acoustic treatment than an empty room or one with minimal furniture.
This is because these materials will absorb sound and reduce echoes.
Size of the Acoustic Panels
The panels come in varied sizes, which can influence the number you use.
Bigger panels can cover more space than smaller ones, and you may wish to use them in all spaces.
However, this technique could become disadvantageous, as your chosen size depends on your goal. Smaller panels suit you best if you want a high-quality recording sound because they provide better coverage in most spaces.
You can buy JBER Acoustic Big Foam Panels (available on Amazon.com) for your room. You may also buy Auralex Studioform Wedgies (available on Amazon.com). Both are easy to install and are trusted by many home studio owners.
Final Thoughts on Acoustic Treatment
Adding more acoustic panels than needed in a space in your studio or home theater is easy, and you can notice this when the room sounds “dead.”
Also, the sound quality in the area may not be as expected, or it may not change as you add more panels.
However, the answer is subjective when deciding the correct number of panels your room will need. It all depends on the size of the room, its purpose, and the type of panels you plan to use.
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