Q: What's the difference between soundproofing and acoustic treatment?

A: Acoustic treatment, in the context of a recording studio, generally deals with the acoustic quality of the room from a listener's point of view. In other words, if you monitor in a control room that has been designed using the correct acoustic treatment, what you hear is likely to be more accurate than the same recording played back over the same speakers in an untreated room.

Soundproofing, on the other hand, is specifically designed to increase the degree of acoustic isolation between the studio and the world outside — cutting down on noise that leaks into or out of the studio. Sound isolation works the same both ways, so there's no difference in approach to keeping sound in or out.

Q: I've heard that sticking egg crates or acoustic foam to walls will help soundproof a room. True?

A: No. Egg crates and acoustic foam can make a marginal improvement to some aspects of a room’s acoustics by breaking up reflections from hard surfaces, but they are virtually useless for soundproofing.

Q: What effect does panel depth have?

A: All of our products are designed around 1-inch, 2-inch, and 4-inch panel depths, each utilizing 6 lb. high density mineral wool for sound absorption. Our 2-inch thickness panels are meant to absorb mid to high range frequencies, while our 4-inch thickness panels can absorb lower range frequencies. If you need assistance determining which panel depth will best suit your needs, please feel free to contact us; one of our product specialists will be happy to help.

Q: What should I expect to hear after acoustic treatment is installed?

A: You should expect a more accurate sound — more consistent low-frequency response and less reflected energy. Your recordings should sound more controlled and professional and your mixes should translate better to other systems. Sound absorption panels placed at the first reflection points in a listening room will greatly enhance the overall sound. Because in doing so you stop the sound waves from bouncing back and forth, this in turn yields better stereo imaging and a greater depth of soundstage.

Q: I like what I hear. Is there anything else I can do to improve my setup?

A: Yes. The next step would be to place bass traps in the corners of the room. You cannot have too many bass traps in a small room, so adding bass traps will only improve your low frequency response. If you desire more control, additional Acoustic Panels could be added as well. Also, it would be beneficial to install Overtone Sound Diffusers, which are specially formulated to evenly scatter sound energy and help eliminate comb filtering and flutter echo.

Q: What’s the difference between an acoustic panel and a bass trap?

A: Bass traps are thicker and denser versions of our acoustic panels which are designed to absorb bass frequencies. Acoustic panels are designed mostly to absorb high- and mid-frequencies (human voices, treble, etc.) with some bass absorption (from 250 Hz to 4000 Hz). Our bass traps absorb high frequencies just as well as our standard panels, except they have the added advantage of being able to absorb much more of the lower frequencies. Bass absorption panels such our corner trap work best if placed in room corner. They help eliminate standing waves, dips and spikes that are notoriously prevalent in smaller rooms. So for example, if you notice that you have too much bass in one spot of the room, and very little in the sweet spot, you needs bass traps to calibrate the room lows and to give you as flat a low frequency as possible. This results in tighter punchier bass that does not overwhelm the rest of the instruments and sounds equally good no matter where you sit in the room.

Q: I'd like to place treatment in the corners of my room. Is there a way to do this?

A: Yes – corner mounting is possible for any of our Acoustic Treatment Products using a simple DIY method. Measure from the ceiling and mark where you want the panel to be positioned. Next, measure 13 inches from the corner to indicate where to place your hook (hook placement will depend on panel width). Picture hanging hooks may be purchased from your local big box store. Next, you'll need two eight-inch lengths of picture wire (length will depend on panel width). Fasten the wire to eye hooks on both sides of the panel. You are now ready to hang the panel in the corner by simply attaching the wire to the hooks on the wall.

Q: Overtone acoustic panels come in a choice of colors but none of them suit my room. Are there other options?

A: Yes – we offer many options outside of our standard selection. Contact us for additional information.

Q: Can I get acoustic fabric samples?

A: Absolutely, we offer samples from any of our fabric collections.

Q: Can I send you fabric to wrap my panels?

A: We would be glad to fabricate sound absorption panels for you using your own fabric. The cost will be the same as our standard panels. You will be required to send us the fabric before production can begin. Also we advise you to use a breathable fabric for acoustic transparency as a fabric with too tight of a weave will reflect sound which may render the panel useless.

Q: How do you install acoustic panels and bass traps on walls?

A: Overtone provides Z-clips installation hardware with all acoustic panel and bass trap products. You attach two Z-clips on the upper corners of the panel backing, about an inch or more from the edges using provided wood screws, be sure to orient the screw holes to the top. Then attach the remaining two Z-clips to the wall with the screw holes oriented to the floor and be sure they are at the same level and are spaced the same as they are on the panel. Then you slide the clips on the panel over the clips on the wall and that’s it.

Q: The hardware used to mount these panels look somewhat permanent. How else can I fix up the panels so that they can be removed without damaging the walls?

A: In the event you need to remove your treatment, you’ll only be left with the screw holes needed to secure the panels. Spackle, light sanding, and touch-up paint will restore your walls appearance. Another option would be to utilize our Acoustic Panel Stands, which will allow you to free-stand any 2-inch acoustic panel.

Q: What benefits am I likely to notice after installing acoustic treatment?

A: Whether you’re treating a media room or a recording space, you will notice that the sound seems more focus and the bass tighter, more even and more punchy. The stereo image will be much improved with centre-panned sounds appearing to come from the space between the speakers and noticeably better definition for sounds coming from the extreme left and right. In short, your audio equipment will now deliver the best results of which it is capable rather than being crippled by the limitations of your room.

Q: I need custom sized panels. Is this something you offer?

A: Yes. We’re able to manufacture any sized panels up to 48” x 96” — as long as the shapes are rectangles, trapezoids and parallelograms with angles of 90 degrees and 45 degrees.

Q: If acoustic treatment is so effective; wouldn’t it be better simply to cover all the walls in it?

A: No, you still need some high frequency reflection to keep the sound balanced across the audio spectrum. Normally you’d need to treat no more than 25-30 percent of the wall surfaces and often you can make a significant improvement with much less.