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Old 09.03.2011, 14:16
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Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Any recommendations on where to get sound absorbing material? Like perhaps that foam with triangles you see in recording studios? Or any other tips? - here is the situation:

Our apartment is all cement with hardwood floors (as it seems most swiss ones are) and there is something about the small room we are using for the office, maybe that its square, causing it to echo a LOT. I thought it would get better once I put in the desk, bookshelf, filing cabinet etc but that only made it marginally better. This is the room we make all the phone calls from when working from home etc so the echoes are bad for work.

Any place for me to look for something like this in the Nyon/Geneve/Lausanne area? I've heard heavy curtains help but I haven't had much luck finding variety for curtains that didn't require sowing either (and the window in the office is small anyway so that would probably only help a small amount - but it would be better than nothing I suppose).

Thanks!
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Old 09.03.2011, 14:23
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Egg boxes are very good. Cut the lid off and staple the cones to the wall, with the cones pointing to the room.

Failing that, carpet and wall hangings.

Really anything soft and absorbant
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Old 09.03.2011, 14:27
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

I would check at the "home improvement" type stores like Obi, Coop Bau + Hobby, Hornbach and the like, they probably have something, or can point you in the right direction if not.

Otherwise - is it a completely private office or do you meet with clients there at all? If it is a place you do have client visitors, maybe "invest" in a few pieces of cork board... it's not as crisp as tucking away semi-important memos but it is on the professional side, as long as you make sure it's all tacked down neatly (and will help with the sound).

If it is private, a semi-temporary fix may be to get some (cheap) carpets or blankets and hang them on the wall - also, make sure the floor is carpeted / has area rugs as well.

Oh, and, IF there is space, maybe put an "overstuffed" arm chair in there that is upholstered in fabric. I know it may sound a bit over the top (and perhaps indulgent) for a home office but so far most (if not all) of the furnishings in there likely are hard and slick (wood, metal, glass) and this is why it's not helped with the sound absorption much.
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Old 09.03.2011, 14:30
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Assuming that you are renting the apartment I would recommend going to Jumbo, Migros DIY, Coop Heim and Hobby. In the carpet department they sell the end of roll / off-cuts very cheaply. You can choose a pattern you can live with, and fix these to the walls with thin steel wall nails, or nail the carpet pieces to pieces of wood and hang these like a picture or a mirror.

You could also look around the bare wood section. They cut wood to size and usually hanging at the counter is a sample of the various boards available, some are very soft and could be stood against the wall behind the desk / cupboard.

Another idea is to buy the white thermal insulation boards on sale and fix these to the walls with string and nails. Sheet of plastic foam is expensive, and that is also on sale.
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Old 09.03.2011, 14:37
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

As others have pointed out, curtains, carpets and other soft furnishings help a lot, but you can get soundproofing materials from Conrad, no idea what they're called in German, but I've seen them there.

You can also get stuff like this from music stores that sell studio equipment.
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Old 09.03.2011, 14:41
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Some good advice on this thread: sound damping material
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Old 09.03.2011, 14:47
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

going for the full blown sound insulating material will be overkill and just make your office a bit ugly.

Try to do diminish the echo through some interior decorating...

If there is no carpet on the floor that would be my first step - just throwing a rug on the floor should already make a huge improvement.

Put some more decor around, a plant, paintings (or even better for the sound would be a nice upholstery or rug) hung on the wall. etc.

Curtains for a window can also make a huge difference.
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Old 09.03.2011, 15:07
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

+1 on egg boxes. Egg boxes were made to eat sound.
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Old 09.03.2011, 15:19
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

I am just about to trash a matress 180 x 200..
If you want it, let me know.. It is very sound absorbing.

(you can cut it and slice it as you like..)
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Old 09.03.2011, 19:34
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Our entrance hall has a tiled floor and it makes an enormous difference of we just leave a coat or two hanging in there. In the bathroom just two towels make a difference so I would try a minimal approach before going in with the big guns.
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Old 09.03.2011, 19:57
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Soundproofing is different from acoustic treatment.
The first respects to eliminate sounds coming from the street or near apparments to inside, or eliminate sounds coming from your appartment to the exterior. For exemple a bunker using those heavy concrete walls is a superb soundproofing building. However the sound inside is terrible, those same walls create a huge reverberation time inside the bunker. Of course you can eliminate that with some acoustic treatment.

If you want to eliminate echos and reverberation inside a room you have to do some treatment. You must use absoption materials.
Like you suggest, curtains can do the job. A carpet helps too. If you disperse that stuff in a uniform way even better.
If you want something more fashion you have some products for the propose: http://www.vicoustic.com/vn/Homecine...md=reset&Id=27

Treating a room to eliminate those acoustic problems inside the human voice range (let's say 100Hz-5000Hz) is simple, you don't need to spend money, just spread stuff inside your apparment. Rule of thumb, don't let two parallel walls discovered, a closet or a large painting is ok for the job.

If you want to treat your apparment like a Hi-Fi room, ok, then you have to spend money.
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Old 09.03.2011, 20:07
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

PS: Egg boxes are a myth. Have you ever seen sound professionals using it?
It act like bad diffusers, absorb very little and it's really inelegant to use in an apparment.
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Old 09.03.2011, 20:30
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

You can check out the used (2nd hand) drape selection at Brockiland (in Zurich).
They also have a website www.brockiland.ch
They are a charity organisation, like The Sally Ann, the money they receive goes to charities in Switzerland.

They have a variety of used items and large selection of drapes (nice way of saying... all kinds, weird, colourful, heavy, ugly and some nice ones)

The drape selection is varied so be prepared to check it out thoroughly... more than once to find a set of heavy nice pattern drapes with the white hanging tags already attached. With perseverance it can be done and the price is ridiculously inexpensive .

I have also reduced sound in a living-room once by hanging very inspiring large quilts on opposite walls. They look very nice and they were functional.

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Old 10.03.2011, 14:00
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Thanks for all the ideas. While clients etc aren't actually in the office there is a lot of video conference meetings (these really pick up the echoes!) so it needs to be nice.

Unfortunately carpet(s) might be tough as its a small room and I have 2 desks with roller chairs so there really isn't much floor space (and rollers on carpets don't work so well).

Sounds like I need to at least start with some curtains. Where do I go to look for curtains? (ideally via public transit in the geneva to lausanne area). In the US I always ordered my curtains to exact specifications online after getting some free fabric samples. It was quite nice. Here in CH I went to ikea and didn't really like any of theirs and the sizes were not right. Then I went to micasa, interio and a few other places and it looks like you buy the fabric and make your own (I can't ask since I just started french lessons and I couldn't find any english speaking help). LOL I can do electrical, carpentry, plumbing etc but sewing is not in my skillset. So whats a non-sewing person in switzerland do about curtains? Hire someone?

I've seen in auditoriums, churches, etc some panels that go on the ceiling that look good.. but I suppose those are expensive? Also probably hard to mount temporarily to the ceiling.

Perhaps gluing some accoustic panels that they use in recording studios to a board and tacking the boards on the walls in the places you don't see like under the desks? I see you can buy some treatments at digitec ranging anywhere from 200 to 900 (search on treatments). I'd hate to buy one of those kits and find it doesn't fix the issue and is ugly (also I think they are designed to glue directly to the wall).

thanks for all the ideas!
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Old 10.03.2011, 14:04
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

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going for the full blown sound insulating material will be overkill and just make your office a bit ugly.

Try to do diminish the echo through some interior decorating...

If there is no carpet on the floor that would be my first step - just throwing a rug on the floor should already make a huge improvement.

Put some more decor around, a plant, paintings (or even better for the sound would be a nice upholstery or rug) hung on the wall. etc.

Curtains for a window can also make a huge difference.
Thanks for the excuse to buy more plants... I love plants! I never really thought of them as sound absorbing. I guess they diffuse more than absorb but its worth a try!
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Old 10.03.2011, 14:18
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

I plan sound-proof my bomb shelter so I can pump up the volume on my amps. I'm interested in cost-effective materials for this.

Regular foam rubber ought to damper sounds already, no? The thicker/denser the better. Also, an unfinished surface is better than one with a coating.
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Old 10.03.2011, 14:26
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

I used styrofoam insulation in my Cinema room which not only provide insutlation for heat but stops the concrete walls bouncing the sound around (which was terrible in this room before it was treated). On the floor, I installed rubber backed carpet tiles.

In an old apartment, I hung some very heavy curtains which helped minimised the sound getting to my neighbours. Speakers were put on paving slabs that had the camping matress foam underneath.

Bookshelves fille with books work well too, think you just need to use your imagination.....

Fermacell is a good insulator of sound but probably not a good absorber (more for blocking).
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Old 10.03.2011, 14:28
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

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PS: Egg boxes are a myth. Have you ever seen sound professionals using it?
It act like bad diffusers, absorb very little and it's really inelegant to use in an apparment.


Errr. No it is not. They are cone shaped (excellent shape for diffusing sound), rough and made of a soft material (vs. a hard bare wall/surface).

Just because sound professionals don't use it does not mean that it is a myth. The reason professionals don't use them is because there are better - more expensive - materials to use.

I will agree with you that it is inelegant though, and was really only a tongue-in-cheek suggestion. I mean, who really would do that...



So stick that in your pipe and smoke it...
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Old 10.03.2011, 14:38
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

Alternatively, if the echo is only a problem when you're on the phone (and it doesn't otherwise bother you), you could invest in a noise-cancelling headset which should reduce the problem. Plantronics do a range of them, and they're very effective.
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Old 10.03.2011, 16:44
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Re: Soundproofing/absorbing material?

MysteryMachine: "Perhaps gluing some accoustic panels that they use in recording studios to a board and tacking the boards on the walls in the places you don't see like under the desks?"
Are u serious or kidding? The echos you listen come from the first reflections of your voice, the sound pressure bonds the surfaces near you and creates the sound effect. Under a desk is not a first reflection point.

Carlos R, yes, it diffuse, like I said. We are talking about absorption.
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