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Old 01.11.2010, 16:50
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Echo in apartment, elimination of

Hello forum,

Our house here is large and, due to the (typical) concrete walls and tiled floors, suffers from echo. The house is split over three floors and the echo seems to be worst around the stairwell area (or the mezzanine level which overlooks the living room)

Has anybody delved into this topic? We don't want to fill the rooms with unwanted furniture/curtains/rugs just to clear an echo. It's a rented house, and my first line of action would be to install large foam (i.e. relatively cheap) panels on some key walls. I have seen similar items advertised in the US, and they can be decorated, ordered in particular colours, etc.

I have searched and seen the websites of some Swiss companies offering acoustic treatment, but information on the websites gives the impression that money would not at all be your prime concern...

Egg-cartons are, unfortunately, not an option.

- Thanks

Chris
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Old 01.11.2010, 17:10
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Heavy drapes at the windows, tapestry on the walls. Rugs on bare floors, but you said you don't want rugs.

Not sure how much more you can do, to be honest. I'm sure acoustic foam panels must be available here, but given you've already searched for those and found them exorbitantly priced...
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Old 01.11.2010, 17:30
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

ear plugs maybe....
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Old 01.11.2010, 17:32
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Tapestries, curtains, fabric furniture, rugs (which you said you didn't want), pillows, etc. are all good sound dampeners.

/from the person who is adding all of the above to the nursery so the neighbors don't hear the baby cry.
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Old 01.11.2010, 17:36
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

I think you have closed down your options by not wanting to solve it with furniture/rugs etc. but why not just invest in a couple of cheap Ikea rugs (you can get them for CHF 100-150 if you're looking a solution rather than quality).

When you come to leave your apartment you can then sell them, bin them or take them to the next echoey place...

Also, if you've got a bookcase full of books, you could move this to the most echoey part (near your stairs?). The books will absorb some of the hollowness.
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Old 01.11.2010, 17:39
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

We were at a restaurant yesterday that had those acoustic foam egg crate things hidden under the chairs and tables. There are not the most beautiful but if you don't want curtains and carpets maybe you can but some of that stuff around under the furniture. I don't know if that's the same as the "acoustic panels" but the foam should not be expensive.
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Old 01.11.2010, 17:54
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

I agree with everything that has already been said.

Unfortunately you just need 'stuff' that inhibits the reverberation of sound waves.

Soft things help dampen sound the best (eg. Rugs, drapes, etc). But the basic prinicple is just to break up flat surfaces (walls and floors).

Basically, the bigger the flat surface area the bigger the echo.

Paintings, decorative persian rugs, ornamental items and art on the wall all help.

Rugs, carpet, and furniture etc. all break up the reverberation from the floor.


If you have a big house, then I'm afraid, you'll just have to fill it stuff you don't need..... but be smart, and hang things on your biggest walls.
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Old 01.11.2010, 19:51
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Sorry, I should have said that we don't want to over-fill our house with rugs/etc.

Anyway, the carefully-placed bookcase idea is a good one; will keep that one in mind!

- Thanks,

Chris
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Old 01.11.2010, 20:13
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Try vertical panels (foam or fibre board) down from the ceiling this stops the sound wave travelling round

or pin fabric to the ceiling
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Old 01.11.2010, 20:17
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Echo in apartment, elimination of

We had the same problem with our house!!! in the end we are moving!
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Old 01.11.2010, 20:24
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Our hallway echoes, so we simply leave more coats hanging there. Works like a charm.
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Old 01.11.2010, 20:41
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Books... lots and lots of books.

Our bedroom has tiled floors and no curtains (yet). It does, however, contain five bookcases, one of which is perpendicular to the wall near the door so we can fit books in both sides.

All that paper, with the bed and bedding, dampens the noise beautifully! It's like a recording studio in here.

... and there's always something to read.

I'm not sure how practical that suggestion is, though, looking at the price of books in this country...
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Old 01.11.2010, 20:46
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Walk around your place and clap your hands to identify the surfaces that produce the most acoustic reflection and treat them in one way or the other. You may find that if you treat just those places it won't take as much as you think to calm the whole place down. If it is windows, a curtain here and there may be enough without covering them all. A thick carpet placed on the floor at the right place may help, but the most reflective surfaces will likely be walls.

I hung a couple of thick, fair-sized Persian carpets on two stairwell walls, one on the long wall, one on the short, and that dampened the acoustics almost completely, and they come across as very attractive and friendly art. You might find that a pretty expensive solution, but I'm sure you can find something having a large, thick and acoustically absorbing surface to hang that is attractive, or at least not intrusive, without spending a fortune.

It might not take as much as you think if you identify clearly the most offending surfaces...and use your imagination. Acoustics are like waves in water, so just follow the waves around and try to figure out the best places to calm them.
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Old 02.11.2010, 00:48
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

As owners of a cockatoo, we did a lot of research into acoustics. One of the items we looked into is a foam that is used for music studios that you can buy but it needs to be glued to the walls.

You need to absorb the sound and has been suggested, your best choices are using fabric. Even one carpet in a room can make a huge difference. Curtains help a lot too. Lastly, you might consider fabric prints on the walls, not difficult to make.
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Old 02.07.2016, 21:57
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Re: Echo in apartment, elimination of

Are there any stores near Zurich that sell vertical panels and other acoustic treatment?
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