Planning on doing some sound recording in your home?
If so acoustic blankets are the perfect way to turn an echoey room into a recording studio that sounds professional.
In a rush?
Vocal Booth To Go is the best place to buy them from, they have a huge range to fit all shapes and sizes of walls and they have impressive NRC ratings of up to 0.95 meaning they can absorb up to 95% of sound.
Keep reading to find out more about what acoustic sound blankets are and how they work…or if you don’t care about all that and simply want to buy some now then click here to find out where to buy them at.
What Are Acoustic Blankets?
Acoustic blankets are blankets which are designed to absorb and dampen sound. They are also known as sound absorption blankets, sound dampening blankets, sound blankets or soundproofing blankets.
The outer layers are typically made from woven fabric which allows sounds through it so that the waves can pass into the dense inner materials.
The inner materials are made from one of; insulation foam, cotton, wool or even mass loaded vinyl.
These are all dense materials which quickly absorb, and deaden sound waves.
How Good Are Soundproof Blankets At Acoustic Absorption?
Typically you can expect to get a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) Rating of between 0.7 – 0.8.
For context, an NRC rating of 1 would mean the blanket absorbs 100% of the sound and no sound reflects back off it. Conversely, an NRC of 0 means that all sound reflects back, surfaces such as brick walls will have very low NRC ratings.
A good acoustic sound blanket will make a significant difference to the acoustics of a room, absorbing up to 80% of sound and reflecting only 20% back.
Do They Actually Work?
Yes they do as mentioned above they can absorb 80% of sound (or more).
This makes them very popular for use in recording studios where echo can distort the sound and result in a poor quality recording.
Blankets are often used on doors as a cheap door soundproofing solution however this is not effective.
Be aware that they are not designed for soundproofing but sound dampening. If you plan on using a blanket to stop people outside the room from hearing your drum kit practice (we recommend you try a quiet electronic drum kit instead!) or your new sound system then you (and they!) will be disappointed. Sound dampening is different to soundproofing.
Soundproofing completely blocks sound waves from passing through, sound dampening minimizes echo and reverberation.
Acoustic Blankets vs Moving Blankets
Moving blankets are commonly used in lieu of acoustic blankets however they are not the same thing.
Moving blankets are designed to help minimize damage to goods in transit, they are thick and provide plenty of padding which can help with noise absorption however they do not have the same outer layer that acoustic blankets do which allows sound to be absorbed inside them.
The outer layer of moving blankets is often far more reflective so absorbs much less sound. If you are going to use moving blankets then look for a moving blanket with exposed fibres which will allow sound waves to pass deeper into the blanket.
1. Recording Studios
Getting people to listen to your podcast, YouTube video, latest single or speech is hard. Don’t make it even harder by recording in an echoey room!
You’ve no doubt seen YouTube videos which feature some sort of acoustic dampening barrier stuck on the wall behind them, the best way of achieving this for good recording quality is to use a sound reduction blanket.
It will instantly stop sound bouncing off your walls back into your microphone so your recordings will sound much more professional.
Whether you have a private cinema room in your home or run a commercial one you will know that sound quality makes a huge difference to a film. Bad acoustics can ruin even the best of films. If you don’t want to be adjusting the volume all the way through each and every film then sound dampening blankets are the answer which will dampen noise and allow you to hear your film the way it was meant to be heard.
3. Video Call Room
Conference calls are notorious for dodgy connections and poor sound quality.
While an acoustic blanket can’t do anything about the reliability of your internet connection it can help transform an echoey call with into a crystal clear call, completely eliminating horrible feedback noise and reverberating voices!
Conference call rooms are often very small so noise bounces around them very quickly and goes straight back into your phone’s microphone causing the echo. Hanging soundproof blankets on your wall will stop the echo and make your next video call a bit more bearable.
4. Sound Dampening Noisy Appliances
Although they aren’t specifically designed for soundproofing acoustic blankets can help. It is not uncommon for them to be used to cover noisy household appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers. They are also often used in warehouses to cover particularly noisy pieces of machinery. Be careful not to use them on appliances or machinery that gets hot as this is a serious fire risk.
While they won’t completely block appliance noise they will help significantly dampen it which can make a significant difference to the amount of sound it makes. A top tip with soundproofing household appliances is to make sure you sit them on a rubber treadmill style mat as this will reduce a lot of the rattling and wobbling noise created by any appliance movement.
Where To Buy Acoustic Sound Blankets:
Acoustic blankets are the sort of thing you commonly find stocked on the shelves of your local Walmart, they are a specialist product which are not easy to find on the high street so buying online is your best option.
If you need acoustic blankets now and can’t wait for next day delivery then try your nearest Home Depot as they are one of the few retailers who routinely stock them in their physical stores.
Vocal Booth To Go Sound Blankets
Vocalboothtogo.com are specialists in acoustic equipment specifically designed for vocal booths and recording studios or anywhere that getting the sound just right is key, they stock a wide range of products including a lot of Producers Choice products (who we mention further below, please check both stockists as it may be cheaper to go direct to Producers Choice if you choose to buy one of their products).
Many of their blankets boast NRC ratings of 0.95, which means only 5% of soundwaves will be reflected back off them, impressive!
Here are a few samples of some of their best ones:
1. Acoustic Noise Reduction Blanket Panels
These acoustic sound blankets are some of the most popular ones that Vocal Booth sell.
They are designed specifically to cover an entire wall from top to bottom with one piece.
These are actually sold as ‘Acoustic Noise Reduction Panels’ even though they are clearly blankets!
This is because they want to emphasise how these blankets are best used hung on walls as panels to minimise reverberations.
They have an NRC rating os 0.8 however if you hand them with pleats in (you will need more material to do this) then the NRC rating goes up to 0.95% absorbing 95% of sound!
2. Customizable Blanket
Vocal Booth To Go also supply customizable sound reduction blankets so if you have a particularly awkward or large area that you want to cover this is a great choice.
They start from $35 and can accommodate as big a space as you need to cover. They have a solid NRC rating of 0.80 when hung flat against a wall, add in a few pleats (with the help of a curtain rail) and they can achieve an NRC rating of 0.95!
Soundproof Blankets on Amazon:
Amazon does have a good range available however simply searching for “acoustic blankets” in Amazon brings up a lot of moving blankets, which, as we have discussed, are not the same thing.
You have to dig deeper to find the good stuff on Amazon…fortunately we’ve done that for you below:
1. Audit Mute Sound Dampening Blanket
This is one of the best sound absorption blankets you can buy on Amazon with an impressive NRC rating of 0.85.
Each sheet measures 95” x 54” / 241cm x 137cm which makes them long enough to cover most walls from floor to ceiling.
It also features three metal grommets on each sheet so you can hang it from a curtain rail if you wish.
They are made in the USA from recycled materials.
2. Big Boxer Industrial Blanket
The Big Boxer industrial blanket doesn’t actively market itself as a sound dampening blanket however it does say that it is designed to dampen noise made by heavy machinery so it should be far better at dampening sound than most moving blankets that you find on Amazon.
They don’t give a specific NRC rating yet many of the reviews state that they were very effective for dampening noise.
This is far cheaper than the Audimute blanket, mainly because it hasn’t been built to reach a specific NRC standard, however if you are looking for a blanket that will diminish a faint echo then this is a great budget choice.
They feature reinforced grommets ever 9” so you can hand it on a rail or use hooks.
They measure 78” x 72” / 198cm x 182cm
How To Hang Sound Dampening Blankets
Okay so you’ve bought your blankets but you’re wondering how on earth do you get the most out of them. What is the best way to hang them on the wall?
Hanging sound dampening blankets is fairly simple and doesn’t require a great deal of D.I.Y expertise.
Ideally, the blanket should cover as much of the wall space as possible, the more wall is covered the more sound will be absorbed and the less echoey your room will sound.
Here are a number of different methods you can use to hang your blanket:
1. Nail them into the wall
The most simple method, if you’re not precious about getting holes in your wall then this is the quickest and easiest way to hang your sound dampening blanket.
Get someone to hold the blanket in place for you, if the blanket isn’t big enough to cover the entire wall from floor to ceiling then place it in the middle of the wall.
Then simply nail it in place and you’re done!
2. Use hooks
Get some screws in hooks and screw this in as close to the ceiling as you can (unless your blanket is too short to reach the floor in which case either overlap them or position your blanket in the centre of the wall).
Then simply hang your blanket on the hooks.
3. Glue them to your wall
If you’re precious about your wallpaper or your paint then don’t do this as when the time comes to take your blankets down they will bring your wall decoration with them.
However, if you are planning on keeping the blankets up permanently then the glue can be a quick solution which also has the added bonus of giving a nice clean finish to your room as there are no exposed nail heads or hooks pointing out of your blanket anywhere.
Be aware you will need a strong industrial glue (PVA won’t cut it!), find the strongest glue you can and glue around the edges and across the middle of your blanket and press it firmly into place.
Hold it there for a couple of minutes so you can be certain that the glue has bonded and then you’re done.
4. Hang them on a curtain rail
This method requires a bit more work than the other methods however it can be worth doing if your room is a multi-functional room.
Fit your curtain rail as close to the ceiling as you can (ensuring there is space for the curtain rings to be fitted and to slide across the rail).
You may need to cut small holes in your soundproof blanket to fit the curtain rings into.
Thread your blanket onto the rail and enjoy!
Also Read: Our guide to Soundproof Curtains.
How To Clean Acoustic Blankets
Sound dampening blankets often come with quite a distinct smell that can be a bit overpowering, particularly if you are hanging them in a small confined space such as a room you are turning into a recording studio.
Washing noise dampening blankets can be a bit difficult because they don’t fit in standard domestic size washing machines.
You can, of course, wash them by hand however this would take ages so we don’t recommend it, instead follow these steps:
- Take them to your nearest laundromat where they have big washing machines that can accommodate the size of the blankets.
- Do not wash them with other clothes because it is not uncommon from colors inside the filler in your blanket to run and potentially stain anything else you wash with it.
- Be aware that when the wash is done the blanket will be very heavy due to the huge amount of water that the filler will have absorbed, you may need help dragging it out of the washer!
- It’s a good idea to then stick it straight into the drying machine, not only will this get rid of all the water but it will help fluff them out which will add air to the filler materials adding volume to your blanket and making it more sound absorbent.
Once you have got rid of the new smell it shouldn’t be necessary to wash it again, instead just hoover it regularly to keep it clean.
Thanks for reading our guide to acoustic sound blankets, we wish you good luck on your sound dampening project.
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