We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission.

Best Sound Absorbing (Acoustic) Fabric for Noise Reduction

I recently went looking for some sound absorbing fabric to cover some windows and the door in my home office studio. The first place I walked into I knew I’d made a mistake. I know what sound-transparent fabric is, but sound absorbing and soundproof I didn’t know enough about. Apparently, neither did the people I spoke with.

After several very confusing conversations, I went home empty handed. I sat down and did some reading, a lot of research, and more reading. I decided to share what I found, so you also have a better idea when you go looking for acoustic fabric for different purposes.

Sound absorbing fabric

Sound Absorption vs. Soundproofing

When comparing sound absorption and soundproofing, we are looking at how different materials interact with sound wave energy. Some materials will absorb sound energy, some will reflect it, and others will allow it to pass through, or transmit.

Most materials do a little bit of all three depending on the sound frequency. It may work better on mid to high frequency, or on low frequencies.

Sound absorption is how we reduce the reverberation or echo within a room. A material that has an absorption coefficient or Class tells you the amount of sound it will absorb within a set frequency range. If the absorption coefficient is 0.30, then 0.70 (or 70%) of the sound is being reflected or transmitted through the material, or a mix of both.

Soundproofing is how we prevent or block noise from being transmitted through walls, windows, and doors. It is usually a material that reflects or absorbs broadband of sound frequencies.

Concrete has a sound absorption coefficient of 0.03, so reflects or transmits more than 95% of soundwaves. Acoustic curtains have coefficients between 0.35 and 0.70, depending on materials and construction, what they don’t absorb, they transmit or reflect.

Fabrics that have an NRC (noise reduction coefficient) are mainly for absorbing sound, materials with an STC (sound transmission class) identify how well they block sound and are soundproofing. Sound absorption and soundproofing depend on what you are trying to do.

If you want to improve the sound inside a room, absorption is the way to go. If you’re going to prevent sound from entering or leaving a room, then you want to soundproof.

What is Sound-Absorbing Fabric?

Sound absorbing fabric is not soundproof. It will improve the quality of sound within a room, by decreasing reverberation and echo of the sound generated in the room. It may also marginally decrease transmission of some frequencies between rooms. Sound absorbing fabric is used in homes, theaters, recording studios, restaurants, and even churches.

Fabric curtains or panels absorb or soften reflected noise to improve the sound in large and small rooms. They control sound and are less expensive than some options.

Similar to sound absorbing panels, deflectors, and traps, the thickness, density, fullness, and placement of the cloth affect how well it will moderate sound. Pleating increases the thickness, and hanging the curtains 6” to 12” from the wall or window increases sound control.

The material used for acoustic curtains is often made of recycled polyester fiber. Spun and woven into soft, thick velour or velveteen like fabric, it softens sound by absorbing and reducing reflection.

The durable curtain is easy to maintain and available in multiple colors. Since it is hung in homes and large gathering places, it is also fire resistant.

Types of Acoustic Fabrics

Acoustic fabrics are used for draping rooms and absorbing noise, or for wrapping absorbent materials and allowing the sound through. Cloth of different weaves and densities interact with sound distinctly, so select a fabric for the purpose you want.

Sound Absorbing Fabric

Fabric that will absorb sound frequency waves is thick and porous. The waves enter into the fabric, and some become trapped in the fibers and folds and convert from sound energy into heat. Sound energy that makes it through the cloth hits the wall or window 6” to 12” beyond.

It is reflected into the curtain again. Some more noise will be absorbed. The waves that pass back through the curtain into the room will be softened and dampened. Echo and reverberation are controlled, and listening enjoyment is improved.

The best fabric is thick, 32-ounce velour type cloth. Heavy blackout curtains are good too, especially multi-layered curtains. Some fabrics have an NRC (noise reduction coefficient), the higher the value, and the better at decreasing reverberation, reflection, and echo.

Acoustically Transparent Fabrics

Transparent fabrics are used to cover acoustic panels, bass traps, and diffusers that are made of absorbent insulation. They cover and contain the fibers of the insulation while permitting soundwaves to pass through as if they weren’t there. Many fabrics are transparent.

To check if a fabric is transparent, hold it up to your mouth and blow through it. If the air passes easily through it, it’s transparent. There are different qualities of transparent materials. Look for cloth that is durable, strong, dust and stain resistant, and the color or pattern you want; if it is fire rated, even better.

Sound Proofing Fabric Thickness

Using fabric curtains alone to soundproof a room or office isn’t practical. Soundproofing fabric would need to be at least 2-inches thick.

Heavy 32 ounce (or heavier) velour will absorb sound, especially the lower, longer waves of bass frequencies, but it doesn’t block sound transmission. A less expensive option is sewing two or more layers together for a thicker fabric.

There are industrial “curtains” available with an STC rating which block and absorb sound. They are more like wall hangings than drapes.

They don’t bend like fabric drapes. They often have two layers of thin insulation quilting – like a quilted moving blanket – with an MLV (mass loaded vinyl) sandwiched in between.

The soundproof rating improves with the thickness of the MLV. Sound waves are absorbed by the quilted insulation layer but have difficulty penetrating the MLV.

This type of curtain is heavy and more rigid; it’s more of a barrier. The MLV adds 0.5 to 2.5 lb/ft² to the weight and raises the curtains to an STC between 25 to 33. It is also hung closer to the wall or window since the airspace between the wall and curtain are unnecessary.

Soundproofing Fabric Acoustical Properties

Materials that have an STC value identify how well they will block sound. Fabrics with an NRC value identify how well it absorbs sound. They may have both, or neither, it depends on if the manufacturer has tested them for sound proofing or sound absorption.

Some fabrics are tested directly over drywall to simulate curtains and determine their NRC rating. Set frequencies from 125Hz to 4000Hz are tested against the fabric, and the average is the NRC.

Look for the results of the frequency tests; they provide useful information. Higher numbers at different frequencies indicate what sounds the fabric will work with best.

The results for the frequency spectrum tell what frequency range the fabric absorbs best. Values of 0.02 for 125Hz and 0.05 at 250Hz indicate poor performance at low range frequencies or bass sounds.

Scores of 0.35 at 500Hz and 0.68Hz at 1000Hz indicate good control of mid to upper mid-range frequencies. Higher values like 0.78 and 1.0 for 2000 and 4000Hz indicate excellent control of higher frequency waves.

Best Acoustic Fabrics Reviews

There are thousands of fabrics available online and in stores claiming to have acoustic qualities. Some work well as acoustically transparent covers, and others will be better for curtains that absorb sound. Here are some reviews to get you started.

Guilford of Maine Sona Acoustical Fabric

Guilford manufactures an acoustically transparent cloth from 14.4-ounce polyester. Available in 12 colors, it is also fire rated. The weave and 255 thread count per inch allow the sound and air through but also mask the material it covers.

The fabric is used for speaker grills and works very well on diffusers, bass traps, and acoustic panels. It can also be used for curtain material.

The acoustically transparent fabric is non-reflective, so all sound passes through. The 60-inch wide cloth is sold by the yard, which means it covers more than a 44-inch fabric. For wrapping 2’x4’ insulation for bass traps, absorbing panels, and diffusers, one yard of fabric will do.

If you want to check how well the fire rating works, hold a scrap of the material 12” from a flame. Nothing should happen. Move the fabric sample 6” closer to the flame, and still, nothing should happen.

Move to 3” and then to 1-1/2”.  If it produces smoke, catches fire, and turns to ash quickly, you should spray the cloth with a fabric fire protector.

Gray Burlap Fabric

Burlap has often been used for speaker grills and to cover acoustic panels. The open weave allows air and sound to pass through easily but is too tight to see through.

This is finely woven burlap with 225 thread count. It has a textured look and is available in gray, espresso, mocha, and nugget, plus other colors.

The burlap is acoustically transparent, so it works well for sound control projects. The 60” wide fabric is sold by the linear yard and weighs 10 oz/yd². Ironing wrinkles is near impossible, so buy it on a roll. The supplier I checked had 55-yard rolls.

The fabric isn’t fire rated, so if it’s near heat or flame, spray it with a fire retardant material. If you are using burlap to cover fiberglass or another fibrous material, it may not contain the fibers. Wrap the insulation in a breathable fabric of similar color first, and then cover with the burlap.


Guilford of Maine Network Acoustical Panel Fabric

Here’s another Guilford transparent fabric for curtains or for wrapping acoustic wall treatment. It weighs 16-ounces, +/- ½ an ounce per linear yard of fabric.

A linear yard of this cloth is 66” wide, making it a good cover for DIY acoustic panels. The fabric is made from 100% recycled post-consumer polyester, is durable, and very strong so won’t tear when stretching on panel frames.

The patterned cloth has a darker stripe on one side, and the reverse or back of the fabric has a lighter stripe. It can be used either way.

The width means linear one yard will easily cover the front and frames of a 2’x4’ acoustic insulation panel. Insulation has loose fibers that can pass through the material, so it is a good idea to wrap the insulation in a tighter woven transparent cloth first.

Guilford fabrics are often treated and fire rated class 1 or A. If you plan to cover more than 25% of the room with acoustic treatment, it is advisable to spray the fabric with a fabric fire protector.

The material can be vacuumed, brushed, or washed. The fabric has an NRC rating of 0.95 for transparency/absorption.


Velvet has a plush vertical fiber that is both transparent and absorbing. Available in multiple colors, in standard widths of 45”, it is better as curtain than for wrapping acoustic panels. Look for thicker and heavier cloth; it will provide better sound treatment.

Material, especially velvet, is often listed by weight. Light is 4.51-ounces (150 grams per square meter – GSM) or less a square yard, the medium is 4.52 to 10.32 ounces (350 GSM), and heavyweight is greater than 10.32-ounces. 18.88 oz/sq² (640 GSM) is common for window curtains, double it up with pleating, and it becomes an excellent sound absorber.

The weight doesn’t always reflect the thickness of the fabric. The type of fiber and the density of the weave are the determining factors for the weight of material.

Most velvet materials are not fire treated unless the company it is purchased from states it has been. The fabric used for curtains should be treated with a fire retardant, especially if it covers more than 20% of the wall surface. Ceiling baffles should always be treated too.

LA Linen 60-Inch Wide Natural Burlap

LA Linen is a US manufacturer of the fabric, including natural jute fiber burlap. The cloth is 60” wide, has consistent natural color throughout, is washable, durable, and doesn’t smell like old burlap.

As a natural material, it will have some scent and fiber dust, but that will dissipate over time. Hanging the fabric outside or steaming it will help dissipate it more quickly.

Burlap has an open weave which allows air and sound to pass through easily. It is a good fabric for wrapping acoustic panels.

However, due to the open weave, an under cloth may be necessary if the sound absorbing material or insulation has loose fibers. It is available by the yard, or in increments up to 100 yards.

Jute fibers are natural, so the burlap is biodegradable. It is also flammable and should be treated with a flame retardant if it is used to cover 20% or more of your walls. Anything draped from ceilings should be treated before being installed.


How to Use Acoustic Fabrics

Fabric may be noted for acoustic properties, or it may have acoustic characteristics you can use. Choose the fabric that will work best for what you want it for, whether transparent, absorbing, or reflective.

Soundproof Layered Curtains

Soundproof Layered Curtains Blackout curtains have two layers of fabric sewn together. The inner layer is designed to block 100% of UV and sunlight, protecting furniture and carpet from fading, plus cooling the inside space in summer and warming it in winter.

It’s usually solid black or white polyester. The inner layer is plush polyester available in multiple colors to complement your interior.

The material for both layers is triple weave, making it denser. It isn’t transparent, so it reflects light and absorbs noise coming through the window from outside.

The more folds the curtains have when closed to cover the window, the more sound they will absorb too. The sound is trapped in the thick fibers and folds, so less reflects into the room.

The fabric is machine washable and can also be vacuumed. However, it isn’t treated with a fire retardant, so keep away from open flame.

If used in a public place or office, they should be treated with a fire retardant. Remember, the double thickness blocks all sunlight from entering but not all sound, the more folds, the more sound it will absorb.

Acoustic Panels

Acoustic panels absorb, trap, or diffuse sound. They are not designed to soundproof a room, but to improve sound quality within a room. They do this by removing sound build-up, echo, reverberation, and chatter.

The sound waves are absorbed into an insulation material like a sponge. The wave vibrates in the insulation fibers and is converted to heat energy, decreasing the number of sound waves returning to the room.

The fabric that is used to cover the panels is sound transparent. That means it allows 85% or more of the sound through to the absorbing fibers behind it.

Acoustic panels are available in 1-inch to 6-inch thicknesses. In most cases, the thicker the panel, the more sound conditioning it provides.

Panels can be expensive to buy, but you can make your own. 21 DIY Acoustic Panels, Ideas, and Plans have some great ideas and suggestions to help you out.

If using acoustic panels to control sound, it is recommended that a minimum of 20% of the walls be covered and even parts of the ceiling. Corners and surfaces opposite where a sound is generated are an excellent place to start.

Purchased panels are available in a variety of fabric colors, while DIY panels can be finished in any acoustically transparent fabric color or pattern.

ADW Acoustic Panels
ADW Acoustic Panels

ADW sells a set of four 1-inch thick sound absorbing panels that collectively cover about 24 square feet of wall. They’re available in a selection of colors and can be arranged to suit your style.

The panels have an NRC rating of 0.85, which means they can absorb 85% of the sound waves they receive. The panels are manufactured in the US and are easy to mount on walls.

Fabric Panels and Acoustic Baffles

Fabric panels are often mounted horizontally or flush with the ceiling. Acoustic baffles hang vertically from a ceiling or support structure near the ceiling. They both treat the sound reverberation and echo within a room.

Baffles, like panels, are made of insulation material wrapped in acoustically transparent fabric with a mounting strip along the long side. Manufactured baffles are often 48-inches long and 12 or 24-inches wide, and made of 2-inch thick insulation panels.

The thick insulation provides an NRC rating of 1.52, so fewer are required for improving the sound in a room.

The color choices are more limited when purchasing ready-made baffles. However, some companies offer custom color choices, or you can make your own.

Fabric selections include acoustically transparent for absorbing sound, durable ripstop cloth, or easy to clean vinyl. Vinyl is not a transparent material.

ATS Acoustic Baffles
ATS acoustical baffles ATS manufactures baffles using Roxul 60 mineral wool. A rigid insulation panel that they enclose in an aluminum frame with hanging tabs at the top. The whole panel is wrapped in acoustically transparent jute burlap.

ATS Acoustic Baffles available in a selection of colors to match your décor. The 2” thick panels come in 48”x12” or 48”x24” ceiling mount panels and provide an NRC value of 1.52.


Fabric Covered Walls in Rooms and Home Theaters

If you want to cover a wall or several with fabric and curtains aren’t what you want, there are metal or PVC track systems available. They are similar to framed panels but are limited in size only by the dimensions of the fabric. Fabric is available in widths up to 66-inches, and lengths can be 100 yards or more without a seam.

With the wall system, you aren’t limited to their fabric selection; any fabric will work. Pick a solid, print, team or corporate logo, or be creative and have your favorite wilderness or cityscape printed on fabric.

Wall coverings should be either fire retardant material or sprayed with a fire retardant. If the fabric fades, or you get tired of the color or pattern, the track system makes it easy, no nails or staples to remove.


The wall covering system is designed so even a DIYer can get professional looking results. The wall surface should be clean and sealed or painted before installing the track system.

Draw level lines where the top, bottom, and end tracks go. Install the mounting brackets for 1”, 2” or 4” thick panels. Clip the PVC or metal tracks – 45° miter cut where the corners meet. The track has a tuckable edge that holds the fabric in place.

Before installing the fabric, consider installing MLV (mass loaded vinyl) to block sound moving in or out of the room. Secure it to the wall within the frame.

Install sound absorbing insulation panels inside the frame to improve the sound within the room. The last step is to install the acoustically transparent fabric into the top groove, pull tight and push into the bottom groove and then fold and tuck the ends and corners. Several pairs of hands make the job easier.

If you decide to move or take down the panels, the fabric is easy to remove. Then uninstall in reverse order.

There are only holes where the mounting blocks were installed to patch. The track system is a great sound solution for home media or studios, meeting rooms, theaters, churches, and arenas.


Acoustic Dividers

Acoustic Dividers Acoustic dividers can be used to improve the sound further, and don’t require installation to walls or ceilings.

The 24”x66” panels can be combined and moved where needed to improve sound quality.

They can be purchased ready-made and covered in the manufacturers color choice, or custom covered in your choice of acoustically transparent cloth.


No products found. Thick polyester curtains can be used to cover walls, divide rooms, or cover openings to reduce echo and reverberation.

Compression rods can be used to make the curtains portable and a more flexible way to improve sound control.

Curtain panel widths and lengths are readily available in a wide selection of sound absorbing fabric, or custom options are available.

Alternatively, you can make curtains to suit your decor and dimensions.


Sound Dampening Blankets

Sound Dampening Blankets Sound dampening blankets are similar to mover’s blankets or pads. They are thick quilted blankets with cotton/polyester filler. They absorb sound, vibration, dampen noise, and reduce reverberation.

Often used to decrease machinery sounds, they can be used in home theaters or studios to improve sound quality. For much more information on sound dampening blankets, please see our article Soundproof Blankets for Windows.

The 72”x78” blankets have loops attached to the top 78” edge for hanging.


Low-Frequency Bass Traps

Low-Frequency Bass Traps Low-frequency corner bass traps are designed to fit where two walls or a wall and ceiling meet. Low-frequency waves tend to congregate in corners and create disturbing echoes and reverberations. The bass traps absorb the excess waves and improve the sound.

Note: For more information on low frequency soundproofing, please see our articles, How to Keep Bass From Going Through Walls and How to Block Out Low Frequency Noise.

The traps are triangular prisms filled with sound absorbing insulation and wrapped in fire retardant acoustically transparent cloth. They can be purchased in 24” and 48” heights, and can be stacked in corners or hung where the ceiling and wall meet to provide 12-inches of deep low-frequency absorption.

If you don’t like the price of manufactured traps, check out 18 Ideas and Plans on How to Build DIY Bass Traps for less expensive options.


Fabric Wrapped Foam

Fabric wrapped foam 2’x4’ panels are available in 1”, 2”, ad 3” thicknesses. The manufacturers identify that the foam absorbs up to 65% of the frequencies in the low, middle, and high ranges it receives.

The panels are wrapped in durable, fire retardant polyester-nylon material. The panels can be hung on walls and ceilings to improve the quality of listening within a room.


Fabric Wrapped Ceiling Banner

Fabric wrapped ceiling banners are similar to acoustic baffles. The 2” or 4” thick banners are 4’ wide and 20’ long and can be customized to other dimensions.

The sound absorbing fiberglass insulation is covered in Guilford sound transparent cloth and is fire retardant. An aluminum stiffening rod attached to the banner is used to suspend it from the ceiling.

The beige colored banners work well to reduce echo and reverberation at the ceiling and have an NRC rating between 1.00 and 1.15.


Fabric and Panels Cleaning and Maintenance

The best way to clean acoustic fabric and panels is with a vacuum to remove dust and dirt accumulation. How often depends on how easy it is to access the fabric. If the cloth gets something spilled on it, blot the material as quickly as possible to remove the moisture.

If you take the fabric down to wash, ensure it is well rinsed, cleaning agents can damage the sound transparency and attract dirt, increasing the rate of soiling. Depending on the dimensions of the material, it may be better to have it dry cleaned.

Whether cleaning with water or industrial dry cleaning, note that it may remove fire retardants and change the appearance of the cloth.


Fabric curtains, baffles, banners, or wrapping are some of the solutions for improving sound quality in a space or room. Here are some other materials that can be used with the fabrics, or independent of them.

Cork flooring

Cork flooring is a natural, sustainable, eco-friendly solution to impact, echo, and reverb noise. It is used on floors and walls of theaters and recording studios to dampen sound.

Sound waves are broken down when they enter cork and diffuse. A 3/8” cube of cork has more than 40-million cells which trap and absorb sound waves, so it’s easy to understand how a 3/32” or 3mm thickness can block 10dB of noise.

Cork will absorb sound similar to fabric, and not reflect it like a hard wall. On walls, the cork will reduce sound vibration, decreasing sound transfer between rooms. When used on the floor, the cork will minimize impact noise and transfer between rooms on different floors.

For more information, take a look at the post: Is Cork Good for Soundproofing?

Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges

Acoustic Foam Wedges Foam wedge acoustic panels are 2” thick 12”x12” squares. They are available in different colors and from several manufacturers. The wedge design helps eliminate echo flutter and standing waves in home studios, media rooms, vocal and instrumental practice rooms, and theaters.

The 12” square panels are made of polyurethane foam and can be arranged on walls or ceilings to help clean up sound in a room. They are often combined with corner bass traps and other acoustic panels to decrease slap-back, reverberation, ringing, and echo.

Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a thick, high density, flexible, rolled vinyl sheet that is used to block sound transfer between rooms and floors. It can be suspended from walls or attached to joists to prevent noise movement.

It is available in 1/16” thick or 1/2 lb/ft² (STC 20), 1/8” or 1 lb/ft² (STF 27), or 1/4” which is 2 lb/ft² and has an STC of 31. MLV comes in black, gray, tan or clear, as well as with a Mylar foil on one side.

MLV is more effective with mid to upper frequencies than low bass sound. MLV will only reduce the sound that encounters it. Noise transfer that bypasses it isn’t controlled.

TMS Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass Loaded Vinyl TSM offers a 1/8-inch Mass Loaded Vinyl MLV (STC 27) in several dimensions manufactured from new material only.

It can be used in studios, bathrooms, businesses, apartments, even automobiles.

Anywhere that sound transfer needs controlling.

Soundsulate Mass Loaded Vinyl
MLV from Soundsulate is 1/8” thick and has an STC of 27. Original, non-recycled, odorless material is available in 4’-6” wide rolls up to 245-feet long and 4-foot wide rolls 255-feet long.

It helps reduce noise transfer in a home or business locations.

Use on walls, ceilings, under a carpet or floating flooring, in automobiles, or even wrap ducts and pipes to decrease mechanical sound movement.


Case study: Enhancing the Acoustics of an Office Space

A 20’x20’ office with 15-foot ceiling experienced enough reverberation and echo that four individuals conversing around a table had difficulty hearing what was said. The office had 3 concrete walls and a glass floor to ceiling partition wall.

There were also 3 windows in one of the concrete walls. The ceiling was exposed concrete painted white, and the floor epoxy covered concrete. The reverb time averaged 1.5 seconds.

Acoustic panels were suspended horizontally to control the reflection off the ceiling. The result was a decrease in the reverb time of 28%. One concrete wall was covered with an artistic floor to ceiling insulated mural, which further reduced the bounce time to 0.76 seconds.

The overall improvement of adding acoustic panels to one wall and the ceiling was almost 50% and resulted in a workspace where a conversation was possible.

Read more about the case study.



Selecting the best fabric for your acoustic project is important. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be, and feel.

My next visit to a fabric store was much more productive. My windows and door are now better covered to absorb sound.

I hope you found this article of assistance in your search too. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Share it if you know someone who would benefit from the information.

Related posts:

Eugene Sokol

Hi, I’m Eugene. I work with noise all day, so I enjoy any peace and quiet I can find. I began looking at ways to improve the sound quality of my home and to make a soundproof office for myself. As a DIY enthusiast, I looked for solutions I could do. I created this blog to share what I learned and to make it easier for you to improve your quiet space too.

26 thoughts on “Best Sound Absorbing (Acoustic) Fabric for Noise Reduction”

  1. Thanks for your coverage of materials for sound control. It is very informative for a DIYer like me. I am trying to achieve sound absorption and/or diffusion for a home studio isolation room that has a 12 ft. almost A-frame ceiling. I am thinking that the diagonal wall/ceiling will bounce the sound around more, so maybe adding a false horizontal ceiling as a sound trap using a couple of layers of 10 oz. burlap at the 8 ft. level could let sound through but diffuse it as it bounces around up there. Maybe also vertically hang an absorptive panel near the top… any thoughts on that?

  2. Hello,
    I found all this info very informative but a tiny confusing so hope you can narrow it down for me.
    Moving into an apt where the bedroom walls touch. what economically priced product would be best to put up against my wall to sound proof next door tenants noise.
    doesn’t have to look too good as long as it does the job.
    thanks so much!

  3. Though I didn’t see any mention of the individual name of the researcher & author of this “amateur” study, I’m impressed with both the research and composition of the study! Take a bow, as this information was extremely informative….especially for a layman! It’s not often an amateur study can be this informative, thorough and technical, yet easily understood by the average reader! Thanks for saving me the time, effort and cost of doing it on my own!!!!

    With Gratitude,

    Mark B. (Ohio)

    • Hi Mark and Eugene – I need a noise solution – the pipes in the wall make a constant humming noise into my bedroom and I want to find something to stop the sound coming through the wall. I have read your blog, Eugene, and it seems that soundproofing fabric not sound absorption is the way to go? As I am renting I cannot stock panels to the wall and not sure how I wld hang a curtain as their are only skirting boards on top of wall. What can you suggest? Desperately need a solution. Robyn

      • Hi Robyn,

        Not sure what type of pipes you are dealing with. Or if they are running vertically or horizontally. Sound like heating pipes. Plumbing pipe noise is usually water noise or snapping as they expand and contract. A moving blanket is probably your best choice. US Cargo Control has one 80″ wide x 96″ high with grommets on one 80″ side. Buy some removable hooks from Amazon and you should get rid of most of your problem. If you blanket is too wide, you can double or triple it up. Another option might be Nicetown soundproof curtains (also from Amazon) You will have a better choice of sizes and colors. You can also hang them on removable hooks instead of curtain rods.

        If they are heating pipes, a lot of the noise could be coming out of the vents. It might help to place some kind of furniture in front of, or around them, them. Far from perfect but should help a little. (Covering up the vents is never a great idea.)

        Hope that helps some,


  4. I would love to see sections separated a bit more clearly. The category that I am interested in, soundproofing, seems to be touched on throughout. I’d love if all of the info for sound absorption, acoustics, and soundproofing were in completely different chapters. Otherwise, all helpful info, just a little confused about soundproofing though.

  5. Recently moved into a unit. I can hear and feel nxt doors footsteps, even tho they arent walking heavy steppa and they are up around 5am onwards.
    A trainline is nxt to us also and big trucks pass all night.
    Even tho your article is so well detailed, i still need a suggestion on how i can make my bedroom quiet. Should i buy acoustics panels or vinyl curtains etc.
    It is a rental unit, so please the easiest and cheapest suggestion first please.
    Desperate for sleep.

    • Hi Bianka,

      Acoustic panels are designed to absorb sound created inside the room so they will only be marginally helpful. Your best, and least expensive option is probably moving blankets hung on the wall. US Cargo Control makes a blanket that is 80 inches wide x 96 inches high so if your walls are 8 feet high, they will cover floor to ceiling. They have grommets on one 80″ side so if you stick removable hooks near the ceiling, the wall is covered. Unfortunately, your color choice is black. You can hang pictures, sheets, or more creative items on the walls to enhance the design. Please see our articles on Soundproof Blankets and Cost of Soundproofing a Room (Scenario #1 covers blanket and curtain soundproofing.)

      The Impact Noise of the footfalls from next door can be helped out by a rug with soundproofing underlayment like RugpadUSA available on Amazon. The noise and vibration travels through the framing members into your room. Best choice is to convince the neighbor to put down carpet with soundproofing underlayment. Not sure if that is an option.

      Hope this is helpful, and good luck,


  6. Hi, great information, thank you. I need sound dampening for windows that face a park and parking lot. It’s the reverb from the car bass that literally rocks my bedroom windows. The brand and link recommended in this articles sent me to an Amazon page where product is no longer carried. There are many moving blankets on Amazon but none says “noise dampening”. Is there another source you would recommend?
    Thank you again for your help.

  7. Hi, great information, thank you. I need sound dampening for windows that face a park and parking lot. It’s the reverb from the car bass that literally rocks my bedroom windows. The brand and link recommended in this articles sent me to an Amazon page where product is no longer carried. There are many moving blankets on Amazon but none says “noise dampening”. Is there another source you would recommend?
    Thank you again for your help.

    • Hi Dawn,

      Amazon can be a bit annoying that way. Check out audimute.com or residential-acoustics.com or acousticalshutters.com Those are sort of in cost order. My favorite are the acousticalshutters.com Up to 50 decibel noise reduction. Designed to keep outside noise out. Used in airport hotels.

      Hope that gives you some options,


  8. Great article. I found your piece when looking for a solution to my commuting and snoring problem. I want to make a mask that I can use while I nap on the bus. I don’t want to disturb anyone. Not sure if there is a lightweight and breathable solution.

    • Hi Phil,

      Why not give some consideration to an old style plastic hockey mask like the one worn in Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie (I think, because I don’t watch many movies), then spot glue Guilford of Maine Sona Acoustical Fabric both inside and outside. (Fabric is available on Amazon in one square foot swatches.) I really have no idea if that would work, but at least you would not be inhaling cloth.

      Good luck,


  9. I live in a community with a new large gathering space – no curtains, no rugs, etc. When just 10 or 12 of us gather, the noise is deafening. We are considering wall coverings to absorb some of the sound. Do you think hanging quilts would have enough effect to make it worth the effort?

    • Hi Sandi,

      Hanging quilts will absorb, deaden some of the sound, and reduce echoes. They will all but eliminate standing waves, which are sound waves that bounce back and forth between solid parallel surfaces and seem to be loudest in the middle of the room. You may also want to consider inexpensive foam egg crate shaped acoustic panels. They absorb and diffuse sound and come in a variety of colors and designs. If done properly, they look quite attractive. A few sound diffusers will also be very helpful. No need to panic too much about cost. You can get very good soundproofing by covering about 30% of the wall area. Please see our article How to Sound Treat a Room for more on acoustic wall treatment.

      If you have a large room and consistently small gatherings, you might want to give some consideration to acoustic room dividers or portable walls to make the meeting space smaller. Then add the quilts or acoustic panels to the remaining untreated walls. Please see Best Acoustic Room Dividers and Portable Soundproof Walls.

      Hope that helps,


  10. Dear Madam/Sir.
    We are looking to ourchase one or more of the following acoustic fabrics:
    1. Guilford of Maine
    2. Cotton duck
    3. Speaker Grill cloth
    4. Burlap

    Please advise if you sell any of them, what will be the cost price and how soon can we have samples sent to us in London Or if you sell any other acoustic fabrics with an emphasis that will be dense but air enters.We will be more than happy to receive samples.

    Many thanks in advance

    Itzik Zivan

  11. Hello Terry,
    I have a problem with traffic noise in my apartment (mostly low frequency noise from tires and engines).
    We have three bedrooms and the patio doors cover all the outside walls.
    Which solution would be better: soundproof curtains or acoustic panels?
    Thank you very much and have a nice day!

  12. I have a high end speaker system that due to a move to a different house in AZ has developed too much treble. I would like to reduce the amount to treble that this speaker produces. Rather than placing acoustical panels on the walls and ceiling I feel the best way to reduce the treble frequencies is to place a small piece of material directly over the front of the tweeter. It is a simple approach that I feel will work but what material to use?? I don’t mind taping this 3″ square piece of material over the front of the speaker as it will not be seen due to an acoustically transparent black material assembly that goes over the tweeter & mid range. What absorbent material do you feel could work?

  13. Hi. I too am enjoying your valuable information here. I’m in a rental apartment with a common bedroom wall (concrete and drywall) – next to a heavy snorer. Management did get him to move his bed away from the wall itself in his apt. which has slightly lowered the dbls. coming to me, but as it’s considered a health issue there’s no other available solution from them. So I’d like to put some sound dampening material on my side of that wall to stop that low frequency noise from disturbing my sleep. There are 2 electrical outlets and one (old) cable tv connector box on that wall that I plan to put putty pads around (good idea?) and acoustical sealant (Green glue?) around the top and bottom (floor) of the baseboard there (will that help?) Can you pls. suggest what else would help solve this problem on a limited budget? Or correct any errors in my understanding? Thanks in advance for any help you can shed light on – and hopefully silence as well!

    • Hi Jana,

      Putty pads will be very helpful. Sound travels wherever air can travel. If the putty pads do not fill the hole completely, finish the job with acoustic caulking and insulated foam plug covers. Acoustic sealant never dries, so you want to install it where it will be covered–such as behind the baseboard. If you are sealing something like baseboard to floor, or baseboard to wall, use a good paintable silicone-based caulking. Green Glue Company does make an acoustic sealant. It is not the same as the original soundproofing Green Glue which does not work for crack sealing.

      The least expensive option is to hang soundproof blankets (moving blankets) on the wall. See Moving Blankets for Soundproofing Rooms. Also, move sound absorbing furniture against the offending wall, such as book cases, dressers, even hang pictures on the wall. A couple other inexpensive ideas include:

      White Noise Machines. See The Best White Noise Machine for Office.
      White Noise Fans. See Best White Noise Fans of 2022.


  14. Hi, I am a postgraduate student in Sustainable Design at Kingston University. I read your information about the website on absorbing material. My current final project is about making clothing fabrics from bark that reduce noise. I would sincerely like to ask for your help in more knowledge and techniques in this area. Thank you.

  15. Hi Terry, I am very impressed with the level of research and depth of knowledge you have put into this article. A huge thank you. I wonder if you could help me? I am looking to create a panel to muffle stomach noises (sadly my son has IBD) the noises his stomach makes are quite incredible and he is becoming increasingly conscious of this during lesson times (as if teenage years are not hard enough). Is there any fabrics that you could recommend for me to make a panel discreet enough to muffle the sounds for him? (It sounds like a demogorgon from Stranger Things – yes it is that loud, and yes we have named it) thank you in advance


Leave a Comment