What are acoustic panels?
Acoustic panels are flat, fabric-covered furnishings designed to be fixed to walls and/or ceilings. They are made of board, covered with a layer of 18mm-thick insulating foam and finished with a choice of fabric; either MacFlex 182 or Camira Cara fabric - available in a range of different colours. Also known as sound baffles or soundproofing panels, they are designed to prevent sound echoing around a large room, offering a quieter and more peaceful working environment and are available in a range of different shapes, sizes, and thicknesses. Modern acoustic panels can be configured in geometric patterns for a contemporary, artistic look.
Do modern acoustic panels really work?
Modern acoustic wall panels are specifically designed as a product that helps to reduce the amount that sound can reverberate around a space. As a result, they can make a significant difference when it comes to muting noise in a large room or office.
Reverberation is the action of sound bouncing off a hard, shiny surface. If you think about your home, you will find that you barely notice any echoing - this is thanks to the amount of soft furnishings (such as carpets, curtains, sofas, cushions etc). In contrast, workplaces often have minimal soft furnishings, meaning that the rooms echo very easily. This is where modern acoustic panels are essential.
Contemporary workplaces have multiple sources of distracting sounds which can reverberate around a space; from employees chatting to work calls, and even machines such as printers or coffee makers. Such echoes are described using the ‘reverberation time’ measure - the length of time required for sound to decay 60 decibels from its initial level. Studies have shown that acoustic wall panels can slow reverberation time by up to 70%, helping to dramatically reduce noise pollution in the workplace.
The effectiveness of all modern acoustic panels or partitions is measured using an NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) number. The NRC is an average rating of how much sound an acoustic product can absorb; for example, an NRC of 0 means that the product absorbs no sound, whereas an NRC of 1 means that the product absorbs all sound. The higher the NRC, the better the product is at soaking up the sound.
It’s worth noting that while using acoustic panels in large numbers can almost entirely soundproof a room, using them on their own without other design changes (such as soundproof doors/seals) will not offer complete soundproofing.
How do I organise my acoustic panels?
Acoustic panels are created specifically for busy, noisy environments such as open-plan offices, call-centres, sales departments, schools and colleges. Fixed to walls or ceilings, these panels offer an excellent alternative to acoustic screens or partitions as they will not take up valuable floor space.
In order to work out how best to organise your acoustic panels to achieve maximum soundproofing, begin by finding out where the primary points of sound reflection are in your office or workplace; these will vary location to location. In most offices, head height is a good place to start when installing modern acoustic panels in order to absorb spoken sound. If you’re organising your acoustic panels on the walls, we recommend beginning with around 15-20% coverage, which you can add to as required. Alternatively, you can install acoustic panels on the ceiling for a more discreet finish; in this case, you should begin by filling around 23-35% of the ceiling.
Each of our acoustic panels has the option of two types of fixings – a standard keyhole bracket, or command 3M Velcro strips. We recommend choosing the Velcro option wherever possible, as it makes it easier to move or reconfigure your panels.
What are the best acoustic panels?
Our collection of effective modern acoustic wall panels includes a variety of different shapes:
- Carrera™ - circular panels in 2 sizes (Diameter 400mm / 600mm)
- Quadrum™ - square panels (400mm x 400mm)
- Stratos™ - rectangular panels in 2 sizes (700mm x 300mm / 800mm x 400mm)