One of the most essential requirements of a recording studio is that sound waves should not reverberate. The reflected sound can interfere with the sound quality of a recording. A few years back, there were fewer options of soundproofing a room. However, in recent past, many new materials are explored to come up with the best soundproofing and sound absorption material. Of these, acoustic foam and fiberglass are the most extensively used ones. The choice of a soundproofing material mostly depends upon your individual requirements. In this article, we have compared acoustic foam vs fiberglass against various parameters, so that choosing the best becomes easier.
Acoustic Foam and Fiberglass Comparison
Both acoustic foam and fiberglass are sound enhancing or absorbing materials. Meaning, they alter the sound waves so that resulting sound is clear and devoid of any noise or interference. This property is very important while recording music. Acoustic foam for soundproofing and enhancing is an open celled foam. It increases the air resistance, so that the amplitude of sound waves is reduced. As a result, the sound waves are attenuated. The energy released in the process is dissipated as heat. Fiberglass is made of very thin strands of glass. Insulation fiberglass is different from the one used for industrial purposes.
Fiberglass is a denser material of the two. Besides, it is available in range of varying densities of about 3 lbs/cubic foot to about 6 lbs per cubic foot. Acoustic foam is less dense with a cubic density of 2 lbs/foot. Acoustic foam is available in uniform density all over. The higher density of fiberglass allows it to capture sound waves of lower frequencies in a better way.
Fiberglass performs better than acoustic foam, when sound waves are of lower frequency. As mentioned above, the higher density of this material is responsible for attenuating sound waves of lower frequencies. Fiberglass outperforms acoustic foam when the sound waves are in a frequency range of 250 Hz to 1000 Hz. However, beyond that, the performance of fiberglass begins to diminish.
On the other hand, acoustic foam shows excellent absorption of sound waves in the range of 1000 Hz to 4000 Hz. In short, if you wish to dampen sound waves of lower frequencies, then you should go for fiberglass, whereas higher frequency sound waves are best attenuated by acoustic foam. In case, you wish to go for a full spectrum soundproofing, then you might want to use these two materials in combination.
Acoustic foam is very easy to cut and install. It is possible to cut it into any shape and mount it anywhere in the room. Besides, the whole installation process does not take too much of time. On the other hand cutting and installing fiberglass is a tedious job. The greater thickness and density of fiberglass makes it impossible to cut into desired shape. Hence, you must always cut it into large sheets and only then mount it. Needless to say, the whole process is long and laborious.
Fiberglass is the most cost-effective option for larger projects. It is manufactured on a large scale, hence easily available. Although, the cost of fiberglass may vary as per the thickness and manufacturing company, it is undoubtedly lower than acoustic foam. Acoustic foam is suitable for smaller, home projects where easy, quick installation is of prime importance.
From the above comparison, it is evident that both acoustic foam and fiberglass are comparable with each other in terms of performance. Thus, you can choose any of these as per the size of room, your budget and other requirements.