While many of our customers revel in loud sound (rock music, anyone?), we also have customers interested in sound absorption. Now, for heavy duty sound absorption, you really need a professional installation of acoustic products. There are a variety of products, from acoustic panels to foam products to acoustic insulation. Commercial recording studios, for example, use a variety of these products (and more), along with specialized building techniques to make sure that sound from outside does not enter the studio (and vice versa). But there are other instances in which a customer simply wants to minimize the sound transfer a little, perhaps deaden sound a little in confined spaces, and one of the ways to do this is through custom stage curtains.
In some occasions, stage curtains make a lot of sense, both visually and for sound absorption. For example, a customer may want that “theatrical curtain” appearance but also want to absorb sound.
What are the factors to consider when purchasing custom stage curtains when sound absorption is also needed? The three main factors are: fabric weight, nap thickness, and curtain fullness (pleating). The heavier the fabric, the thicker the nap, and the greater amount of fullness (i.e. the greater amount of fabric) that you put in an area, the greater amount of sound that will be absorbed.
For example, I wouldn’t recommend a flat (unpleated) drape in Poly Muslin if the customer is looking for sound absorption. Poly Muslin has no nap and is relatively lightweight. It is great for a cyclorama or theatre backdrop, but not for sound absorption. However, I would recommend a heavy weight velour (such as 25oz Memorable Velour) with 100% fullness. The combination of the heavy weight and nap of this velour, along with the 100% fullness (with twice as much fabric along the width of the drape than on a flat unpleated drape) allows for greater sound absorbency. A drape such as this can give you the luxurious look of a theatrical drape along with a pretty good level of sound deadening.
But what if you want to deaden the sound a little, but theatrical drapery doesn’t fit with the look of the space? Well, we recently came upon an interesting product that I thought I’d pass on. I have never used it myself, but I thought it was fascinating. It is called PaperForms Acoustic Weave Wallpaper.
Essentially, these are modular 3-D tiles made from recycled paper that you can apply to your walls with wallpaper paste for permanent installation (or with double-sided tape for temporary installations). You can create a number of different patterns with the tiles (there is a patterns sheet available on the website), and you can even paint them. Pretty cool – and nice to find a product like this that is do-it-yourself, affordable, and an interesting contemporary design.