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Studio Essentials

Difference between Room Acoustic Treatment and Soundproofing

by Foroomaco Expert 23 May 2023

Difference between Room Acoustic Treatment and Soundproofing

Sometimes, Room Acoustic Treatment and soundproofing are confused.
These two have very different concepts and need to be used accurately.


Differences between sound insulation and sound absorption

The purpose of soundproofing is to reduce the volume of the sound a lot so that the sound generated in a certain space cannot penetrate into another space, so that it is hardly audible.

If you close the soundproof door in a well-treated space, the sound generated in the room will not be heard outside the room, and the sound generated outside the room will not be heard by people in the room.




In contrast, the purpose of sound absorption (room acoustic treatment) is to control the sound of the space so that people in the room feel comfortable by removing the noise inside the space and unnecessary distortion.


interior of subway station


For example, in a large space or a space made of smooth surfaces, you can hear that sound due to unnecessary repercussions. If sound absorption is applied to such a space poorly, the ringing reverb will make you uncomfortable or unable to concentrate.

If sound absorption is not processed in the company's restaurant or public waiting room, you can be confused by the buzzing conversation sound, or if sound absorption is not processed in the classroom, you can lose your concentration by being interrupted by the instructor's speech.

It would cause a lot of inconveniences if you had to take an important test in such a place.


musician and female performer recording studio


In the case of the audio room, if the proper amount of sound absorption is not processed in the proper location, the Comb Filtering effect may occur and eventually, sound may be distorted by the space.

Monitoring is a top priority for the studio.

If monitoring is distorted, your music and work cannot be made of normal quality.


Principle of sound insulation and sound absorption

Sound insulation can only be achieved by tightly blocking the entire space with dense objects.

Materials suitable for sound insulation include lead plates and rubber plates.


Catholic Church Large hall


Sound absorption, on the other hand, can be obtained from materials whose surfaces have a porous structure (e.g. polyurethane)

You can also get sound absorption from fabrics such as curtains and carpets.

The deeper the sound absorption material, the lower the frequency band it can absorb.

This is related to the length of the wavelength.

Check out my bass trap blog article (click)

Construction differences 

Soundproofing is difficult and requires a lot of money, but sound absorption is relatively easy compared to that.


Sounds are leaks out through even a small gap during the construction of soundproofing materials.

The soundproof effect can only be achieved by performing soundproofing construction around the entire room.

If you want to be more soundproof, put a soft plate on top of the first soundproofing material and cover it with a lead plate or a rubber plate. This makes the soundproof effect much more.


But in the case of sound absorption, it's a little different. If the room is more sound-absorbed than necessary, the high frequency will be more sound-absorbed than necessary, making it too dry. This sounds pretty awkward, and of course, you can't get accurate monitoring.

If you use the base trap to absorb the corners of the room where low frequencies can clump together, and if you use the acoustic panel to absorb the direct reflection from the speaker to the listening point, you will feel an improved room acoustic

Mail producer and Female singer recording in studio

Make your Dream Studio


-Ted Kim
House Live Engineer of Free Bird, a live house with the history of South Korea's indie music scene.
Single album/Regular album/Live recording, Mixing and Mastering experience of various rock and jazz musicians

Knowledge that you must know at Recording

In today's era of home music production, it's important to understand the essential knowledge required for the entire process.
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