It’s convenient to have windows in most rooms, as they provide light, ventilation, and an emergency way out. When you record or compose music, though, the effect of windows can be quite negative, letting outdoor sounds in and your speakers or drums out, for your neighbors’ pleasure. Luckily, in recent decades, we’ve got a solution: soundproof curtains.
But how does one choose soundproof curtains for home theater, studio, or rehearsal room? First, we need to learn how soundproof curtains work and which type of them you would want. Then you can make your choice consciously.
What Are Soundproof Curtains and How Do They Work?
If you have never seen a soundproof curtain, get ready: it is indeed thick. ¼ inch of fabric is not the thickest you may expect of it. While the color and the size can be literally any, thickness is what defines its properties for most users. So don’t be surprised that these curtains are heavy. A single curtain (though it depends on the size) may weigh up to 30 lbs. and even more. Who said armor is lightweight?
Another factor that makes these curtains soundproof is a special selection and composition of the fabric, mostly polyester. This creates a slightly artificial feel, and it shows even more as you come closer and touch a curtain: from afar, they look regular.
These curtains can filter the noise coming from the outside: cars and motorcycles, passers-by, singing birds, and so on. If you are doing something loud inside (playing the drums or any other instrument, mixing tracks, listening to the mix), you would want the curtains to protect your neighbors or passers-by from the sounds you make. In most situations, if the curtains do one job, they get the other done as well. You must acknowledge, though, that while they well handle the treble and the middles, the bass still may get through: it’ll be silenced down to a certain degree but not completely muted.
What to Pay Attention To
The key parameters of soundproof curtains are the following:
- Materials. As we said, polyester is among the most popular options, but velvet gets the job done too, and it looks much more aristocratic. If you make a home theater for yourself and guests, velvet may be a better option. For a recording studio, though, polyester-based fabric is a more reasonable choice.
- Thickness. The thicker the better, in terms of soundproof abilities. On the other hand, heavier curtains are harder to install. By the way…
- Hardware. These curtains require a special approach, as they are heavy and require further isolation. Usually, merchants that sell curtains can provide the right furniture for them.
- Color and size. You better order ceiling-to-floor curtains
Logically, you order the curtains and choose the color and the size. But make sure your vendor can provide what you want.
How to Check Whether the Curtains Work
Before you make a record or try playing some music inside, you can conduct a little test that shows how soundproof these curtains are. Everything you need is a pair of headphones with active noise canceling and (naturally) the curtains installed in your room. Unfortunately, you need to test them where you will use them, or the results will not be relevant.
So, all you need to do after the curtains are installed is to put on your headphones and turn ANC on and off. The less difference you hear, the better. The inside noises are inevitable, but if those from the outside are blocked, everything is okay.
If the level is insufficient, you can amplify it with audio insulation sheets. Though these are not designed as curtains, they do absorb unwanted sounds. Hope you’ll make use of this and create some great music in your studio! Or at least enjoy great records and movies.