SOUND INSULATION BUYING GUIDE

How to find the best noise insulation solution for your home:

 

 

Understanding Noise

 

Sound & Sound frequency

A sound is a vibration of air, a variation in air pressure, that makes the membrane of the ear vibrate thus becoming "audible". Different types of sounds can be defined by measuring the frequency of sound waves per second in the unit Hertz (Hz):
  • Higher sounds have a higher frequency of vibrations per second.
  • Lower sounds have a lower frequency of vibrations per second.
The human ear can only perceive and "hear" those sound waves if their frequency lies between 20 Hz (20 vibrations per second) and 2000 Hz (20,000 vibrations per second).
 
 

Sound loudness

The loudness of sounds can be defined by measuring their intensity in the unit Decibel (dB):
  • Louder sounds have a higher intensity.
  • Quieter sounds have a lower intensity.
It is worth noting that Decibel are expressed on a logarithmic scale, which makes explaining changes in loudness a little complicated. For instance, a reduction of 7dB means that the sound intensity has been divided by 4. An augmentation by a factor of 1000 corresponds to a 30 dB change in level.
 
 

What is noise?

A noise is as an unpleasant, disturbing sound. The perception of a sound can vary from one person to another, but louder sounds are generally considered noise, especially when they have higher frequencies.


How can noise levels be measured?

The unit used in acoustics to define and measure sound intensity is Decibel (dB). Decibel uses a logarithmic scale which works very differently from a linear scale. Human perception of loudness is not linear, so a logarithmic scale is well suited to express our experience of sound. In fact, when the human ear receives a sound stimulus it tries to amplify very weak sounds and to attenuate very strong sounds.

So calculating the Decibel is based on the comparison between the input signal and the output signal. A linear scale as used on a ruler, where a distance of 30 inches is three times as long as a distance of 10 inches, couldn't adequately express a decrease or increase in sound intensity.

When using a logarithmic scale to measure noise levels, adding 3 dB means multiplying the loudness by two. If we divide the intensity of a sound by 2, the sound level only drops by 3 dB.

EXAMPLE : Using 2 vacuum cleaners simultaneously in one room doesn't double the decibel level, but only increases it by 3 dB. To put it simple: 70 dB plus 70 dB doesn't equal 140 dB, but only 73 dB. Following this rule, 4 vacuum cleaners will create a sound level of 76 dB.

If we measure noise on a scale from 0 to 130 Decibels: 0 dB represents the threshold of audibility, 130 dB represents the threshold of pain. Most of the sounds of everyday life are between 30 and 90 dB. 

 

Decibel levels for everyday noises:

Sound                                              Decibel level 
Breathing 10 dB
Rustling leaves 20 dB
Whisper 30 dB
Quiet conversation 40 dB
Light trafic at close range 50 dB
Normal conversation 60 dB
Vacuum cleaner 70 dB
Loud traffic noise at close range 80 dB
Headphones at full volume 90 dB
Club 100 dB
Car speakers at full volume 110 dB
Air plane take-off, jackhammer 120 dB
Rock concert 130 dB


What is the increase in sound intensity between two different Decibel levels ? 

Sound intensity is the energy needed to produce a given level of sound and not to be confused with sound volume which is the level at which we perceive the resulting sound.The mathematical relationship between Decibel (dB) and sound intensity works as follows: each 10 dB increase results in a 10-fold increase in sound intensity which we perceive as a 2-fold increase in sound volume. Thus, from 0 dB to 10 dB there is a 10-fold increase in sound intensity, just as there is from 10 dB to 20 dB or from 34 dB to 44 dB. 


Decibel levels for everyday noises VS. increase in sound intensity and perceived volume:

Sound                                          

Decibel level 

Increase in sound intensity                 

Increase in perceived volume 

 

0 dB

 

 

Breathing

10 dB

10 times the sound intensity

2 times as loud

Rustling leaves

20 dB

100 times the sound intensity

4 times as loud

Whisper

30 dB

1,000 times the sound intensity

8 times as loud

Quiet conversation

40 dB

10,000 times the sound intensity

16 times as loud

Light trafic at close range

50 dB

100,000 times the sound intensity

32 times as loud

Normal conversation

60 dB

1,000,000 times the sound intensity

64 times as loud

Vacuum cleaner

70 dB

10,000,000 times the sound intensity

128 times as loud

Loud traffic noise at close range

80 dB

100,000,000 times the sound intensity

256 times as loud

Headphones at full volume

90 dB

1,000,000,000 times the sound intensity

512 times as loud

Club

100 dB

10,000,000,000 times the sound intensity

1024 times as loud

Car speakers at full volume

110 dB

100,000,000,000 times the sound intensity

2048 times as loud

Air plane take-off, jackhammer

120 dB

1,000,000,000,000 times the sound intensity

4096 times as loud

Rock concert

130 dB

10,000,000,000,000 times the sound intensity

8192 times as loud


Actual sound levels VS. noise perception

The intensity of a sound can be measured by using a microphone to convert the sound into power and then interpreting the power obtained in terms of Decibels (dB). However, this physical sound level does not really correspond to the perception of the sound that we are having.

 

Measuring human noise perception

The human ear does not perceive all the sound frequenciesin the same way: we are deaf to low-frequency sounds (below 20 Hz) and high-frequency sounds (above 20,000 Hz), and are most sensitive to sounds around 2000 Hz.This is why there are different versions of the "dB" scale which are decibel readings that have been adjusted to take into account the varying sensitivity of the human ear to different frequencies of sound:

  • dBA (A-weighted sound levels) - measurement of common sound intensities, using a filter to account for the loudness as perceived by a human ear (everyday noises).

  • dBC (C-weighted sound levels) - measurement of higher sound intensities, specifying the effect of peak and high impact sounds on the human ear (extreme loudness such as a live concert).

It is not possible to reproduce the behavior of the "average" human ear with a single filter (and even less that of the ears of each particular individual), but in most situations our hearing can be measued with the the dBA scale. This scale is a good starting point from which to measure sound perception, but gives us only an idea of the perceived noise levels. 


Factors impacting noise perception

In reality, the overall noise is composed by many different sound levels all across the frequency spectrum, which is why measuring the perception of sound is very complex and depends on a large number of factors:

  • Individual sensitivity (depending on age, culture, time of day...)

  • Spatial configuration (inside/outside, construction of the building, furniture in the room...)

  • Distance to the noise source (sensor position)

  • Sound frequency (low, medium, high)

  • Sound repeatability (continuous, intermittent, impulsive)

  • Temporal exposure (long-term, short-term)

These are the most common reasons that explain a difference between the actual sound and the perceived noise. The Decibel measurements can only give a limited representation of the perceived "reality", especially as the sensitivity to noise varies greatly from one individual to another. Some populations can be more vulnerable to noise exposure than others, such as students during an exam or people affected by hearing loss.

 

Types of noise

There are many different categories of noise, from natural to man-made. In big cities we are confronted with man-made sounds, often quite aggressive.

We try to find soundproof solutions to create a quieter environment and get rid of diffrent types of noise:

  • continuous noise (like machinery that runs without interruption, car traffic): is noise which remains constant and stable over a given time period

  • intermittent noise (trains, aircrafts, sirens): is noise which does not remain constant and stable over a given time period

  • impulsive / impact noise (gun shot): is a very short burst of loud noise which lasts for less than one second.

The noise we find the most disturbing and that we are the most exposed to (unless you live in the countryside) is traffic noise. Unfortunately, this is also the hardest type of noise to reduce, let alone cut out.

The best bet to dampen traffic noise is to combine different solutions: noise-reducing curtains, rugs, window frame insulation foam, etc. 

 

The difference between sound proofing and sound absorption

To understand the difference between sound absorbtion and sound proofing let's remember how the noise travels: when a sound wave is emitted, it is modified by parameters such as distance or obstacles. When a sound wave meets an obstacle like the wall of a room, a certain amount of energy is reflected back into the room. These successive reflections are called reverberation.


Sound proofing

Sound proofing (or sound insulation) attempts to stop noise by blocking the acoustic wave from traveling to adjacent spaces. 

Insulation can only be achieved with mass and/or multiple layers ot material in the walls or windows. It means, that the construction of the building is essential in this matter, and that additional sound proofing is not easy once the structure is already built.

 

Sound absorption

Sound absorption aims to reduce noise by limiting the reverberation of the sound wave within a space.

Absorption can be obtained with light materials (such as specific fabrics) that are applied to walls or windows, meaning it is easier to achieve once the structure is already built.


How can "soundproof" curtains help?

The impact of any sound insulation curtain depends on the kind of noise you are experiencing and the construction of your building.

As mentionned before, there are different types of noises with either high, medium or low frequencies. Different applications and treatments are needed to confront this spectrum of noises and there is no one-for-all solution.

Each sound environment is different and the intricacies of one's home have to be taken into account, because the noise does not come in simply from your windows but also seeps in through the walls and various openings.

Moondream sound insulation curtains aim to adress both - sound proofing and sound absorbtion - as best as possible with a solution that is equally functional and aesthetic. Our patented curtains have three strategically assembled layers of fabric to reduce the transmission of the sound wave and absorb the reverberation of the sound as well:

  • The incoming sound energy is dampended and divided by 4, reaching a drop of up to 7 decibels. 
  • The transmission of the sound wave is reduced and the reverberation is reduced: for a surface area of approximately 215 square feet, the reverberation time is reduced by 0.4 seconds.

The result of both actions is a quieter acoustic environment that will contribute significantly to your wellbeing. To improve the curtain's results you can add other absorbent materials to your floors such as carpet or a rug.

You have to be aware that if you wish to cut out certain low frequency sounds such as traffic noise completely, a curtain might not be enough (soundproof windows and thick walls would be necessary). Moondream curtains can however dampen the noise which can already be an important improvement and is a much more cost effective solution, especially if you are just renting.


Sound Insulation Curtains

 

How do soundproof curtains work?

Soundproof curtains aim to block and absob the noise.

  • Sound proofing (or sound insulation) attempts to stop noise by blocking the acoustic wave from traveling to adjacent spaces. Insulation can only be achieved with mass and/or multiple layers 
  • Sound absorption aims to reduce noise by limiting the reverberation of the sound wave within a space.,Absorption can be obtained with light materials (such as specific fabrics) that are applied to walls or windows.

To dampen noise the curtain has to be heavy, made up with multiple layers. But realistically, a curtain can't cut out all the noise... The curtain muffles the sound and the atmosphere is quieter. Therefore, even if you hear the noise, it's much less agressive. We have a lot of customer reviews stating that although people still hear some noise, they are no longer disturbed or woken up by it.Sound frequencies get “trapped” in between the multiple fabric layers of the curtain. This prevents sound from going through the curtain, and for the frequencies that don't get blocked, the thick curtain will absorp the echo.Based on our tests, the transmission of the sound wave is reduced  the reverberation is reduced: for a surface area of approximately 215 square feet, the reverberation time is reduced by 0.4 seconds. Which soundproof curtain material is best? There are various sound insulation materials available, but making a curtain that is not only sound blocking but also functional and decorative is the real challenge. We developed after years of testing the best combination of fabrics which we also hold a patent for (U.S. Patent No. 9,475, 260).Every sound insulation curtain has to be heavy: the heavier the curtain, the better the sound insulation. Our challenge was to develop a heavy sound insulation curtain that would be suitable for the residential market. A curtain that can be hung with a regular curtain rod and brackets. The Moondream Soundproof Curtain uses our own patented technology (U.S. Patent N° 9475260) with 3 layers of strategically assembled materials to obtain the best results in sound insulation that can be achieved with a fabric curtain. Our product has been tested by independant laboratories to confirm its perfomance.

  • Sound insulation: Noise reduced by four-fold, reaching a drop of up to 7 decibels (1). Reverberation of sound in the room reduced for a quieter atmosphere, e.g. for a surface area of approximately 215 ft² the reverberation time is reduced by 0.4 seconds (2).
  • Thermal insulation: Up to 37% reduction of heating costs in winter (3) and a drop in temperature during summer (4). 
  • Light insulation: 100% blackout effect for improved sleep quality.
 

What makes a good soundproof curtain?

An effective soundproof curtain has to be made with multiple layers of different fabrics, be quite thick and heavy. This means that lightweight sound blocking curtains are acoustically almost ineffective.MOONDREAM soundproof curtains are made with 3 different layers and weigh between 4lbs to 7lbs depending on the length. They have been engineered to muffle the sound coming from the outside to create a more calm and comfortable interior. They also absorp the noise once it's inside the room.In fact to cut out the noise, it's necessary to multiply the applications (rug etc..) The performance of our sound absorbing curtains has been tested and certified by independent laboratories.   

 

Can soundproof curtains block traffic noise?

Our soundproof curtains have been designed to block the outside noise as much as possible with fabric. The results depend a lot on the kind of noise you are experiencing and the results you hope to achieve. To be more explicit: if you are experiencing constant traffic noise, our sound blocking curtains will definitely help to muffle the noise and increase your comfort level but any soundproof curtain made from fabric will never be able to block the sound to 100%.The combination of the different fabric layers in MOONDREAM’s soundproof curtains will create a quieter environment for you, but as explained above, the sound is also coming through the wall so reducing its “rebound effect” demands further sound insulating measures.


Can soundproof curtains block voices?

Although our noise reducing curtains can't entirely block voices, they can help muffle sounds people make when they speak, sing, laugh, etc. If you live on a noisy street with restaurants and bars, MOONDREAM soundproof curtains will definitely improve the quality of your sonic environment and provide a significant noise reduction.You'll still hear, say, the rumble of traffic but it will be muffled and softened - definitely easier on the ears.


Can acoustic curtains be used to block inside noise?

Once the noise is in your room, happens a “rebound effect.” This means the sound bounces everywhere across the room (from the ceiling to the walls, and the floor). So how do our acoustic curtains work, and how do they absorb sounds to keep them from echoing around the room?Our MOONDREAM curtains are made with 3 layers (or 4 for our soundproof divider curtain). These layers are heavy and thick, the main quality needed to absorb inside sounds. In a recording studio fos instance, on top of the usual soundproofing material, they help to keep a "neutral sound".MOONDREAM curtains have been tested in independent laboratories, and proven to absorb up to 9db of internal noise.  

Will an acoustic curtain resolve my noise problem?

The impact of a soundproof curtain depends on the kind of noise you are experiencing and the construction of your building. If you’re experiencing for example traffic noise, construction or AC noise the sound dampening curtain will help to muffle the sounds but will not block it out completely because no curtain made from fabric is able to do that.To begin with, motorway sounds are notoriously the most difficult to block since they are made up of mostly low-frequency sounds. Secondly, the noise does not come in onlyfrom your windows but also seeps in through the walls and various openings. Once in, the noise creates what's called a "rebound effect" - bouncing multiple times on the wall, the floor, the ceiling. As you can imagine, it is entirely impossible to block sound completly with fabric curtains for your windows alone.Soundproof curtains alone may not be enough, here some tips to improve their results: We suggest you to use double-sided tape to seal the curtain’s edges to the wall. It will help to reduce sound migration around and the amount of sound "rebounding". But keep in mind that, in order to achieve effective sound insulation, your room has to be covered also with absorbent materials, as for example a rug or seal strip self adhesive foam on your windows or doors.


Which soundproof curtain to use for a maximum effect?

A good soundproof curtain has to be heavy and multilayered. The weight of the Moondream noise reducing curtains varies from 4.10 lbs to 6.90lbs depending of the length. 


How can I soundproof my door?

If you hang a soundproof curtain in front of your door, it will help dampen the noise coming from the corridor and the stairs. 

How can I attach a soundproof curtain to my door?

You can get something called a “door curtain pole.” With this kind of pole you won’t need to open and close your curtain every time you get in or out as the rod is hooked directly to the door. 
 
 

Why Moondream soundproof curtains are the best?

The Moondream soundproof curtains are made up of 3 or 4 layers. With us, nothing is random. We have conducted many tests in laboratories to find the best combination of fabrics. Our concern was to create a curtain heavy enough (but not too heavy) to be used by everyone. Today we are proud to have a U.S. patent for our Moondream soundproof curtain (U.S. Patent No. 9,475, 260), but what we’re really proud of are our customer reviews:
Second order of soundproof drapes. Still the best product out there. Not completely soundproof but absolutely knocks down the sharpest and louder of sounds. Plus they look great. I also truly love the customer service. 04-25-2018 by Lowell E.
I was very skeptical of the sound curtains. We live on a busy street and the noise at night was driving me crazy. These curtains actually work! Does it stop the sound completely? No. Does it significantly reduce the sound that comes through the window? YES! We liked them so much that we bought multiple curtains for several rooms/windows. Great product, service, and very fast delivery! 03-15-2018 by Nicole Q.
In addition to that, all of our soundproof curtains are multifunctional and provide a blackout and thermal insulation as well - so with just one curtain you can shield your interior from the noise, light, heat and cold!
 
 

Can I shorten my Moondream soundproof curtain?

All our soundproof curtains (excluding 4in1 room divider curtains) are delivered with an iron-on tape allowing you to adjust the length of your curtains by a few centimeters to fit your windows. This step-by-step tutorial explains how to use the iron-on tape. Please note that it is best to only use the iron-on tape on the first layer of fabric. To secure the hem, we recommend that you add a few stitches on both edges. For a bigger hem, the iron-on tape may not be enough. However, we strongly recommend that you do not cut these curtains yourself due to their construction in several layers. Please entrust this task to a professional.

 

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