When you have been to a small rehearsal studio or a friend’s rehearsal basements, you’ve probably noticed a portion of the room (most probably the ceiling) is covered with egg cartons. Unsure whether or not you have entered a practice space or a shady egg-packing operations, you ask the owner what that’s all about, wherein he claims that the egg cartons serve as soundproofing by absorbing the sound because of its unique shape. Somehow, you find yourself having a hard time assuming him as you walk out of the studio after practice using a really bad case of tinnitus.
Egg cartons regarding soundproofing is perhaps one of the most popular myths about acoustics. If this belief was founded by experts or DIY lovers let me break this myth by telling you that egg cell cartons do absolutely nothing for soundproofing. This should be evident to you when you have a friend scream directly at your ear together with only an egg tray in between the two of you.
In the realm of crystallography, there are different frequencies of sound that interact in many different ways with the environment around them. High frequency sound waves, just like the sound of a high pitched shriek or your irritating Epson LX-300 dot matrix printer, are easily absorbed by tiers of porous material such as cloth, fiberglass and rugs.
Low frequency sound, such as those heard at hip-hop/dance clubs, bass guitars and kick drums aren’t effortlessly as absorbed (an explanation why you hear only the bass sounds when you’re in the vicinity of a club or a car with subwoofers passes by with their windows up).
These types of frequencies may be absorbed by structures that have a higher density and size, such as concrete walls and increasingly thick layers regarding fiberglass. While an egg carton may absorb some high frequencies, it won’t stop any low frequencies from passing through that, and is therefore a poor choice for sound proofing. Egg cell cartons can be used for sound treatment, though, as a poor-man’s diffuser.
By its very definition, sound proofing will be the inhibition of sound from escaping a given space through which it is allowed to propagate. If even the slightest measure of noise is heard out of a “sound proofed” area, that will area is no longer considered sound proof.
Sound treatment, alternatively, is the manipulation of a room’s response to frequencies to create a sonically balanced and favorable listening/performance area. Sound treatment is possible through absorption, reflection and diffusion (egg cartons may possibly fall into this category).
If you’re helping someone setup any rehearsal studio toronto or are making one at your own home, miss the egg carton myth and look for more effective means of treating your space. Creating a sound proof room may be beyond many budgetary capability of hobbyists (it’s essentially creating a room in just a room), but acoustic sound treatment can be had at reasonable prices.