Ethan, I'm planning to install acoustic panels in my living room, but since I live in Europe I was planning to buy them from your competitor, Gik Acoustics, as they have a European department, so shipping will be cheaper, and there will be no customs duties.
I'm trying to figure out if I should buy their panels or make some myself (they also sell DIY materials).
So, I know that you can't comment on Gik's products (and I'll also ask them), but just so I have an idea, my question is whether the material you use in Real Traps offers better, worse or similar damping to regular rockwool used for insulating houses (or a specific type of rockwool for that matter) that I could buy to make my own panels?
I found the graphs you published with various materials (https://realtraps.com/data.htm), but this doesn't include rock wool. Then I also found your data on rigid fiberglass (http://ethanwiner.com/density.html), but this wasn't rockwool per se either, if I understood it correctly. The rigid fiberglass 703 or 705 type doesn't seem very common in Europe.
Lastly, do you know if the material called Knauf dampens as well as the material you use in Real Traps? If so, would Knauf or Rockwool be the better choice if I want to build my own panels?
Hi, board. I'm not Ethan but I can pretend. Congratulations on your decision to invest in your home's acoustics. These panels should give you years of enjoyment.
Basically, Knauf looks to perform slightly better than OC 705 according to their data sheets when compared to Bob Golds' information. On the other hand, Ethan has shown that in real world layouts, those numbers can be deceiving.
My guess is that their Acoustic Smooth Board, with or without ECOSE, is a fine option. While I have not used any Real Traps, or its competitors, products, I advocate for DIY treatment. Granted, it's not for everyone, being somewhat labor intensive. Again, no matter what you do, you'll have a good result.
Hexspa has the right idea: You determine how good an absorbing material is by looking at its data. But Hex is also right that absorption data isn't as reliable as we'd like. It's not usually due to cheating! Though sometimes it is. Mostly it's just the variability of the labs that measure these materials. If you'd like to learn more about that, this article won't disappoint:
It's not usually due to cheating! Though sometimes it is.
Words to live by.
EDIT: The following paragraph was written before I read Ethan's very informative article. Also, I'll add that when I said that I advocate for DIY that was in no way to detract from commercial solutions. As I first heard from Mr. Winer: "Cheap, fast, or good - pick two!" Well, I'm 35 and I'm not a millionaire yet so I don't mind taking my time
Two things corroborate Ethan's wisdom: Chapter 3 of this book; you'll read that every absorbent specimen is unique and secondly, the fact that 'A' mounting is flat on the floor. People by now know that gapping your panels squeezes more low end performance from them. So, if you're angling or gapping, those numbers don't apply to you. Look for something like 16" gap measurements or similar.