The 8 Best Acoustic Panels
This wiki has been updated 13 times since it was first published in July of 2018. Applying the right acoustic treatment is the most important step in creating an effective recording space. Whether your goal is to isolate the process, keep external distractions out, or control high frequencies and minimize reverberations, there's a panel made specifically to help your studio or home theater sound as good as possible. Be careful to handle them as per manufacturer's guidelines. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 18, 2021:
We've mentioned this before, but it does bear repeating: If you expect any of these to actually soundproof an existing room, you will be disappointed. Acoustic treatment is an in-depth process, and acoustic paneling is only one part of that process. With that in mind, Roxul Rockboard mineral fiber board and Owens Corning 703 fiberglass board are, hands-down, two of the most popular options for dedicated studios, largely because they're the most effective in real, scientific testing. The Auralex SonoLite is similar, although unlike those first two, it comes fully finished with no further treatment or assembly required. Of course, if you don't want to spend much, IZO All Supply Egg Crate is a practically timeless classic that can get the job done in a pinch.
On the other end of the spectrum, some rooms just need a little echo and reverb reduction, and could also use something that looks good. The Auralex would be effective in that situation, but we really like the appearance of the UA Acoustics Skyross, which combines wood and foam and comes in a range of interesting colors to match your decor.
If you're lining the walls of a workplace or similar area, rather than a music studio or small home theater, Arrowzoom AZ7442 is worth a look. It doesn't have quite the same noise reduction properties that thicker options do, but it's a great choice for reducing headaches in chatty offices. Alternatively, the Primacoustic Cloud is a good choice for hanging from drop ceilings, and though expensive, is ideal for use in busy workplaces.
September 25, 2019:
First of all, it's important to understand what acoustic panels are for. They don't help with soundproofing almost in any way; they're designed to minimize airborne sound, which is generally mid-range vibrations that lead to echo, reverb, and other unwanted noise. As long as you understand what they do, there are plenty of worthwhile options. The most straightforward is the typical foam kind like the FStop 12-Pack, which costs very little and is easy to use. Then there are DIY-style materials like Owens Corning 703, Burton SuperDense, and the Roxul Rockboard. All three of these are very popular among studio designers, the Roxul being the most commonly used.
If you want something that looks as good as it sounds, there are just as many choices, though they tend to be considerably more expensive. The Skyross, Auralex Sustain, and Kusa all use real wood as a base; the Skyross mixes prepared MDF with foam for a response consistent with more high-tech panels, and the Kusa uses actual cork as a dampener, adding to its classy appearance. The Auralex Sustain doesn't use anything aside from bamboo, so it will work best in conjunction with other foam panels elsewhere in the studio. Once you've properly treated the room, you can help make the most of its acoustics by picking up a high-quality microphone as well as an isolation shield.
BASF Basotect Foam For a simple piece of foam, Basotect might seem a little expensive at first, but its unconventional melamine resin makeup leads to premium sound absorption as well as fire retardant properties. You might have to do some digging to find an outlet with the right color and size your application, because its performance doesn't take well to painting, but it's one of the most popular and effective options in many parts of the world. basf.com