Acoustic Terms Glossary

Acoustic Terms - The More You Know, The Better Your Decisions

Audimute strives to educate and inform people looking to solve their acoustic problems. Knowing some of the basic acoustic terms we use on this website is just the most basic educational opportunity we provide. If you have any questions about our products, need advice about your acoustical needs, or simply wish for further clarification about the acoustical terms we use to explain what we do, please take the opportunity to chat with us, call us at (866)505-6883, or find us on Facebook ( or YouTube (user: audimutedemos). We believe an educated customer is a happy customer, and we are happy to share our knowledge with you.

Acoustic Panel

Also referred to as: acoustical panel, acoustic paneling, sound panel, sound paneling, sound absorption panel, sound absorbing panel, acoustic wall panel, acoustic art panel, acoustic image panel.

At its simplest, an acoustic panel is any material designed to absorb or control unwanted noise in an inhabited space. Acoustic panels may be designed for use on walls or ceilings, and may be made of any number of materials. Traditionally, acoustic panels were made of fiberglass and foam, or of another engineered acoustical material, often coated or covered with an acoustically transparent fabric. These types of panels are typically adhered permanently to the wall or ceiling surface using industrial adhesive. Innovators such as Audimute have more recently developed equally effective acoustical absorption materials (our eco-C-tex for example) that provide an eco-friendly and health safe alternative to acoustic foam or fiberglass. Audimute acoustic panels typically are constructed with recyclable, light weight steel frames, eco-C-tex (a blend of recycled cotton and cellulose), and acoustically transparent fabrics made of pre- and post-consumer recycled polyester.

Acoustic panels are often mistakenly referred to as "soundproof panels", but this is inaccurate.  To learn why, and learn how acoustic panels work, click here: Do I Need "Soundproof Panels"?

fire rating Class A (or Class 1) Fire Rated

While most residential applications do not require fire rated materials, many building codes do mandate the use of fire-resistant materials in construction. For public spaces and commercial applications, fire-resistant products are generally required; they also can be a responsible idea for any occupied space. Look for Class A fire-rated materials when you need fire resistant acoustic panels.

The Class A fire rating means that the materials used in the acoustic wall treatments have received the highest rating possible under the ASTM E-84, a test that measures the burning characteristics of building materials.

Audimute Acoustic Panels offer a stylish and affordable acoustic solution made with Class A Fire-Rated fabric (unless otherwise noted) by Guilford of Maine, and eco-C-tex, a Class A fire-rated absorption material made from natural cotton and renewable cellulose. Audimute Acoustic Panels are perfect for studios, restaurants, dance halls, auditoriums, gallery spaces, offices, home and any other application where fire-rated acoustic noise control is essential or practical.

Click here to learn more about standard fabric ASTM E-84 fire rated panels and NFPA 701 fire rated acoustic panel art.

Noise Reduction Coefficient Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC):

NRC stands for Noise Reduction Coefficient. This acoustic term is a measurement referring to the amount of sound a material can absorb under a certain set of circumstances. This measurement is used to gauge materials that are created to absorb sound, rather than block it. NRC can also be viewed as a percentage of sound waves which come into contact with the sound absorption materials and are not reflected back into the room. All of our acoustic panel products have an NRC rating that ranges from .95 to 1.0, which is an average of the absorption qualities of the materials used at various frequencies. Our 2" thick panels perform best at mid- and high-range frequencies typical of voice, many musical instruments, office sounds, and machinery. Our 4" thick panels (bass traps) are typically placed in room corners and are used to absorb lower frequencies.

Basic facts about NRC:

  • The NRC rating for sound absorption materials ranges from 0 (perfectly reflective) to 1 (perfectly absorptive)
  • NRC is an average of how absorptive a material is at four different frequencies (250, 500, 1000, and 2000)
  • Because the rating is an average, two materials with the same rating might not perform the same at all frequencies and in all applications
  • Another way of thinking about NRC is the percentage of sound waves which come into contact with the sound absorption material that are not reflected back within the space. Example: NRC of .5=50%
  • Different materials with the same NRC may provide very different results. Performance at different frequencies may be very different
  • The NRC rating does NOT measure how well a material can block sound
  • Depending on a material’s shape and surface area, some acoustic soundproofing products can test at an NRC above 1. At Audimute, we use a combination of all-natural materials that provide the same absorption as expensive acoustic tile, foam, or panels at a far lower cost.

Learn more about NRC Ratings and Noise Reduction Coefficients.