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greetings pianophiles, and may the gods protect bless you and those around you.

my clever and very capable spouse says she can fabricate sound barrier door curtains. she's an adept quilt maker. the commericial/industrial grade curtains sold to performance venues and institutions use some sort of vinyl in the middle layer [like other types of insulation, the three layer principle with a different middle material is used].

has anyone used or put together an effective sound curtain like this, and, what was your choice of material ? thanks for your consideration and responses. peace + salud

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For a sound barrier, the material is called mass loaded vinyl. Difficult to work with because it is so heavy...it can tear under its own weight.

It is a whole category of material in different thicknesses. I think we used 1/8 as part of the construction of our recital hall and teaching studios. They were used in layers with other insulation.


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I used the blankets that furniture movers use--- not the 100% cotton, washables that real movers have, but the cheap ones that a local storage company sells. They went up on my 16-foot wall of naked sheetrock, tacked up with pushpins, cut to fit as needed. Top of the wall, a batten of 3/4" schedule 40, PVC irrigation tubing, seated on top of threaded L-brackets about 3 feet apart (pays to use sheetrock anchors). Last, a ceiling-to-floor curtain, pleated by running a long seam for the batten and putting cloth on at twice the running distance of the batten. And then, cutting the material after it was in place. For extra fun, the ceiling runs at a long slant, from 11 feet at the bottom to 16 feet at the top. Then a finishing seam at the bottom. Plain, medium-weight fabric, poly, I think; burgundy color. Not a bad look, and really quite easy as long as you have a long enough ladder.

This does not cover any doors, and was never intended to do what clubs require. However, the whole project was around $200, and made a huge difference in the overly-bright acoustic space. It is worth noting that when sound strikes the curtain and is reflected back by the wall, it goes through the whole structure twice, coming and going. And, the rough texture of the fabric and the movers' blankets diffuses sound, which is almost as important as its sound-absorbing qualities.


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Are these curtains a sound barrier to other rooms, or sound dampening for the room you are in? Jeff's suggestion is really about the room acoustics and offers some dampening to other rooms. Mass loaded vinyl is a barrier layer, not an acoustic treatment. From your original question, I'm actually not sure which you were looking for.


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dankon, Srs. Bennett and Clef.

we're trying to put a barrier layer between the two rooms with pianos and other rooms in our small, six rooms incl. kitchen, bungalow. the piano rooms have a quite a bit of dampening already with thick rugs, wall hangings and book shelves. mass loaded vinyl would accomplish the objective, so it's up to my dear spouse if she thinks it fits her fabrication parameters. she might reject it, and we'll consider the moving blankets at that point.

peace and salud to all.

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In broad terms, the heavier the fabric the more effective it is likely to be.

Dense felted wool is a traditional material for sound insulation that I think would work well. You could improve it further with a thick coat of bitumous rubber on one side or sticking two layers of felt together but I suspect that isn't domestically acceptable ....

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If you can tolerate a stiff panel to block sound, you can get some mass to drink up the vibration. Solid wood doors, with a baffle at the bottom to block the clearance. 3/8" (or 5/8") plate glass is an amazingly sound-blocking material. If we're talking about a single interior door, it may not be prohibitive, and might be handsome. Or, a door of double-paned glass; just call an installer. Either of the last two might be disguised as, for example, a French door... just with some muscle added.

I have been tempted to get some of those big blocks of styrofoam to craft a monolithic but lightweight, 6"-thick plug for a single interior door. I don't know about the decor aspect, but it would block out plenty... more than the walls would. Not so much by mass; I think it's its foam structure that diffuses away the vibrations. Which, by the way, is this not a part of the problem? Walls do leak sound. Rooms that share a common floor "hear" vibrations from next-door.

I wonder if an outfit like Auralex might have something useful for your purpose, and which your wife might find acceptable for your home. https://sweetwater.com carries a couple of makers' solutions.

Good luck with it! I'm not sure if any of this has been helpful. When we hear the words "two pianos," it really doesn't go with "our small, six rooms." Might you build? Would you move? Some pianists jettison such bulky items as entertainment centers and bulky couches, and never look back. Some might block up a problematic interior door with 1" sheetrock on both sides, stuffing the void with as much fiberglas as they can chock in.

On the bright side, you're well set up to perform duets, or host piano parties.


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Heavy meandering curtains should work quite well.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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gwing, felt might end up our default material as a middle layer in the curtains.

Learux, the end result will probably be very similar to what you're suggesting. we joked about the potential 'bordello look' to the door drapes.

Sr. Clef, we do not have a long couch or conventional 'living room suite', so the M&H BB ends up taking an equivalent space in the large room. the house is about as old as the piano (1919), built on a solid, native redwood frame, plaster and lathe walls, so we're probably living here 'til we're both gone. the curtains might permit me to play the grand more often, instead of heavily relying on the victorian upright. the latter is so massive and heavy it's not going to be moved closer to the grand for duets, and besides, the tuning and temperament issues would likely become irksome. the grand is very stable, the old lady not quite, but easy enough to adapt to on its own.

appreciate the suggestions.

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Strictly speaking, the strategies for dampening are different than barrier strategies. Dampening is primarily about diffusion, whether that is by irregular surfaces or how sound diffuses when passing through different media. Barrier strategies are about isolation. Focus on the weak areas that serve as gaps...most interior doors are hollow, not solid core. Most doors have gaps at the bottom, find something to fill them. It's the density of the mass loaded vinyl that serves as a barrier, not a diffuser.

If you keep absorbing/diffusing in the room, the playing experience will surely suffer and your compromises may become too great. Adding additional diffusion in the adjacent rooms may actually do more than any additional diffusion treatments within the piano room.


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Sam is right, do you want to isolate or diffuse.(There is of course overlap and aesthetics come in play as well)

Based on that you should go to work


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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thanks again to all. we're focusing on isolation.

may you have safe and gentle journeys.

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Thanks for filling in the details; it is much easier to picture the setting and understand the issues. I'm sure you will find a solution. This sounds like several different approaches might be successful.

I treasure my privacy for practicing--- new material and technical studies are not audience pleasers. There are no perfect solutions; I have had to accept that I am going to have some kind of audience, like it or not. The neighbors tell me that the sound doesn't bother them; I tell them to please let me know if it does. And the beat goes on....


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I would first recommend a 7 day noise study to figure out what frequencies and amplitudes you are trying to block. Then I would contact a company called Acoustic Fields. They specialize in acoustic treatment, barrier technology, and they might be able to make recommendations, and maybe point you to a company that can provide you with the right product if they don't have it or can't provide it.

to perform the noise study, you can download a 1/3 octave spectrum analyzer from the App Store for your smartphone and run the app for up to 7 days and capture that information and then call and ask what barrier technology they recommend.

Having that noise study is going to give them the information they need to figure out what materials should be used. If you want a curtain, you'll still need that information to give to the curtain mfg. to figure out what material(s) are required to block that noise providing such a curtain even exists.

There are curtain mfg. out there, I'm just not up to speed on them. Maybe someone at Acoustic Fields can assist you with that, since they might know of some curtain mfg. that have something to solve your problem.

I know they mfg a piano riser with absorption technology built into the base, but that's for a different application.

FYI, I don't work for Acoustic Fields, I just have a lot of confidence in their products and their recommendations as I've not had that same level of confidence with other companies that deal with acoustic treatment. I highly recommend this company.

I hope that helps.

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dankon, Oneness. we've been in touch with a custom acoustic barrier curtain fabricator, who have an established clientele with performance venues. the problem of course, all business in our great state of CA are either in crisis mode or simply in stasis. will make an enquiry to Acoustic Fields, and they might suggest another firm that is carrying on with taking on and completing work.

molto grazie. pace


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