All you need to know: suspended and wall acoustic panels

All you need to know: suspended and wall acoustic panels

Category: Acoustic Tutorial, Uncategorized

The usefulness of wall and suspended decorative acoustic panels

Suspended and wall acoustic panels will be of great interest. They make it possible to :

  1. Reduce echoes
  2. Decorate the room
  3. Respect the noise laws at work

Correct room echoes

Acoustic panels, whether wall-mounted or suspended, will correct the echoes of a room. They are therefore useful in the context of an acoustic treatment. They are not used to improve the sound insulation of a room. They reduce the reverberation time, also called RT 60.

Decorate the room

They can also fulfil another function, serving as decorative elements for a room. Some products can be personalized or vegetalized in this reason.

Respecting the laws of noise in the workplace

They also allow to respect the laws of noise at work. Indeed, employers are required to respect thresholds in terms of noise emitted in a professional place.

Sound insulation and acoustic treatment

Very often, these 2 terms are confused. One including the other. Certainly, these 2 notions are close: they aim at improving noise management.

However, there is a fundamental difference between the two:

  1. Acoustic treatment makes it possible to optimize the sound inside a room by breaking up the echoes
  2. Whereas soundproofing (or acoustic insulation) consists of preventing noise from outside a room from propagating into it

Nothing better than an illustration to better understand these 2 phenomena. If you have a noisy neighbor, who often parties, and it makes you uncomfortable. So you want to reduce the noise that passes between his home and yours, you need sound insulation.

On the other hand, if your room resonates, you need acoustic treatment. This will be the case in restaurants, for example, when many people are chatting next to each other. Speech intelligibility becomes very poor, so you have to raise your voice to hear yourself speak. Acoustic treatment will greatly improve the situation.

Acoustic foams and panels

Although they have the same purpose, the 2 products are very different. They differ on 4 main points:

  1. The performances
  2. The price
  3. The surface to be covered
  4. The decorative aspect

The performances

A basic foam will have less acoustic properties than an acoustic panel. You only have to look at the curves of the main acoustic foams and panels on the market to realize this.

This is because foam manufacturers are mainly interested in capturing another market. They will therefore offer a basic and inexpensive product. Some panel manufacturers can use it to propose an attractive offer.

Today we know that true engineering, through the complexing of materials, allows us to obtain much better performance than a simple acoustic foam.

The price

The main advantage of an acoustic foam will be its price. It will, in fact, prove to be less expensive than acoustic panels.

However, the price of the project, for an equivalent acoustic quality, will not necessarily be less expensive if you use acoustic foams.

This is because the foams are installed with specific glue. The price of the adhesives exceeds the price of the foams, and the time spent is not optimized at all.

A Foam is therefore a good alternative if you have a light budget and want to do the work yourself. Moreover, fire standards cannot be obtained with standard foam.

Decorative acoustic panels for walls

The surface to be covered

If you want a “correct” result with acoustic foams, it is necessary to cover the entire wall.

The surface to be covered with acoustic panels will be less. It will depend on the desired objective (hi-fi room, tertiary environment).

Very often, covering between 15 and 30% of the surface will be more than enough to have a very good evolution of the acoustics of the room.

The decorative aspect

Suspended acoustic panels and decorative walls

A foam will be “raw”, it will not be worked to have a particularly neat decorative aspect. This may be sufficient for some people, especially in a private recording studio.

The acoustic panels will be much more worked in this direction. They can be personalized, in different materials, or have volume effects. Acoustic panels are therefore a better option in terms of the decorative aspect for an acoustic treatment.

However, some panels on the market are thick and have rather “coarse” finishes. Also, some materials can give an effect that may appeal to some people, but not to others. This is particularly the case with wood acoustic panels.

At PYT Audio, we have chosen to have products that are as thin as possible, with aesthetic finishes, and that can be customized.

Which situation for which product?

In which cases should you choose wall acoustic panels?

Wall acoustic panels will be used for rooms with :

  • A small surface area (less than 50 m²)
  • A classic ceiling height of 2.5m

This type of solution is therefore preferred for domestic environments. Tertiary and professional environments will also use them. However, these environments will require proportionally more acoustic panels suspended from the ceiling.

In which cases should acoustic ceiling panels be preferred: veneered or suspended

Ceiling panels will be indispensable in 2 specific situations. They must, thus, find their interest for rooms with :

  • An important surface (more than 100 m²)
  • A high ceiling height (from 3m)

Very often, this type of panel will complement wall solutions.

Suspended panels can also be preferred in case of decorative constraints. This can be the case if you do not wish to cover your wall with acoustic solutions. However, to get the best acoustic performance will often depend on a combined wall and ceiling installation.

Decorative acoustic treatment with suspended and wall acoustic panels

Technical information and installation of the panels

The number of suspended and wall acoustic panels to be preferred

There is no universal rule. It will depend on a number of constraints and your objective. In particular, the surface to be treated will vary according to the elements of your part:

  • Its structure, and in particular its composition in terms of materials
  • Its volume
  • The existing decoration

Similarly, a clear distinction must be made between the needs of audiophiles and tertiary projects.

Audiophiles want a listening result that suits them, the requirement is more important. They want precise energy management and controlled reverberation, but not necessarily muffled. Each “ear” is different. Depending on their hearing and their musical “life”, tastes in terms of sound can vary. Thus, each person will have slightly different preferences in terms of acoustics. Also, in these cases, the treatment will be more or less heavy. The living side of music should not be “killed“. Diffusers will thus complement the music to optimize the sound scene and the “realistic” aspect of the music.

Tertiary projects, for their part, will need a more standardized result in terms of reverberation time (RT60). This requires a more conventional treatment, but sometimes more important in terms of quantity of absorbent panels.

The placement of suspended and wall acoustic panels

Panel placement is an essential component in the success of your acoustical project.

The advice is not always included in the price of the panel. We therefore advise you to be careful. Advice can be relatively expensive. It can sometimes be charged at a higher price than the value of the panels, especially if you have a small room.

We recommend that you ask your contact person for information on the positioning of the panels. A multitude of badly placed panels can be less effective than a few well-placed panels. In particular, an acoustic study can allow you to understand very precisely the acoustic gain according to the placement of the panels. This study will model your room and explain this acoustic gain thanks to the evolution of the RT60.

The different dimensions of the acoustic panels

The most common size on the market is 120*120 cm. This is mainly for practical reasons. Indeed, this size is thought to be adaptable to the rails of false ceiling tiles, or to pass between recessed spots. The latter are often placed at standard spacings.

Many other sizes are available. At PYT Audio, we offer the following sizes in particular:

  • 40*40cm (hi-fi range)
  • 120*160cm
  • 120*200cm
  • 120*250cm
  • 60*120cm
  • 60*160cm
  • 60*200cm
  • 60*250cm

Tailor-made solutions are also offered by many companies. Size constraints are often linked to transport.

Does size play a role in efficiency? Will 2 panels in 60*60 be as efficient as 1 panel in 120*120?

One could ask the question in this form. From a mathematical and surface point of view, the answer is obviously no.

On the one hand, because 4 panels are needed to make the surface of a 120×120 panel, and on the other hand, because an acoustic panel also has a frame to hold the absorbent materials, which in many cases absorbs nothing.

At PYT audio, our MUTUM eco ranges are the only panels on the market with edge absorption technology. So there is only a tiny difference.

But, let’s take a competitor’s panel, the internal foams or rock wools are maintained by an aluminium frame (placo rail) which will often make 10cm of peripheral covering.

On a 120×120 panel, the total surface area of this material that reflects sound rather than absorbing it represents between 10 and 20% of the total surface area of the panel. On a 60×60 panel, you find yourself with more rail surface area than absorbing material. So you have a panel with very little absorbent material.

Fixings for suspended and wall acoustic panels

The different systems for fixing the panels

There are many different fastening systems available to hang the acoustic panels:

  • Adhesives
  • Magnets
  • Velcro
  • X hooks
  • Fasteners for hanging Gripple-type panels

The fastening systems will play on the ease of installation and the respect of the support. Glue-based systems will not protect the wall or the panel when it is uninstalled.

This type of fixing therefore can be a real problem if the panel is damaged, or if you want to remove it for any reason.

Conversely, other systems are more respectful of the support. The velcro is the “must” for this.

The price of fasteners

The price of the bindings is not always included. Indeed, some professionals are used to working with certain providers. They therefore buy the bindings directly from these usual suppliers. So remember to ask if the bindings are included in the price.

For information, the velcro system is very often included in the price. For adhesives, magnets or Gripple-type fasteners, this is more variable.

Fire constraints

The fire constraints are to be respected for all companies receiving from the public. These standards certify that the products are not easily flammable in the event of a fire starting. They therefore constitute a guarantee in terms of protection of the building and residents against fire.

There are 1 main test on the market that certify the standard :

  1. Euroclass fire tests which, as the name suggests, is based on a European standard.

This test is carried out by independent certification bodies. Its role is to characterize the ability of a product or material to react to a given situation in reaction to fire.

Euroclass fire constraints

The Euroclass is a fire test which corresponds to the European standard in terms of reaction to fire.

This test is valid on the European market.

The acoustic panel tested in this standard must have the “A”, “B” or “C” classification to meet the constraints related to establishments receiving the public.

It is also necessary to know that

  1. The letters A, B, C, D, E or F characterize the reaction to fire
  2. The “S” index characterizes the production of smoke
  3. And the d certifies the presence or absence of flaming droplets

Thus, in order to meet European fire constraints, the product must be :

  1. A1
  2. A2s1d0 or A2s1d1
  3. A2s2d0 or A2s3d1
  4. Bs1d0 or Bs1d1
  5. Bs2d0 or Bs2d1
  6. Bs3d0 or Bs3d1


There is a multitude of fabrics. Some act like a drumhead. They can therefore annihilate the acoustic properties of the panel’s internal composition. So make sure that the person you are speaking to has thought this question. Especially if you are a professional and want to use a fabric you are used to working with.

The explanation is as follows, some fabrics have air resistivity. Therefore, the fabric is of utmost importance in the acoustic functioning of a panel.

What are the most decorative choices on the market?

The acoustic panels with a low thickness

There is a multitude of fabrics. Some act like a drumhead. They can therefore annihilate the acoustic properties of the panel’s internal composition. So make sure that the person you are speaking to has thought this question. Especially if you are a professional and want to use a fabric you are used to working with.

The explanation is as follows, some fabrics have air resistivity. Therefore, the fabric is of utmost importance in the acoustic functioning of a panel.

What are the most decorative choices on the market?

The acoustic panels with a low thickness

Acoustic panels with a low thickness are sometimes the subject of myths. Several years ago, the standard in the market was to make thick products, based on glass wool or rock wool. Products that are still offered by many professionals today. The market is complicated to dust off because beliefs are difficult to change. Even with standardized measurements, many tests by professionals in situation, many positive customer feedbacks, some “acousticians” refuse the evidence. For them, low thickness products cannot work. The financial stakes sometimes make some people lose their objectivity…

At PYT Audio, we are convinced that thickness is a real problem when it comes to the decorative aspect! Not only are thick products very intrusive in the room, but the finishes of these products are very rarely qualitative.

Thus, we have developed an engineering unique on the market. This is a clever blend of a multitude of materials acting together as a very thick absorbent.

Thin and decorative acoustic panels

The choice of colors

The choice of colors will also be taken into account. The preferred colors are often relatively neutral colors such as white or black. If you opt for white, do not hesitate to ask for photos of realizations or a sample (if you are a professional).

Some brands, such as ours, offer a wide choice of colors to best integrate the panel in your room.

The choice of fabrics

As explained above, we offer a wide selection of fabrics that have been tested under real conditions of use. We have chosen them for their acoustic and aesthetic qualities.

We can, however, change the fabric of certain products on request. If you wish to keep a material you are used to working with, this is possible. Be careful, however, some fabrics reflect energy and are therefore to be avoided for acoustic use.

Printed acoustic panels

Example of printed acoustic panels

Printed solutions allow you to customize an acoustic panel. They look like a painting and thus blend perfectly into the decor of a room.

The print quality is very important, we have selected solvent-free printing technologies that meet the strictest environmental criteria. All this with a matte finish. The printing is also OEKO-TEX®.

Of course, the final result of the print depends on the chosen file and the final size of the panel.

Acoustic plant panels

Acoustic panels made of stabilized plants can also bring a decorative touch to an interior.

They require no maintenance and are 100% natural.

Acoustic panels with specific shapes

Acoustic panels can sometimes take specific shapes. In particular, panels with a round shape can be found on the market. Some are suspended and can be in the form of a light fixture.

Some products with volume effects also exist.

How do you know if a suspended or wall-mounted acoustic panel is qualitative?

Acoustics being a very opaque market, it is always difficult to know which products to choose.

Nevertheless, techniques exist to know if a product is qualitative. Here are some of them:

  1. The acoustic curves of products
  2. The tests from professionals
  3. The word of mouth
  4. The listening in the professionals shop
  5. The loan of panels
  6. The acoustic measurements

Acoustic curves of the products

We recommend that you beware of brands that do not clearly display their acoustic curves. This is like buying food without knowing its composition. The risk of having a product with poor performance is thus important.

Also, make sure that the curves have been made by a professional and certified organization. Many approved laboratories in France and abroad are authorized to perform these tests. Make sure that the tests are carried out according to the ISO 354 standard. We recommend that you request PV tests as many sites offer “home-made” measurements. This makes it very difficult to evaluate the actual performance of the products without user feedback.

In this case where the professional does not have PV Test, ask them if they offer a product test or if independent professionals have performed tests with curves. Then compare the curves with those displayed by the manufacturer. An extensive dealer network is also a guarantee of quality.

The different possible measurements

Two different measurements are possible:

  1. In equivalent absorption area
  2. With an absorption coefficient alpha

Don’t compare one with the other! The 2 measures are very different. One will have indicators that may seem much more laudatory, while the performance will be the same.

Brands often prefer the equivalent absorption area curve because it looks much better. But beware! From a laboratory measurement point of view, this measurement is more permissive and allows the product to be tested under conditions that differ from the standard. It is more “opaque” and less readable.

At PYT Audio, we have chosen to offer you the 2 curves for reading.

Which frequencies should be absorbed in priority?

This will depend on the context. We will not try to absorb exactly the same frequencies in an audiophile context and in an open-space context, for example.

There are 3 types of frequencies, which we have sorted in order of importance:

  • The “medium” frequencies
  • The “high” frequencies
  • The “low” frequencies

The delimitation of frequencies is also not quite the same depending on the context.

In hi-fi and home cinema, we are more picky because there are sounds that do not exist naturally. And, because the signal processing in acoustic processing is more complex.

In building acoustics, here is the classification of the frequencies we can do :

  • Low: below 300hz
  • Medium: from 300 to 1250hz
  • High: from 1250 to 4000hz

Voice frequencies

Concretely, in building acoustics, we will first try to absorb voice frequencies. The goal is to be able to speak distinctly, in an intelligible way.

If we analyze the vocal frequencies (frequencies emitted by our voice, and therefore the discussions), we see the attached breakdown.

We can therefore “simplify” by explaining that the frequencies to be picked up, in an open-space or a restaurant, are between 300 and 2000hz. This with an increased need from 400 to 1500hz.

Moreover, to comply with standards in hearing equipment establishments, an RT60 of 0.4s to 500hz is required.

This is because our ear and our brain are designed to be more sensitive to our natural communication frequencies.

Acoustic frequency classification scheme

High frequencies

Then, the second frequency range that we will try to treat is the extreme high frequency range. This in order to provide a muffled sound, an additional comfort that is an indispensable need to improve intelligibility.

Some people speak of a “cocktail effect“, referring to the sound of glasses and forks clattering together.

Depending on the context, one acoustic panel rather than another may have the advantage over these types of frequencies.

In general, the more homogeneous and extensive the absorption, the more performance feeling is present for the same number of panels.

Tests from the trade press

The specialized press sometimes tests products. It is a relatively reliable source of information on the quality of a product.

To form an opinion, it is best to have tests with curves. You can find this kind of tests in our press section.

Indeed, many specialists, seduced by our innovative and unique concept, have wanted to try our products to ensure their quality in different contexts.

Word of mouth

Of course, as in many fields, word of mouth is also a good way to find out if a product is qualitative.

There are many ways to get information. Thus, you can find information :

  • With your close relations,
  • On the forums,
  • On the sites of acoustic panel vendors,
  • At trade shows,
  • Or on Facebook groups

The veracity of the information is, however, sometimes limited. Do not hesitate to cross-check it with other sources.

The comparative listening in the professionals shop

Example of acoustic wall panels in a hi-fi store

Professionals in the hi-fi and home cinema sectors often have listening rooms in their stores.

You can, thus, go to these places to get an idea of the quality of the acoustic products. The best thing is obviously to be able to make comparative listening before and after. This is only possible for products that are easy to install and respectful of the support, like ours.

To give you an idea, our brand is present in nearly 25% of this type of stores in France. You can thus listen to our products in many regions of France, at one of our partners.

Loan of panels

Loans of wall acoustic panels can be made. This is, however, dependent on the fixing system. Indeed, a panel that is fixed with glue cannot be loaned. On the other hand, a fixing system with velcro allows the panels to be moved at will. A loan is thus a possibility.

If there are doubts, a loan can be a good alternative for testing and listening before and after. However, be aware that this option has a cost. It is also dependent on a number of conditions.

The acoustic measurements

Before purchasing wall or suspended acoustic panels

Some professionals, like us, offer acoustic gain calculations. You will therefore have a comparison before/after treatment. 2 possibilities for this:

  1. Everything is done remotely via room modeling and acoustic simulations according to the number and the desired result in terms of reverberation time (RT60)
  2. A professional may travel to take in-situ measurements

This second option is, of course, more expensive. It will not necessarily provide a much better guarantee of results than the first option.

The reliability of the measurements and the software used for these methods is recognized.

There are 2 types of results:

  1. The one by alpha simulation
  2. The ray tracing
Acoustic measurements by alpha simulation

Very basic, relatively reliable, it will give an idea of the result depending on your room at the beginning, then depending on the type and number of panels put in place.

Example of taking acoustic measurements by alpha simulation
Acoustic measurements by ray tracing
Example of acoustic measurements by ray tracing

One of the other solutions is ray tracing.

Here we are on a real acoustic engineering solution that takes into account all the parameters of your room. It models the result by repercussions of the sound waves on the walls and their paths in the room.

If the objective is the same, the result is much more precise and will clearly find its meaning when you will have to account for it at the end of a project.

This solution has, however, a cost. It is available from 1000€.

After the purchase of suspended or wall acoustic panels

You can also make your own measurements before and after your purchase. However, this requires a certain amount of technical skill. The quality of the measuring material is also important. This has a certain cost. Also, the microphones have to be placed in specific locations. Finally, it is necessary to know how to read an acoustic curve.

Software such as Cliowin, Sonarworks, DIRAC, RoomMap or Rew allow you to record your measurements. Here again, some of them require a fee.

Acoustic panels, ecology and health

Many products are not completely environmentally friendly. Some make this clear by displaying a percentage of bio-sourced products. Others say nothing. In the latter case, if this is an important purchasing criterion for you, don’t hesitate to ask the company in question if all raw materials are biosourced. You can request PVs to ensure this.

Is printing environmentally friendly?

This is a legitimate question, and it is important to know that not all of them are.

Also, some environments require special and stricter standards. This is particularly the case in the hospital environment for health reasons. Our customizable acoustic panel meets this standard.

Panels that can be fixed with glue

Make sure that the glue are environmentally friendly, this is rarely the case … The best thing to do is to ask for the glue used and check the components and labels.

About our products :

  • The Luxury range does not use any glue
  • The Eco range uses a water-based glue without solvents and VOCs
  • The products for hi-fi uses VOC-free transfer adhesives

Air quality

Almost all panels do not emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), so they are not harmful to air quality and human health.

It is always advisable to check with the seller of acoustic panels.

Still, pay attention to rock wool/glass wool panels and other basic materials used in the building for thermal insulation, mainly behind a wall. Although these products can be advertised as VOC-free, time and hydrometric variations would still allow fine particles that are not particularly favourable for your health to come off.

What are the health consequences of acoustics

It has been proven that poor acoustics have an influence on health. In particular, it can lead to hearing fatigue that can lead to deafness (mild, profound or irreversible). It can also cause cardiovascular problems, particularly hypertension. Sleep disorders can also occur in an individual due to poor acoustics.

Poor acoustics, whether at work or at home, also has a real influence on your mood.

What is the price of wall and suspended acoustic panels?

The different prices

Prices are highly fluctuating, with the absorption quality of the panels varying from single to double. It makes more sense to reason in terms of cost per project. Since the market is relatively opaque, it is difficult to access market prices without requesting comparative quotes from different vendors. Indeed, many companies do not display their prices. It is only after several exchanges with a sales representative that you will get them.

At PYT Audio, we have chosen to display our rates clearly. We prefer to be transparent for questions of user respect. Also, we know that the quality/price ratio of our products is very interesting for the market.

Our acoustic panels are manufactured with specific materials, chosen for their high quality. Some materials are tailor-made for our needs. In particular, we use fabrics from high-end furniture market. Nothing is left to chance. They are therefore efficient. The starting price at PYT audio in 120*120 cm will be 225€. The references of the sector are around 350€. Be aware that some companies, like us, offer payments in several times without charge.

You should also not lose sight of the fact that some options have a cost. This is notably the case for the respect of fire regulations. If you are not subject to them, you can save money on the price of the product.

Of course, some very innovative product ranges, such as the acoustic panel made of stabilized vegetation, has a starting price of around 800€ per m².

Are acoustic panels a good purchase?

The lifetime of an acoustic panel is almost 10 years, so it is a very quickly amortized purchase. As previously mentioned, studies have shown that noise is responsible for many problems:

  • An increase in stress
  • A drop in cognitive performance

Other studies have quantified these problems:

  • 70% of employees are reported to experience headaches and sleep disturbances
  • 23 billion euros in productivity would be lost each year due to noise

Concrete example: haven’t you ever had a case where you didn’t like a restaurant simply because of the noise, and didn’t want to go back?

Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to know more about the different information mentioned in this tutorial.