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Studiofoam Wedges Review – Buying The Right 2 Inch Wedges

Comparison Of Auralex 2″ Studiofoam Wedges & Soundproof Store 2″ Wedge Foam

An Auralex Studiofoam Wedges Review

Auralex Studiofoam Wedges

Not All Studiofoam Wedges Are Created Equal

Studiofoam wedges are great for acoustic treatment of sound reflections in mixing & recording rooms, home theaters, listening room and to some extend, for soundproofing as well.

But before you went ahead to buy these studio foam wedges, consider these factors which may well save you some money and frustrations.

On the surface, every studio foam wedge look alike. The lazy way to differentiate for most people is the price, and maybe color variation. That’s fine if you are not so much into the accuracy of your room acoustics, or for a less critical application (whatever it might be).

If that’s the case, it’s definitely wise to go for the cheaper one you can find in the market place. But if you care about stuff like coloration, imaging, resonances, reflections and frequency response to the finest detail, like you intend to build a room for some serious mixing or recording, then you should look beyond skin deep.


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The One Technical Aspect That Set The Studiofoam Wedges Apart

If Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) or Sound Absorption Coefficient sound a little intimidating to you, well don’t be. It is simply a way to tell how well a material can absorb sound. And it is actually very easy to understand.

Say a certain acoustic foam material has an NRC of 0.6. It simply means the foam wedge is capable of absorbing 60% of sound that come its way. And the other 40% gets reflected away.

So NRC is expressed on a scale of 0 to 1. If no sound is being absorbed, the NRC is 0 or 0% absorption. On the other end, 1.0 is 100% of sound being absorbed.

However, NRC varies with frequencies. With the same wedge foam, at different frequencies it will give you different absorption coefficiencies.

The thickness and density of studiofoam wedges have an impact of its respective NRC. Different manufacturers will have their own foam design and specification. So it is natural that there are differences in the foam cellular structure, density and types of material used.

However, what really matter is the NRC rating of any studio foam wedges that should be looked at first. In order to determine its sound absorption efficiency, a.k.a. Quality.

NRC Is Only An Average Value

When you see an NRC value on an acoustic foam specification sheet, it is only an average value of 4 frequencies of a laboratory test ; 250Hz, 500Hz, 1000Hz & 2000Hz. So the higher the NRC value of a studio foam wedge, the better is the sound absorption efficiency.

But don’t accept everything on face value. The NRC rating of any studio foam wedge is only an average value that is within the speech frequencies. Meaning 2 foam wedges of different make that have the same NRC rating may perform differently in the same room playing the same music at similar volume level.

Why is that?

Can You Trust The NRC Rating Provided By Manufacturers?

Often the product data that you see, be it in print or from the manufacturer’s website, are mostly marketing material that only show the best aspect of the product. Which, of course can be misleading and some are outright deceitful of their claims.

What they didn’t tell you is how they obtain the NRC rating for the acoustic foam panels concerned.

No matter what, NRC should be obtain with lab test with the 4 frequencies included. Otherwise the NRC rating is simply a non-conformance. And if the manufacturer is unable to produce a decent test report for scrutiny, avoid it like a plague.

And preferably, the lab test should be performed by a reputable third-party laboratory with no linkage of any commercial interest whatsoever with the manufacturer.

An independent lab test report is always desirable to determine the actual performance of the product. While the details in a test report can be pretty daunting for someone with little or no technical background, it is still easy to verify the data within for the NRC rating.

Here’s an example of a lab test report of Auralex 2 inch Studiofoam Wedges, obtained through Auralex’s website.

You can see that there are a range of frequencies in the report, which include the 4 main frequencies – 250Hz, 500Hz, 1000hz and 2000Hz. So if you average out the absorption coefficient of these 4 frequencies you get an NRC of 0.8125. Hence, the Auralex 2″ Studiofoam Wedges are rounded up to the nearest 5% at NRC 0.8.

Let’s Compare The 2 Most Popular 2″ Foam Wedges

Now that you have a clear understanding of what NRC is, let’s compare the absorption coefficiency of the 2 most popular 2″ acoustic foam wedges in the market place.

In the ring is Auralex 2″ Studiofoam Wedges and Soundproof Store 2″ Wedge Foam. Auralex vs Soundproof Store

NRC Rating Comparison For Auralex Studiofoam Wedges & Soundproof Store Wedge Foam

FrequencyAuralex Studiofoam Wedges
2″ x 2′ x 2′
Soundproof Store Wedge Foam
2″ x 2′ x 2′
Soundproof Store Wedge Foam
4″ x 2′ x 2′
125Hz0.110.200.39
250Hz0.300.290.61
500Hz0.910.660.91
1000Hz1.050.800.79
2000Hz0.990.890.95
4000Hz1.001.021.03
Average NRC0.800.650.80

Table 1 – NRC Rating Comparison

Do we have a clear winner?

While it is clear the Auralex 2″ Studiofoam Wedges has a better absorption coefficient than Soundproof Store’s 2″ Wedge Foam, the number one concern is still on the price. So could it be the higher NRC mean higher cost for Auralex to produce its Studiofoam Wedges? And therefore resulting in higher pricing? But how expensive really is Auralex 2″ Studiofoam Wedges versus Soundproof Store’s 2″ Wedge Foam?

Price Comparison – Are We Comparing Apple to Apple?

As we have mentioned right at the beginning, it all depends on what you intend to do, and what is reasonably acceptable to you. There is no right or wrong answer as to which one is a better investment. Both companies are reputable in their own right that provide honest, good customer service and product offerings.

Given that, if a higher NRC sound absorbing panels is more critical in your application, then we would recommend the Auralex Studiofoam Wedgies obviously. But this isn’t fair to both manufacturers and yourself if you are going to just decide based on the price. At least the NRC rating has got to be equal before we can even call it a fair comparison.

Therefore, if you look again at the above NRC rating matrix (Table 1) of Soundproof Store Wedge Foam, its 4 inch thick wedge foam has a similar NRC 0.8 rating as the Auralex 2 inch Studiofoam Wedges. So isn’t it fair that we compare the models that have the same NRC rating? It’s the NRC rating that matters afterall, not the thickness and color.

Price Comparison Of Auralex 2″ Studiofoam Wedges & Soundproof Store 4″ Wedge Foam

Auralex 2″ x 2 ft x 2 ft Studiofoam Wedges
Note: Price may vary with color
Burgundy: $229.99*
Purple: $229.99*
Charcoal: $229.99*
NRC Rating: 0.8
Quantity: 12 panels (48 square ft)
Price source: Amazon.com
Soundproof Store 4″ x 2 ft x 2 ft Wedge Foam
Note: Regardless of color combination
Price: $219.09*
NRC Rating: 0.8
Quantity: 12 panels (48 square ft)
Price source: Soundproofstore.com
*Valid at the time this post was written. Price may vary afterwards.

Verdict

So it seemed Auralex’s price is still higher by $10.90 (or 4.74%), which is within reasonable price range given that it is a more efficient acoustic foam. At 2 inch thickness it is lighter that provide ease of installation, and better aesthetic that will blend well with the room decor.

So going inch for inch, Auralex Studiofoam Wedges, obviously are better in sound absorption, and at reasonable prices. Period.


Price & Product Comparison of 2 inch 12″ x 12″ Studio Foam Wedges


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