Curtains for my theater room. Pro's & Con's Questions? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 11-15-2013, 06:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys. I am considering putting curtains in my theater room, and would like to hear from some of the folks with more knowledge of room acoustics to decide if this is a good idea. My primary concerns are;

1.) will this affect the rooms acoustical properties, & if so, how?

2.) should I just cover the side walls or all 4 walls?

3.) what is a good brand or source for these?

4.) I might be up for DIY'ing some curtains, so if I go that route, how should this be done, what type is fabric should I use, and would they be made just like normal curtains, or should I add something like closed cell foam to the backs?

Last but not least, 5.), I currently have two 2' by 4' absorbsion panels on each wall made out of two layers of 2" OC703. Will adding curtains take away the need for these panels? Or should I keep the panels up and put them behind the curtains?

This project is not for acoustical benefits, although any acoustical benefits would be welcome, this project is mostly for estecics. I just want to make sure that I won't be harming the rooms acoustics, or harming the benefits of my absorbsion panels. Any advise would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 12 Old 11-15-2013, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

Hey guys. I am considering putting curtains in my theater room, and would like to hear from some of the folks with more knowledge of room acoustics to decide if this is a good idea. My primary concerns are;

1.) will this affect the rooms acoustical properties, & if so, how?

Curtains generally absorb well at high frequencies, and absorb poorly at low frequencies.
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2.) should I just cover the side walls or all 4 walls?

Generally absorption works best on surfaces opposite the sound source, and then on surfaces that a close to sound sources. It is best to do acoustical measurements to guide your placement of acoustical materials.
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4.) I might be up for DIY'ing some curtains, so if I go that route, how should this be done, what type is fabric should I use, and would they be made just like normal curtains, or should I add something like closed cell foam to the backs?

Generally speaking absorptive materials work best, the wider range of frequencies that they absorb well.
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Last but not least, 5.), I currently have two 2' by 4' absorbsion panels on each wall made out of two layers of 2" OC703. Will adding curtains take away the need for these panels? Or should I keep the panels up and put them behind the curtains?

Those absorption panels generally have more ideal absorbtion properties than any curtain is likely to have. If you place the absorption panels in front of or behind the curtains or next to them, they will continue to work well.
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This project is not for acoustical benefits, although any acoustical benefits would be welcome, this project is mostly for aesthetics. I just want to make sure that I won't be harming the rooms acoustics, or harming the benefits of my absorption panels. Any advise would be greatly appreciated!

Usually absorbing high frequencies without absorbing low frequencies tends to make a room sound boomy and dull. You may find it desirable to put absorption panels behind the curtains to alleviate this. Or you may want to use acoustically transparent curtains to leave the room's acoustics more like they were.
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post #3 of 12 Old 11-16-2013, 05:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply Arny! Although I am aware of the fact that curtains absorb more for high frequencies than low frequencies, as I stated in my original post, these curtains will be more for looks than for acoustical properties. I want the look of a real movie theater.

What I am trying to figure out is:

1. What kind of curtain works best for this purpose? Can I just go to Wal-Mart or Target and just pick up some random curtains to hang on the walls? Or are there certain types of material that work best?

I plan to build some bass traps soon, and I already have two 2' by 4' absorbers on each wall and soon to be on the ceiling as well. So my next questions are:

2. Being that I already have two 2' by 4' panels on each wall & ceiling, will adding these curtains take away too much of the high frequencies?

3. If I go the DIY route, what type of material would be best for making these curtains out of? (Note-my fiancé has a sowing machine & is an excellent seem tress)

4. Do theater room curtains need to be thicker, thinner, or have any other characteristics that differ from regular curtains?
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post #4 of 12 Old 11-17-2013, 07:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Bump! Can anyone please comment on this topic? I will restate my questions:

What type of curtains work best for usage in a theater room?

Should I put my absorb soon panels inside or outside the curtains?

Will the curtains absorb too much of the high frequencies?

Should the curtains be made out of thinner or relatively thicker materal?
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post #5 of 12 Old 11-17-2013, 10:44 AM
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My wife and I made curtains for the front end of our theater. You can see pics of the curtains in the thread in my signature. We used dark red, (burgundy), velveteen fabric to enhance the light absorption in the front of the room around the screen. When the lights are off, the front of the room is a "black hole" for light. The video image seems to "hang in space" in the black hole of the front end of the room.

In terms of acoustics, I have bass traps behind the curtains. The combo of HF absorption of the curtains with the bass traps gives me broadband absorption. The thicker the curtains, the more absorption you get and the lower in frequency you go. My wife and I used "triple fullness" of the curtain fabric, (3x the amount of fabric as the length of the wall.) When bunched up on the curtain rods, the curtains are about 3-4 inched thick.

My wife is also an accomplished seamstress. She owns a fabric store and gives sewing classes. Nonetheless, instead of sewing the curtains, she decided to use industrial strength, two-sided tape to make the seams and hems for the curtains. There was so much fabric that it was unwieldy to sew them, and the material was difficult to sew through. We just folded the edges over and tapped them to make the "sleeves" for the curtain rods at the top and the hems at the bottom.

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post #6 of 12 Old 11-19-2013, 06:45 PM
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Highly recommend these

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post #7 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 04:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Highly recommend these

I like those! I wonder if they come in burgundy? Thanks for the suggestion!
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post #8 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 04:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I wonder if having some thick curtains on all 4 walls, along with the existing two 2' by 4' (4" thick OC703 with a 4" air gap), absorbing panels will kill too much of the mid & high frequencies?

I may have to do some experiments with measurements to see how this would work. Only problem with that is that I am having a really hard time getting my measurement system setup and ready to use with REW.
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post #9 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

I wonder if having some thick curtains on all 4 walls, along with the existing two 2' by 4' (4" thick OC703 with a 4" air gap), absorbing panels will kill too much of the mid & high frequencies?

I may have to do some experiments with measurements to see how this would work. Only problem with that is that I am having a really hard time getting my measurement system setup and ready to use with REW.

The wise man probably does the job piecemeal. Stop when you get what you want! Start with areas that are closest to the first reflection points.
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post #10 of 12 Old 11-20-2013, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

I like those! I wonder if they come in burgundy? Thanks for the suggestion!

The picture on the Walmart website is misleading, the red curtains are very burgundy - trust me.

IMG_02061_zps0671ebb8.jpg

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post #11 of 12 Old 11-21-2013, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The wise man probably does the job piecemeal. Stop when you get what you want! Start with areas that are closest to the first reflection points.

As I stated in the original post, I am not doing these for the acoustical benefits, per se, but rather for ascetics. My room is very small at 10.6' feet by 11 feet. I was curious about the curtains because I want to make my room look more like a real theater.

My questions basically stem from, how would these affect my room acoustics?
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post #12 of 12 Old 11-21-2013, 04:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by schmidtwi View Post

The picture on the Walmart website is misleading, the red curtains are very burgundy - trust me.

IMG_02061_zps0671ebb8.jpg

Those do look nice! I wonder if there is any advantage to going with the curtains from acoustics manufactures? I see several websites that offer 'theater quality' curtains. I just wonder if they will be any different from the Wal-Mart cheapies?
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