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Drop ceiling tile recommendations

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Can anyone recommend a 2x4ft drop ceiling tile? Between USG, Armstrong and Ceilume, there are so many. Hopefully someone here has purchased some and can elaborate on how well they helped with absorbing/diffusing sound.
post #2 of 13
Ceiling tiles absorb, not diffuse. Most ceiling tiles are meant for offices and handle only speech frequencies, and so are not suitable for music rooms. The best type of ceiling tile is made of rigid fiberglass at least one inch thick. Thicker rigid fiberglass tiles are useful around the perimeter of the room to add bass trapping. This page on my company's web site shows the type of ceiling tiles that are best for music and home theater rooms:

RealTraps Ceiling Tiles

--Ethan
post #3 of 13
In addition to Ethan's company, Mason Acoustics and other companies offer a variety of ceiling solutions. Mason offers a variety of panels with slats, cubes, Helmholtz cavities, etc. I have seen replacement tiles that look like regular audio diffusers than absorbers but my very limited experience with them is less than positive...

My experience with standard "acoustic" tiles is same as Ethan's, natch... Not effective broad-band, and in a live room I am not sure I buy into typical ceiling tiles helping much at all. An impression not helped when, after installing them in our college departmental cafeteria as part of a major refurb, the painters then painted over the ceiling tiles, wrecking what little absorption they offered in the first place. smile.gif

The most effective tiles I have used, DIY or commercial, were tiles made from OC703 or similar like the ones on Ethan's site. In the primordial past we tacked (spot-glued) cloth faces onto tiles of mineral wool batting cut to fit the ceiling tile frames.

What is your application, office space, music room, what?
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Ceiling tiles absorb, not diffuse. Most ceiling tiles are meant for offices and handle only speech frequencies, and so are not suitable for music rooms. The best type of ceiling tile is made of rigid fiberglass at least one inch thick. Thicker rigid fiberglass tiles are useful around the perimeter of the room to add bass trapping. This page on my company's web site shows the type of ceiling tiles that are best for music and home theater rooms:

RealTraps Ceiling Tiles

--Ethan

I'll definitely check this out. I'll be using them in a basement drop ceiling for a theater/media/game room.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DonH50 View Post

In addition to Ethan's company, Mason Acoustics and other companies offer a variety of ceiling solutions. Mason offers a variety of panels with slats, cubes, Helmholtz cavities, etc. I have seen replacement tiles that look like regular audio diffusers than absorbers but my very limited experience with them is less than positive...

My experience with standard "acoustic" tiles is same as Ethan's, natch... Not effective broad-band, and in a live room I am not sure I buy into typical ceiling tiles helping much at all. An impression not helped when, after installing them in our college departmental cafeteria as part of a major refurb, the painters then painted over the ceiling tiles, wrecking what little absorption they offered in the first place. smile.gif

The most effective tiles I have used, DIY or commercial, were tiles made from OC703 or similar like the ones on Ethan's site. In the primordial past we tacked (spot-glued) cloth faces onto tiles of mineral wool batting cut to fit the ceiling tile frames.

What is your application, office space, music room, what?

They will be used in my basement drop ceiling. I'm looking for something to quiet the sound from the speakers (home theater/media/game room) from transferring upstairs. I understand tiles won't stop all sound and I'm already filling the ceiling joists with insulation, but I have to imagine there are some tiles out there better than what I currently have.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ch1sox View Post


They will be used in my basement drop ceiling. I'm looking for something to quiet the sound from the speakers (home theater/media/game room) from transferring upstairs. I understand tiles won't stop all sound and I'm already filling the ceiling joists with insulation, but I have to imagine there are some tiles out there better than what I currently have.

Sound isolation .... you need to block the sound transmission, suggest drywall/DD/GG/isoclips/etc instead of ceiling tiles
post #6 of 13
I use Capaul Open Plan Ceiling tiles: http://www.certainteed.com/products/ceilings/index/314118 It comes in 1", 1.5" and 3" thicknesses. My ceiling is dropped 3" below the joists, and the joists are stuffed with pink fluffy fiberglass. The whole ceiling is a big bass trap.

I use the "Black Nubby" finish because it has an extremely low "Light Reflectance" of 0.03. I also use a black grid system. The ceiling is a "black hole" for both light and sound.

I had it professionally installed so it doesn't shake or rattle, even with very loud low frequencies.

Craig
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbdudex View Post

Sound isolation .... you need to block the sound transmission, suggest drywall/DD/GG/isoclips/etc instead of ceiling tiles
I understand, but I'm asking about ceiling tiles though and whether or not they'll do anything.
post #8 of 13
Ceiling tiles will absorb some HF energy but most transmission is through the HVAC ducts and wall/ceiling joists/studs/wallboard. I think you will find tiles of any sort will do very little for isolation. Acoustic treatment and isolation are two very different things. mtbdudex's post is to the isolation aspect, which normally requires building a "room within a room" to isolate sound transmission. That is what I did for my media room build when we finished our basement, including a minisplit to isolate the room from the house HVAC.

Look up IsoMax at the Kinetics Noise site for examples: http://www.kineticsnoise.com/ I used them, and have a set of drawings I provided to our contractor to perform the build (6" mineral wool in the walls and ceiling, drywall, IsoMax clips for air space and isolation, double drywall inner walls and ceiling floating on the isoMax clips, acoustic caulk all seams and joints, backed the outlets with weather sealant and caulk, bypassed/removed all ducts from the house into the room, added exterior ducts and minisplit to provide HVAC to the room isolated from the house, etc.) It reads like a lot of work but really wasn't bad. I looked at several options for hanging the walls and ceiling and at that time the IsoMax clips provided the best combination of isolation and ease of installation. My contractor has since used my drawings and the same scheme on several other home builds and a couple of commercial builds (one to isolate a bar from the beauty shop next door).

HTH - Don
post #9 of 13
Sharing here, I see a "new" product that might interest the OP
(new to me as I was un-aware of it)
http://www.soundisolationcompany.com/about-us/recent-news/171-grid-ceiling-office-noise-soundproofing
Quote:
October 30, 2012 – Soundproofing grid ceiling tiles expand commercial alternatives. Sound Isolation Company today announced the addition of Privacy Ceiling Blocker Tiles and Privacy Fire Rated Light Covers creating an effective, simple to install soundproofing system for all commercial and residential drop grid ceilings.

Soundproofing grid ceilings that are so common in commercial and office buildings has been a significant problem; using additional insulation simply will not provide privacy. When recessed lighting exists there is basically a hole in the ceiling. These soundproof ceiling tiles, combined with privacy fire-rated light covers and vent covers, can significantly reduce office to office noise.

“We have had a tremendous response from building owners and facilities managers to these new soundproofing ceiling tiles,” says Jody Cook, President of Sound Isolation Company. “Most commercial buildings – and even some older residential buildings – use standard drop “grid style” ceiling tiles that offer no soundproofing whatsoever. Privacy Ceiling Blocker Tiles are designed to fit above the existing ceiling tiles, requiring no construction or demolition, and offer an immediate improvement in sound blocking. Adding Privacy Soundproof Light and Vent Covers minimizes sound coming through light fixtures and open air return vents, further isolating office noise. It’s an easy option to solve an old problem.” Privacy Ceiling Blocker Tiles are available in standard and custom sizes for commercial and residential use.
post #10 of 13
I am skeptical of their efficacy in the OP's situation. They will help reduce HF transmission and are probably effective in reducing office-type noise between floors, but for media rooms I suspect they aren't nearly enough. Don't know for sure since I have not tried them, natch, but I have done similar things, including things similar to Ethan's ceiling traps, and effective, adequate isolation was not achieved. (How's that for weasel-wording? smile.gif )

Good find, though, thanks! - Don
post #11 of 13
Some other options, I've had experience with all of these.

Primacoustic, both absorptive: StratoTiles, ThunderTile.

Diffusers that mount in ceiling grids, such as RPG Harmonix K and Auralex QuadFusor / T'Fusor.

I actually like diffusive ceilings, especially if you have higher than normal ceilings. I did a room once where the whole ceiling was diffusors, it sounded awesome. I've also done rooms with fully absorptive ceilings, which also sounded awesome. Part of the skill in acoustic design is balancing the room in terms of absorption vs reflection vs diffusion and where it goes. There are no hard and fast rules, it depends on your room dimensions, number of seats, number of speakers, room usage, speaker off axis radiation patterns, etc.
post #12 of 13

CH1Sox- I personally recommend Ceilume. Check out their Soniguard product on the link below. They're super environmentally friendly as well and contain no harmful ingredients. They significantly help with noise reduction and also maintaining temperature.

 

http://www.ceilume.com/ceilingtile_detail.cfm/productID.2469

post #13 of 13

Soniguard by Ceilume! Hands down.

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