How to Test an Acoustically Transparent Fabric? - Fabrix (2023)

What is an acoustically transparent fabric and how do we test them?

How to Test an Acoustically Transparent Fabric? - Fabrix (1)

(Video) Spandex acoustically transparent material test, left part screen

There are many types of fabric that we can buy from our local upholstery shop, but how do we know what type of fabric to use if we want to build an acoustic panel?

In this article, we attempt to discuss the types of acoustically transparent fabric, what signature they will have on sound, and also other requirements if they are to be installed in a commercial space to meet fire-safety standards.

Why is it important to use an acoustically transparent fabric?

How to Test an Acoustically Transparent Fabric? - Fabrix (2)

An acoustically transparent fabric is one that allows sound to pass through without much barrier. This is important because we want the sound to pass through the fabric to be absorbed by the sound-absorbing substrate filled in the acoustic panel, for example, acoustic foam or fibreglass wool.

We do not want the sound to bounce back into the room once it touches the fabric, because it would not get absorbed by the insulation behind. There are many types of fabric that fall into the category of being acoustically transparent. We will discuss below on how to test for them.

(Video) Spandex acoustically transparent material test, left part screen

How to test if the fabric is acoustically transparent?

There are 3 ways to test for an acoustically transparent fabric. Let’s see what they are below!

Breathe Test

The breathe test is simple test that you can do anywhere. Just put the fabric against your nose and see if you can comfortably breathe through it! The easier you can breathe through the fabric, the more acoustically transparent the fabric.

Light Test

Another simple test is the light test. Simply put the fabric against a bright source of light (e.g. the florescent lamp on your ceiling) and determine if you can see the light from behind the fabric. The more light that peers through, the more transparent the fabric.

(Video) Amazing: Liquid-repellent, sound-transparent, smart speaker fabric!

Lab Test

To properly determine if a fabric is acoustically transparent, we can always request for a lab test of the acoustic signature of the fabric. Unfortunately, most fabric vendors do not perform this test. But fear not! Because we know how to find out for ourselves.

What fabrics are definitely not acoustically transparent?

(Video) Covering home theater walls with acoustically transparent speaker fabric

How to Test an Acoustically Transparent Fabric? - Fabrix (3)

Examples of fabric that are not acoustically transparent are:

  1. Leather
  2. Faux leather made from polyester
  3. Polyester or polymer-derived fabric that is more than 1mm thick
  4. Any fabric that is thick and has high thread-count
  5. Homogenous man-made fabric with no weaves

The list is not exhaustive but you would notice that they generally have tight weave and high resistance to airflow. If you have a fabric that has the above characteristics, you would know to avoid them for acoustic panels!

(Video) Do You Need an Acoustically Transparent Screen? Elite Screens AcousticPro 1080P3 Review


How can you tell if fabric is acoustically transparent? ›

Just put the fabric against your nose and see if you can comfortably breathe through it! The easier you can breathe through the fabric, the more acoustically transparent the fabric.

What types of fabric are acoustically transparent? ›

Acoustically Transparent Fabrics
  • IFR Banner Material CS. Starting at $28.02/yds.
  • KANDEL Linen Cyclorama Fabric. $63.13/yds.
  • Cotton Sheer Muslin. Starting at $14.14/yds.
  • Tristan Leno Scrim. Starting at $240.98/yds.
  • IFR Super Canvas CS. Starting at $67.93/yds.
  • MEGASTRETCH 450. Starting at $85.71/yds.
  • GERRA CS. Starting at $39.33/yds.

What does acoustically transparent mean? ›

1. n. [Geophysics] The quality of a medium whose acoustic impedance is constant throughout, such that it contains no seismic reflections. An example of an acoustically transparent medium is water.

Does fabric matter for acoustic panels? ›

Choosing the right fabric to use for your application is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of acoustic panels. Some fabrics will perform better acoustically than others for several reasons, but to be honest, the fabric alone will not have a significant effect on sound absorption.

How do you know if a fabric is see through? ›

Typically, weight and color dictate the opacity of a fabric. The thicker a fabric is the more opaque it will be, and the closer to white a color is the more it will show through. These aren't the only considerations, though. The weave of a fabric and type of yarn used can come into play.

How can you tell if fabric is sheer? ›

Sheer fabric is any type of fabric that is see-through, or transparent. Unlike opaque materials, sheer cloth does not hide your body from view. It offers little protection against cold which makes it an extremely popular choice for women's summer clothing, underwear and lingerie.

What makes a good acoustic fabric? ›

A lightweight 100% polyester thin faux linen would work well, and also hold the design and color exceptionally well. Another acoustic fabric material option would be Muslin, as it is quite breathable, but woven well enough that it is not transparent to see the interior panel and components.

What kind of fabric absorbs sound? ›

Like other common soundproof materials, including barriers and insulation, acoustic fabric absorbs sound by letting it pass through the material. You can think of acoustic fabric as a sort of sponge. Rather than allowing sound to bounce, the fibers embrace sounds.

Is felt acoustically transparent? ›

The Felt 9900 fabrics are tested to be acoustically transparent and have a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating of . 99. They can be used to upgrade the sound quality of wall panels, diffusers, speaker grills and wall coverings.

How close can speakers be to acoustically transparent screen? ›

With few exceptions, acoustically transparent projection screens are flush-mounted to the wall directly in front of the speakers but never in direct contact with them. The distance between the acoustic screen material and the speaker should be a minimum of about 5mm to several inches.

What materials are best for absorbing sound? ›

  • Felt (9)
  • Glass wool (8)
  • Melamine foam (3)
  • Polyester wool (9)
  • Polyurethane foam (8)
  • Rock wool (4)

How do you pair transparent speakers? ›

Plug in the power cable, switch the speaker on, press the bluetooth button on the back, select your Transparent Speaker from the list of available bluetooth-devices on your phone or computer. Voila! You can also play through the 3.5 mm cable that is included with your purchase.

Is muslin fabric acoustically transparent? ›

We used muslin on our first set of panels (because burlap is honestly just really ugly), and from an acoustic standpoint it worked perfectly fine. However, muslin does have some drawbacks. It is fairly transparent, rips easily, and can be difficult to upholster smoothly.

How many yards of fabric do you need for an acoustic panel? ›

How Many Yards of Fabric Do I Need? For 6 acoustic panels (2ft x 4f) up to 3" thick, order 5 yards of fabric. Cut the 5 yards of fabric in thirds (5 ft lengths). Cut each of those pieces in half (66" side).

What is the ideal thickness of acoustic material that is best for sound absorption? ›

Also, notice that thinner 1 inch and 2 inch thick panels are great for absorbing high end frequencies while thicker foam and bass traps are preferred for absorbing low end acoustic noise and bass tones.

How do you test fabric for content? ›

Place a piece of the fabric in your fireproof container and ignite one corner. Pay attention to the odor of the smoke. Cotton smells like burning paper and has an afterglow at the end of the burn. An odor similar to burning hair or feathers indicates wool or silk fibers, but silk doesn't always burn as easily as wool.

How do you analyze fabric? ›

The correct procedure of fabric analysis is given below:
  1. Step 1 – identification of warp and weft directions:
  2. Step 2 determination of ends per inch and picks per inch:
  3. Step 3 determination of GSM of the fabric:
  4. Step 4 determination of warp count and weft count:
Feb 13, 2020

What are the methods of identifying fabric? ›

The fabric identification is done by the various fabric weaving machines. There are various machines like inspection machine, burn machine, fabric dying machine, fabric insulation machine and such others for carrying out the burn tests of fabrics.

How do you make see through fabric not see through? ›

Wear a thin slip under a see-through shirt dress.

Instead, choose a thin slip made of smooth fabric that doesn't cling to your dress. This extra layer blocks light from shining through the thin shirt dress. Try on the slip with the shirt dress before you wear it out.

How can you tell that the fabric is high quality? ›

High-quality fabrics feature fibers that are closely and tightly woven together. There should be no obvious gaps between fibers as that's often an indication of weakness in the fiber quality. These fabrics can tear easily.

How do you test for breathable fabric? ›

Breathability is measured using the Thermal Evaporative Resistance (RET) coefficient. It measures the capacity of a fabric to stop water vapour getting out. The lower this resistance (i.e. the lower the coefficient), the more breathable the fabric! (The test method is defined by the ISO 11092 standard).

What is the best shape for acoustics? ›

The shoebox design is a classic format that some say produces the best acoustics, with nine out of the world's top 10 concert halls having this shape according to a 2016 survey by Business Insider.

How thick should an acoustic cloud be? ›

1″ inch clouds are an ideal acoustic treatment for residential spaces and light commercial applications. 2″ thick acoustic ceiling clouds are optimal for heavy commercial spaces such as large gathering areas, music venues, restaurants and open office perimeters.

How thick should acoustic treatment be? ›

Acoustic panels are usually offered in choice of 1”, 2” and 3” thicknesses, whereby thinner panels tend to be used to absorb mid range and high frequencies while thicker 3-inch panels provide added low frequency absorption.

What blocks sound waves? ›

Adding dense material to treatment helps stop sound waves from exiting a source wall, ceiling or floor. Materials include mass-loaded vinyl, drywall, soundproof sheetrock, plywood, fibreboard, concrete or rubber. Different widths and densities in soundproofing material reduces sound within a variable frequency range.

What material can stop sound? ›

Silicone has applications in soundproofing as caulk. It's applied in a paste form and usually cures to form a rubbery coating. This coating is air proof and so stops sound propagation by air. It's also a great damping material and is excellent at damping mid frequency sounds.

Is burlap acoustically transparent? ›

Burlap. Burlap's open-weave pattern means both air and sound can pass through, and it is commonly used for wrapping acoustic panels.

Are curtains acoustically transparent? ›

The acoustic, transparent curtain is the result of many years of innovations within the industry of curtains. The micro-perforations combined with an air gap ensure that this acoustic, transparent curtain has absorption values comparable with the absorption values of thick, fabric curtains.

Is spandex acoustically transparent? ›

Spandex is acoustically transparent even when used in two layers. Its acoustical properties easily rival and surpass even the best commerically available screen materials. This comes with a price: the gain is around 0.8 or lower depending on the amount of stretch applied to it.

What happens if speakers are too close? ›

If your speakers are too close, sounds will blend together and become muddy. If they are too far apart, there will be a gap between the two halves of the stereo image (more on this later). Speaker height. Position your speakers so that the tweeters are at roughly the same height as your ears.

Is acoustically transparent screen worth it? ›

Keep in mind, if you don't plan on putting speakers behind the projector screen, then there really isn't any reason to use an acoustically transparent screen over a standard projector screen. It's going to cost you more money with almost no added benefits.

Can you acoustically treat a small room? ›

The cost of professionally treating the room, and having acoustic treatment custom-built, came to slightly less than that of the monitoring system which benefits from it! Getting good results in a small space isn't easy — but it is possible. And if you're the Technical Editor of Sound On Sound, it's also essential!

Are egg cartons good for soundproofing? ›

Do egg boxes work for soundproofing? The short answer is no. Egg boxes are made of a very thin cardboard, allowing sound waves to travel directly through them and, as such, are unable to help reduce noise. However, egg cartons can help to slightly reduce echoes through sound deflection and diaphragmatic absorption.

What helps absorbing sound? ›

To soundproof your room and reduce noise you need to absorb the sound. You can accomplish this by adding acoustic foam and acoustic panels on walls, hang blankets over sound entry points, and position furniture and rugs to help absorb sound.

What is the best absorber of sound? ›

Solution : Wool is best absorber of sound than others.

Why is my speaker not pairing? ›

If your Bluetooth devices won't connect, it's likely because the devices are out of range, or aren't in pairing mode. If you're having persistent Bluetooth connection problems, try resetting your devices, or having your phone or tablet "forget" the connection.

How do invisible speakers work? ›

Typically, this involves concealing as much of the loudspeaker behind the wall or ceiling and allow the sound produced by the speaker to disperse into the room via a grille-covered hole in the wall that's as small as is acoustically feasible.

Is velvet acoustically transparent? ›

The velvet appears pitch black upon installation although remaining highly acoustical transparent due to being ultra thin. This is how it looks with daylight shining through the fabric. The acoustical loss through this fabric averages at 0,8dB, virtually placing it in the same range as a regular speaker fabric.

Are cotton balls good for soundproofing? ›

Out of all the materials tested, cotton was the most effective in soundproofing, as it had the lowest volume in all four trials. According to my research, cotton's effectiveness is due to it being soft and porous, therefore, it can absorb and soak up the sound.

What is transparent muslin garment called? ›

Gauze is an ultra-lightweight, sheer form of muslin used for clothes, as a filter in the kitchen, and to dress wounds. 2. Mull. Mull is a lightweight, plain muslin usually made from cotton and silk, but sometimes viscose as well.

Which fabrics are acoustically transparent? ›

Acoustically Transparent Fabrics
  • IFR Banner Material CS. Starting at $28.02/yds.
  • KANDEL Linen Cyclorama Fabric. $63.13/yds.
  • Cotton Sheer Muslin. Starting at $14.14/yds.
  • Tristan Leno Scrim. Starting at $240.98/yds.
  • IFR Super Canvas CS. Starting at $67.93/yds.
  • MEGASTRETCH 450. Starting at $85.71/yds.
  • GERRA CS. Starting at $39.33/yds.

Can you have too many acoustic panels? ›

Adding too many acoustical panels in spaces like home theaters or home offices will reduce the reverberation too much and make the space sound “dead”. This isn't usually desirable in those spaces but maybe for recording studios.

Are 1 inch acoustic panels enough? ›

1 inch thick acoustic foam will give you the most bang for your buck. 1 inch foam panels are thin compared to our other foams, but are still effective for reducing flutter echoes and controlling the mid and high frequency ranges.

How do you test acoustic absorption? ›

This test is accomplished by generating a high level of broadband noise into the room, turning it off, and measuring the time it takes for the sound level to drop 25 decibels. This is done simultaneously for frequencies ranging from 80 to 5000 hertz.

What is the best density for sound absorption? ›

100-140kg/m³ Density
  • High-density slabs offer the highest level of sound insulation.
  • The increase in the density from 80kg to 140kg does not double the soundproofing performance of the insulation.
  • The increase in sound insulation diminishes the higher the density.
Sep 6, 2019

Can you have too much sound absorption? ›

Absorbing too much sound can deaden the space and make it sound flat. In social spaces such as restaurants and in studios where the sound of a voice is key, it's imperative to get the balance right between a room being too reverberant and too dry.

Is translucent fabric see through? ›

On the other hand, translucent material lets light pass through but objects on the other side can't be seen clearly. Think stain glass windows, which allow light to come through, but you won't be able to clearly see anything behind the material.

What type of fabric is not see through? ›

Opaque Fabrics

Basically any fabric that will not let light pass through would be considers and opaque fabric.

How do you identify Cambric fabric? ›

Cambric is weaved in different from other fabrics because it involves twisted, short linen and cotton fibers. The fabric has a slight sheen. The fabric is opaque in nature.

How do you test soundproof materials? ›

In simple terms, the sound attenuation test is done as follows:
  1. Measure background noise sound pressure level in the receiving room.
  2. Introduce strong (loud) noise source in the source room.
  3. Measure the resulting sound pressure level in the source room.
  4. Measure the noise level in the receiving room.
Aug 15, 2016

Can you see clearly through a transparent material? ›

Light passes easily through transparent materials, which means you can see through them clearly.

What can I do if my fabric is see through? ›

Top tips for working with transparent fabrics:
  1. Sandwich fabrics between two layers of tissue paper and use weights instead of pins to secure the pattern in place before cutting. ...
  2. Always use a new needle and choose a smaller one like a size 11/75 and team up with a finer polyester or a cotton-covered polyester thread.

Is transparent fully see through? ›

The word transparent is an adjective used to describe “something clear or see-through.” If an object is transparent, you can clearly see things on the other side of it by looking through that object. Almost all the light that encounters a transparent object will pass directly through that object.

How do you make fabric more see through? ›

One of the best ways to make fabric transparent is to get it wet. Many of us have been in unfortunate situations where shirts or trousers have become soaked by the rain to reveal what is underneath.

What fabric allows light to pass through? ›

(of a material or article) allowing light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen. Flame retardant fabrics that are transparent are a unique lineup of textiles. The most common materials that are used are the “magic fabrics” such Sharkstooth Scrim, Opera Net, Bobinette or Gauze.

What fabric is see through wet? ›

"The fabric you can see through, or transparent includes Gossamer, silk, rayon or nylon. Gossamer, also made from silk, rayon or nylon is a gauze type fabric with an extremely fine texture and a loose open weave.

How do you identify fabric by hand? ›

We've listed ways you can tell the difference between hand and power-loom produced fabric.
  1. 1) FABRIC SELVEDGE. A handloom, by its very nature of being handwoven, is bound to have a rugged uneven surface giving it an ethnic appeal. ...
  3. 3) EXTRA THREAD ENDS. ...
Jun 1, 2021

Is there an app for identifying fabric? ›

Overwhelmed by the choice of standard fabrics we offer. You can use our Fabric Finder App. To use the App, click on the link immediately below based on what device you are using and answer a series of questions.

How do you pass a sound test? ›

To pass your sound test you should ensure:
  1. Engineers have access to both sides of the party walls and floors – even if one side of the wall is an occupied dwelling.
  2. There is access to all rooms in the dwellings to be tested.
  3. Spaces to be tested are tidy and empty.
Dec 5, 2016

How do you detect noise in audio? ›

It is predominantly heard at high frequencies, sounding like steam or compressed air. Attempts to measure noise in audio equipment as RMS voltage, using a simple level meter or voltmeter, do not produce useful results; a special noise-measuring instrument is required.

What makes a material good at soundproofing? ›

For a material to be sound proof it has to fall within a proper density range. High enough and sound waves get damped; low enough and they get absorbed. If the material's density is too low, the sound waves are transmitted through. If the density is too high, the waves get reflected off the material's surface.


1. Acoustically transparent fabric comparison: 0.95 gain VS 1.8 gain
(Sibyl Chou XY screen)
2. Heritage Compass Symposium. Live from Coventry Cathedral
(Arts Fundraising)
3. XYscreens professional 4K Woven Acoustically Transparent projector screen for home theater system
(XYscreen-Angela Chen)
4. Nonflammable Acoustic Cloth FR from
5. Should you upgrade to a Nintendo Switch OLED?
(Leo S Luna)
6. Acoustically Transparent Screens: How to Optimize Sight & Sound


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lidia Grady

Last Updated: 07/12/2023

Views: 5235

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lidia Grady

Birthday: 1992-01-22

Address: Suite 493 356 Dale Fall, New Wanda, RI 52485

Phone: +29914464387516

Job: Customer Engineer

Hobby: Cryptography, Writing, Dowsing, Stand-up comedy, Calligraphy, Web surfing, Ghost hunting

Introduction: My name is Lidia Grady, I am a thankful, fine, glamorous, lucky, lively, pleasant, shiny person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.