Let’s Talk Acoustic Carpet. All “acoustics” are not the same. We have soundproofing and then we have sound conditioning. Soundproofing means keeping the sound in the room and sound conditioning usually means getting the sound that’s in the room to calm down. Some acoustic carpets are about soundproofing, reducing the sound transmitted to your neighbors, downstairs. Other carpet acoustics are about sound conditioning. In high-end audio applications, there certainly will be times when we need soundproofing but we always need sound conditioning.
Soundproofing is a complicated subject and it’s best left to an expert in soundproofing to choose what you need. Mostly what you do about soundproofing depends on the frequency range you are trying to soundproof. Soundproofing bass is always more difficult and expensive than soundproofing treble.
In the carpet world, soundproofing usually comes in the underlayment. It is a sheet of heavy material, typically MLV or Mass Loaded Vinyl with foam above and below it. It blocks the treble but not the bass.
Here’s a basic idea about soundproofing to always remember: Soundproofing means doing something to the wall, floor or ceiling surfaces of your room so that sound cannot go through them. If the sound can’t go through the surfaces of your room, guess what? The sound remains in the room. Soundproofing usually means that sound is reflected back into the room, where it came from. If you are in a soundproof room, and make a sound, the sound you made will stay in the room, for a long time.
It’s the “for a long time” part of soundproofing that does not work for high-end audio. In high-performance audio environments, we may or may not care about soundproofing. But what we always care about sound conditioning. We always care about how the “sound of the sound” sounds in our room.
Soundproofing stops the sound from leaving the room. Sound conditioning manages the sound that’s in the room. Whenever you add soundproofing to a high-end listening room you have to add, at the same time, extra sound conditioning in order to deal with the extra energy in the room, the energy you kept from leaving the room. One of the ways to introduce sound conditioning to rooms is to add an acoustic carpet.
Carpet acoustics is usually reserved for the higher frequency range, typically the treble range, above middle C, or 250 Hz, and contributes nothing to the bass range.