“Why Acoustic Foam is DEADLY for your studio or venue!”

“Why Acoustic Foam is DEADLY for your studio or venue!” 

Remember back in 2003, when 100 people were killed in under two minutes from a fire that set ablaze The Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island?  I was reminded of this deadly and traumatic event earlier today and I wanted to share it with our group and bring to light the main reason why this happened so abruptly and why “acoustic foam” is USELESS and even HARMFUL when integrating it into a studio or live venue as acoustic treatment. 

Though the listening room at The Station didn’t boast a sprinkler system, the fire was able to spread so quickly throughout the room due to the high flammability of the acoustic foam treatment that surrounded the stage and listening areas. Because of its formaldehyde and polyurethane based chemical composition, the flames found new life in the foam and literally engulfed the room with black smoke in about a minute and a half (as demonstrated by this reenacted video below):

Other than its incredibly dangerous and high-flammability qualities, here are 5 other reasons why acoustic foam should never be used!

1.) Foam is only capable of attenuating high, treble frequencies, thus being completely ineffective to any mid and bass frequencies that are building up within the room. Here is a comparative Absorption Coefficient Chart to prove its use: 

 2" Auralex Foam

125Hz.  250Hz.   500Hz.   1kHz.   2kHz.   4kHz.

0.11        0.30          0.91        1.05     0.99      1.00 

2" OC703 Fiberglas

125Hz.  250Hz.   500Hz.   1kHz.   2kHz.   4kHz.

0.17        0.86         1.14        1.07      1.02       0.98 

2.) Over time, breathing in polyurethane and formaldehyde chemicals can be incredibly detrimental to your long term heath, not to mention how easily foam is physically broken down, releasing harmful spores into the air within the confined surroundings of a studio or venue space.

3.) Its cheap manufacturing process proves true to its thin, low density, and lightweight appearance and effectiveness making it frustrating to work with and even begin to hear the slightest bit of sonic difference.

4.) The sheer unpleasant aesthetics will devalue the visual capacities and capabilities of any given space, branding it as cheap and ineffective. You wouldn’t use newspaper in place of high-quality wallpaper to give your room the life it desires and deserves would you?  

5.) Any serious, professional engineer or producer in the industry will scoff at the use of acoustic foam due to the above reasons and its overall ineffectiveness and irrelevancy to even exist or be used as acoustic or soundproofing treatment. Don’t lose face and tarnish your studio’s reputation by cutting corners and trying to fix an open wound with a Sesame Street Bandaid.  

Do yourself a favor and fix the problem before it ever even exists! By integrating true Wall Absorption Panels into your studio or venue space, you allow yourself a night a day’s sonic opportunity to make your mixes translate seamlessly across any and all mediums. Keep your ears, eyes, and mind open, feel free to drop me a line anytime! 

Much Love,

Tyler, Acoustics Advisor & Product Specialist 

Email: Tyler@ngacoustics.com

Instagram: @tlong_music  


Link to Acoustic Foam Fire at The Station:

Sound on Sound’s take on Foam Vs. Fiber: 

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