What are soundproof curtains, and is there such thing as the best soundproof curtains? And the most important question is, do they work?
All of these questions and more will be answered below, so let’s start by discussing what’s the point of soundproofing your room.
Speaking from a drummer’s perspective, how loud a drum set gets indoors is one of the most annoying things to deal with.
A drum set’s insane volume can cause hearing damage, including deafness and tinnitus, and test the patience of your family members and poor neighbors.
The other way around is just as annoying. It’s a terrible feeling when you’re trying to record something and loud external noises like car horns, airplanes, people talking or anything that gives life to a standard city ruins your record.
With that in mind, a couple of things a drummer can do to at least partially improve the first problem are:
Playing an electronic drum kit
Using an electronic kit allows you to control your volume output on an amplifier, so you’re only as loud as you want to. Plus, you can just practice while listening through your headphones. Don’t get me wrong, electronic drum kits are not completely silent, but I’m pretty sure any neighbor will appreciate your investment. On top of that, external noises won’t affect anything you record. If you’re interested in purchasing an electronic kit, HERE’s my article on the best models currently on the market. Looking for a cheaper alternative? HERE’s my budget-friendly version.
Practicing with a practice pad
If an electronic drum kit is too big of an investment, a practice pad is a great alternative. Sure, it isn’t as fun as playing a real drum kit, and you won’t be able to orchestrate your patterns around the kit, but any practice is better than nothing. Plus, if a standard practice pad isn’t your thing, consider investing in a practice pad kit, like the DW “Go Anywhere” Practice Kit.
Lowering the volume
No, seriously, invest in mesh drumheads and low-volume cymbals and take advantage of the acoustic kit you already own. Sure, they are a pain in the ass to set up and remove, as they feel like a “too permanent” solution, but they work well at lowering the overall volume. If you’re interested in following that path, HERE’s my article on the best mesh drumheads, and the ONE on the best low-volume cymbals. On the other hand, if you want a less permanent, but similar solution, investing in drum mutes like the Evans SoundOff is a decent alternative.
Acoustically treat your drum room
That way you prevent a decent amount of internal noise from escaping the room. The most common ways to achieve that are by damping, decoupling, filling the gaps and of course, through absorption.
And what about the second situation? Is there anything you can do to prevent external noises from interfering with your records?
The answer is yes, but the result will be nothing like what you expect because acoustic treatment isn’t the same as soundproofing.
What’s the difference between soundproofing and acoustic treatment?
Well, that’s an easy one because, despite their similarities, they have two completely different purposes.
Soundproofing prevents the sound from entering or leaving the room, while acoustic treatment aims to absorb or diffuse the sound and improve the sound quality within the room.
Acoustic treatment is accomplished using a combination of:
- acoustic panels to absorb sound;
- bass traps on the corners to dampen low-frequency sounds and reduce low-frequency resonances in your room;
- acoustic diffusers to scatter sound;
- soundproof curtains to dampen the noise that typically leaks through the doors and windows.
On the other hand, the harsh truth is, soundproofing is mostly achievable by physically altering the structure of your room and not by hanging foam on your walls.
For example, most professional studios build secondary walls next to the main ones, which they can then use to add insulation to the inside of the new wall while leaving a gap between the two to reduce the noise coming in and out of the studio.
So, does that mean that all the panels, diffusers, and soundproof curtains in the world are useless on their own?
Not really. They do a decent job at dampening internal sound and reverb, as well as partially preventing external noise from leaking through your doors and windows.
The problem is, when something is marketed as soundproof, you expect it to prevent 100% of sound from crossing it. That’s not what happens with soundproof curtains, since they only reduce the sound that goes through.
To avoid any confusion, soundproof curtains manufacturers should start naming their products “sound dampening curtains” for example.
Do soundproof curtains work despite not being soundproof?
Yes, they do. Like I said in the previous paragraph, the problem lies in false advertising, as “sound dampening” or “sound-reducing” would be the correct term.
Despite the confusing name, soundproof curtains do a decent job at dampening the noise and reducing the reverb within your room. Plus, when you hang them near windows and doors, they reduce the external noise that leaks through, which is a blessing for anyone trying to record from home.
They work by partially absorbing the sound that tries to cross them, instead of amplifying or reflecting like any smooth and hard surface would do.
Since doors and windows are much thinner than your average wall and often have multiple gaps, they are usually where most sound leakage, to and from outside, happens.
Soundproof curtains often have multiple layers and are heavier than your standard curtains, and more mass usually means less noise going through.
On top of lowering the overall volume, they reduce the natural reverb of the room. That is something anyone trying to record tracks should take into consideration.
Are soundproof curtains useful for anything else?
The answer is yes, and here are a few examples:
Not every set of soundproof curtains can double as blackout curtains, but most of them do.
In that case, they are excellent at blocking the sun from entering your room, considering the same features that reduce the volume also work well as light and thermal insulators.
This was especially important to me since my drum room is also my office. It includes a desk with a laptop and a TV, as well as a sofa, and sadly, 3 small windows.
Due to the sun directly hitting all 3 windows most of the day, sometimes working on the computer or watching a movie was incredibly difficult thanks to the screen glare.
That lasted until I bought my first pair of soundproof curtains and “killed two birds with one stone”.
If you work night shifts, investing in soundproof curtains improves your mix as much as your sleep, so they’re one of the best purchases you’ll ever make.
I currently live in a 40-year-old house, with little to no insulation. That results in really hot summers, and extra cold winters.
Adding soundproof curtains to my drum room was a blessing, considering it’s the place where I spent most of my time while at home.
That resulted in a cozy room all year long, and if it was up to me, every single window of my house would have a set of soundproof curtains, since it’s way cheaper than standard insulation.
On top of that, it also lowered my energy bill since I don’t rely on my AC as long as I’m in my drum room, which is most of the time when I’m not sleeping.
I’m not that worried about privacy, since I’m on the second floor. If you’re, soundproof curtains are just as good at blocking the sun, as they’re at blocking anything else.
They are especially important in rooms full of valuable gear, like most drum rooms, I would imagine.
Things to consider when shopping for soundproof curtains
Even though they are far from the most expensive thing you can have in your drum room, it’s still important to think about a few things before jumping ship:
Shopping for soundproof curtains is similar to shopping for standard ones, but with a small, yet important, difference.
When buying standard curtains you measure the size of the window and buy something that matches those measurements.
Since the main goal of soundproof curtains is to prevent sound from leaking through the window, including all of its gaps, you need to make sure whatever curtains you buy extend further on all sides of the window.
The goal is to completely cover everything, so always buy something that’s at least 10 to 15 inches taller and 2-3 times wider than all of your windows and doors.
Soundproof curtains are heavy, or at least heavier than your usual curtains. As you could’ve guessed, the heavier, the better they reduce the sound that tries to cross them.
High-density curtains are also a priority, considering more fibers equals more noise reduction, which is our main goal.
With that in mind, it’s important to guarantee both the wall and the curtain rods you’re planning to use are good enough to support that extra weight.
Considering decent soundproof curtains can weigh up to 10lb a pair, don’t forget to use heavy-duty curtain rods that can safely hold the curtains.
As expected, the materials that the soundproof curtains are made of heavily impact their sound dampening capability.
With that in mind, the most common fabrics found in soundproof curtains are velvet, velour, felt, or suede. They are usually made of multiple layers and tightly woven.
As we’ve seen before, you should look for the heaviest options, because they usually have more fibers that are more effective at sound dampening.
Plus, make sure you buy something machine washable if you don’t want to spend your free time dry cleaning them.
Rods & Grommets
Like I mentioned previously, soundproof curtains can get quite heavy, with most weighing something like 5 to 10 pounds.
That’s almost 3 to 5 times the average weight of a standard curtain. If you’re planning to use your existing rods, make sure they are strong enough to hold that type of weight.
If they are not, consider investing in heavy-duty rods so you can safely hang them on your wall.
On top of that, if you have the option to purchase soundproof curtains with strong grommets, go for it, as they allow you to easily hang them on any curtain rod and facilitate the opening and closing of curtains.
Well, this part is subjective, since what I like, is not necessarily what you like. Either way, soundproof curtains are not known for having extravagant designs.
Most have some sort of neutral finish, like black or grey, which for me is fine, considering I’m more of a minimalism type of guy. If you like flashy things, you might have a hard time shopping for soundproof curtains.
And the best part? The look you end up going with won’t affect their noise reduction capabilities, so follow your heart.
But, if you’re someone that spends a lot of time in your drum room, you want something that won’t be painful to look at during extended periods.
Whatever you end up buying, just make sure it blends well with the design of your drum room, if that’s something you care about.
Soundproof curtains alternatives
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, soundproof curtains aren’t the only option to acoustically treat your room.
If you feel like the soundproof curtains you bought are not doing nearly enough, consider investing in acoustic foam panels.
And please, stay away from egg boxes. They are ugly and don’t do much when it comes to acoustic treatment.
Additionally, bass traps are important to reduce low-frequency sounds, and diffusers work well when you want to redirect the sound without necessarily reducing it much.
In the end, the best result certainly comes from a combination of every option, so invest in a little bit of everything, if you can and feel it’s necessary.
Fortunately for us, soundproof curtains come in many different fabrics, sizes, and colors, so let’s talk discuss the best soundproof curtains currently on the market:
My first suggestion is one of, if not the most popular option when it comes to soundproof curtains.
This model, in particular, is considered a 3-in-1 since it can:
- reduce the noise that usually leaks through your windows;
- completely block all the sunlight;
- provide thermal insulation to your room, by partially keeping both the heat and cold outside.
Plus, the fact that they’re also blackout curtains increases your privacy while the thermal insulation provided reduces your energy bill.
On top of that, the Nicetown Blackout Curtains are made with 3 layers – 2 triple weave fabric and 1 detachable felt fabric.
The curtains are available in multiple different colors and patterns. A few different grommets are also available, if you are someone that values having multiple options.
As far as the size goes, they are available with a width and length ranging from 20 to 200 inches.
Considering the more folds, the better the curtains are at noise dampening, buy according to your window sizes while leaving enough room for multiple folds. As far as width goes, you want something that’s 150% to 200% the size of your window.
They do a decent job at blocking certain noises, like cars passing by and wind, but don’t expect them to do much against a construction site next door.
My main concern is the price, considering they’re sold as a single panel or split panel and cost, on average, around $60, at the time of writing.
My second suggestion is similar to the first one, with a few small but important differences, so let’s talk about it.
Just like the first model, the RYB Home Blackout Soundproof Curtain is effective at reducing the noise, blocking the sun, and making your room cozier thanks to the thermal insulation.
Don’t want your neighbors to know what you have in a room full of expensive drum gear? Well, no problem! Besides blocking the sun, these curtains are a great way to increase the room’s privacy.
On top of that, there are also three layers including two layers of blackout fabric and one of sound-absorbent cotton.
Compared to the previous option, the RYB Home Curtains only comes in 23 different colors and there are no patterns available.
When it comes to the panels’ sizes, you can choose a width ranging from 30 to 150 inches, which is on par with the previous curtains.
The length though, is where you find the biggest difference between the two options. This curtain starts at 40 inches, but only goes all the way up to 150 inches, which makes it a less than ideal option for tall windows.
Additionally, they are sold with a few different headers, including grommets, single rod pockets, and hook belts.
When it comes to the price, they cost the same as the previous model, with a single panel costing $60 on average, which might sound like a nightmare for someone on a budget.
Despite the price, they do an excellent job at creating a peaceful and cozy environment which is all we can ask for.
My next suggestion comes from H.Versailtex, one of the leading suppliers of home textiles and decorations, like curtains.
As expected, these soundproof curtains do a great job at blocking the UV rays and keeping the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
That results in a lower energy bill and an increase in privacy while allowing you to take a quick nap in the middle of the day.
On top of that, they are also decent when it comes to noise reduction, but I feel like they’re the weakest in that department when compared to all the alternatives in the article.
There are a few colors to choose from, but they are mostly neutral colors like different shades of grey and beige with a couple of blue or red options in the middle.
Unlike the previous alternatives, H.Versailtex sells the Linen Blackout Curtains as a pair and you can’t choose the width, since 52” is the only option available.
Additionally, they are manufactured with faux burlap linen and every single model comes with 8 copper grommets with an 1.6″ inner rim.
As far as length goes, you have a few options to choose from, starting from 45” up to 108”.
This model in particular is machine washable, but make sure to only use cold water and a gentle cycle to avoid damaging them in the process.
To conclude, considering they are cheaper than the previous alternatives, the H.Versailtex Linen Blackout Curtains are great soundproof curtains for someone on a tight budget.
Deconovo is another popular home décor brand. They sell everything from cushion covers to tablecloths and of course, soundproof curtains.
Their Total Blackout Curtains provide you a completely dark room no matter what time of the day it is or how bright it is outside.
Besides blocking the sun, they also do an excellent job at balancing the temperature of your room by reducing the heat and the cold all year long.
Similar to all the other options, that results in a lower energy bill and increases the privacy of your drum room.
On top of that, the curtains are manufactured with two layers of high density 100% polyester fabric, which offers decent noise-reducing capabilities.
Each package includes two total blackout panels, with 52” width each and a length ranging from 45” to 108”.
As of today, they have a total of 19 colors to choose from, and as far as headers go, the only option available is a grommet header with the standard 1.6” inner diameter grommets.
Deconovo Total Blackout Curtains are machine washable (maximum 86º F) and you shouldn’t bleach or tumble dry them to avoid damaging the fabric.
In the end, the best part about the Deconovo Total Blackout Curtains is the price, considering it’s lower than some of the alternatives while offering a similar product.
Last, but certainly not least, I present you with the premium option when it comes to soundproof curtains.
As if the name didn’t make it obvious enough, the Moondream curtains are another all-in-one solution when it comes to blocking sound, light, and temperature.
According to Moondream, their Soundproof Thermal Blackout Curtains:
- completely block the sunlight;
- offer thermal insulation, including a reduction of the heating costs in the winter and a temperature drop during the summer;
- guarantee noise reduction of up to -12 dB.
They achieve that by manufacturing curtains with 4 different layers. The first layer is 100% polyester, followed by a 99.99% polyester and 0.01% Aluminum one, a 100% white recycled cotton layer, and the deepest one is 50% acrylic and 50% polyester.
On top of that, they are sold as a single panel and weigh around 4.3lbs, which is great because the heavier, the better, as we’ve seen earlier.
Additionally, this particular model is sold with 8 rust-proof grommets with a 1.6” inner diameter, and unfortunately, it’s only available in black, red, green, grey, yellow, and beige.
Sadly, they’re also only available in 4 different sizes, all with 52” width and a length ranging from 63” to 108”.
To conclude, besides the few sizes and colors available, the only problem I can think of is the price, since it costs 3 times as much as some of the previous options.
Let’s be real, if you want a high-quality product, you’ve to pay accordingly, but in my opinion, they could be cheaper.
I think it’s obvious by now that soundproof curtains are not really soundproof, but sound dampening instead.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you should honestly lower your expectations when shopping around.
The truth is, soundproof curtains on their own will help, but won’t fix the excessive noise issues.
On that note, if you want the best results, mix them with things like acoustic panels and bass traps for a real noise-canceling room.
Despite its obvious weaknesses, soundproof curtains have a place in most drum rooms. Besides dampening the noise, they help you control the room temperature all year long and block the sunlight when it becomes annoying.
In the end, if you’re only satisfied with the best of the best and soundproofing is the most important feature you’re looking for, the Moondream 3-in-1 Soundproof Thermal Blackout Velvet Curtains is what you need.
On the other hand, if you’re someone on a tight budget, the H.Versailtex Linen Blackout Curtains is your best bet.
Either way, I hope this article achieved its main purpose of educating you on the importance of soundproof curtains, their main purposes, and which are the best soundproof curtains currently on the market.