Next Acoustics™ FAQ's
If you’re comparing cost versus the competitors, it’s a no-brainer, but the fact of the matter is you need performance too. So you should always do your homework by comparing the NRC (Noice Reduction Coefficient) values as well. We test all of our products at the prestigious Riverbank Acoustical Labs. Many of our competitors do the same, but some either haven’t re-tested their products in many years, or they just grab competitors numbers and post them as their own. If you’re at all unsure about our test numbers, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll e-mail you the test results.
Our Next Foam cuts easily with a straightedge blade (long box cutter) or we actually suggest using an electric carving knife, just like the one Mom uses on the turkey. Just make sure you pre-plan your cuts and don’t drink so much coffee you get all jumpy. A steady hand is required. Finally, don't force the knife, make sure it’s very sharp, let the blade do all the work!
What's the difference between your Next Foam, and other products like Auralex Studiofoam and packing foam?
First, our Next Foam is specially formulated to absorb sound. We’ve designed it so that the density and airflow of our Next Foam is the perfect balance to minimize reflections, allow soundwaves to pass into our foam, yet absorb the energy. Other acoustical foams on the market are too loose with their formulas, and the result is a product that can’t come close to meeting our test results. Heck they can’t even come close to meeting their own published results. And don’t get us started on packing foam. That is a product that is designed for a tight fit in a shipping box, but has minimal – at best – acoustical properties. Hang that stuff on your wall and you’ll be able to watch it begin to deteriorate over time. And packing foam is not treated with the same flame-retardent additives as Next Foam, so you’re likely working with a product that isn’t even close to Class “B”. In fact, it’s likely isn’t fire retardant at all.
What’s the best way to hang my Next Foam?
Depending on how permanent an installation you want, you can use everything from T-pins, finishing nails and toothpicks (that’d be the temporary installation..), our easy-to-use double stick mounting, ApeTape (for a longer lasting installation) or our FoamFast Spray Adhesive. If you're looking for a caulk-based adhesive, try PL300® Foamboard Adhesive. You can find that product at your local hardware store, or purchase ApeTape or FoamFast through our website store. The bond of these types of adhesive is PERMANENT! You’ll leave large chunks of your Next Foam on the wall if you try and remove the panels after the adhesive dries. When using caulk adhesive, make sure of your installation plan, because once it’s hung, it’s hung for good.
What do you mean when you talk about Class “B” Flammability and Next Foam?
Does that mean my Next Foam is fire retardant? Yes. All Next Acoustics acoustical foam products are fire retardant. Next Acoustics adds its fire retardant chemicals during the mixing process. They are not added after the fact. Next Foam is considered Class “B”. This is based on the Standard for Surface Burning (ASTM E84 or NFPA 255). These tests yield two numbers: “Flame Spread Index” and “Smoke Developed Index.” The test numbers are then compared with three ranges called out in building and fire safety codes. The three ranges correspond to “Class A,” Class B,” and “Class C.” (Sometimes also referred to as “Class 1,” “Class 2,” and “Class 3.”) “Class A” is the highest rating a product can receive. It means that the product will not burn at a rapid rate, will self-extinguish, but may produce some smoke. “Class B.” (which Next Foam acoustical foam falls into) will burn at a more rapid rate than a “Class A” material, but will still self-extinguish and will produce smoke. “Class C” is the lowest, and if you have a product in this class, it will likely burn more, take a longer time to self-extinguish and produce more smoke. You should know that all “classes” noted above are considered “fire retardant.” When making your purchasing decision, you should be very skeptical of any acoustical foam product that does not carry a “Class” designation. That likely means that those products exhibit no fire retardant characteristics whatsoever…
Next Acoustics acoustical foam will smolder and smoke, but it will not burst into flames. As long as the source of the flame is not consistent (i.e. it is removed or goes out), the foam will “self-extinguish.” But just like every other piece of furniture, artwork, or knick knack in your room, if you expose it to any open heat source including (but not limited to) welding, smoking material, naked lights, open flame, space heaters, burning operations, other ignition sources, or other sufficiently intense causes of heat or flame, and if it is exposed continuously, Next Foam (like any other product such as wood, fabric, upholstery, etc.) WILL burn. The resultant fire and heat will consume oxygen at a high rate, and in an enclosed space, the resulting deficiency of oxygen will present a danger of suffocation to the occupants. Hazardous gases and smoke released can be incapacitating or fatal to human beings if inhaled in sufficient quantities. Next Acoustics cannot be held liable for the misuse of products or injuries caused by the misuse of products. Here’s what it comes down to – regardless of whether you use Next Foam acoustical foam products or not – Use common sense! Practice general safety in your room, studio, or facility. Fire extinguishers, fire exits, etc. should all be considered with general safety in mind.
Depends on where you are, what type of facility you’re in, etc. We wish we could tell you that all building codes are the same, but unfortunately they vary widely around the country. The fact is, something that would pass your local fire codes, may not be compliant in the same type of building in the next town. When starting any commercial project, it makes good, common sense to see your local authorities (i.e. fire marshal, fire inspector, or building inspector) to review the local codes prior to purchasing any acoustical products.
Is your product considered “Green”?
Look, we’re as environmentally conscious as we can possible be (we recycle, maintain our production lines to minimize excess waste, heck the boss even won’t let us use the heater in the winter so we don’t waste electricity), but the movement to “green” acoustical foam – while a noble gesture – just isn’t ready for primetime yet. We were as excited as the next guy when soy additive became a viable raw material in the production of foam, but it simply isn’t a workable replacement yet for acoustical foam. If you want to sit on it, sleep on it or use it to box up your Grandma’s favorite lamp, it’s a perfect product. But if you want your investment in acoustical foam to perform, look great, and hold up over the long haul, it doesn’t measure up. The “green” foam that is out there flat out does not test anywhere close acoustically to our Next foam (don’t believe us? Call your favorite “green” acoustical foam manufacturer and ask them for their test results). It does not have the same feel and texture (check it out, it feels dry and even a little brittle), and will it hold up over the long haul? Nobody knows because it is a recent development. While we’re working very hard to minimize the ecological footprint of our product, we will simply not degrade its performance with a first-generation “green” fix. If you want us to be “eco-friendly”, be assured that we’ll print your order on recycled paper, but we will not send you a product that underperforms just because we want to advertise that we’re “green”.
Why do you only offer one color (Charcoal)?
Great question! From our experience in the past, no color other than charcoal gray retains its color very well over a period of time. All foam products oxidize, which means they yellow. Charcoal masks this much better than any other colors we have seen. In our experience, we have been very disappointed in the aesthetics of older installations using any color other than charcoal. Charcoal also offers the advantage of being “timeless.” It may not the color of the year…(remember teal) but it will always be an acceptable decorative option. Finally (and perhaps most importantly), while others may continue to offer other colors, be aware that the foam formulation is likely actually what is called in the foam industry a “toy spec” and may not offer the same performance or fire-rating of a higher quality charcoal.
Why don’t you offer acoustical diffusors?
While at some point in the near future, we will likely have product offerings that provide the same benefit of diffusors, at a significantly lower cost. The reality is that in most smaller rooms, the short distance from the listening position to the walls/ceiling greatly limits the effectiveness of true diffusion. What does that mean? Your room probably does not need diffusion. In smaller rooms, you can eliminate the “slap echo” and prevent it from being too dry by spreading out the foam absorbers. i.e. use smaller pieces and place them such that exposed, flat wall spaces are broken up; then you won’t have large areas of untreated surfaces that cause direct reflections producing slap or flutter echo. By spreading out your treatment, the smaller, exposed areas actually remain reflective but don’t cause the unwanted reflections, and leave enough reflective energy in the room so it is not “too dry.” Our CityBlox come in smaller pieces (4’ x 24”) so that you can “disburse” them, and our other Next foams can be easily cut into smaller pieces. In many situations, you can obtain the sound you want without diffusion. By the way, if you’ve done any shopping for acoustical products, you probably are wondering why diffusors cost so much? And why do some company’s push diffusion so hard? Maybe you should ask their Chief Financial Officer?
Here’s a tip: Anyone advertising Soundproofing foam, knows NOTHING about acoustics. Anyone promoting “Soundproofing through acoustical foam” is being deceptive and misleading the public. While acoustical foam will reduce the sound energy in a room and thus somewhat limit what escapes, it is a poor choice to stop sound transmission in or out of a space. To be effective it would have to be very thick and cover all the “offending” surfaces; not economical, attractive or space efficient. If you need to mitigate sound transmission, there are a number of products out there that work well for the task. Many times, traditional building products, such as another layer of drywall, will suffice for residential needs. You can always email us at email@example.com if you need help with noisy neighbors.