Questions relative to fabrics found in movie theaters

S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
From what I know, inside most theaters, there are rugs, curtains, acoustic panels, and of course seats. Curtains can be made of velour, velvet, velveteen and whatnot. Or synthetic imitation. Do all of these fabrics have similar acoustic properties? What are the most common fabrics found in public movie theaters?

So, I have two acoustic panels here, one 100% polyester, the other is something more textured, it is advertised as being "Pro acoustic fabric" with no other information given. I have no idea what it is. These two acoustic panels do not seem to impact sound the same. I do prefer the acoustic panel with more texture to it. I would be thankful if someone knowledgeable can provide maximum information about this matter and also acoustic properties of commonly used fabrics and their graphics. Thanks.
 
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TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
From what I know, inside most theaters, there are rugs, curtains, acoustic panels, and of course seats. Curtains can be made of velour, velvet, velveteen and whatnot. Or synthetic imitation. Do all of these fabrics have similar acoustic properties? What are the most common fabrics found in public movie theaters?

So, I have two acoustic panels here, one 100% polyester, the other is something more textured, it is advertised as being "Pro acoustic fabric" with no other information given. I have no idea what it is. These two acoustic panels do not seem to impact sound the same. I do prefer the acoustic panel with more texture to it. I would be thankful if someone knowledgeable can provide maximum information about this matter and also acoustic properties of commonly used fabrics and their graphics. Thanks.

An 'acoustic absorber panel' will be wrapped in a porous fabric that serves two purposes - 1) let sound through to the absorptive material behind, and 2) convert off axis sound reflections of high frequencies into heat by way of how they drag across the fabric, thereby losing energy.

Porous fabrics are also used to hide speakers. An 'acoustically transparent' fabric is what speaker grills are made from, and can also be used for wall coverings.

The thickness of the panel gives an indication to what frequency range it is capable of absorbing - but that information needs to be combined with what kind of absorptive material is being used.

Thicker panels are often called for to absorb bass frequencies. But, the normal furnishings of a living room - the couch, pillows, thick curtains, carpet with thick pad, etc. also serve the same purpose. Sometimes you may need more in specific places.

And that's where acoustic measurements come in. Without them, you are flying blind. I know a guy who runs a video business that spent who knows how much on dozens of panels only to find he created a 'dead' sounding space. Our brains rely on sound reflections to orient ourselves in a space. Absorb too many reflections, and you can easily create a space that is uncomfortable to even hold a conversation in.
 
S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
An 'acoustic absorber panel' will be wrapped in a porous fabric that serves two purposes - 1) let sound through to the absorptive material behind, and 2) convert off axis sound reflections of high frequencies into heat by way of how they drag across the fabric, thereby losing energy.

Porous fabrics are also used to hide speakers. An 'acoustically transparent' fabric is what speaker grills are made from, and can also be used for wall coverings.

The thickness of the panel gives an indication to what frequency range it is capable of absorbing - but that information needs to be combined with what kind of absorptive material is being used.

Thicker panels are often called for to absorb bass frequencies. But, the normal furnishings of a living room - the couch, pillows, thick curtains, carpet with thick pad, etc. also serve the same purpose. Sometimes you may need more in specific places.

And that's where acoustic measurements come in. Without them, you are flying blind. I know a guy who runs a video business that spent who knows how much on dozens of panels only to find he created a 'dead' sounding space. Our brains rely on sound reflections to orient ourselves in a space. Absorb too many reflections, and you can easily create a space that is uncomfortable to even hold a conversation in.
Hi,

I pretty much already knew most of this, and I also have a question relative to that. If the speakers are near your ears and loud enough like in a movie theater, wouldn't that cancel the dead room itself and forces the brain to only focus on the speakers sound. Does the importance of the room reflection stays the same regardless of the loudness for example. Thanks.

On the other hand, if the sound perception stays room dependent, I was thinking, specific material will impact specific frequencies and give a "taste" to the sound. Hence why I am interested to dig further about different fabrics. If someone can share more based on experience I will be thankful.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Ninja
Hi,

I pretty much already knew most of this, and I also have a question relative to that. If the speakers are near your ears and loud enough like in a movie theater, wouldn't that cancel the dead room itself and forces the brain to only focus on the speakers sound. Does the importance of the room reflection stays the same regardless of the loudness for example. Thanks.

On the other hand, if the sound perception stays room dependent, I was thinking, specific material will impact specific frequencies and give a "taste" to the sound. Hence why I am interested to dig further about different fabrics. If someone can share more based on experience I will be thankful.
Sound should be natural. If you look through a window, you should see exactly what is outside. If the window is blue, then you have colored your perspective. Same thing with sound. Every part of the signal chain, including the room, should be neutral, if accurate reproduction is your goal.
 
S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
That's debatable. What is neutral and natural. But inside a public movie theater, do you consider the sound to be natural and neutral?

*Nevermind that's useless. Back to the topic. ^^
 
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S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
I hope that this discussion can kick a little further (because I don't want to spend too much time and money trying to recreate that same acoustic). Here I got a closeup screenshot. I would like to know what is the fabric used, and what is the mathematical disposition of this fabric and is there anything underneath it.
cinema curtain or whatnot 2.png

Here a document providing some NRC values for different fabrics:

Perhaps some interesting information here:
Comparing-Theater-Stage-Fabrics-R3.png


Also I would like to know what is this fabric here for the seating, Velour, velvet, chenille... ?
theater-theatre-seat-red.jpg
 
S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
Looks like I am going to do the job myself ^^

According to this web site https://www.lookban.com/what-fabrics-to-choose-for-upholstering-theatre-seats/?lang=en
The upholstery fabrics are mainly: velour, trevira, and molton.
Now if anyone has something on trevira and molton, I am highly interested to learn more.

*Other names for Molton: Duvetyne, Duvetyn cloth, Rokel, Commando Cloth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duvetyne
"By the 1930s, however, it was widely noted for its use in constructing theatrical cycloramas[9][10] and theater curtains."
 
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M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
These days, shiny, clinical/sterile looking rooms are trendy, for music, at least. The more expensive the equipment becomes, the worst the rooms get. Giant amps etc. on the floor at one end, and speakers well out into the room, a token, centrally located, postage-stamp-sized area rug, and not much else.

I used to install carpeting for a living. Covering the floor with wall-to-wall padded carpet was the single most noticeable improvement to SQ. You could tell just by speaking in the room. and again when we moved the sofas and such back in. I notice it again every time I take my furniture out to paint. Room becomes a spring-loaded canyon.
 
S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
These days, shiny, clinical/sterile looking rooms are trendy, for music, at least. The more expensive the equipment becomes, the worst the rooms get. Giant amps etc. on the floor at one end, and speakers well out into the room, a token, centrally located, postage-stamp-sized area rug, and not much else.
So true. I went to my nearest audio center and took a listen to a $100k audio chain in what was supposed to be a treated room. I let you guess how it sounded like : Ear-bleeding good.
 
S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
According to my research, wool serge fabric is currently the heaviest and most absorptive type of fabric commonly used in theater. Here a test from a company based in uk (acoustic-curtains):
acoustic curtains.co.uk.png


Another one here including velvet velour:

acoustic performance.png
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
I will say that in all my years, one of the best sounding rooms I was ever in was one which all the walls were covered in carpet.

I had been in several which had been fully treated with good acoustical tiles, and I felt like they were just too dead to me. No reflections is not ideal is what I was thinking.

The carpet was a pretty standard issue berber. It was dark, for the theater, but it struck a great balance between cost and effectiveness. I've never seen it done before, or since then, but it stuck out in my mind as one of the best solutions I've ever seen.

I would think materials used on furniture is just not going to be a major impact in the grand scheme of things. As long as it isn't a huge wooden or glass table.
 
S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
Thanks for mentioning berber carpet.

I have a question relative to movie theater walls. Why do we often see a bottom margin? Why does the curtain or panel doesn't fill the whole wall ? Is there any acoustic reason or just to allow more space for the customers? I will post 2 pictures:

Theatre_hall-1 2.jpg


movie-theater-seat 2.jpg
 
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S

ScareDe2

Enthusiast
Here is some closeups I took when watching footage of an abandoned theater built in the 90's and again there is a bottom margin and the wall is clearly covered with some kind of carpet.

50 abandonne movie theater back wall 3 HQ.png

50 abandonne movie theater back wall.png


50 abandonne movie theater back wall 2 HQ.png
 

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