Soundproofing Plus: The Role of STC: Soundproofing Ratings Demystified

The Role of STC: Soundproofing Ratings Demystified

Some soundproofing products come with a semi-mysterious number rating: STC. Soundproofing is given a sound transmission class (that’s the “STC”) to indicate, generally, how much sound it blocks, and a higher STC is better. That’s great … but what does that number really mean?

Here are the basics of STC. Soundproofing products are exposed in a lab to 16 frequencies from 125Hz to 4KHz. The lab measures how much of each frequency is blocked by the soundproofing material, and how much is transmitted right on through. The higher the STC, the more sound the material blocked.

Simple enough, but there’s more to the story. STC tells you roughly the decibel reduction you’ll get from that material, but that doesn’t mean the reduction is the same for all frequencies. A material may block some frequencies much better than others.

Those “others” are very low frequencies, usually. These aren’t tested, so the STC rating doesn’t tell you how well a material blocks thumping bass; machinery, train, and truck noise; and other frequencies that hang out in the 80Hz range.    

For more information, we’ve put together a lovely visual presentation on STC. The video covers even more about STC ratings, but if you’re still hungry for knowledge after it’s done, feel free to call Audimute at 866-505-MUTE (6883). We’ll talk STC, soundproofing, and science with you all day long, and we’ll make sure that you’re armed with the knowledge you need to make the right soundproofing choice.

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