How Does Sound Deadening Work in a Vehicle?

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According to Best Car Audio:

“Most mobile audio enthusiasts know that sound deadening is an important part of a car audio system upgrade. This simple material will not only reduce the amount of road and wind noise that you hear, but it can dramatically improve the performance of your audio system. Let’s take a close look at how common sound deadening materials work.

What Is Sound Deadening?

“Whether you call it sound deadening, soundproofing or damping material, the goal of the product is to make the interior of your car or truck quieter. While there are exceptions, the majority of sound deadening products on the market are available in sheets that combine a layer of butyl rubber compound and a layer of aluminum. The aluminum exists to provide structural stability to the material and allow it to span gaps and openings in the door and other body panels.

“Several companies offer damping materials that add a thin layer of foam on top of the aluminum to prevent buzzes and rattles from wiring harnesses and door lock actuator rods for an even quieter interior.

How Does Sound Deadening Work?

“The base layer is a dense, flexible sheet of elastomeric butyl. This gooey, sticky material is applied to flat metal surfaces of your vehicle to add mass. This increase in mass makes it more difficult for sound energy from outside the vehicle to vibrate the metal panel and transfer into the interior.

“Imagine listening to an in-wall or in-ceiling speaker. If you were to cover the speaker with a sheet of Saran Wrap, it wouldn’t have much effect on the sound. Now, imagine doing the same thing with a heavy rubber floor mat from your car. The heavy, dense mass of the rubber absorbs a significant amount of the sound energy, reducing how much you hear.

“If you treat the inner and outer layers of your vehicle doors with damping material, you can diminish the sound in the car by 6 to 7 dB or more. Adding damping to the cargo area or trunk, the fenders, the firewall and the roof can improve this number even more.

“A truly beneficial side effect of treating your vehicle with sound deadening is an audible improvement in outgoing Bluetooth hands-free audio clarity, thanks to the reduction in background noise.

How Does Sound Deadening Improve My Car Audio System?

“Aside from lowering the background noise, damping materials can be used to seal openings in doors. If you have a speaker in the door, sealing up the mounting layer prevents energy produced by the rear of the speaker from canceling with the front. Gains of more than 10 dB in the bass and mid-bass region are often achieved. The best part? The audible performance benefits from an investment in sound deadening cannot be matched by an equivalent upgrade in speaker quality.”

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