We here at AMP Tracks did years of, not only research, but actual trial & error!
TL;DR: No, they don’t, at least not for your purpose of isolation yourself from noise resp. keeping your noise in.
What do soundproof curtains actually do?
Again, they do little. They help a bit with diffusion of sound. Ever been in an empty garage made out of concrete? If you can’t recall the “sound” of a garage instantly you should go there now an check it out. So you know what an empty room sounds like while you’re probably sitting in a furnished room right now. Is there a difference in sound? A huge one, of course. So just bringing in furniture changed the sound of the room from “empty cave echo” to a dampened room. That’s what a soundproof curtain does at best.
Will a soundproof curtain block noise from outside? How much?
I’m guessing if you read this you probably are dealing with noisy neighbours or live near a loud road, airport or construction site. The curtain won’t block any of that. Manufacturers usually measure a few dB of noise reduction which is most likely caused by the diffusion effect of the curtain. Sound has the ability to build up in rooms and in corners, the reflection makes the sound actually louder. This is not just an impression but physical reality. And that is the only point where that curtain comes in. Compared to Studio-grade insulation materials the curtain won’t do jack. It’s as effective as placing another couch in the corner.
But then how can I isolate myself from this constant noise that drives me nuts?
We suggest earplugs combined with noise cancellation headphones and a smartphone loaded with good music. You’ll be able to block industrial noise of up to 110dB with that combo. Well blocking might not be entirely true, you’ll still hear some of it and of course you’ll hear the music. But from here on the only thing that will be disturbing your sleep is the lack of comfort – so go look for that primarely when checking for NC headphones, comfort. Either that or get a bank credit, a few tons of cement and an allowance to rebuilt your room.
What really isolates noise
The only thing that truly isolates noise is weight – or as in physics terms: mass. A lot of mass that is ideally decoupled. Decoupled means it’s not attached to the outside structure. Floating. How can a room of concrete float inside another room? Is this the future? No, it cannot. But it can be placed on dampening materials. You’ll need some specialized firm with heavy equipment to do that.
What did AMP Tracks do?
We do have curtains, carpet and a room full of heavy hardwood furniture, filled-up cabinets and a couch. Please be aware that we have all of this stuff for it’s own purpose and not for the purpose of noise insulation – it does a bit of that as a side effect. Within that room we also built a cabin made of wood, inside we have again carpet and for the first time also sound diffusing foam (so it sounds not like a garage). The wood cabine is almost airtight and it does block a significant amount of noise, probably 8-12dB (what you expected your silly curtain would do). It cost us over 2000€ and over 6 month of planing and hard work. But we like it. It’s a cozzy little cabin. And we can use it to record people playing instruments or singing. But we can also do that outside of the cabin. 🙂
Our cabin has two motorized fans that run 24/7 and not only provide some fresh air while someone is in there but also help with all sorts of issues that you can get from moisture collecting somewhere on a big structure like that. Yet it is another story to be told, in another dedicated article that will contain fotos as well.